31 JANUARY 1903, Page 8


Recollections of a Royal Parish. By Patricia Lindsay. With Illustrations. , (J. Murray. Is. 6d.)—This little volume gives, in a singularly pleasant and unaffected manner, a handful of recol- lections of the parish of Crathie, in which Balmoral stands. Mrs. Lindsay's personal memories go back to days before Queen Victoria made it her Highland home. Her father, Dr. Robertson, came to Deeside in 1818; and it was not till 1848 that Sir James Clarke prescribed the bracing air of the district for the Queen's health. Balmoral happened to be tenantless. It was taken for the Royal party. Dr. Robertson was asked to superintend the preparations of the house ; and Mrs. Lindsay recalls, as the occasion of her first sight of Royalty, the autumn day when the quiet countryside turned out to greet the first coming of the Royal party along the road from Aberdeen: "It was but a passing glimpse we got of a, lady and gentleman with two children in an open carriage, who bowed and smiled in response to the respectful salutations of our little group." The "children" were the present King and the late Empress of Germany, and they were objects of especial interest to the gazer because they were of about the same age as herself and her sister. Dr. Robertson's arrangements at Balmoral gave so much satisfaction that he was appointed Commis- sioner in Scotland for the Queen and the Prince Consort, and in this capacity he served until his health broke down in 1875. Mrs. Lindsay's pages add little that is new to the picture, long familiar to us all, of Queen Victoria's simple relations with her homely friends, the peasants of Deeside. But the glimpses they give are sympathetic, and therefore welcome. The !distinctive feature of the book is the setting. Queen Victoria's residence at Balmoral is treated as an incident in the history of the parish, and traditions of older days, known to the writer only by hearsay, are recorded. We are told how in the days of the early Kings of Scotland "the abundance of game in Crathie and Braemar made the old castle of Kindrochit (Mar Castle) " a favourite Royal hunting-seat. And we get some picturesque local anecdotes of the days of Prince Charlie. By that time Balmoral had passed into the hands of the Farquharsons, who were all staunch Jacobites until 1745, when there was a division of allegiance in the clan. At the time of Prestonpans the Laird of Invercauld and his brother-in-law, the Laird of Mackintosh, were both on the side of the Hanoverians, but Lady Mackintosh was staunch for the Stuarts, and in the absence of her husband raised a regiment that did good service. She herself came to the front under the title of Colonel Anne ; and by the fortunes of war it fell to her to receive the sword of her husband when he made his surrender after being captured by scouts. Another vivid anecdote of those days is that of the lady of Blelack who, when the minister besought the Almighty "to scatter the rebels and bring their counsels to nought," stood up in her pew and demanded with an oath, "How daur ye say that, and my Charlie wi' them ? "