I’ve sourced a letter between two of my eighteenth century Scottish song collectors! Indeed, I’ve unearthed a nice little network of relationships here.
Revd Doctor Walter Young of Erskine, renowned for his musical talent, wrote the basses for Patrick Macdonald’s Highland Vocal Airs. He also wrote the Preface. And lest anyone should suggest he didn’t, let me state here categorically – he wrote the Preface. I have the evidence in front of me: “… that prodigy of musical knowledge Dr Young – together with a scientific & explanatory preface to them by him”.
Patrick Macdonald was friendly with Marianne Maclean-Clephane, the mother of Margaret, Anna-Jane and Wilmina.
I now discover that one of Walter Young’s sisters was governess and music teacher to Margaret and Anna-Jane Maclean-Clephane when they were aged nine and six respectively. I don’t know which of Walter’s sisters it was, nor how long she stayed, but it’s nice to see the relationships criss-crossing like this.
I’ve also found out a bit more about Macdonald’s own music-making, and an interesting snippet about Mull’s “last native harper”. If this is too tantalising to bear, then I apologise – but I want to see if I can tease any more threads out before I write about it at length!