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A Walk from London to John O'Groat's by Elihu Burritt

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and the vilest of the vile. These hospitals are the Holyroods of
Edinburgh II. They honor it with a renown better than the royal
palace of the latter name ever won.

I said Edinburgh the Second. That is correct. There are two towns,
the Old and the New; the last about half a century's age. But the
oldest will be the youngest fifty years hence. The hand of a
"higher civilization," with its spirit-level, pick, plane and
trowel, is upon it with the grip of a Samson. That hand will tone
down its great distinctive individualities and give it the modern
_uniformity_ of design, face and feature. All these tall houses,
built skyward layer upon layer or flat upon flat, until they show
half a dozen stories on one street, and twice that number on the
other, are doomed, and they will be done for, one by one in its
turn. They probably came in with Queen Mary, and they will go out
under the blue-eyed Alexandra. They will be supplanted by the most
improved architecture of modern taste and utilitarianism. Edinburgh
will be Anglicised and put in the fashionable costume of a
progressive age; in the same swallow-tailed coat, figured vest and
stovepipe hat worn by London, Liverpool and Manchester. It will not
be allowed to wear tweed pantaloons except for one circumstance;--
that it is now building its best houses of stone instead of brick.

But there are physical features that will always distinguish
Edinburgh from all other cities of the world and which no
architectural changes can ever obliterate or deface. There are
Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, the Calton Hill, and the Castle
Height, and there they will stand forever--the grandest surroundings
and garniture of Nature ever given to any capital or centre of the
earth's populations.

CHAPTER XVII.

LOCH LEVEN-ITS ISLANDCASTLE--STRATHS--PERTH--SALMON-BREEDING--
THOUGHTS ON FISH-FARMING--DUNKELD--BLAIR ATHOLL--DUCAL TREE-PLANTER-
-STRATHSPEY AND ITS SCENERY--THE ROADS--SCOTCH CATTLE AND SHEEP--
NIGHT IN A WAYSIDE COTTAGE--ARRIVAL AT INVERNESS.

On Friday, Sept. 11th, I left for the north the morning after my
arrival in Edinburgh, hoping to finish my long walk before the rainy
season commenced. My old friend and host accompanied me across the
Forth, by the Granton Ferry, and walked with me for some distance on
the other side; then bidding me God-speed, he returned to the city.
The weather was fine, and the farmers were very busy at work. A
vast quantity of grain, especially of oats, was cut and ready for
carting; but little of it had been ricked in consequence of frequent
showers. I noticed that they used a different snath for their
scythes here from that common in England. It is in two parts, like
the handles of a plough, joining a foot or two above the blade. One
is shorter than the other, each having a thole. It is a singular
contrivance, but seems to be preferred here to the old English pole.
I have never seen yet an American scythe-snath in England or
Scotland, although so much of our implemental machinery has been
introduced. American manure-forks and hay-forks, axes and augurs
you will now find exposed for sale in nearly every considerable
town, but one of our beautifully mounted scythes would be a great
novelty here.

The scenery varies, but retains the peculiarly Scotch features.
Hills which we should call mountains are frequently planted with
trees as far up as the soil will lie upon the precipitous sides. On
passing one of great height, bald at the top, but bearded to the
eyebrows with fir and larch, I asked an elderly man, a blacksmith,
standing in his shop-door, if they were a natural growth. He said
that he and his two boys planted them all about forty-eight years
ago. They were now worth, on an average, twelve English shillings,
or about three dollars a-piece.

I lodged in Kinross, a pleasant-faced, quiet and comfortable little
town, done up with historical associations of special interest.
Here is Loch Leven, serene and placid, like a mirror framed with
wooded hills, looking at their faces in it. It is a beautiful sheet
of water, taking the history out of it. But putting that in and
around it, you see a picture before you that you will remember.
Here is more of Mary the Unfortunate. You see reflected in the
silver sheen of the lake that face which looks at you with its soft
appeal for sympathy in all the galleries of Christendom. Out there,
on that little islet, green and low, stands the black castle in
which they prisoned her. There they made her trembling, indignant
fingers write herself "a queen without a crown." Southward there,
where amateurs now fish for trout, young Douglas rowed her ashore
with muffled oars so softly that they stirred no ripple at the bow.
The keys of the castle they threw into the lake to bar pursuit, lay
in the mud for nearly three centuries, when they were found by a lad
of the village, and presented to the Earl of Morton, a
representative of the Douglas family.

The next day I walked on to Perth, passing through a very
interesting section, which nature and history have enriched with
landscapes and manscapes manifold. It is truly a romantic region
for both these qualities, with delightful views in sudden and
frequent alternation. Glens deep, winding and dark, with steep
mountain walls folding their tree-hands over the road; lofty hills
in full Scotch uniform, in tartan heather and yellow grain plaided
in various figures; chippering streams, now hidden, now coming to
the light, in white flashing foam in a rocky glade of the dell;
straths or savannas, like great prairie gardens, threaded by
meandering rivers and studded with wheat in sheaves, shocks and
ricks, seen over long reaches of unreapt harvests; villages,
hamlets, white cottages nestling in the niches and green gorges of
the mountains,--and all these sceneries set in romantic histories
dating back to the Danes and their doings in Scotland, make up a
prevista for the eye and a revista for the mind that keep both in
exhilarating occupation every rod of the distance from Kinross to
Perth.

The road via Glenfarg would be a luxury of the first enjoyment to
any tourist with an eye to the wild, romantic and picturesque.
Debouching from this long, winding, tree-arched dell, you come out
upon Strathearn, or the bottom-land of the river Earn, which joins
the Tay a few miles below. The term strath is peculiarly a Scottish
designation which many American readers may not have fully
comprehended, although it is so blended with the history and romance
of this country. It is not a valley proper, as we use that term; as
the Valley of the Mississippi or the Valley of the Connecticut. If
the word were admissible, it might be called most descriptively the
land-bay of a river, at a certain distance between its source and
mouth, such for instance as the German Flats on the Mohawk, or the
Oxbow on the Connecticut, at Wethersfield, in Vermont, or the great
onion-growing flat on the same river at Wethersfield in Connecticut.
These straths are numerous in Scotland, and constitute the great
productive centres of the mountain sections. They are generally
cultivated to the highest perfection of agricultural science and
economy and are devoted mostly to grain. As they are always walled
in by bald-headed mountains and lofty hills, cropped as high as man
and horse can climb with a plough and planted with firs and larches
beyond, they show beautifully to the eye, and constitute, with these
surroundings, the peculiar charm of Scotch scenery. The term is
always prefixed to the name of the river, as Strathearn, Strathspey,
etc.

I noticed on this day's walk the same singular habit that struck me
in the north part of Yorkshire; that is, of cutting inward upon the
standing grain. Several persons, frequently women and boys, follow
the mowers, and pick up the swath and bind it into sheaves, using no
rake at all in the process. So pertinaciously they seem to adhere
to this remarkable and awkward custom, that I saw two mowers walk
down a hill, a distance of full a hundred rods, with their scythes
under their arms, in order to begin a new swath in the same way;
four or five men and women running after them full tilt to bind the
grain as it fell! Here was a loss of at least five minutes each to
half a dozen hands, amounting to half an hour to a single man at the
end of each swath or work. Supposing the mowers made twenty in ten
hours from bottom to top of the field, here is the loss of one whole
day for one man, or one sixth of the whole aggregate time applied to
the harvesting of the crop, given to the mere running down that hill
of six pairs of legs for no earthly purpose but to cut inward
instead of outward, as we do. The grain-ricks in Scotland are
nearly all round and quite small. Every one of them is rounded up
at the top and fitted with a Mandarin-looking hat of straw, which
sheds the rain well. A good-sized farm-house is flanked with quite
a village of these little round stacks, looking like a comfortable
colony of large, yellow tea-caddies in the distance.

Reached Perth a little after dark, having made a walk of nearly
twenty miles after 11 a.m. Here I remained over the Sabbath, and
greatly enjoyed both its rest and the devotional exercises in some
of the churches of the city.

The Fair City of Perth is truly most beautifully situated at the
head of navigation on the Tay, as Stirling is on the Forth. It has
no mountainous eminence in its midst, castle-crowned, like Stirling,
from which to look off upon such a scene as the latter commands.
But Nature has erected grand and lofty observatories near by in the
Moncrieffe and Kinnoull Hills, from which a splendid prospect is
unrolled to the eye. There is some historical or legendary
authority for the idea that the Romans contemplated this view from
Moncrieffe Hill; and, as the German army, returning homeward from
France, shouted with wild enthusiasm, at its first sight, Der Rhein!
Der Rhein! so these soldiers of the Caesars shouted at the view of
the Tay and the Corse of Gowrie, Ecce Tiber! Ecce Compus Martius!
There was more patriotism than parity in the comparison. The
Italian river is a Rhine in history, but a mere Goose Creek within
its actual banks compared with the Tay. In history, Perth has its
full share of "love and murder," rhyme and romance, sieges,
battering and burning, royals and rebels. In the practical life of
to-day, it is a progressive, thriving town, busy, intelligent,
respected and honorable. The two natural features which would
attract, perhaps, the most special attention of the traveller are
the two Inches, North and South, divided by the city. This is a
peculiar Scotch term which an untravelled American will hardly
understand. It has no relation to measurement of any kind; but
signifies what we should call a low, level green or common in or
adjoining a town. The Inches of Perth are, to my eye, the finest in
Scotland, each having about a mile and a half in circumference, and
making delightful and healthy playgrounds and promenades for the
whole population.

On Monday, Sept. 14th, I took staff and set out for another week-
stage of my walk, or from Perth to Inverness. Crossed the Tay and
proceeded northward up the east side of that fertile river. Fertile
may sound at first a singular qualification for a broad, rapid
stream running down out of the mountains and widening into a bay or
firth at its mouth. But it may be applied in the best sense of
production to the Tay; and not only that, but other terms known to
practical agriculture. Up to the present moment, no river in the
world has been cultivated with more science and success. None has
been sown so thickly with seed-vitalities or produced more valuable
crops of aquatic life. Here salmon are hatched by hand and folded
and herded with a shepherd's care. Here pisciculture, or, to use a
far better and more euphonious word, fish-farming, is carried to the
highest perfection in Great Britain. It is a tillage that must
hereafter take its place with agriculture as a great and honored
industry. If the cold, bald-headed mountains, the wild, stony
reaches of poverty-stricken regions, moor, morass, steppe and
prairie are made the pasturage of sheep innumerable, the thousands
of rivers in both hemispheres will not be suffered to run to waste
through another century. The utilitarian genius of the present age
will turn them into pasturage worth more per acre than the value of
the richest land on their banks. Just think of the pasturage of the
Tay. It rents for 14,000 pounds a year; and those who hire it must
make it produce at least 50,000 pounds, or $240,000 annually. Let
us assume that the whole length of this salmon-pasturage is fifty
miles, and its average width one-eighth of a mile. Then the whole
distance would contain the space of 4,000 square acres, and the
annual rent for fishing would amount to over 3 pounds 13s. per acre.
This would make every fish-bearing acre of the river worth 100
pounds, calculated on the land basis of interest or rent.

Having heard of the Stormontfields' Ponds for breeding salmon, I had
a great desire to see them. They are situated on the Tay, a few
miles above Perth, and are well worthy of the inspection and
admiration of the scientific as well as the utilitarian world. The
process is as simple as it is successful and valuable. A race or
canal, filled with a clear, mountain stream, and constructed many
years ago to supply motive power to a corn-mill, runs parallel with
the river, at the distance from it of about twenty rods. At right
angles with this stream, there are twenty-five wooden boxes side by
side, about fifty feet in length, placed on a slight decline. These
boxes or troughs, each about two feet wide and one foot deep, are
divided into partitions by cross-boards, which do not reach, within
a few inches, the top of the siding, so that the water shall make a
continuous surface the whole length of the trough. Each trough is
filled with round river stones or pebbles washed clean, on which the
spawn is laid. The water is let out of the mill-race upon these
troughs through a wire-cloth filter, covering them about two inches
deep above the stones. At the bottom, a lateral channel or race,
running at right angles to the troughs, conducts the waste water in
a rapid, bubbling stream down into the feeding-pond, which covers
the space of about one-fifth of an acre, close to the river, with
which it is connected by a narrow race gated also with a wire-cloth,
to prevent the little living mites from being carried off before
their time.

This may serve to give the reader some approximate idea of the
construction of the fish-fold. The next process is the stocking it
with the breeding ewes of the sea and river. The female salmon is
caught in the spawning season with a net, and the ova are expressed
from her by passing the hand gently down the body, when she is again
put into the river to go on her way. The manager told me that they
generally reckoned upon a thousand eggs to a pound of the salmon
caught. Thus fourteen good-sized fish would stock the twenty-five
troughs. When hatched, the little things run down into the race-
way, which carries them into the feeding-pond. Here they are fed
twice daily, with five pounds of beef's liver pulverised. They
remain in this water-yard from April to autumn, when the gate is
raised and they are let out into the river. And it is a very
singular and interesting fact that those only go which have got
their sea-coats on them, or have reached the "smolt" character. The
smaller fry remain in the pond until, as it has been said in higher
circles of society, their beards are grown, or, in their case, until
their scales are grown, to fit them for the rough and tumble of
salt-water life.

The growth of the little bull-headed mites, after being turned into
the river-pasture, is wonderful--more rapid than that of lambs of
the Southdown breed. The keeper had marked some of them, on letting
them out, by clipping the dorsal fin. On being caught six or eight
months afterward, they weighed from five to seven pounds against
half a pound each when sent forth to take care of themselves. The
proprietors of the fisheries defray the expense of this breeding
establishment, being taxed only twopence in the pound of their
rental. This, of course, they get back with large interest and
profit from the tenant-farmers of the river. As a proof of the
enhanced production of the Tay fisheries under this cultivation the
fact will suffice, that they now rent for 14,000 pounds a year
against 11,000 pounds under the old system.

Salmon-breeding is doubtless destined to rank with sheep-culture and
cattle-culture in the future. The remotest colonies of Great
Britain are moving in the matter with vigor and almost enthusiasm.
Vessels have been constructed on purpose to convey this fair and
mottled stock of British rivers to those of Australia and New
Zealand. In France, fish-farming has become a large and lucrative
occupation. I hope our own countrymen, who plume themselves on
going ahead in utilitarian enterprises, will show the world what
they can do in this. Surely our New England men, who claim to lead
in American industries and ingenuities, will not suffer half a
million acres of river-pasturage to run to waste for another half
century, when it would fold and feed millions of salmon. Once they
herded in the Connecticut in such multitudes that a special
stipulation was inserted in the indentures of apprentices in the
vicinity of the river, that they should not be obliged to eat salmon
more than a certain number of times in a week. Now, if a salmon is
caught between the mouth and source of the river, it is blazoned
forth in the newspapers as a very extraordinary and unnatural event.
There is no earthly reason why the Connecticut should not breed and
supply as great a number of these excellent and beautiful fish as
the Tay. Its waters are equally pure and quiet as those of the
Scotch river. Every acre of the Connecticut, from the northernmost
bridge that spans it in Vermont to its debouchment at Saybrook,
might be made productive of as great a value as any onion-garden
acre at Wethersfield.

The salmon-shepherd at Stormontfields, having fully explained the
labors and duties of his charge, rowed me across the Tay, and I
continued my walk highly gratified in having seen one of the new
industries which this age is adding to the different cultures
provided for the sustentation and comfort of human life. The whole
way to Dunkeld was full of interest, nature and history making every
mile a scene to delight the eye and exhilarate the mind. The first
considerable village I passed through was Stanley, which gives the
name to that old family of British peers known in history by the
battle-cry of a badly-pressed sovereign, "On, Stanley, on!"
Murthley Castle, the seat of Sir William Stewart, and the beautiful
grounds which front and surround it, will excite the admiration of
the traveller and pay him well for a moment's pause to peruse its
illuminated pages opened to his view. The baronet is regarded as an
eccentric man, perhaps chiefly because he has built a splendid Roman
Catholic chapel quite near to his mansion and supports a priest of
that order mostly for his own spiritual good. Near Dunkeld, Birnam
Hill lifts its round, dark, bushy head to the height of over 1,500
feet, grand and grim, as if it wore the bonnet of Macbeth and hid
his dagger beneath its tartan cloak of firs. "Birnam Wood," which
Shakespeare's genius has made one of the immortals among earthly
localities, was the setting of that hill in his day, and perhaps
centuries before it. Crossing the Tay by a magnificent bridge, you
are in the famous old city and capital of ancient Caledonia,
Dunkeld. Here centre some of the richest rivulets of Scotch
history, ecclesiastical and military, of church and state, cowl and
crown. Walled in here, on the upper waters of the Tay, by dark and
heavily-wooded mountains, it was just the place for the earliest
monks to select as the site of one of their cloistered communities.
The two best saints ever produced by these islands, St. Columba and
St. Cuthbert, are said to have been connected with the religious
foundations of this little sequestered city. The old cathedral,
having been knocked about like other Roman Catholic edifices in the
sledge-hammer crusades of the Reformation, was _ruined_ very
picturesquely, as a tourist, with one of Murray's red-book guides in
his hand, would be likely to say. But the choir was rebuilt and
fitted up for worship by the late Duke of Atholl at the expense of
about 5,000 pounds.

Of this duke I must say a few words, for he has left the greenest
monument to his memory that a man ever planted over his grave. He
did something more and better than roofing the choir of a ruined
cathedral. He roofed a hundred hills and valleys with a larch-and-
fir work that will make them as glorious and beautiful as Lebanon
forever. One of the most illustrious and eloquent of the Iroquois
aristocracy was a chief called Corn-planter. This Duke of Atholl
should be named and known for evermore as the great Tree-planter of
Christendom. We have already dwelt upon the benefaction that such a
man leaves to coming generations. This Scotch nobleman virtually
founded a new order of knighthood far more useful and honorable than
the Order of the Garter. To talk of _garters_!--why, he not only
put the cold, ragged shivering hills of Scotland into garters, but
into stockings waist high, and doublets and bonnets and shoes of
beautifully green and thick fir-plaid. He planted 11,000 square
acres with the larch alone; and thousands of these acres stood up
edgewise against mountains and hills so steep that the planters must
have spaded the holes with ropes around their waists to keep them
from falling down the precipice. It is stated that he had twenty-
seven millions of the larch alone planted on his mountainous
estates, besides several millions of other trees. Now, it is
doubtful if the whole region thus dibbled with this tree-crop
yielded an average rental of one English shilling per acre as a
pasturage for sheep. On passing through miles and miles of this
magnificent wood-grain and taking an estimate of its value, I put it
at 10s., or $2 40c. per tree. Of the twenty-seven millions of
larches thus planted, ten must be worth that sum; making alone,
without counting the rest, 5,000,000 pounds, or $24,000,000. It is
quite probable that the larches, firs and other trees now covering
the Atholl estates, would sell for 10,000,000 pounds if brought to
the hammer. But he was not only the greatest arboriculturist in the
world, but the founder of tree-farming as a productive industry as
well as a decorative art. Already it has transformed the Highlands
of Scotland and trebled their value, as well as clothed them with a
new and beautiful scenery. What we call the Scotch larch was not
originally a native of that country. Close to the cathedral in
Dunkeld stand the two patriarchs of the family, first introduced
into Scotland from Switzerland in 1737.

Having remained the best part of two days in Dunkeld, I held on
northward, through heavily-shaded and winding glen and valley to
Blair Atholl. For the whole distance of twenty miles the country is
quite Alpine, wild and grand, with mountains larched or firred to
the utmost reach and tenure of soil for roots; deep, dark gorges
pouring down into the narrowing river their foamy, dashing streams;
mansions planted here and there on sloping lawns showing sunnily
through groves and parks; now a hamlet of cottages set in the side
of a lofty hill, now a larger village opening suddenly upon you at
the turning of the turnpike road. I reached Blair Atholl at about
dark, and lodged at the largest hotel I slept in between London and
John O'Groat's. It is virtually the tourist's inn; for this is the
centre of some of the most interesting and striking sceneries and
localities in Scotland. Glens, waterfalls, stream, torrent,
mountain and valley, with their romantic histories, make this a very
attractive region to thousands of summer travellers from England and
other countries. The railway from Perth to Inverness via Dunkeld
and Blair Atholl, has just opened up this secluded Scotch
Switzerland to multitudes who never would have seen it without the
help of the Iron Horse. A month previous, this point had been the
most distant in Scotland from steam-routes of transportation and
travel. Now southern sportsmen were hiring up "the shooting" for
many miles on both sides of the line, making the hills and glens
echo with their fusillades. Blair Castle, the duke's mansion, is a
very ordinary building in appearance, looking from the public road
like a large four-story factory painted white, with small, old-
fashioned windows. He himself was lying in a very painful and
precarious condition, with a cancer in the throat, from which it was
the general impression that he never would recover. The day
preceding, the Queen had visited him, while en route for Balmoral,
having gone sixty miles out of her way to comfort him with such an
expression of her sympathy.

The next day I reached the northern boundary of the Duke of Atholl's
estates, having walked for full forty miles continuously through it.
Passed over a very bleak, treeless, barren waste of mountain and
moorland, most of it too rocky or soilless for even heather. The
dashing, flashing, little Garry, which I had followed for a day or
two, thinned and narrowed down to a noisy brook as I ascended
towards its source. For a long distance the country was exceedingly
wild and desolate. Terrible must be the condition of a man
benighted therein, especially in winter. There were standing
beacons all along the road for miles, to indicate the track when it
was buried in drifting snow. These were painted posts, about six or
eight feet high, planted on the rocky, river side of the road, at a
few rods interval, to guide the traveller and keep him from dashing
over the concealed precipices. About the middle of the afternoon I
reached the summit of the two watersheds, where a horse's hoof might
so dam a balancing stream as to send it southward into the Tay or
northward into the Moray Firth. Soon a rivulet welled out in the
latter direction with a decided current. It was the Spey. A few
miles brought me suddenly into a little, glorious world of beauty.
The change of theatrical sceneries could hardly have produced a more
sudden and striking contrast than this presented to the wild, cold,
dark waste through which I had been travelling for a day. It was
Strathspey; and I doubt if there is another view in Scotland, of the
same dimensions, to equal it. It was indescribably grand and
beautiful, if you could blend the meaning of these two commonly-
coupled adjectives into one qualification, as you can blend two
colors on the easel. To get the full enjoyment of the scene at one
draught, you should enter it first from the south, after having
travelled for twenty miles without seeing a sheaf of wheat or patch
of vegetation tilled by the hand of man. I know nothing in America
to compare it with or to help the American reader to an approximate
idea of it. Imagine a land-lake, apparently shut in completely by a
circular wall of mountains of every stature, the tallest looking
over the shoulders of the lower hills, like grand giants standing in
steel helmets and green doublets and gilded corselets, to see the
soft and quiet beauty of the valley sleeping under their watch and
ward. As the sun-bursts from the strath-skies above darted out of
their shifting cloud-walls and flashed a flush of light upon the
solemn brows of these majestic apostles of nature one by one, they
stood haloed, like the favored saints in Scripture in the overflow
of the Transfiguration. It was just the kind of day to make the
scene glorious indescribably. The clouds and sky were in the
happiest disposition for the brilliant plays and pictures of light
and shade, and dissolving views of fascinating splendor succeeded
and surpassed each other at a minute's interval. Now, the great
land-lake, on whose bosom floated in the sunlight a thousand islands
oat-and-barley-gilded, and rimmed with the green and purple verdure
of the turnip and rutabaga, was all set a-glow by a luminous flood
from the opening clouds above. The next moment they closed this
disparted seam in their drapery, and opened a side one upon the
still, grave faces of the surrounding mountains; and, for a few
minutes, the smile went round from one to the other, and the great
centurions of the hills looked happy and almost human in the gleam.
Then shade's turn came in the play, and it played its part as
perfectly as light. It put in the touch of the old Italian masters,
giving an everchanging background to all the sublime pictures of the
panorama.

I was not alone in the enjoyment of this scenery. For the first
time in this Walk I had a companion for a day. A clergyman from
near Edinburgh joined me at Kingussie, with whom I shared the luxury
of one of the most splendid views to be found in Scotland. Indeed,
few minds are so constituted as to prefer to see such natural
pictures alone. After a day's walk among these sceneries, we came
to the small village of Aviemore in the dusk of the evening. Here
we found that the only inn had been closed and turned into a private
residence, and that it was doubtful if a bed could be had for love
or money in the place. The railway through it to Inverness had just
been opened, and the navvies seemed still to constitute the largest
portion of the population. Neither of us had eaten any dinner, and
we were hungry as well as tired. Seeing a little, low cottage near
the railroad, with the sign of something for the public good over
the door, we went to it, and found that it had two rooms, one a kind
of rough, stone-floored shed, the other an apartment full ten feet
square, with two beds in it, which occupied half the entire space.
But, small as it was, the good man and woman made the most of it in
the way of entertainment, getting up a tea occasionally for persons
stopping over in the village at a meal-time, also selling small
articles of grocery to the laborers. Everything was brought from a
distance, even their bread, bacon and butter. Their stock of these
fundamentals was exhausted, so that they could not give us anything
with our tea until the arrival of the train from the north, which we
all watched with common interest. In the course of half an hour it
came, and soon our cabin-landlord brought in a large basket full of
the simplest necessaries of life, which we were quite prepared to
enjoy as its best luxuries. Soon a wood fire blazed for us in the
double-bedded parlor, and the unpainted deal table was spread in the
fire-light with a repast we relished with a pleasant appreciation.

My companion was bound northward by the next train in that
direction, and was sure to find good quarters for the night; but as
there was not an inn for ten miles on the route I was to travel, and
as it was now quite night and the road mostly houseless and lonely,
I felt some anxiety about my own lodging. But on inquiry I was very
glad to find that one of the two beds in the room was unoccupied and
at my disposal. So, having accompanied my fellow-traveller to the
station and seen him off with mutual good wishes, I returned to the
cottage, and the mistress replenished the fire with a new supply of
chips and faggots, and I had two or three hours of rare enjoyment,
enhanced by some interesting books I found on a shelf by the window.
And this is a fact worthy of note and full of good meaning. You
will seldom find a cottage in Scotland, however poor and small,
without a shelf of books in it. I retired rather earlier than
usual; but before I fell asleep, the two regular lodgers, who
occupied the other bed, came in softly, and spoke in a suppressed
tone, as if reluctant to awaken me. And here I was much impressed
with another fact affiliated with the one I have mentioned--that of
praying as well as reading in the Scotch cottage. After a little
conversation just above a whisper, the elder of the two--and he not
twenty, while the other was apparently only sixteen--first read,
with full Scotch accent, one of the hard-rhymed psalms used in the
Scotch service. Then, after a short pause, he read with a low,
solemn voice a chapter in the Bible. A few minutes of silence
succeeded, as if a wordless prayer was going upward upon the still
wings of thought, which made no audible beating in their flight. It
was very impressive; an incident that I shall ever hold among the
most interesting of all I met with on my walk. They were not
brothers evidently, but most likely strangers thrown together on the
railroad. They doubtless came from different directions, but, from
Highlands or Lowlands, they came from Bible-lighted homes, whose
"voices of the night" were blended with the breathings of religious
life and instruction. Separated from such homes, they had agreed to
make this one after the same spiritual pattern, barring the parental
presence and teaching.

The next day after breakfast, took leave of my kind cottage hosts,
exchanging good wishes for mutual happiness. Went out of the
amphitheatre of Strathspey by a gateway into another, surrounded by
mountains less lofty and entirely covered with heather. For several
miles beyond Carr Bridge I passed over the wildest moorland. The
road was marked by posts about ten feet high, painted white within
two feet of the top and black above. These are planted about
fifteen rods apart, to guide the traveller in the drifting and
blinding snows of winter. The road over this cold, desolate waste
exceeded anything I ever saw in America, even in the most
fashionable suburbs of New York and Boston. It was as smooth and
hard as a cement floor. Here on this treeless wild, I met several
men at work trimming the edges of the road by a line, with as much
precision and care as if they were laying out an aisle in a flower
garden. After a walk of about seventeen miles, I reached Freeburn
Inn about the middle of the afternoon, and as it began to rain and
to threaten bad weather for walking, I concluded to stop there for
the night, and found good quarters.

The rain continued in showers, and I feared I should be unable to
reach Inverness to spend the Sabbath. There was a cattle fair at
the inn, and a considerable number of farmers and dealers came
together notwithstanding the weather. Indeed, there were nearly as
many men and boys as animals on the ground. A score or more had
come in, each leading or driving a single cow or calf. The cattle
generally were evidently of the Gaelic origin and antecedents--
little, chubby, scraggy creatures, of all colors, but mostly black,
with wide-branching horns longer than their fore-legs. Their hair
is long and as coarse as a polar seal's, and they look as if they
knew no more of housing against snow, rain and wintry winds, or of a
littered bed, than the buffaloes beyond the upper waters of the
Missouri. One would be inclined to think they had lived from calf-
hood on nothing but heather or gorse, and that the prickly fodder
had penetrated through their hides and covered them with a growth
midway between hair and bristles. They will not average over 350
lbs. when dressed; still they seem to hold their own among other
breeds which have attracted so much attention. This is probably
because they can browse out a living where the Durham and Devon
would starve.

The sheep in this region are chiefly the old Scotch breed, with
curling horns and crocked faces and legs, such as are represented in
old pictures. The black seems to be spattered upon them, and looks
as if the heather would rub it off. The wool is long and coarse,
giving them a goat-like appearance. They seem to predominate over
any other breed in this part of Scotland, yet not necessarily nor
advantageously. A large sheep farmer from England was staying at
the inn, with whom I had much conversation on the subject. He said
the Cheviots were equally adapted to the Highlands, and thought they
would ultimately supplant the black faces. Although he lived in
Northumberland, full two hundred miles to the south, he had rented a
large sheep-walk, or mountain farm, in the Western Highlands, and
had come to this section to buy or hire another tract. He kept
about 4,000 sheep, and intended to introduce the Cheviots upon these
Scotch holdings, as their bodies were much heavier and their wool
worth nearly double that of the old black-faced breed. Sheep are
the principal source of wealth in the whole of the North and West of
Scotland. I was told that sometimes a flock of 20,000 is owned by
one man. The lands on which they are pastured will not rent above
one or two English shillings per acre; and a flock even of 1,000
requires a vast range, as may be indicated by the reply of a Scotch
farmer to an English one, on being asked by the latter, "How many
sheep do you allow to the acre?" "Ah, mon," was the answer, "that's
nae the way we count in the Highlands; it's how monie acres to the
sheep."

At about two p.m., the showers becoming less frequent, I set out
with the hope of reaching Inverness before night. The wind was
high, the road muddy, or _dirty_, as the English call that
condition; and the rain frequently compelled me to seek shelter in
some wayside cottage, or under the fir-trees that were planted in
groves at narrow intervals. The walking was heavy and slow in face
of the frequent showers, and a strong gale from the north-east; so
that I was exceedingly glad to reach an inn within four miles of
Inverness, where I promised myself comfortable lodgings for the
night. It was a rather large, but comfortless-looking house,
evidently concentrating all its entertainment for travellers in the
tap-room. After considerable hesitation, the landlady consented to
give me bed and board; and directed "the lassie" to make a fire for
me in a large and very respectable room on the second floor. I soon
began to feel quite at home by its side. My boots had leaked on the
way and my feet were very wet and cold; and it was with a pleasant
sense of comfort that I changed stockings, and warmed myself at the
ruddy grate, while the storm seemed to increase without. After
waiting about an hour for tea, I heard the lassie's heavy footstep
on the stairs; a knock--the door opens--now for the tray and the
steaming tea-pot, and happy vision of bread, oatcake and Scotch
_scones_! Alas! what a falling-off was there from this delicious
expectation! The lassie had brought a severe and peremptory message
from the master, who had just returned home. And she delivered it
commiseratingly but decidedly. She was to tell me from him that
there was nothing in the house to set before me; that the fair the
day before had eaten out the whole stock of his provisions; in
short, that I was to take my staff and walk on to Inverness. It was
in vain that I remonstrated, pleaded and urged wet feet, the
darkness, the wind and rain. "It is so," said the lassie, "and
can't be otherwise." She tried to encourage me to the journey by
shortening the distance by half its actual miles, saying it was only
two, when it was full four, and they of the longest kind. So I went
out into the night in my wet clothes, and put the best face and foot
to the head-wind and rain that I could bring to bear against them.
Both were strong, beating and drenching; and it was so dark that I
could hardly see the road. In the course of half an hour, I made
the lassie's two miles, and in another, the whole of the actual
distance, and found comfortable quarters in one of the temperance
inns of Inverness, reaching it between nine and ten at night. Here
I spent a quiet Sabbath, which I greatly enjoyed.

CHAPTER XVIII.

INVERNESS--ROSS-SHIRE--TAIN--DORNOCH--GOLSPIE--PROGRESS OF
RAILROADS--THE SUTHERLAND EVICTION--SEA-COAST SCENERY--CAITHNESS--
WICK: HERRING FISHERIES--JOHN O'GROAT'S: WALK'S END.

Inverness is an interesting, good-sized town, with an intellectual
and pleasing countenance, of somewhat aristocratic and self-
complacent expression. It is considered the capital of the
Highlands, and wears a decidedly metropolitan air. It is well
situated on the Ness, just at its debouchement into the Moray
Firth,--a river that runs with a Rhine-like current through the town
and is spanned with a suspension bridge. It has streets of city-
built and city-bred buildings, showing wealth and elegance. Several
edifices are in process of erection that will rank with some of the
best in Edinburgh and Glasgow. It has a long and pretentious
history, reaching back to the Romans, and dashed with the romance of
the wild ages of the country. Oliver Cromwell, or Sledgehammer II.,
Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor, Queen Mary, Prince Charlie, and other
historical celebrities, entered their names and doings on the
records of this goodly town.

On Monday, Sept. 21st, I set out with a good deal of animation on
the last week-stage of my journey, which I was anxious to accomplish
as soon as possible, as the weather was becoming unsettled with
frequent rain. Reached Invergordon, passing through a most
interesting section of country, full of very fertile straths. It
was the part of Ross-shire lying on the Moray and Beauly Firths and
divided by rivers dashing down through the wooded gorges of the
mountains. I saw here some of the most productive land in Scotland.
Hundreds of acres were studded with wheat and barley stooks, and
about an equal space was covered with standing grain, though so near
the month of October. Plantations, parks, gentlemens' seats, glens
deep and grand, fir-clad mountains, villages, hamlets and scattered
cottages made up the features of every changing view. Indeed, one
travelling for a week between Perth and Inverness comes upon such a
region as this with pleasant surprise, as upon an exotic section,
imported from another latitude.

The next day I held on northward, though the weather was very
unfavorable and the walking heavy and fatiguing. Passed what seemed
the bold and ridgy island of Cromarty, so associated with the
venerated memory of Hugh Miller. The beating rain drove me
frequently to the wayside cottages for shelter; and in every one of
them I was received with kind words and pleasant looks. One of
these was occupied by an old woman in the regular Scotch cap--a
venerable old saint, with her Bible and psalm-book library on her
window-sill, and her peat fire burning cheerily. When on leaving I
intimated that I was from America, she followed me out into the
road, asking me a hundred questions about the country and its
condition. She had three sons in Montreal, and felt a mother's
interest in the very name America. The cottage was one of a long
street of them by the sea-side, and I supposed it was a fishing
village; but I learned from her that the people were mostly the
evicted tenants of the Duke of Sutherland, who were turned out of
his county some thirty years ago to make room for sheep. I made
only eleven miles this day on account of the rain, and was glad to
find cheery and comfortable quarters in an excellent inn kept by a
widow and her three daughters in Tain. Nothing could exceed their
kindness and attention, which evidently flowed more from a
disposition than from a professional habit of making their guests at
home for a pecuniary or business consideration. I reached their
house about the middle of the afternoon, cold and wet, after several
hours' walk in the rain, and was received as one of the family; the
eldest daughter, who had all the grace and intelligence of a
cultivated lady, helping me off with my wet overcoat, and even
offering to pull off my water-soaked boots--an office no American
could accept, and which I gently declined, taking the will for the
deed. A large number of Scotch _navvies_ were at the inns of the
town, making an obstreperous auroval in celebration of the monthly
pay-day. They had received the day preceding a month's wages, and
they were now drinking up their money with the most reckless
hilarity; swallowing the pay of five long hours at the pick in a
couple of gills of whiskey. How strange that men can work in rain,
cold and heat at the shovel for a whole day, then drink up the whole
in two hours at the gin-shop! These pickmen pioneers of the Iron
Horse, with their worst habits, are yet a kind of John-the-Baptists
to the march and mission of civilization, preparing its way in the
wilderness, and bringing secluded and isolated populations to its
light and intercourse. It is wonderful how they are working their
way northward among these bald and thick-set mountains. When I
first visited Scotland, in 1846, the only piece of railroad north of
the Forth was that between Dundee and Arbroath, hardly an hour long.
Now the iron pathways are running in every direction, making grand
junctions at points which had never felt the navvy's pick a dozen
years ago. Here is one heading towards John O'Groat's, grubbing its
way like a mole around the firths, cutting spiral gains into the
rock-ribbed hills, bridging the deep and dark gorges, and holding on
steadily north-poleward with a brave faith and faculty of patience
that moves mountains, or as much of them as blocks its course. The
progress is slow, silent, but sure. The world, busy in other
doings, does not hear the pick, nor the speech of the powder when it
speaks to a huge rock a-straddle the path. The world, even
including the shareholders, hears but little, if anything, of the
progress of the work for months, perhaps for a year. Then the
consummation is announced in the form of an invitation to the public
to "assist" at the opening of a railroad through towns and villages
that never saw the daylight the locomotive brings in its wake. So
it will be here. Some day, in the present decade, there will be an
excursion train advertised to run from London to John O'Groat's; and
perhaps the lineal descendant of Sigurd, or some other old Norse
jarl, will wear the conductor's belt and cap or drive the engine.

The weather was still unsettled, with much wind and rain. Resumed
my walk, and at about four miles from Tain, crossed the Dornoch
Firth in a sail ferry boat, and at noon reached Dornoch, the capital
of Sutherlandshire. This was one of the fourteen cities of
Scotland; and its little, chubby cathedral, and the tower of the old
bishop's palace still give it a kind of Canterbury air. The Earls
of Sutherland for many generations lie interred within the walls of
this ancient church. After stopping here for an hour or two for
dinner, I continued on to Golspie, the residence of the mighty lord
of the manor, or the owner, master and human disposer of this great
mountain county of Scotland. It is stated that full four-fifths of
it belong to him who now holds the title, and that his other great
estates, added to this territory, make him the largest landowner in
Great Britain and probably in Europe. Just before reaching Golspie,
a lofty, sombre mountain, with its bald head enveloped in the mist,
and which I had been two hours apparently in passing, cleared away
and revealed its full stature--and more. Towering up from its
topmost summit, a tall column lifted a human figure in bronze
skyward cloud-high and frequently higher still. I believe the
brazen face that thus looks into the pure and holy skies without
blushing, is a duplicate of the one worn in human flesh by His
Grace, Evictor I., who unpeopled his great county of many thousands
of human inhabitants, and made nearly its whole area of 18,000
square miles a sheep-walk. But I will not break the seal of that
history. It was full of bitter experience to multitudes. Not for
the time being was it joyous, but grievous exceedingly--surpassing
endurance to many. But it is all over now. The ship-loads of
evicted men and women who looked their last upon Scotland while its
mountains and glens were reddened with the flames of their burning
cottages, carried away with them a bitter feeling in their hearts
which years of better experience did not soften. Not for their good
did it seem in the motive of the transaction; but for their good it
worked most blessedly. It was a rough transplanting, and the
tenderest fibres of human affection broke and bled under the
uptearing; but they took root in the Western World, and grew
luxuriantly under the light and dew of a happier destiny. It was
hard for fathers and mothers who were taking on the frostwork of age
upon their brows; but for their children it was the birth of a new
life; for them it was the introduction to a future which had a sun
in it, rayful and radiant with the beams of hope and promise. Let
those who denounce and deplore this harsh unpeopling come and stand
upon the cold, bleak summit of one of these Sutherland mountains.
Let them bring their compasses, or some other instrument for
measuring the angles, sines and cosines of human conditions. Plant
your theodolite here; wipe the telescope's eye with your
handkerchief; look your keenest in the line of the lineage of these
evicted thousands. Steady, now! while the most tranquil light of
the future is on the pathway of your eye. This first reach of your
vision is the life-track of the fathers and mothers unhoused among
these mountains. Look on beyond, over the longer life-line of their
children; then farther still under the horizon of the remotest
future to the track of their childrens' children. Can you make an
angle of a single degree's subtension in the hereditary conditions
of these generations, or a dozen beyond? Can you detect a point of
departure by which the second generation would have diverged from
the first, or the third from the second, and have attained to a
higher life of comfort, intelligence, social and political position
had they remained in these mountain cottages, grubbed on their
cottage farms, and lived from hand to mouth on stinted rations of
oatmeal and potatoes, as their ancestors had done from time
immemorial? Can you see among all the hopeful possibilities of
Time's tomorrows, any such change for the better? You can sight no
such prospect with your telescope in that direction. Turn it around
and sweep the horizon of that other condition into which they were
thrust, weeping and wrathful against their will. Follow them across
the Atlantic to North America, to their homes in the States and in
the Canadas. Measure the angle they made in this transposition, and
the latitude and longitude of social and moral life they have
reached from this Sutherland point of departure. The sons of the
fathers and mothers who had their family nests stirred up so
cruelly, and scattered, like those of rooks, from their holdings in
the cliffs, gorges and glens of these cold mountains, are now among
the most substantial and respected men of the Western World. Some
of them to-day are mayors of towns of larger population than the
whole county of Sutherland. Some, doubtless, are Members of
Congress, representing each a constituency of one hundred thousand
persons, and a vast amount of intelligence, wealth and industry.
They are merchants, manufacturers, farmers, teachers and preachers,
filling all the professions and occupations of the continent. Is
not that an angle of promise to your telescope? Is not that a line
of divergence which has conducted these evicted populations, at a
small distance from this point of departure, into the better
latitudes of human experience? The selling of this Scotch Joseph to
America was more purely and simply a pecuniary transaction than that
recorded in Scripture; for in that the unkind and jealous brothers
sold the innocent boy for envy, not for the love of pelf, though the
Ishmaelites bought him on speculation. But not for envy was the
Sutherland lad sold and shipped to a foreign land, but rather for a
contemptuous estimate of his money value. The proprietor-patriarch
of the county took to a more quiet and profitable favorite--the
sheep, and sent it to feed on a pasture enriched with the ashes of
Joseph's cottage. It is to be feared he meant only money; but
Providence meant a blessing beyond the measurement of money to the
evicted; and what Providence meant it made for him and his
posterity, and they are now enjoying it.

Dunrobin Castle, the grand residence of the Duke of Sutherland,
looks off upon the sea at Golspie. It is truly a magnificent
edifice, ranking with the first palaces in Christendom. Nearly
eight hundred years has it been in building, though, I believe, all
that commands admiration for stature and style is the work of the
present century. Whatever the Sutherland family may have been in
local position and history in past centuries, one of the noblest
women that ever ennobled the nobility of Great Britain, has given
the name a celebrity and an estimation in America which all who ever
wore it before never won for it. The Duchess of Sutherland, the
noble and large-hearted sister of Lord Morpeth-Carlisle, has given
to the coronet she wore a lustre brighter to the American eye than
the light of diadems which have dazzled millions in Europe. When
the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Men shall come to its
high place in the hearts of nations as the crown-faith of all their
creeds, what this noble woman felt, said and did for the Slave in
his bonds shall be mentioned of her by the preachers of that great
doctrine in years to come. When the jewels of Humanity's memories
shall be made up, she who, as it were, bent down to him in his
prison-house and put her jewelled hands to the breaking of his
fetters, shall stand, with women of the same sympathy, only next to
her who broke her box of ointment on the Saviour's feet.

The next day made a walk to Helmsdale, a distance of about eighteen
miles. The weather was favorable, the scenery grand and varied with
almost every feature that could give it interest. The finest of
roads wound in and out around the mountain headlands, so that
alternately I was walking upon a lofty esplanade overlooking the
still expanse of the steel-blue sea, then facing inward to the
gorges of the grand and solemn hills. Found comfortable quarters in
one of the inns of Helmsdale, a vigorous, busy, fishing village
nestling under the shadow of the mountains at the mouth of a little
river of the same name. After tea, went down to the wharf or quay
and had some conversation with one of the masters of the business.
He cured and put up about 30,000 barrels of herrings himself in a
season, employing, while it lasted, 500 persons. Their chief market
is the North of Europe, especially Poland, and the business was
consequently much depressed on account of the troubles in that
country. The occupation of this little sea-side village illustrated
the ramifications of commerce. They imported their salt from
Liverpool, their staves from Norway and their hoops from London.

Set out again immediately after breakfast, feeling that I was
drawing near to the end of my journey. I was soon in the treeless
county of Caithness, so fraught with the wild romance of the
Norsemen. Passed over the bleakest district I had yet seen, called
Old Ord, a cold, rough, cloud-breeding region that the very heavens
above seem to frown upon with a scowl of dissatisfaction. Still,
the road over this dark, mountain desert, though staked on each side
to keep the traveller from wandering in the blinding snows of
winter, was as beautifully kept as the carriage-way in the park of
Dunrobin Castle. The sending of an English queen to conciliate the
Welsh, by giving birth to a son in one of their castles, was not a
much better stroke of policy than that of England in perforating
Scotland to the Northern Sea with this unparalleled and splendid
road, constructed at first for a military purpose. I heard a man
repeat a couplet, probably of unwritten poetry, in popular vogue
among the Highlands, and which has quite an Irish collocation of
ideas. It is spoken thus, as far as I can recollect--

Who knew these roads ere they were made
Should bless the Lord for General Wade.

I doubt if there are ten consecutive miles of carriage-road in
America that could compare for excellence with that over the desert
of Old Ord. I was overtaken by a heavy shower before I had made the
trajet, and was glad to reach one of the most comfortable inns of
the Highlands, in the beautiful, romantic and picturesque glen of
Berriedale. Here, nestling between lofty mountain ridges, which
warded off the blasting sea-winds sweeping across from Norway, were
plantations and groves of trees, almost the only ones I saw in the
county. Nothing could exceed the hospitality of the family that
kept the large, white-faced hotel at the bottom of this pleasant
valley; especially after I incidentally said that I had walked all
the way from London to see the country and people. They admitted me
into the kitchen and gave me a seat by the great peat fire, where I
had a long talk with them, beginning with the mother. Having
intimated that I was an American, the whole family, old and young,
including the landlord, gathered around me and had a hundred
questions to ask. They related many incidents about the great
eviction in Sutherland, which was an event that seems to make a
large stock of legendary and unwritten stories, like the old Sagas
of the Northmen. When I had dried my clothes and eaten a
comfortable dinner before their kitchen fire and resumed my staff,
they all followed me out to the road, and then with their wishes for
a good journey as long as I was in hearing distance. Continued my
walk around headlands, now looking seaward, now mountainward, now
ascending on heather-bound esplanades, now descending in zig-zag
directions into deep glens, over massive and elegant bridges that
spanned the mountain streams and their steep and jagged banks.
After a walk of eighteen miles, put up at an inn a little north of
the village of Dunbeath, kept by an intelligent and industrious
farmer. The rain had continued most of the day, and I was obliged
to seek shelter sometimes under a stunted tree which helped out the
protecting power of a weather-beaten umbrella; now in the doorway of
an open stable or cow-shed, and once with my back against the door
of a wayside church, which kept off the rain in one direction. This
being a kind of border-season between summer and autumn, there were
no fires in the inns generally except in the kitchen, and I soon
learned to make for that, and always found a kindly welcome to its
comforts; though sometimes the good woman and her lassie would look
a little flushed at having their busiest culinary operations
revealed so suddenly to a stranger. Some of these kitchens are
fitted for sleeping apartments; occasionally having two tiers of
berths like a ship's cabin, slightly and rudely curtained.

The family of this wayside inn, seemingly like every other family in
the country, had connections in America, embracing brothers, uncles
and cousins. I was shown a little paper casket of hair flower-work,
sent by _post_! It was wrought of locks of every shade and tint,
from the snow of a grandmother over one hundred years of age to the
little, sunny curls of the youngest child in the circle of kindred
families. The Scotch branch had collected specimens from relatives
in Great Britain and forwarded them to the family in America, one of
whose daughters had worked them into two bouquets of flowers,
sending one of them by post to this little, white cottage on the
Northern Sea, as a memento of affection. What enhanced the beauty
of this interchange was the fact, that forty-eight years had elapsed
since the landlord's brother left his native land for New England,
and had never seen it since. Still, the cousins, who had never seen
each other's faces, had kept up an affectionate correspondence. A
son and son-in-law of the brother in America were in the Federal
army, and here was a sea-divided family filled with all the sad,
silent solicitude of affection for beloved ones exposed to the
fearful hazards of a war sundering more ties of blood-relationship
than any other ever waged on earth.

Saturday, September 27th. Resumed my walk with increased animation,
feeling myself within two days' distance of its end. The scenery
softens down to an agricultural aspect, the country declining
northerly toward the sea. Passed through a well-cultivated
district, never unpeopled or wasted by eviction, but held by a kind
of even yeomanry of proprietors. The cottages are comfortable,
resembling the white houses of New England considerably. They are
nearly all of one story, with a chimney at each end, broadside to
the road, and a door in the middle, dividing the house into two
apartments. They are built of stone, the newest ones having a slate
roof. Some of them are whitewashed, others so liberally jointed
with mortar as to give them a bright and cheery appearance. These,
of course, are the last edition of cottages, enlarged and amended in
every way. The old issues are ragged volumes, mostly bound in turf
or bog grass, well corded down with ropes of heather, giving the
roof a singular ribby look, rounded on the ridge. In many cases a
stone is attached to each end of the rope, so as to make it hug the
thatch closely. I noticed that in a considerable number of the old
cottages, the stone wall only reached up a foot or two from the
ground, the rest being made up of blocks of peat. Some of the
oldest had no premonitory symptoms of a chimney, except a hole in
the roof for the smoke. These in no way differed from the stone-
and-turf cottages in Ireland.

Again occasional showers brought me into acquaintance with the
people living near the road. In every case I found them kind and
hospitable, giving me a pleasant welcome and the best seat by their
peat-fire. I sat by one an hour while the rain fell cold and fast
outside. The good woman and her daughter were busy baking barley-
cakes. They were the first I had seen, and I ate them with a
peculiar zest of appetite. Told them many stories about America in
return for a great deal of information about the customs and
condition of the working-people. They generally built their own
cottages, costing from 40 to 50 pounds, not counting their own
labor. I met on the road scores of fishermen returning to their
homes at the conclusion of the herring season; and was struck with
their appearance in every way. They are truly a stalwart race of
men, broad-chested, of intelligent physiognomy, with Scandinavian
features fully developed. A half dozen of them followed a horse-
cart containing their nets, all done up in a round ball, like a
bladder of snuff, with the number of their boat marked upon it.

At about four p.m., I came in sight of the steeples of Wick, a brave
little city by the Norse Sea, which may not only be called the Wick
but the Candle of Northern Scotland; lighting, like a polar star,
this hyperborean shoreland of the British isle. I never entered a
town with livelier pleasure. It is virtually the last and farthest
on the mainland in this direction. Its history is full of interest.
Its great business is full of vigor, daring and danger. Here is the
great land-home of the Vikings of the nineteenth century; the
indomitable men who walk the roaring and crested billows of this
Northern Ocean in their black, tough sea-boats and bring ashore the
hard-earned spoils of the deep. This is the great metropolis of
Fishdom. Eric the Red, nor any other pre-Columbus navigator of the
North American Seas, ever mustered braver crews than these sea-boats
carry to their morning beats. Ten thousand of as hardy men as ever
wrestled with the waves, and threw them too, are out upon that wide
water-wold before the sun looks on it--half of them wearing the
features of their Norse lineage, as light-haired and crisp-whiskered
as the sailors of Harold the Fair-haired a thousand years ago. They
come from all the coasts of Scotland, from Orkney, Shetland, the
Hebrides and Lewis islands, and down out of the heart of the
Highlands. It is a hard and daring industry they follow, and
hundreds of graves on the shore and thousands at the bottom of the
sea have been made with no names on them, as the long record of the
hazards they run in the perilous occupation. But they keep their
ranks full from year to year, pushing out new boats marked with
higher numbers.

The harbor has been dangerous and difficult of access, but of late a
great effort has been made to render it more safe and commodious.
The Scotch fisheries now yield from 600,000 to 700,000 barrels of
herrings annually, employing about 17,000 fishermen; Wick stands
first among all the fishing ports of the kingdom. It is a thriving
town, well supplied with churches, schools, hotels, banks and
printing-offices. Several new buildings are now being erected which
will rank high in architecture and add new features of elegance to
the place. The population is a vigorous, intelligent, highly moral
and well-read community, as I could not fail to notice on attending
service on the Sabbath at different places of worship. Wick is
honored with this distinction--it assembles a larger congregation of
men to listen to the glad Evangel on Sunday than any city of the
world ever musters under one roof for the same purpose. It is the
out-door church of the fishermen. They sometimes number 5,000 adult
men, sea-beaten and sun-burnt, gathered in from mountainous island
and mainland all around the northern coasts of Scotland.

Monday, Sept. 28th. The weather was favorable, and I set out on my
last day's walk northward with a sense of satisfaction I could
hardly describe. The scenery was beautiful in every direction. The
road was perfect up to the last rod; as well kept as if it ran
through a nobleman's park. The country most of the way was well
cultivated--oats being the principal crop. Here, almost within
sight of the Orkneys, I heard the clatter of the reaping machine,
which, doubtless, puts out the same utterance over and upon the sea
at Land's End. It has travelled fast and far since 1851, when it
first made its appearance in Europe in the Crystal Palace, as one of
the wild, impracticable "notions" of American genius. In Wick I
visited a newspaper establishment, and saw in operation one of the
old "Columbians," or the American printing-press, surmounted by the
eagle of the Republic. The sewing-machine is in all the towns and
villages on the island. If there is not an American clock at John
O'Groat's, I hope some of my fellow townsmen will send one there,
Bristol-built. They are pleasant tokens of free-labor genius. No
land tilled by slaves could produce them. I saw many large and
highly-cultivated farms on these last miles of my walk. The country
was proportionately divided between food and fuel. Oats and barley
constitute the grain-crops. The uncultivated land interspersed with
the yellow fields of harvest, is reserved for _peat_--the poor man's
fuel and his wealth. For, were it not for the inexhaustible
abundance of this cheap and accessible firing, he could hardly
inhabit this region. It would seem strange to an American, who had
not realised the difference of the two climates, to see fields full
of reapers on the very threshold of October, as I saw them on this
last day's walk. I counted twelve women and two men in one field
plying the sickle, all strongly-built and good-looking and well-
dressed withal.

The sea was still and blue as a lake. A lark was soaring and
warbling over it with as happy and hopeful a voice as if it were
singing over the greenest acres of an English meadow. When I had
made half of the seventeen miles between Wick and John O'Groat's, I
began to look with the liveliest interest for the first glimpse of
the Orkneys; but projecting and ragged headlands intercepted the
prospect. About three p.m., as the road emerged from behind one of
them, those famous islands burst suddenly into view! There they
were!--in full sight, so near that their grain-fields and white
cottages and all their distinguishing features seemed within half a
mile's distance. This was the most interesting coup d'oeil that I
ever caught in any country. Here, then, after weeks and months of
travel on foot, I was at the end of my journey. Through all the
days of this period I had faced northward, and here was the Ultima
Thule, the goal and termination of my tour. The road to the sea
diverged from the main turnpike, which continued around the coast to
Thurso. Followed this branch a couple of miles, when it ended at
the door of a little, quiet, one-story inn on the very shore of the
Pentland Firth. It was a moment of the liveliest enjoyment to me.
When I left London, about the middle of July, I was slowly
recovering from a severe indisposition, and hardly expected to be
able to make more than a few miles of my projected walk. But I had
gathered strength daily, and when I brought up at this little inn at
the very jumping-off end of Scotland, I was fresher and more
vigorous on foot than at any previous stage of the journey.

Having found to my great satisfaction that they could give me a bed
for the night, I went with two gentlemen of the neighborhood to see
the site of the celebrated John O'Groat's House, about a mile and a
half from the inn. There was only a footpath to it across
intervening fields, and when we reached it, a rather vigorous
exercise of the organ of individuality was requisite to "locate" the
foundations of "the house that Jack built." Indeed, pilgrims to the
shrine of this famous domicile are liable to much disappointment at
finding so little remaining of a residence so historical. Literally
not one stone is left upon another. A large stone granary standing
near is said to have been built of the debris of the house, and this
helps out one's faith when struggling to believe in the existence of
such a building at all. A certain ridgy rising in the ground, to
which you try to give an octagonal shape, is pointed out as
indicating the foundations; but an unsatisfactory obscurity rests
upon the whole history of the establishment. Whether true or not,
that history of the house which one would prefer to believe runs
thus:--

In the reign of James IV. of Scotland, three brothers, Malcolm,
Gavin, and John de Groat, natives of Holland, came to this coast of
Caithness, with a letter in Latin from that monarch recommending
them to the protection and countenance of his subjects hereabout.
They got possession of a large district of land, and in process of
time multiplied and prospered until they numbered eight different
proprietors by the name of Groat. On one of the annual dinners
instituted to commemorate their arrival in Caithness, a dispute
arose as to the right of precedency in taking the door and the head
of the table. This waxed very serious and threatened to break up
these annual gatherings. But the wisdom and virtue of John
prevented this rupture. He made a touching speech to them, soothing
their angry spirits with an appeal to the common and precious
memories of their native land and to all their joint experiences in
this. He entreated them to return to their homes quietly, and he
would remedy the current difficulty at the next meeting. Won by his
kindly spirit and words, they complied with his request. In the
interval, John built a house expressly for the purpose, of an
octagonal form, with eight doors and windows. He then placed a
table of oak, of the same shape, in the middle; and when the next
meeting took place, he desired each head of the different Groat
families to enter at his own door and sit at the head of his own
table. This happy and ingenious plan restored good feeling and a
pleasant footing to the sensitive families, and gave to the good
Dutchman's name an interest which it will carry with it forever.

After filling my pockets with some beautiful little shells strewing
the site of the building, called "John O'Groat's buckies," I
returned to the inn. One of the gentlemen who accompanied me was
the tenant of the farm which must have been John's homestead,
containing about two hundred acres. It was mostly in oats, still
standing, with a good promise of forty bushels to the acre. He
resided at Thurso, some twenty miles distant, and found no
difficulty in carrying on the estate through a hired foreman. I
never passed a more enjoyable evening than in the little, cozy, low-
jointed parlor of this sea-side inn. Scotch cakes never had such a
relish for me nor a peat-fire more comfortable fellowship of
pleasant fancies, as I sat at the tea-table. There was a moaning of
winds down the Pentland Firth--a clattering and chattering of window
shutters, as if the unrestful spirits of the old Vikings and Norse
heroes were walking up and down the scene of their wild histories
and gibbering over their feats and fates. Spent an hour or two in
writing letters to friends in England and America, to tell them of
my arrival at this extreme goal of my walk, and a full hour in
poring over the visitors' book, in which there were names from all
countries in Christendom, and also impressions and observations in
prose, poetry, English, French, Latin, German and other languages.
Many of the comments thus recorded intimated some dissatisfaction
that John O'Groat's House was so _mythical_; that so much had to be
supplied by the imagination; that not even a stone of the foundation
remained in its place to assist fancy to erect the building into a
positive fact of history. But they all bore full and sometimes
fervid testimony to the good cheer of the inn at the hands of the
landlady. There was one record which blended loyalty to palate and
patriotism--"The Roast Beef of Old England" and "God save the
Queen"--rather amusingly. A party wrote their impressions after
this manner--"Visited John O'Groat's House; found little to see;
came back tired and hungry; walked into a couple of tender chickens
and a good piece of bacon: God save Mrs. Manson and all the Royal
Family!" This concluding "sentiment" was doubtless sincere and
honest, although it involved a question of precedence in the rank of
two feelings which John the Dutchman could have hardly settled by
his eight-angled plan of adjustment.

The next morning, for the first time for nearly three months of
continuous travel, I faced southward, leaving behind me the Orkneys
unvisited, though I had a strong desire to see those celebrated
islands--the theatre of so much interesting history. Twenty years
ago I translated all the "Sagas" relating to the voyages and
exploits of the Northmen in these northern seas and islands, their
explorations of the coast of North America centuries before Columbus
was born, their doings in Iceland and on all the islands great and
small now forming the British realms. This gave an additional zest
to my enjoyment in standing on the shore of the Pentland Firth and
looking over upon the scene of old Haco's and Sigurd's doing, daring
and dying.

Footed it back to Wick, and there terminated my walk, having
measured, step by step, full seven hundred miles since I left
London, counting in the divergences from a straight line which I had
made. In the evening I addressed a large and intelligent audience
which had been convened at short notice, and I never stood up before
one with such peculiar satisfaction as in that North-star town of
Scotland. I had travelled nearly the whole distance incog., without
hearing my own name on a pair of human lips for weeks. To lay aside
this embargo and to speak to such a large congregation, face to
face, was like coming back again into the great communions of
humanity after a long and private fellowship with the secluded
quietudes of Nature.

At four p.m. the next day, I took the Thurso coach and passed over
in the night the whole distance that had occupied me a week in
travelling by staff. Stopped a night in Inverness, another at
Elgin, and spent the Sabbath with my friend, Anthony Cruickshank, at
Sittyton, about fifteen miles north of Aberdeen.

CHAPTER XIX.

ANTHONY CRUICKSHANK--THE GREATEST HERD OF SHORTHORNS IN THE WORLD--
RETURN TO LONDON AND TERMINATION OF MY TOUR.

Sittyton designates hardly a village in Aberdeenshire, but it has
become a point of great interest to the agricultural world--a second
Babraham. In this quiet, rural district, Anthony Cruickshank, a
quiet, modest, meek-voiced member of the Society of Friends,
"generally called Quakers," has made a history and a great
enterprise of vast value to the world. He is one of those four-
handed but one-minded men who, with a pair to each, build up
simultaneously two great businesses so symmetrically that you would
think they gave their whole intellect, will and genius to one.
Anthony Cruickshank, the Quaker of Sittyton, has made but little
more noise in the world than Nature makes in building up some of her
great and beautiful structures. His footsteps were so light and
gentle that few knew that he was running at all, until they saw him
lead the racers by a head at the end of the course. The world is
wide, and dews of every temperature fall upon its meadow and pasture
lands. Vast regions are fresh and green all the year round,
yielding food for cattle seemingly in the best conditions created
for their growth and perfection. The highest nobility and gentry of
this and other countries are giving to the living statuary of these
animals that science, taste and genius which the most enthusiastic
artists are giving to the still but speaking statuary of the canvas.
The competition in this cultivation of animal life is wide and
eager, and spreading fast over Christendom; emperors, kings,
princes, dukes and belted barons are on the lists. Antipodean
agriculturists meet in the great international concours of cattle,
horses, sheep and swine. Never was royal blood or the inheritance
of a crown threaded through divergent veins to its source with more
care and pride than the lineage of these four-footed "princes" and
"princesses," "dukes" and "duchesses," and "knights" and "ladies" of
the stable and pasture. No peerage ever kept a more jealous
heraldry than the herd-book of this great quadruped noblesse. The
world, by consent, has crowned the Shorthorn Durham as the best
blood that ever a horned animal carried in its veins. Princely
connoisseurs and amateurs, and all the dilettanti as well as
practical agriculturists of Christendom, are giving more thought to
the perfection and perpetuation of this blood than to any other name
and breed. Still--and this distinction is crowned with double merit
by the fact--Anthony Cruickshank, draper of Aberdeen, has worked his
way, gradually and noiselessly, to the very head and front of the
Shorthorn knighthood of the world. While pursuing the occupation to
which he was bred with as much assiduity and success as if it had
every thought and activity which a man should give to a business, he
built up, at a considerable distance from his warehouse, an
enterprise of an entirely different nature, to a magnitude which no
other man has ever equalled. He now owns the largest herd of
Shorthorns in the world, breeding and feeding them to the highest
perfection in the cold and naturally unfertile county of Aberdeen,
which no man of less patience and perseverance would select as the
ground on which to enter the lists against such an array of
competitors in Great Britain and other countries. I regret that my
Notes have already expanded to such a volume as to preclude a more
extended account of his operations in this great field of
usefulness. A few simple facts will suffice to give the reader an
approximate idea of what he has done in this department.

About the year 1825, young Cruickshank was put to a Friends' school
in Cumberland. He was a farmer's son, and seems to have conceived a
great fancy for cattle from childhood. A gentleman resided not far
from the school, who was an owner and amateur of Shorthorns, and
Anthony would frequently spend his half-holidays with him,
inspecting and admiring his herd, and asking him questions about
their qualities and his way of treating them. From this school he
was sent as an apprentice to a trading establishment in Edinburgh,
and at the end of his term set up business for himself as a draper
in Aberdeen. All through this period he carried with him his first
interest in cattle-culture, but was unable to make a beginning in it
until 1837, when he purchased a single Shorthorn cow in the county
of Durham, and soon afterward two other animals of the same blood.
These constituted the nucleus of his herd at Sittyton. One by one
he added other animals of the same stock, purchased in different
parts of England, Ireland and Scotland. With these accessions by
purchase, and from natural increase, his herd grew rapidly and
prospered finely, so that he was obliged to add field to field and
farm to farm to produce feed for such a number of mouths. In a few
years he reached his present maximum which he does not wish to
exceed. That is, his herd now averages annually three hundred head
of this noble and beautiful race of animals, or the largest number
of them owned by any one man in the world. In 1841, he announced
his first sale of young bulls, and every year since that date has
put up at public auction the male progeny of the herd. These sales
usually take place in the first week of October, and are attended by
from 300 to 500 persons from all parts of the kingdom. After
carefully inspecting the various lots, they adjourn to a substantial
luncheon at twelve o'clock, and at one p.m. they repair to the sale
ring and the bidding begins in good earnest, and the auctioneer's
hammer falls quick and often, averaging about a minute and a half to
each lot. Thus the forty lots of young bulls from six to ten months
old are passed away, averaging from 33 to 44 guineas each. Besides
these, from fifty to sixty young bulls, cows and heifers are
disposed of by private sale during the season, ranging from 50 to
150 guineas, going to buyers from all parts of the world.

It is Mr. Cruickshank's well-matured opinion, resulting from long
experience and observation, that there is no breed of cattle so
easily maintained in good condition as the Shorthorns. His are fed
on pasture grass from the 1st of May to the middle of October, lying
in the open field night and day. In the winter they are fed
_entirely on oat-straw and turnips_. Not a handful of hay or of
meal is given them. The calves are allowed to suck their dams at
pleasure. He is convinced that with this simple system of feeding,
together with the bracing air of Aberdeenshire, he has obtained a
tribe of animals of hardy and robust constitutions, of early
maturity, well calculated to improve the general stock of the
country.

It was to me a delight to see this, the greatest herd of Shorthorns
in the world, numbering animals of apparently the highest perfection
to which they could attain under human treatment. What a court and
coterie of "princes," "dukes," "knights" and "ladies" those stables
contained--creatures that would not have dishonored higher names by
wearing them! I was pleased to find that Republics and their less
pretentious titles were not excluded from the goodly fellowship of
this short-horned aristocracy. There was one grand and noble bull
called "President Lincoln," not only, I fancy, out of respect to
"Honest Old Abe," but also in reference to the disposition and
capacities of the animal. Truly, if let loose in some of our New
England fields, he would prove himself a tremendous "railsplitter."

After spending a quiet Sabbath with this old friend and host at his
farm-house at Sittyton, I took the train for Edinburgh and had a
week of the liveliest enjoyment in that city, attending the meetings
of the Social Science Congress. There I saw and heard for the first
time the venerable Lord Brougham, also men and women of less
reputation, but of equal heart and will to serve their kind and
country. I had intended to make a separate chapter on these
meetings and another on the re-unions of the British Association at
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but the space to which this volume must be
limited precludes any notice of these most interesting and important
gatherings. Stopping at different points on the way, I reached
London about the middle of October, having occupied just four months
in my northern tour; bringing back a heartful of sunny memories of
what I had seen and enjoyed.

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