“Under the Spell of the Pipes”
It is not the intention to become an autobiographer that has prompted me to write this volume, but a genuine hope that I may be able to put on record, some of the episodes, which are enshrined by an ardent admirer of the Highland Bagpipe. My earnest desire is to portray the beauties of the music of the pipes, and the environment in which the instrument itself has been created and preserved. Any reference which may be made to myself, I wish to be confined to the background; so that I may enrich an ancient art by the elucidation of its power and grandeur.
As the pipes are a source of pleasure to the Highlander in peace, they are also a stronghold (so to speak) in times of war. They are cherished by the performer from the cradle to the grave, and never fail to supply inspiration to the inheritors and possessors of a noble instrument.
Without the bagpipe and its music my life would have been robbed of its richest, and dearest pastime.
When the duties for the day are finished, and the bagpipes have been played, I feel that I have not been slothful in the discharge of the daily obligations which I am bound to perform. If you will bear with me gentle reader while I give an account of my wanderings in the Highlands, and the making of a piper, I will then enter into a more minute description of the music of the pipes, and the tuition of young pipers.
Every winding of my path will be cherished by Highlanders, pipers, and Scots abroad. It will bring back to their minds the pleasant memories of the dear old land of their birth. Music is one of the greatest gifts bestowed on man by an all wise and loving Creator. It is a communication from the inmost soul to the outside world; it indicates the beauty which reigns within the human breast, and brings us in ecstasy to the very gates of heaven.
The music of the Celt is not wanting in its power of moving the Highland heart to joy or sorrow. It rejoices with those who rejoice, and mourns with those who mourn.