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excisemen, the sailors commenced firing into the cave; and the same voice again humorously asked them, “ If they were commanded by Saxons? Did they think King Robert Bruce's crown lay there now?"
By and by, that is to say, in about an hour and a half, the excisemen made their appearance on the top of a cliff, and instantly began hurling down stones on the cutter’s men; but by good fortune none of the brave tars were hit, for they had at the first notice of this attack hallooed out, “ Did the gaugers mean to kill the king's people?”—and hence the crafty excisemen, after having with incredible la. bour gained this height, were compelled to descend as speedily as possible by the same route they had got up; but the time consumed in these fruitless attempts to secure the smugglers, had now brought on the twilight of
the evening, and the whole party of fifteen men was forced to give up the enterprise; but they purposed to resume it on the next morning.
It was nearly midnight before they got to the shore, and their disappointment was too great not to be keenly felt by all; but the master of the cutter, resolute in his plan, ordered his men to go to Brodick, and get six quarriers with hammers and crows, for the purpose of blowing up the mouth of the cave next day. These implements were procured, and by day-light a party of twenty-two men went to take the smugglers. St. Clyde staid at Brodick.
These men gained the cave's mouth, and six holes were now being bored to blow up the rock; but as this operation was going forward, a shouting and noise was heard from the opposite cliff, and on narrowly looking at the
people who had produced it, Whiggans was distinctly seen with nine of his men, jeering the cutter's people and the gaugers, and laughing especially at the Brodick men's folly.
Finding that the cavern was not now defended by the smugglers, the master of the cutter ordered his men to enter it. They lighted their torches and entered, and the two gaugers followed them; the master and mate went in last. As they entered, the cavern seemed to enlarge its sides and roof, till, on advancing to the right, it resembled the inside of a large house; and another entrance, which was well concealed from the outside by bushes and fragments of broken rocks piled up to prevent a disclosure, was found, on examination on the inside, large enough to admit half a dozen of men to enter abreast. There was within the cave plenty
of wood ; large beds of dried fern; two places for fire, one of which was under three rafters, or rather ash trees, in the form of a triangular cone, with a chain from the vertex for hanging a kettle or pot on, and the cooking utensils were arranged at a little distance from the fire-place. On examining this ca. vern minutely, plenty of biscuit, spi. rits, salt, the bones of sheep, cows, and fowls, were found; but though no carcasses were hung up, there was little reason to doubt that many sheep and deer had been cut up there, since at one end of the cavern a number of sheep and deer skins were found, two of which seemed to have very lately been flayed from the carcasses.
There was an old frying-pan suspended from three sticks, and filled with a mixture of oil and tallow; and a pretty large piece of burnt linen hanging over its lip, left no room to doubt that
this was “the lamp of Fingal's cave." Pieces of sail-cloth, junks of rope, old shoes, old clothes, and a few broken cutlasses, and rusty pistols, and dirks, and flasks of powder, and bags of slugs, and bullets, gave very ample proofs that the transitory visitants to this place were all men at war.
But on examining an anti-cave, which was lower, as to its basement, than the grand cavern by five or six. feet, another chasm was discovered in the rock, and, on examination, it was found to lead to a smaller and more damp cave. On entering this place, there lay a number of human skeletons, and two mouldering corpses, one of which was that of a female; one of these had been decently covered with a blanket, the other with a piece of canvass, for a winding-sheet; and neither of the corpses, falling into decay, seemed to have perished through violence.