Latha math dhuibh, a chàrdan.

We are back in Victorian Edinburgh with young Dàibhidh MacLeòid as he extends his stay in the employ of the grocer, striking out on trips with friends and strolling the city streets in his time off. Beltane finds David receiving news of the death of his former employer.

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In the shop until 5 o’clock, then the Master allowed me up to the picture gallery at the mound.  Called for the key when coming home from the mound. (The picture below [courtesy of the National Gallery] shows us the gallery as it would have looked around the time of David’s visit. Having come south from the very rural environment of Latheron Parish, buildings such as this must have been a source of revelation and excitement for the young Highlander!)


Started early on foot accompanied by Benjamin and Alex Sutherland and Alex Sutherland Macdonald for Queensferry.  Had a boat on the Firth.  Had a stiff row as we drifted up with the tide.  Went to the Earl of Hopetoun grounds.  Walked to the Winchbury Station and took the train home to Edinburgh. (It’s nice to have a little colour to one of my g-grand-uncle’s entries with his description of negotiating the Firth as they are often otherwise lacking in detail. I happened to spend some days shooting with the Outlander crew at Hopetoun House in 2014, ÀM)


Went to the Theatre Royal. (This most unlucky of buildings, as it was often called, was burnt down five times. The picture below, courtesy of Edinburgh Live, shows the theatre as it may have looked in David’s time, having just been rebuilt in 1865. It is disappointing that he shares nothing of what he saw there, nor of his feelings as regards the production)


Spent my dinner hour in the Botanical Garden. (It is tempting to speculate about the regularity with which David passed his dinner hours in the garden. Perhaps as a lifelong country dweller up to this point, he found it challenging not to be in consistent contact with plantlife)


Went up to Glen Street.  David Sutherland was there.  He left Islay as he has got another situation in Strathspey.  Went to the Free Greyfriar’s Church.  Had a walk on Princes Street with Alexander Sutherland. (I can’t help wondering if he used his Gaelic with the young people of Ìle [the Isle of Islay], situated as he was in the teaching profession. As a speaker of both the Arra-Ghàidheal [Argyll] and Gollaibh [Caithness] dialects, I can attest to the fact that they are quite divergent in both accent and vocabulary, although the grammar is much the same. The Srath Spéidh [Strathspey] dialect, however, could perhaps be said to lie somewhere in the middle as the geography suggests, ÀM)


Had a letter from Rose at home.  Queen’s birthday in Edinburgh.  Went per train to see Dumbarton Castle.  After had a ramble through the town.  Then left for Glasgow.  Called on Bannerman and grand aunt.  Left for Edinburgh by the 9.10 (I imagine this Rose must be my g-grand-aunt and David’s sister. This would be Queen Victoria’s 57th birthday. The below steel engraving shows Dùn Bhreatainn as it would have looked around 1860. I am unsure as to who “Bannerman” was, although there were definitely people of that name in Strath Latharn a’ Phuill [the Strath of Latheronwheel]. My wife Lisa is descended from those who were out during Blian Theàrlaich [Charlie’s Year] and bore the standard at Cùl Fhodair [Culloden], subsequently fleeing for Srath Ilidh [The Strath of Kildonan] from where they were later cleared to make way for sheep, ÀM)


Went to Glen Street.  Went to Free Greyfriar’s Church.  Went to Free St George’s.  Went to the Free Assembly Hall with Benjamin, Alex and Colin Sutherland.


In the shop all day.  Had a letter from D. Tait stating that Robert Sinclair of Sinclair Brothers died at the old manse. (I am assuming that this was David’s old boss with whom he cut his teeth in Wick. My friend Sandy Reid, a native of that very town, sent me a link to the below image from the Johnston Collection which shows Sinclair Bros still in situ in the middle of the block around the time of WWI, ÀM)


Benjamin and Alex came down and we went and took Sinclair out a walk.  Had dinner at my lodgings and then we went to the Assembly Hall.

That’s David’s blast from the past over for another month. Do check back in a few weeks time when we shall have June’s entries for your delectation, including a visit to the circus and the witnessing of Edward Payson Weston’s latest walking feat as part of his eight year tour of Europe.

Gach beannachd air an àm,

Àdhamh MacLeòid [ÀM]

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