Murchison memorial
We came to a rich green valley, comparitively speaking and stopped a while to let our horses rest and eat grass.*We soon afterwards came to Auchnasheal, a kind of rural village, a number of cottages being built together, as we saw all along in the Highlands. We passed many miles this day without seeing a house, but only little summer-huts, called shielings. Evan Campbell, servant to Mr Murchison, factor to the Laird of Macleod in Glenelg, ran along with us today. He was a very obliging fellow. At Auchnasheal, we sat down on a green turf-seat at the end of a house ; they brought us out two wooden dishes of milk, which we tasted. One of them was frothed like a syllabub.

Boswell - Tour to the Hebrides



By the time this arrived yesterday -

 Date: Sun, 31 Mar 1996 13:18:34 +0100 (BST)
From: Lachlan Brown 
To: n.pope@ucl.ac.uk
Cc: karen@dircon.co.uk
Subject: Skye

Nina and Karen--

        I was sorry to read that you were ill! I hope your both feeling better.
       
        Anyway, I've been looking into the original journal and found 
references to Glenelg and Achnashellach, and to the Murchison's and the 
Macraes, our lot on my Mum's (Jemima Murchison's) side. I expect you're 
driving that way as I write. That is, you must be among *those highland 
types*. They are described as knowing no English, dark and every bit as savage
as the Indians (though not so frightening, Johnson says). I wonder 
whether you have Highlanders from Nova Scotia, or from elsewhere logging in 
now that you are entering the area of the Clearances?

     
         About Boswell and Johnson's journal, I was surprised to 
read how they rationalised their tour in terms of helping to improve navigation and 
trade, as well as investigating the customs and manners of the Islanders 
AND the faculty of second sight said to be prevalent among them. Sounds 
like colonialism to me. Savages and men of Enlightenment.
  
        I wonder if there is anyone at Kyle who remembers my Gran, Jessie 
Murchison?      

        Yours,

        Lachlan
        
I'd more or less forgotten the original mention of this!
> If you are passing Kyle of Lochalsh (my mother's home) I'd love 
to contact you at that time.
However, I felt we had to try this link as getting to this stage had been so convoluted. We first went to the Glenelg postoffice, where we were directed to the home of Margaret Cameron.

She turned out to be a lovely woman who looks after the cottage owned by someone with the name Murchison.

Despite our strange request and the fact we wanted to tape her talking - she was incredibly friendly and helpful. We ended up chatting about the Bridge and the little privately run ferry that goes to Sky from there. She was from Stornoway originally, and pitied me living in London.

This is the recorded information for Lachlan (sound file 850k) re. Jimmy toogood ?? - Jimmy Murchisons nephew, and more!

The final twist to the Saga is that whilst I was emailing Lachlan this evening re. proofing this page pre public consumption he was sending me this!

 Subject: Publish and be damned...

Nina--
        I'll be travelling about a bit over the weekend, so I 
probably wouldn't have a chance to respond to your edit. I think I'm 
being too, what's the word... careful? (sorry, I have been marking), and 
I am going to put some of it in Difference Engine anyway. I'm presently 
opening the 
issue called Remembering the Book (the theme is one which started me on my 
research and internet publishing project a couple of years ago.)        
        To begin with theres a 'technical' paper on "Living Documents" in 
Collaborative Hypermedia, a talk I will be recording tomorrow on Stuart 
Hall's work and contribution to cultural studies and cultural criticism, 
and I have included a rather complex and convoluted set of links to The 
Hypertext journal via images from your's and Karen's pages, sparked by 
your quote of Boswell quoting Johnson. ie. a techie (Jennifer Tennison), 
some cultural criticism and your creative work.
        
        I hope this is alright? Take a look at it and please tell me if 
it isn't. Basically, there are direct links to the home page of the 
journal, links to some of the projects AND I have employed one image from 
each of you, one in a 'Living Documents' section (which) will grow with 
other quotes, and one on the title page of the 3rd issue/thread.
        The press/journal probably has a different browser/readership
as we tend to attract academic types and lots of foreigners.
        
        Best,

        Lachlan

Double Publish and be Damned Bluff!

...and so the saga goes on...and starts to inclued second sight...

Subject: Re: you'll be made up...

Our email must have crossed in the wire. Some odd coincidences. 
        Anyway, you'll probably think this absurd, but I find even 
textual descriptions of Lochalsh very emotionally moving. Even on bloody 
email.

        I asked my Mum Jemima Murchison (nee) for an anecdote and she has 
phoned a couple through:
re: Second Sight. An old woman (possibly her grandmother) told her when 
she was very young that when the old woman was young she had a very sick 
child. She took the child to see an old woman who had the second sight. 
She was to tell no one, and to take the sick child at midnight over water 
between the living and the dead. The old woman put a chord around the 
child's neck and told the young woman never to remove it until it had 
rotted away. My Mum adds that the child recovered.

re: navigation. During the War two British officers were being ferried to 
Raasay. The boatman kept looking at his charts, and about at the water. 
After a while one of the officers said "are you lost, can you not see the 
island over there?" "Its not that" said the boatman, "there's a minefield 
somewhere about here, but I think we're through it now."

        (Perhaps both lose something in the way I tell them, but there is 
a general absense of a punchline in these stories).

        Lachlan 

and on and on....we are now onto the other side of his family!

Date: Tue, 16 Apr 1996 17:03:11 +0100 (BST)
From: Lachlan Brown 
To: n.pope@ucl.ac.uk

        Lovely update to the relies page. But, crumbs, when is this going 
to stop? "Look here for our eventual meeting in London"?
        I'm afraid your actual and my virtual journey to Lochalsh has 
been so evocative for me that I must get up there as soon as possible.
Hence, unfortunately, our paths will probably cross somewhere around Gretna.
Shame, but there it is.
        
        Re: YET ANOTHER TOP SPOOKY THING
        You're not going to like this at all, but the flurry of interest 
in my mother's side of the family has prompted some rapid investigation 
on my Dad's  side. An uncle has unearthed the disturbing fact that we 
are also related through Mary Strachan, my great-great Grandmother to 
William Strachan, printer, who published Johnson's 
dictionary, The Tour, as well as Gibbon's Decline and Fall, and Cooke's 
Voyages. It is rumoured too that he put up the money for the illicit 
printing of Tom Paine's The Rights of Man and of The Citizen.
        So, when you are in London, could you and Karen pop around the 
The Honourable Company of Stationers and do some research into the 
Printer for me? (the late eighteenth century was a very fascinating 
period which saw the emergence of new publishing regimes, new formations 
in politics, economics and culture and the 'public sphere'). In the 
'third virtual room' which is another way of accessing the material in 
'difference engine', via spatial metaphors and images rather than 'page' 
metaphor of the Web, I'll add a couple of facilities for debate on 
some of the implications of the new publishing regime in 'new media' for 
cultural production. The unexpurgated version of the communication we 
have had will also go in there - but it will be some time as we have a 
lot of papers to go into the current threads within difference engine.

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*Dr Johnson, in his Journey, thus beautifullydescribes this situation here:I sat down on a bank,such as a writer of romance might have delighted to feign. I had, indeed, no trees to whisper over my head ; but a clear rivulet at my feet. The day was calm, the air soft, and all was rudeness, silence, and solitude. Before me, and on either side, were high hills, which by hindering the mind from ranging, forced the mind to find entertainment for itself. Whether I spent the hour well, I know not; for here I first conceived the thought of this narration.