touchingpublishingprospectsintheHighlands;but ofthesecandourobligesmetoacknowledgethatI cannotspeakveryfavourably.Theliteraryoutlook ofCelticScotlandis,tosaytruth,insignificant; andwhatisworse,tendstobecomemoreso.Very fewGaelicbooksarepublishednowadays,though booksintheEnglishlanguagetreatingofCeltic topicsarefairlypopular,andmoderativelyremunerative.Formypart,Idonotthinkthisis duesomuchtowantofinterestinCelticaffairsand tolackofGaelicreaders,astothewantofacentral publishinghouse,fromwhichexclusivelyCeltic works(GaelicandEnglish)mightemanate.I believetheGaelicLeagueofIrelanddoesremarkably wellwithitspublications,andthevitalityofthe languagemovementamongourcousinsisstrikingly exemplifiedbytheamountofnativeliteraturewhich thevariouspublishinghousesinthatcountryhave latelyissued.InScotland,however,thatmovement is,unfortunately(owingtopoliticalcauses),farless "alive"andadvanced,theconsequencebeingthat theoutputofliteratureiscorrespondinglysmaller. Myopinionis,however,thatthereisroomfora smallpublishinghouse,which,establishingitselfin Glasgow,shouldundertaketosupplytheHighlands exclusivelywithsuitableliterature.Ithinkthat auchahouse,withafairGaelicscholarforadviser, andagoodbusinessmanatitshead,mightdo somethingtoremovethestandingreproachofHighlanders—thattheyareanon-readingpublic,anddo notsupportthelittlemodernliteraturethatthey have,aswellastoprovidethemselveswithafairly remunerativeundertaking.Professionsandemploymentsofallkindsaresocrowdednowadays, andprofitsareshrinkingsogenerallyandalarmingly, thatitsurprisesmethatnoonehasyethadthe courage to start such a business as I allude to above. No doubt, the experience of those who have dabbled (if I, who must plead guilty to having so dabbled, may use the expression) in publishing Celtic literature is not of a sort calculated to encourage others who may feel tempted to risk time and money in entering that uncertain and ungrateful field. But my contention is that most of us, if not all, who have dabbled, have done so more by way of experiment or entertainment than in course of prosecution of ordinary business; and so the reasons for our failure are not far to seek. But an exclusively Celtic publishing house is quite a possible and conceivable success, on a moderate scale, and I for one should be pleased to see the experiment attempted. Inexpensive books, with clear type and serviceable bindings and paper, are what the Highlands require ; and as to matter there is so much that awaits publication, and that could be published, that I apprehend that not the slightest difficulty need be experienced on that score, nor much expense incurred into the bargain. The editions of our classics are nearly all run out, and the high prices which the rarer of them now command in the second-hand booksellers' shops tend to show that the republication of the more popular of them would be an adventure attended with considerable prospects of success. It is certainly a disgrace to the Highlands, and a reflection upon the enterprise of our people, that the poems of Alasdair Macdonald, perhaps the greatest of our poets, are presently, to all practical intents and purposes, unprocurable. Nicholson's Proverbs is another book which is scarcely now to be got, save at a very enhanced value, and which might well be re-issued in a cheap and handy form. A good English-Gaelic Dictionary (a companion volume to that recently published by the Highland News of Inverness) is also a want that might be easily and inexpensively supplied by a Celtic publishing house. Indeed, if I mistake not, the most of our Gaelic masterpieces (prose and poetry) are out of print, and not to be obtained save with considerable difficulty and at much expense. I think that inexpensive editions of the more popular of these would repay the cost of their republication, if not handsomely, at all events sufficiently well to justify such an undertaking on the part of a business man.
There is also a considerable quantity of fugitive literature in the Highlands, in the shape of legend, ballad, etc., which might well and profitably be gathered into shape and published at popular prices. Some effort, too, might be made (and I think that experience would justify it) to encourage modern talent, of which there is, perhaps, more in existence than is imagined. Of course, the difficulty with regard to publishing modern original Gaelic matter is that the profits from its sale in book form are not considerable enough to permit of the payment of the author, at all events, at all adequately, as well as to provide for the cost of production. This, no doubt, is a serious obstacle to Gaelic publishing; but I imagine that the difficulty might be got over by balancing one book against another—that is to say, by making a reprint (where the copyright has expired, and where there is a profit on the reprint) to pay for the cost of production and the author's honorarium of the modern original matter. The Highlands, too, are better educated than they were; and the number of persons able to read in Gaelic is fortunately considerably on the increase; so that in a few years' time there should be a sufficient number of persons to render the publication of any suitable