198 DUNGEONS AND 1'IT.
he found no safety there. At Macdonald's request lie was at once
The dungeons and the pit an: not described by either Boswell or Johnson, though the sight of them, we would willingly believe, must have roused their indignation. In these old castles there are. few things more shocking than the close neighbourhood of festivity. and misery. It shows a callousness to human suffering which almost passes belief. If a prisoner is in a remote part of a great castle, the imagination then must come into play to bring his sufferings before the mind ; but when he is close at hand, when his sorrowful sighing is only kept by the thickness of a single wall from mingling with the prattle of children and the merriment of feasters, then the heart must be hard indeed which is not touched. At Dunvegan a door to the left opened into a pleasant sitting-room, and to the right into the chief dungeon. In it there was no window, not even one of those narrow slits by which a few rays can struggle in. Hut there was something worse even than the dungeon. In the floor there was an opening by which the unhappy prisoner could be lowered into a deep pit. Here he would dwell in ever- during dark, never cheered by the hurried glimpse of daylight such as broke the long night in the prison above whenever the jailer paid his visit. The door of the other dungeon for there was yet another is in the wall of a bedroom, which is furnished in so old a style that it is likely enough that the curious bed and hangings were gazed at by many a prisoner as he was hurried by.
As we wandered through these old rooms and staircases and passages, we were told of a poor woman from St. Kilda, who like ourselves was shown over the castle. As she went on she became so bewildered by the number of the rooms, that she begged to be allowed to keep fast hold of the hand of the person who was con- ducting her, for fear she might get lost and never find her way out. The story called to my mind a man from the same remote island mentioned by Martin. He was taken to Glasgow, and though in those days it was but a small town, nevertheless he was so much scared that in like manner he clung to his guide's hand as long as he was in the streets.-' The poor woman must have breathed more freely when she at length reached the court-yard and looked out over the familiar sea. The platform, then, no doubt was rough
��in the chapter on Lochbuie for an account of the hereditary jurisdictions. Martin's Western Islands, p. 297.