Manuscript Scottish verse miscellany written on Skye and in the Highlands in the 1830s by Flora Macdonald, her family and friends, Flora being the namesake and probable descendant of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s famous helpmate.
Full maroon morocco quarto-sized binding with attractive gilt decoration and, inset on both covers: ‘Flora Macdonald’s Scrap-book’. The book has had high quality professional repairs with the spine relaid, corners strengthened and inner hinges renewed. Marbled endpapers, paper repair along foreedge of first flyleaf; india paper repairs along gutters of first few leaves of text suggesting that they may have been detached at one point. Gilt edges with gauffered decoration - the quality of both book binding and repair suggests this was a very highly valued book by its previous owners. Internally there is a semi-legible ownership signature of somebody ‘Dougall’ to the verso of the flyleaf. Soiling to early leaves. Flora Macdonald’s ownership inscription appears at the end of the book. The manuscript is written on watermarked Scottish paper: ‘Carron 1828’ and runs to 228 pages, around 30 of those in Flora MacDonald’s hand, some signed fully or partially, all dated to the 1830s. Additionally there are further family contributions by ‘J M M Macdonald’ who writes in English and French in Arisaig (near Skye), ‘J.L. Macdonald’ and ‘Isabella C Macdonald’ and other writers, named and anonymous. Most striking is a full page acrostic on Flora Macdonald’s name written in her hand on blue paper: ‘An Acrostick’ spells out her name down the left margin in a religious poem that concludes ‘And when the Magic sound of pleasure’s voice/ Lifts high its charms around the soul. Even then/ Determined praise Jehovah’s matchless name. August ‘36’. Written at right angles by Macdonald ‘A... by Miss Penelope Macleod of St Kilda, addressed to the departed Sister.’ In order of appearance Flora’s first contribution to the manuscript is a poem called ‘Home’ (Robert Stephen Hawker) which begins ‘Tis worth an age of wandering to return’. Also in Flora’s hand is the poem ‘Oh tis sad to see the splendour of the summer pass away...’ and a 2 page poem from Mary Ann Browne’s Repentance (1834) which Macdonald ends, puzzlingly with the comment: ‘by Penelopy Macleod St Kilda who died at Tormore August 25th Isle of Sky.’ Macdonald recorded a sequence of poems in the manuscript in August 1836, signed ‘Tormore Isle of Skye’ including ‘The Parted Years’, ‘Genie’ and Thomas Moore’s ‘The Life Boat’ emotionally casting a ‘gaze on the life boat its rugged form/ Which often has crested the hills of the Ocean/ The last Ray of hope to the Seaman forlorn’. As well as writing and copying verse Flora also comment on poems copied in other hands, adding beneath one: ‘Absence is a cure for passion but strengthens true love.’ Other contributing writers include Anne Rodgers; J.M.M Macdonald, J.L.Macdonald and there are two poems apparently written by Aughnacloy. Among the poems included are Thomas Bayly’s Isle of Beauty, a Forget-Me-Not poem ‘By W.H. Lance 79th Cameronian Highlanders’ and ‘G.K.W.’ copies lines from Sir Walter Scott with further contributions copied from Byron, Edward Fitzgerald, Mrs Hemans, ‘Consumption’, John Graham, Wadham CollegeWnd illiam Southey,
A later owner has jotted notes about the death of George V and abdication of Edward VIII.