Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Seeing Europe with Famous Authors by Francis W. Halsey

Part 2 out of 3

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

yesterday's imitation portico; and as the soft northern sunshine throws
out everything into a glorified distinctness--or easterly mists, coming
up with the blue evening, fuse all these incongruous features into one,
and the lamps begin to glitter along the street, and faint lights to
burn in the high windows across the valley--the feeling grows upon you
that this is a piece of nature in the most intimate sense; that this
profusion of eccentricities, this dream in masonry and living rock, is
not a drop-scene in a theater, but a city in the world of everyday
reality, connected by railway and telegraph wire with all the capitals
of Europe, and inhabited by citizens of the familiar type, who keep
ledgers, and attend church, and have sold their immortal portion to a
daily paper....

The east of new Edinburgh is guarded by a craggy hill, of no great
elevation, which the town embraces. The old London road runs on one side
of it; while the New Approach, leaving it on the other hand, completes
the circuit.... Of all places for a view, this Calton Hill is perhaps
the best; since you can see the Castle, which you lose from the Castle,
and Arthur's Seat, which you can not see from Arthur's Seat. It is the
place to stroll on one of those days of sunshine and east wind which are
so common in our more than temperate summer. The breeze comes off the
sea, with a little of the freshness, and that touch of chill, peculiar
to the quarter, which is delightful to certain very ruddy organizations,
and greatly the reverse to the majority of mankind. It brings with it a
faint, floating haze, a cunning decolorizer, altho not thick enough to
obscure outlines near at hand. But the haze lies more thickly to
windward at the far end of Musselburgh Bay; and over the Links of
Aberlady and Berwick Law and the hump of the Bass Bock it assumes the
aspect of a bank of thin sea fog.

Immediately underneath, upon the south, you command the yards of the
High School, and the towers and courts of the new Jail--a large place,
castellated to the extent of folly, standing by itself on the edge of a
steep cliff, and often joyfully hailed by tourists as the Castle. In the
one, you may perhaps see female prisoners taking exercise like a string
of nuns; in the other, schoolboys running at play, and their shadows
keeping step with them. From the bottom of the valley, a gigantic
chimney rises almost to the level of the eye, a taller and a shapelier
edifice than Nelson's Monument. Look a little farther, and there is
Holyrood Palace, with its Gothic frontal and ruined abbey, and the red
sentry pacing smartly to and fro before the door like a mechanical
figure in a panorama. By way of an outpost, you can single out the
little peak-roofed lodge, over which Rizzio's murderers made their
escape, and where Queen Mary herself, according to gossip, bathed in
white wine to retain her loveliness.

Behind and overhead lie the Queen's Park, from Musehat's Cairn to
Dumbiedykes, St. Margaret's Loch, and the long wall of Salisbury's
Crags; and thence, by knoll and rocky bulwark and precipitous slope, the
eye rises to the top of Arthur's Seat, a hill for magnitude, a mountain
in virtue of its bold design. This upon your left. Upon the right, the
roofs and spires of the Old Town climb one above another to where the
citadel prints its broad bulk and jagged crown of bastions on the
western sky.... Perhaps it is now one in the afternoon; and at the same
instant of time, a ball rises to the summit of Nelson's flagstaff close
at hand, and, far away, a puff of smoke, followed by a report, bursts
from the half-moon battery at the Castle. This is the time-gun by which
people set their watches, as far as the sea coast or in hill farms upon
the Pent-lands. To complete the view, the eye enfilades Prince's Street,
black with traffic, and has a broad look over the valley between the Old
Town and the New; here, full of railway trains and stept over by the
high North Bridge upon its many columns, and there, green with trees
and gardens.

On the north, the Calton Hill is neither so abrupt in itself, nor has it
so exceptional an outlook; and yet even here it commands a striking
prospect. A gully separates it from the New Town. This is Greenside,
where witches were burned and tournaments held in former days. Down that
almost precipitous bank Bothwell launched his horse, and so first, as
they say, attracted the bright eyes of Mary. It is now tesselated with
sheets and blankets out to dry, and the sound of people beating carpets
is rarely absent. Beyond all this, the suburbs run out to Leith; Leith
camps on the seaside with her forests of masts; Leith roads are full of
ships at anchor; the sun picks out the white pharos upon Inchkeith
Island; the Firth extends on either hand from the Ferry to the May; the
towns of Fifeshire sit, each in its bank of blowing smoke, along the
opposite coast; and the hills enclose the view, except to the farthest
east, where the haze of the horizon rests upon the open sea. There lies
the road to Norway; a dear road for Sir Patrick Spens and his Scots
Lords; and yonder smoke on the hither side of Largo Law is Aberdour,
from whence they sailed to seek a queen for Scotland.

These are the main features of the scene roughly sketched. How they are
all tilted by the inclination of the ground, how each stands out in
delicate relief against the rest, what manifold detail, and play of sun
and shadow, animate and accentuate the picture, is a matter for a person
on the spot, and, turning swiftly on his heels, to grasp and bind
together in one comprehensive look. It is the character of such a
prospect, to be full of change and of things moving. The multiplicity
embarrasses the eye; and the mind, among so much, suffers itself to grow
absorbed with single points. You remark a tree in a hedgerow, or follow
a cart along a country road. You turn to the city, and see children,
dwarfed by distance into pigmies, at play about suburban doorsteps; you
have a glimpse upon a thoroughfare where people are densely moving; you
note ridge after ridge of chimney-stacks running downhill one behind
another, and church spires rising bravely from the sea of roofs. At one
of the innumerable windows you watch a figure moving; on one of the
multitude of roofs you watch clambering chimney-sweeps. The wind takes a
run and scatters the smoke; bells are heard, far and near, faint and
loud, to tell the hour; or perhaps a sea bird goes dipping evenly over
the housetops, like a gull across the waves. And here you are in the
meantime, on this pastoral hillside, among nibbling sheep and looked
upon by monumental buildings.

HOLYROOD [Footnote: From "Edinburgh Sketches and Memories."]


Mary, Queen of Scots, on her return to Scotland after her thirteen years
of residence and education in France, had to form her first real
acquaintance with her native shores and the capital of her realm. She
had left Calais for the homeward voyage on Thursday, the 14th of August,
with a retinue of about one hundred and twenty persons, French and
Scottish, embarked in two French state galleys, attended by several
transports. They were a goodly company, with rich and splendid baggage.
The Queen's two most important uncles, indeed--the great Francis de
Lorraine, Duke of Guise, and his brother, Charles de Lorraine, the
Cardinal--were not on board. They, with the Duchess of Guise, and other
senior lords and ladies of the French court, had bidden Mary farewell at
Calais, after having accompanied her thither from Paris, and after the
Cardinal had in vain tried to persuade her not to take her costly
collection of pearls and other jewels with her, but to leave them in his
keeping till it should be seen how she might fare among her
Scottish subjects.

But on board the Queen's own galley were three others of Guise or
Lorraine uncles--the Duc d'Aumale, the Grand Prior, and the Marquis
d'Elbeuf--with M. Danville, son of the Constable of France, and a number
of French gentlemen of lower rank, among whom one notes especially young
Pierre de Bourdeilles, better known afterward in literary history as
Sieur de Brantome, and a sprightly and poetic youth from Dauphine, named
Chastelard, one of the attendants of M. Danville. With these were mixed
the Scottish contingent of the Queen's train, her four famous "Marys"
included--Mary Fleming, Mary Livingstone, Mary Seton, and Mary Beaton.
They had been her playfellows and little maids of honor long ago, in her
Scottish childhood; they had accompanied her when she went abroad, and
had lived with her ever since in France; and they were now returning
with her, Scoto-French women like herself, and all of about her own age,
to share her new fortunes....

Then, as now, the buildings that went by the general name of Holyrood
were distinguishable into two portions. There was the Abbey, now
represented only by the beautiful and spacious fragment of ruin called
the Royal Chapel, but then, despite the spoliations to which it had been
subjected by recent English invasions, still tolerably preserved in its
integrity as the famous edifice, in early Norman style, which had been
founded in the twelfth century by David I., and had been enlarged in the
fifteenth by additions in the later and more florid Gothic. Close by
this was Holyrood House, or the Palace proper, built in the earlier part
of the sixteenth century, and chiefly by James IV., to form a distinct
royal dwelling, and so supersede that occasional accommodation in the
Abbey itself which had sufficed for Scottish sovereigns before Edinburgh
was their habitual or capital residence.

One block of this original Holyrood House still remains in the
two-turreted projection of the present Holyrood which adjoins the ruined
relic of the Abbey, and which contains the rooms now specially shown as
"Queen Mary's Apartments." But the present Holyrood, as a whole, is a
construction of the reign of Charles II., and gives little idea of the
Palace in which Mary took up her abode in 1561. The two-turreted
projection on the left was not balanced then, as now, by a similar
two-turreted projection on the right, with a facade of less height
between, but was flanked on the right by a continued chateau-like
frontage, of about the same height as the turreted projections, and at a
uniform depth of recess from it, but independently garnished with towers
and pinnacles. The main entrance into the Palace from the great outer
courtyard was through this chateau-like flank, just about the spot where
there is the entrance through the present middle facade; and this
entrance led, like the present, into an inner court or quadrangle, built
round on all the four sides.

That quadrangle of chateau, touching the Abbey to the back from its
northeastern corner, and with the two-turreted projection to its front
from its northwestern corner, constituted, indeed, the main bulk of the
Palace. There were, however, extensive appurtenances of other buildings
at the back or at the side farthest from the Abbey, forming minor inner
courts, while part of that side of the great outer courtyard which faced
the entrance was occupied by offices belonging to the Palace, and
separating the courtyard from the adjacent purlieus of the town. For the
grounds of both Palace and Abbey were encompassed by a wall, having
gates at various points of its circuit, the principal and most strongly
guarded of which was the Gothic porch admitting from the foot of the
Canongate into the front courtyard. The grounds so enclosed were ample
enough to contain gardens and spaces of plantation, besides the
buildings and their courts. Altogether, what with the buildings
themselves, what with the courts and gardens, and what with the natural
grandeur of the site--a level of deep and wooded park, between the
Calton heights and crags, on the one hand, and the towering shoulders of
Arthur's Seat and precipitous escarpment of Salisbury Crags on the
other--Holyrood in 1561 must have seemed, even to an eye the most
satiated with palatial splendors abroad, a sufficiently impressive
dwelling-place to be the metropolitan home of Scottish royalty.

LINLITHGOW [Footnote: From "Provincial Antiquities of Scotland."]


The convenience afforded for the sport of falconry, which was so great a
favorite during the feudal ages, was probably one cause of an attachment
of the ancient Scottish monarchs to Linlithgow and its fine lake. The
sport of hunting was also followed with success in the neighborhood,
from which circumstance it probably arises that the ancient arms of the
city represent a black greyhound bitch tied to a tree....

A Celt, according to Chalmers, might plausibly derive the name of
Linlithgow from Lin-liah-cu, the Lake of the Greyhound. Chalmers himself
seems to prefer the Gothic derivation of Lin-lyth-gow, or the Lake of
the Great Vale. The Castle of Linlithgow is only mentioned as being a
peel (a pile, that is, an embattled tower surrounded by an outwork). In
1300 it was rebuilt or repaired by Edward I., and used as one of the
citadels by which he hoped to maintain his usurped dominion in Scotland.
It is described by Barbour as "meihle and stark and stuffed weel." Piers
Luband, a Gascoigne knight, was appointed the keeper, and appears to
have remained there until the autumn of 1313, when the Scots recovered
the Castle....

Bruce, faithful to his usual policy, caused the peel of Linlithgow to be
dismantled, and worthily rewarded William Binnock, who had behaved with
such gallantry on the occasion. From this bold yeoman the Binnies of
West Lothian are proud to trace their descent; and most, if not all of
them, bear in their arms something connected with the wagon, which was
the instrument of his stratagem.

When times of comparative peace returned, Linlithgow again became the
occasional residence of the sovereign. In 1411 the town was burned by
accident, and in 1414 was again subjected to the same calamity, together
with the Church and Palace of the king, as is expressly mentioned by
Bower. The present Church, which is a fine specimen of Gothic
architecture, having a steeple surmounted by an imperial crown, was
probably erected soon after the calamity.

The Palace arose from its ashes with greater splendor than before; for
the family of Stuart, unhappy in some respects, were all of them
fortunate in their taste for the fine arts, and particularly for that of
architecture. The Lordship of Linlithgow was settled as a dowry upon
Mary of Gueldres in 1449, and again upon Margaret of Denmark in 1468.

James IV., a splendid gallant, seems to have founded the most
magnificent part of Linlithgow Palace; together with the noble entrance
betwixt two flanking towers bearing, on rich entablatures, the royal
arms of Scotland, with the collars of the Orders of the Thistle, Garter,
and Saint Michael. James IV. also erected in the Church a throne for
himself, and twelve stalls for Knights Companions of the Thistle.... His
death and the rout of his army clouded for many a day the glory of
Scotland, and marred the mirth of her palaces.

James V. was much attached to Linlithgow, and added to the Palace both
the Chapel and Parliament Hall, the last of which is peculiarly
striking. So that when he brought his bride, Mary of Guise, there, amid
the festivities which accompanied their wedding, she might have had more
reason than mere complaisance for highly commending the edifice, and
saying that she never saw a more princely palace. It was long her
residence, and that of her royal husband, at Linlithgow. Mary was born
there in an apartment still shown; and the ill-fated father, dying
within a few days of that event, left the ominous diadem which he wore
to the still more unfortunate infant....

In the subsequent reign of Queen Mary, Linlithgow was the scene of
several remarkable events; the most interesting of which was the
assassination of the Regent Murray by Hamilton of Bothwell-haugh. James
VI. loved the royal residence of Linlithgow, and completed the original
plan of the Palace, closing the great square by a stately range of
apartments of great architectural beauty. He also made a magnificent
fountain in the Palace yard, now ruinous, as are all the buildings
around. Another grotesque Gothic fountain adorns the street of
the town....

When the scepter passed from Scotland, oblivion sat down in the halls of
Linlithgow; but her absolute desolation was reserved for the memorable
era of 1745-6. About the middle of January in that year, General Hawley
marched at the head of a strong army to raise the siege of Stirling,
then prest by the Highland insurgents under the adventurous Charles
Edward. The English general had exprest considerable contempt of his
enemy, who, he affirmed, would not stand a charge of cavalry. On the
night of the 17th he returned to Linlithgow, with all the marks of
defeat, having burned his tents, and left his artillery and baggage. His
disordered troops were quartered in the Palace, and began to make such
great fires on the hearth, as to endanger the safety of the edifice. A
lady of the Livingstone family who had apartments there remonstrated
with General Hawley, who treated her fears with contempt. "I can run
away from fire as fast as you can, General," answered the high-spirited
dame, and with this sarcasm took horse for Edinburgh. Very soon after
her departure her apprehensions were realized; the Palace of Linlithgow
caught fire and was burned to the ground. The ruins alone remain to show
its former splendor.

The situation of Linlithgow Palace is eminently beautiful. It stands on
a promontory of some elevation, which advances almost into the midst of
the lake. The form is that of a square court, composed of buildings of
four stories high, with towers at the angles. The fronts within the
square, and the windows, are highly ornamented, and the size of the
rooms, as well as the width and character of the staircase, are upon a
magnificent scale. One banquet room is 94 feet long, 30 feet wide, and
33 feet high, with a gallery for music. The king's wardrobe, or
dressing-room, looking to the west, projects over the walls so as to
have a delicious prospect on three sides, and is one of the most
enviable boudoirs we have ever seen.

There were two main entrances to Linlithgow Palace. That from the south
ascends rather steeply from the town, and passes through a striking
Gothic archway, flanked by two round towers. The portal has been richly
adorned by sculpture, in which can be traced the arms of Scotland with
the collars of the Thistle, the Garter, and Saint Michael. This was the
work of James V., and is of a most beautiful character.

The other entrance is from the eastward. The gateway is at some height
from the foundation of the wall, and there are opposite to it the
remains of a perron, or ramp of mason work, which those who desired to
enter must have ascended by steps. A drawbridge, which could be raised
at pleasure, united, when it was lowered, the ramp with the threshold of
the gateway, and when raised left a gap between them, which answered the
purpose of a moat. On the inside of the eastern gateway is a figure,
much mutilated, said to have been that of Pope Julius II., the same
Pontiff who sent to James IV. the beautiful sword which makes part of
the Regalia.

"To what base offices we may return!" In the course of the last war,
those beautiful remains, so full of ancient remembrances, very narrowly
escaped being defaced and dishonored, by an attempt to convert them into
barracks for French prisoners of war. The late President Blair, as
zealous a patriot as he was an excellent lawyer, had the merit of
averting this insult upon one of the most striking objects of antiquity
which Scotland yet affords. I am happy to add that of late years the
Court of Exchequer have, in this and similar cases, shown much zeal to
preserve our national antiquities, and stop the dilapidations which were
fast consuming them.

In coming to Linlithgow by the Edinburgh road, the first view of the
town, with its beautiful steeple, surmounted with a royal crown, and the
ruinous towers of the Palace arising out of a canopy of trees, forms a
most impressive object.

STIRLING [Footnote: From "English Note-Books." By special arrangement
with, and by permission of, the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin Co.
Copyright, 1870 and 1898.]


In the morning we were stirring betimes, and found Stirling to be a
pretty large town, of rather ancient aspect, with many gray stone
houses, the gables of which are notched on either side, like a flight of
stairs. The town stands on the slope of a hill, at the summit of which,
crowning a long ascent, up which the paved street reaches all the way to
its gate, is Stirling Castle. Of course we went thither, and found free
entrance, altho the castle is garrisoned by five or six hundred men,
among whom are bare-legged Highlanders (I must say that this costume is
very fine and becoming, tho their thighs did look blue and frost-bitten)
and also some soldiers of other Scotch regiments, with tartan trousers.
Almost immediately on passing the gate, we found an old artillery-man,
who undertook to show us round the castle. Only a small portion of it
seems to be of great antiquity. The principal edifice within the castle
wall is a palace, that was either built or renewed by James VI.; and it
is ornamented with strange old statues, one of which is his own.

The old Scottish Parliament House is also here. The most ancient part of
the castle is the tower, where one of the Earls of Douglas was stabbed
by a king, and afterward thrown out of the window. In reading this
story, one imagines a lofty turret, and the dead man tumbling headlong
from a great height; but, in reality, the window is not more than
fifteen or twenty feet from the garden into which he fell. This part of
the castle was burned last autumn; but is now under repair, and the wall
of the tower is still stanch and strong. We went up into the chamber
where the murder took place, and looked through the historic window.

Then we mounted the castle wall, where it broods over a precipice of
many hundred feet perpendicular, looking down upon a level plain below,
and forth upon a landscape, every foot of which is richly studded with
historic events. There is a small peep-hole in the wall, which Queen
Mary is said to have been in the habit of looking through. It is a most
splendid view; in the distance, the blue Highlands, with a variety of
mountain outlines that I could have studied unweariably; and in another
direction, beginning almost at the foot of the Castle Hill, were the
Links of Forth, where, over a plain of miles in extent the river
meandered, and circled about, and returned upon itself again and again
and again, as if knotted into a silver chain, which it was difficult to
imagine to be all one stream. The history of Scotland might be read from
this castle wall, as on a book of mighty page; for here, within the
compass of a few miles, we see the field where Wallace won the battle of
Stirling, and likewise the battle-field of Bannockburn, and that of
Falkirk, and Sheriffmuir, and I know not how many besides.

Around the Castle Hill there is a walk, with seats for old and infirm
persons, at points sheltered from the wind. We followed it downward, and
I think we passed over the site where the games used to be held, and
where, this morning, some of the soldiers of the garrison were going
through their exercises. I ought to have mentioned, that, passing
through the inner gateway of the castle, we saw the round tower, and
glanced into the dungeon, where the Roderic Dhu of Scott's poem was left
to die. It is one of the two round towers, between which the portcullis
rose and fell.

ABBOTSFORD [Footnote: From "Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British


Abbotsford, after twenty years' interval, and having then been seen
under the doubly exaggerated influence of youth and the recent influence
of Scott's poetry, in some degree disappointed me. I had imagined the
house itself larger, its towers more lofty, its whole exterior more
imposing. The plantations are a good deal grown, and almost bury the
house from the distant view, but they still preserve all their formality
of outline, as seen from the Galashiels road. Every field has a thick,
black belt of fir-trees, which run about, forming on the long hillside
the most fantastic figures. The house is, however, a very interesting
house. At first, you come to the front next to the road, which you do by
a steep descent down the plantation. You are struck, having a great
castle in your imagination, with the smallness of the place. It is
neither large nor lofty. Your ideal Gothic castle shrinks into a
miniature. The house is quite hidden till you are at it, and then you
find yourself at a small, castellated gateway, with its crosses cut into
the stone pillars on each side, and the little window over it, as for
the warden to look out at you.

Then comes the view of this side of the house with its portico, its bay
windows with painted glass, its tall, battlemented gables, and turrets
with their lantern terminations; the armorial escutcheon over the door,
and the corbels, and then another escutcheon aloft on the wall of stars
and crescents. All these have a good effect; and not less so the light
screen of freestone finely worked and carved with its elliptic arches
and iron lattice-work, through which the garden is seen with its
espalier trees, high brick walls, and greenhouse, with a doorway at the
end leading into a second garden of the same sort. The house has a dark
look, being built of the native whinstone, or grau-wacke, as the Germans
call it, relieved by the quoins and projections of the windows and
turrets in freestone. All look classic, and not too large for the poet
and antiquarian builder. The dog Maida lies in stone on the right hand
of the door in the court, with the well known inscription. The house can
neither be said to be Gothic nor castellated. It is a combination of the
poet's, drawn from many sources, but all united by good taste, and
forming an unique style, more approaching the Elizabethan than
any other.

Round the court, of which the open-work screen just mentioned is the
farther boundary, runs a covered walk, that is, along the two sides not
occupied by the house and the screen; and in the wall beneath the arcade
thus formed, are numerous niches, containing a medley of old figures
brought from various places. There are Indian gods, old figures out of
churches, and heads of Roman emperors. In the corner of the court, on
the opposite side of the portico to the dog Maida, is a fountain, with
some similar relics reared on the stonework around it.

The other front gives you a much greater idea of the size. It has a more
continuous range of facade. Here, at one end, is Scott's square tower,
ascended by outside steps, and a round or octagon tower at the other;
you can not tell, certainly, which shape it is, as it is covered with
ivy. On this the flagstaff stands. At the end next to the square tower,
i. e., at the right-hand end as you face it, you pass into the outer
court, which allows you to go around the end of the house from one front
to the other, by the old gateway, which once belonged to the Tolbooth of
Edinburgh. Along the whole of this front runs a gallery, in which the
piper used to stalk to and fro while they were at dinner. This man still
comes about the place, tho he has been long discharged. He is a
great vagabond.

Such is the exterior of Abbotsford. The interior is far more
interesting. The porch, copied from that of the old palace of
Linlithgow, is finely groined, and there are stags' horns nailed up in
it. When the door opens, you find yourself in the entrance-hall, which
is, in fact, a complete museum of antiquities and other matters. It is,
as described in Lockhart's Life of Scott, wainscoted with old wainscot
from the kirk of Dumfermline, and the pulpit of John Knox is cut in two,
and placed as chiffoniers between the windows. The whole walls are
covered with suits of armor and arms, horns of moose deer, the head of a
musk bull, etc. At your left hand, and close to the door, are two
cuirasses, some standards, eagles, etc., collected at Waterloo.

At the opposite end of the room are two full suits of armor, one
Italian, and one English of the time of Henry V., the latter holding in
its hands a stupendous two-handed sword, I suppose six feet long, and
said to have been found on Bosworth field. Opposite to the door is the
fireplace of freestone, imitated from an arch in the cloister at
Melrose, with a peculiarly graceful spandrel. In it stands the iron
grate of Archbishop Sharpe, who was murdered by the Covenanters; and
before it stands a most massive Roman camp-kettle. On the roof, at the
center of the pointed arches, runs a row of escutcheons of Scott's
family, two or three at one end being empty, the poet not being able to
trace the maternal lineage so high as the paternal. These were painted
accordingly in clouds, with the motto, "Night veils the deep." Around
the door at one end are emblazoned the shields of his most intimate
friends, as Erskine, Moritt, Rose, etc., and all around the cornice ran
the emblazoned shields of the old chieftains of the border....

Then there is the library, a noble room, with a fine cedar ceiling, with
beautiful compartments, and most lovely carved pendants, where you see
bunches of grapes, human figures, leaves, etc. It is copied from Rosslyn
or Melrose. There are three busts in this room; the first, one of Sir
Walter, by Chantrey; one of Wordsworth; and in the great bay window, on
a table, a cast of that of Shakespeare, from Stratford. There is a
full-length painting of the poet's son, the present Sir Walter, in his
hussar uniform, with, his horse. The work-table in the space of the bay
window, and the fine carved ceiling in this part of the room, as well as
the brass hanging lamp brought from Hereulaneum, are particularly worthy
of notice. There is a pair of most splendidly carved box-wood chairs,
brought from Italy, and once belonging to some cardinal. The other
chairs are of ebony, presented by George IV. There is a tall silver urn,
standing on a prophyry table, filled with bones from the Piraeus, and
inscribed as the gift of Lord Byron. The books in this room, many of
which are secured from hurt by wire-work doors are said to amount to
twenty thousand. Many, of course, are very valuable, having been
collected with great care by Scott, for the purpose of enabling him to
write his different works....

The armory is a most remarkable room; it is the collection of the author
of Waverly; and to enumerate all the articles which are here assembled,
would require a volume. Take a few particulars. The old wooden lock of
the Tolbooth of Selkirk; Queen Mary's offering-box, a small iron ark or
coffer, with a circular lid, found in Holyrood-house. Then Hofer's
rifle--a short, stout gun, given him by Sir Humphry Davy, or rather by
Hofer's widow to Sir Humphry for Sir Walter. The housekeeper said, that
Sir Humphry had done some service for the widow of Hofer, and in her
gratitude she offered him this precious relic, which he accepted for Sir
Walter, and delighted the poor woman with the certainty that it would be
preserved to posterity in such a place as Abbotsford. There is an old
white hat, worn by the burgesses of Stowe when installed. Rob Roy's
purse and his gun; a very long one, with the initials R. M. C., Robert
Macgregor Campbell, around the touch-hole. A rich sword in a silver
sheath, presented to Sir Walter by the people of Edinburgh, for the
pains he took when George IV. was there....

Lastly, and on our way back to the entrance-hall, we enter the
writing-room of Sir Walter, which is surrounded by book-shelves, and a
gallery, by which Scott not only could get at his books, but by which he
could get to and from his bedroom; and so be at work when his visitors
thought him in bed. He had only to lock his door, and he was safe. Here
are his easy leathern chair and desk, at which he used to work, and, in
a little closet, is the last suit that he ever wore--a bottle-green
coat, plaid waistcoat, of small pattern, gray plaid trousers, and white
hat. Near these hang his walking-stick, and his boots and walking-shoes.
Here are, also, his tools, with which he used to prune his trees in the
plantations, and his yeoman-cavalry accouterments. On the chimney-piece
stands a German light-machine, where he used to get a light, and light
his own fire. There is a chair made of the wood of the house at
Robroyston, in which William Wallace was betrayed; having a brass plate
in the back, stating that it is from this house, where "Wallace was done
to death by Traitors." The writing-room is connected with the library,
and this little closet had a door issuing into the garden; so that Scott
had all his books at immediate command, and could not only work early
and late, without anybody's knowledge, but, at will, slip away to wood
and field, if he pleased, unobserved.

DRYBURGH ABBEY [Footnote: From "The Ruined Abbeys of the Border."]


Dryburgh lies amid the scenes in which Scott not only took such peculiar
delight, but which furnished him themes both for his poems and romances,
and which were rich in those old songs and narratives of border feats
and raids which he has preserved in his Border Minstrelsy. Melrose, the
Eildon Hills, the haunt of Thomas of Ercildoune, Jedburgh, Yetholm, the
Cowdenknowes, the Yarrow, and Ettrick, all lie on different sides within
a circle of twenty miles, and most of them much nearer. Smailholme
Tower, the scene of some of Scott's youthful days, and of his ballad of
"The Eve of St. John," is also one of these. Grose tells us that "The
ruins of Dryburgh Monastery are beautifully situated on a peninsula
formed by the Tweed, ten-miles above Kelso, and three below Melrose, on
the southwestern confine of the county of Berwick." ...

The new Abbey of Dryburgh had the credit of being founded in 1150 by
David I., who was fond of the reputation, of being a founder of abbeys,
Holyrood Abbey, Melrose Abbey, Kelso Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, and others,
having David I. stated as their founder. However it might be in other
cases, and in some of them he was merely the restorer, the real founders
of Dryburgh were Hugh de Morville, Lord of Lauderdale, and Constable of
Scotland, and his wife, Beatrice de Beauchamp....

Edward II., in his invasion of Scotland in 1323, burned down Dryburgh
Abbey, as he had done that of Melrose in the preceding year; and both
these magnificent houses were restored principally at the cost of Robert
Bruce. It was again destroyed by the English in 1544, by Sir George
Bowes and Sir Brian Latoum, as Melrose was also. Among the most
distinguished of its abbots we may mention Andrew Fordum, Bishop of
Moray, and afterward Archbishop of St. Andrews, and Ambassador to
France, and who held some of the most important offices under James IV.
and James V. The favors conferred upon him were in proportion to his
consequence in the state. Along with this abbey of Dryburgh, he held in
commendam those of Pittenweem, Coldingham, and Dunfermline. He resigned
Dryburgh to James Ogilvie, of the family of Deskford. Ogilvie was also
considerably employed in offices of diplomacy, both at London and Paris.

The Erskines seemed to keep firm hold of the Abbey of Dryburgh; and Adam
Erskine, one of Abbot James's successors, was, under George Buchanan, a
sub-preceptor to James VI. This James I. of England dissolved the abbey
in 1604, and conferred it and its lands, together with the abbeys and
estates of Cambuskenneth and Inehmahorne, on John Erskine, Earl of Mar,
who was made, on this occasion, also Baron of Cardross, which barony was
composed of the property of these three monasteries. In this line,
Dryburgh descended to the Lords of Buchan. The Earls of Buchan, at one
time, sold it to the Halliburtons of Mortoun, from whom it was purchased
by Colonel Tod, whose heirs again sold it to the Earl of Buchan in 1786.
This eccentric nobleman bequeathed it to his son, Sir David Erskine, at
whose death in 1837 it reverted to the Buchan family.

Two monasteries in Ireland, the abbey of Druin-la-Croix in the County of
Armagh, and the abbey of Woodburn in the county of Antrim, acknowledged
Dryburgh as their mother. A copy of the Liber S. Mariae de Dryburgh is
in the Advocates' Library in Edinburgh, containing all its ancient
charters. Such are the main points of history connected with Dryburgh;
but, when we open the ballad lore of the South of Scotland, we find this
fine old place figuring repeatedly and prominently....

Grose says: "The freestone of which the monastery of Dryburgh and the
most elegant parts of the Abbey of Melrose were built, is one of a most
beautiful color and texture, and has defied the influence of the weather
for more than six centuries; nor is the sharpness of the sculpture in
the least affected by the ravages of time. The quarry from which it was
taken is still successfully worked at Dryburgh; and no stone in the
island seems more perfectly adapted for the purpose of architecture, as
it hardens by age, and is not subject to be corroded or decomposed by
the weather, so that it might even be used for the cutting of
bas-reliefs and of statues." ...

As the remains of the abbey have since been carefully preserved, they
present still much the same aspect as at Grose's visit in 1797. When I
visited this lovely ruin and lovely neighborhood in 1845, I walked from
Melrose, a distance of between three and four miles. Leaving the Eildon
Hills on my right, and following the course of the Tweed, I saw, as I
progressed, Cowdenknowes, Bemerside, and other spots famous in border
song. Issuing from a steep and woody lane, I came out on a broad bend of
the river, with a wide strand of gravel and stones on this side, showing
with what force the wintry torrents rushed along here. Opposite rose
lofty and finely-wooded banks. Amid the trees on that side shone out a
little temple of the Muses, where they are represented as consecrating
James Thomson the poet. Farther off, on a hill, stands a gigantic statue
of William Wallace, which was originally intended for Burns; but, the
stone being too large, it was thought by the eccentric Lord Buchan, who
erected it, a pity to cut it down....

I was ferried over by two women, who were by no means sorry that the
winds and floods had carried my Lord Buchan's bridge away, as it
restored their business of putting people over. I then ascended a lane
from the ferry, and found myself in front of an apparently old castle
gateway; but, from the Latin inscription over it, discovered that it was
also erected by the same singular Lord Buchan, as the entrance to a
pomarium, or, in plain English, an orchard, dedicated to his honored
parents, who, I suppose, like our first parents, were particularly fond
of apples. That his parents or himself might enjoy all the apples, he
had under the Latin dedication, placed a simple English menace of steel
traps and spring guns. I still advanced through a pleasant scene of
trees and cottages, of rich grassy crofts, with cattle lying luxuriously
in them, and amid a hush of repose, indicative of a monastic scene.

Having found a guide to the ruins, at a cottage near the river, I was
led across a young orchard toward them, the two old gables and the fine
circular window showing themselves above the foliage. I found the
interior of the ruins carpeted by soft turf, and two rows of cedars
growing in the church, marking where the aisle formerly ran. The
cloisters and south transept were still entire, and displayed much fine
workmanship. The great circular window is especially lovely, formed of
five stars cut in stone, so that the open center between them forms a
rose. The light seen through this charming window produced a fine
effect. The chapter-house was also entire, the floor being now only of
earth; and a circle was drawn in the center, where the remains of the
founder and his lady lie. Here, again, however, the fantastic old Lord
Buchan had interfered, and a statue of Locke, reading an open book, and
pointing to his own forehead; one of Inigo Jones, and one of Newton,
made you wonder what they were doing there. So totally without regard to
fitness did this half-crazy nobleman put down his ornaments. The wonder
is that his successor had not removed these, and some statues or busts
which had as little business on the spot.

But the charm of the place in every sense was the grave of Scott. It was
in the Lady aisle, and occupies two arches of it; and the adjoining
space under the next arch is the burial place of the Erskines, as
Scott's burial-place was that of his ancestors, the Halliburtons. The
whole, with the tier of small sectional Norman arches above, forms a
glorious tomb much resembling one of the chapel tombs in Winchester
Cathedral. Taken in connection with the fine ruins, and the finer
natural scenery around, no spot can be supposed more suitable for the
resting-place of the remains of the great minstrel and romancer, who so
delighted in the natural, historic, and legendary charms of the
neighborhood, and who added still greater ones to them himself.

Since my visit, a massive tomb, of Aberdeen granite, has been placed
over the remains of Sir Walter and Lady Scott, and those of their eldest
son. A railway also now makes the place much more accessible, the
station for Dryburgh being at the village of Newtown, on the other side
of the river. Near St. Boswell's, opposite to Dryburgh, has also been
lately erected a bridge over the Tweed, opening up the communication
betwixt the north and south side of the river, and thus enabling the
tourist to explore at great convenience the scenes of ancient loves and
feuds, and the haunts of Scott. Here his dust lies amid the objects
redolent of his fame; and within a few miles, near Makerstoun, a view
may he obtained, from a hill, of Smailholme Tower, where the poet passed
some of the years of his boyhood, and the memory of which he has
perpetuated in one of the epistles which introduce each Canto
of Marmion.

MELROSE ABBEY [Footnote: From "The Ruined Abbeys of the Border."]


The foundation of Melrose Abbey generally dates from 1136, when David I.
of Scotland, among his many similar erections, built a church here. But
Melrose, as a seat of religion, boasts a much earlier origin. It was one
of those churches, or more properly missionary stations, which the
fathers of Ireland and of Iona spread over Britain and the continent. It
was in fact a portion of that pure and beautiful British church which
existed prior to the Roman hierarchy in these islands, and of which the
professors presented in their primitive habits and primitive doctrines
so apostolic a character....

In 1136 the pious David raised a new and much superior abbey, about two
miles westward of the original site, but on the same south bank of the
Tweed, and established in it the Cistercians. He conferred on them
extensive lands and privileges; the lands of Melrose, Eldun, and
Dernwie; the lands and wood of Gattonside, with the fishings of the
Tweed along the whole extent of those lands; with the right of pasturage
and pannage in his forests of Selkirk and Traguair, and in the forest
between the Gala and the Leeder, with wood from those forests for
building and burning. In 1192 Jocelin, Bishop of Glasgow, granted to the
monks of Melrose the church of Hassindean, with its lands, tithes, and
other emoluments, "for the maintenance of the poor and of pilgrims
coming to the house of Melrose." From this cause the old tower of
Hassindean was called "Monks' Tower," and the farm adjoining the church
is still called "Monks' Croft." In fact, the Abbey of Melrose was a sort
of inn, not only to the poor, but to some of the greatest men of the
time. The Scottish kings from time to time, and wealthy subjects too,
added fresh grants; so that in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries the
Abbey had accumulated vast possessions and immunities; had many tenants,
great husbandmen, with many granges and numerous herds. It had much
other property in Ayrshire, Dumfriesshire, Selkirkshire, and

But the abbey church which David built was not that of which we have now
the remains. The whole place was repeatedly burned down by the English
invaders. In 1215 the rebellious barons of King John of England swore
fealty to Alexander II. of Scotland, at the altar of Melrose. Edward I.,
in 1295-6, when at Berwick, granted the monks of Melrose restitution of
the lands of which they had been deprived; but in 1332 Edward II. burned
down the abbey and killed the abbot William de Peeblis and several of
his monks. Robert I., of Scotland, in 1326 or four years afterward, gave
L2,000 sterling to rebuild it; and Edward II., of England, came from New
Castle at Christmas, 1341, and held his yule in the abbey, and made
restitution of the lands and other property which his father had seized
during the late war. In 1378 Richard II. granted a protection to the
abbot and his lands; but in 1385 he burned down Melrose and other
religious houses on his expedition into Scotland.

Robert Bruce, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, granted a
revenue to restore the abbey; and betwixt this period and the
Reformation arose the splendid structure, the ruins of which yet charm
every eye. It is in the highest style of the decorated order, every
portion is full of work of the most exquisite character, occasionally
mingled with the perpendicular. They are the only ruins of the church
which remain, and they present the finest specimen of Gothic
architecture and sculpture that Scotland possesses. One of Scotland's
most discriminating writers says, "To say that Melrose is beautiful, is
to say nothing. It is exquisitely--splendidly lovely. It is an object
possest of infinite grace and unmeasurable charm; it is fine in its
general aspect, and in its minutest details. It is a study--a glory."
The church is two hundred and eighty-seven feet in length, and at the
greatest breadth one hundred and fifty-seven feet. The west is wholly
ruined; but the great eastern window remains, and one above the southern
door, which are extremely fine. The pillars that remain to support the
roof are of singular grace, and wherever you turn you behold objects
that rivet the attention by their richness of sculpture, tho often only
in fragments. The only wonder is that so much has escaped the numberless
assaults of enemies.

During the reigns of Henry VIII., Edward VI., and Elizabeth, the abbey
was continually suffering from their inroads, in which the spirit of
vengeance against the Scots who resisted their schemes of aggression was
mixed strongly with that of enmity to Popery. In the year 1545, it was
twice burned and ransacked by the English, first under Sir Ralph Eyre
and Sir Bryan Layton, and again by the Earl of Hertford. At the
Reformation, when all its lands and immunities were invested in the
Crown, they were valued at L1,758 Scots, besides large contributions in
kind. Among them, in addition to much corn were one hundred and five
stones of butter, ten dozens of capons, twenty-six dozens of poultry,
three hundred and seventy-six more fowl, three hundred and forty loads
of peats, etc. Queen Mary granted Melrose and its lands and tithes to
Bothwell, but they were forfeited on his attainder. They then passed to
a Douglas, and afterward to Sir James Ramsay, who rescured James VI. in
the conspiracy of Gowrie; then to Sir Thomas Hamilton in 1619, who was
made Earl of Melrose, and afterward Earl of Haddington.

About a century ago they became the property of the family of Buccleuch,
in which they remain. The Douglas built himself a house out of the
ruins, which may still be seen about fifty yards to the north of the
church. The ruins are preserved with great care, and are shown by a
family which is at once intelligent and courteous. The person going
round, most generally, points out the shattered remains of thirteen
figures at the great eastern window, in their niches, said to have been
those of our Savior and his Apostles. They were broken to pieces by a
fanatic weaver of Gattonside. A head is also pointed out, said to be
that of Michael Scott, the magician, who exerted his power so
wonderfully, according to tradition, in this neighborhood, as to split,
the Eildon hill into three parts....

The name of Melrose is clearly derived from the Ancient British,
Melross, the projection of the meadow. Moel in Welsh and Maol in Irish
signify something bald, naked, bare. Thus Moal-Ross, in the language of
the Irish monks who first built the church here, would signify the naked
promontory. Moel in Welsh is now usually applied to a smooth mountain,
as Moel-Siabod; and we find Ross continually showing its Celtic origin
where there is a promontory, as Ross on the Moray-frith, and Ross in
Herefordshire from a winding of the Wye. But some old sculptor, on a
stone still preserved in the village, has made a punning derivation for
it, by carving a mell, or mallet, and a rose over it. This stone was
part of a wall of the old prison, long since pulled down.

The site of Melrose, like all monastic ones, is fine. The abbey stands
on a broad level near the Tweed, but is surrounded by hills and fields
full of beauty, and peopled with a thousand beings of romance,
tradition, and poetry. South of the village rise the three peaks of the
Eildon hill, bearing aloft the fame of Michael Scott and Thomas the
Rhymer. On the banks of the Tweed, opposite to Melrose, lies Gattonside,
buried in its gardens and orchards, and still retaining its faith in
many a story of the supernatural; and about three miles westward, on the
same bank of the river, stands Abbotsford, raised by a magician more
mighty than Michael Scott. How is it possible to approach that haunted
abode without meeting on the way the most wonderful troop of wild, and
lofty, and beautiful beings that ever peopled earth or the realm of
imagination? Scotch, English, Gallic, Indian, Syrian come forth to meet
you. The Bruce, the Scottish Jameses, Coeur de Lion, Elizabeth,
Leicester, Mary of Scots, James I. of England, Montrose, Claverhouse,
Cumberland the Butcher. The Covenanters are ready to preach, and fight
anew, the Highland clans rise in aid of the Stuart. What women of
dazzling beauty--Flora M'Ivor, Rose Bradwardine, Rebecca the noble
Jewess, Lucy Ashton, and Amy Robsart, the lovely Effie Deans, and her
homely yet glorious sister Jenny, the bewitching Di Vernon, and Minna
and Brenda Troil, of the northern isles, stand radiant amid a host of
lesser beauties. Then comes Rob Roy, the Robin Hood of the hills; then
Balfour of Burley issues, a stalwart apparition, from his hiding-place,
and of infinite humor and strangeness of aspect. Where is there a band
like this--the Baron of Bradwardine, Dominie Sampson, Meg Merrilies,
Monkbarns, Edie Ochiltree, Old Mortality, Bailie Nicol Jarvie, Andrew
Fairservice, Caleb Balderston, Flibbertigibbet, Mona of the Fitful head,
and that fine fellow the farmer of Liddesdale, with all his Peppers and
Mustards raffling at his heels? But not even out of Melrose need you
move a step to find the name of a faithful servant of Sir Walter. Tom
Purdie lies in Melrose Abbey-Yard; and Scott himself had engraven on his
tomb that he was "the Wood-forester of Abbotsford," probably the title
which Tom gave himself. Those who visit Melrose will take a peep at the
gravestone of Tom Purdie, who sleeps amid a long line of the dead,
reaching from the days of Aidan to our own, as alive he filled a little
niche in the regard! of a master who has given to both high and low so
many niches in the temple of immortality.

special arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers,
Houghton, Mifflin Co. Copyright, 1884.]


There was no road in Scotland or England which I should have been so
glad to have walked over as that from Edinburgh to Ecclefechan, a
distance covered many times by the feet of him whose birth and burial
place I was about to visit. Carlyle as a young man had walked it with
Edward Irving (the Scotch say "travel" when they mean going afoot), and
he had walked it alone, and as a lad with an elder boy, on his way to
Edinburgh College. He says in his "Reminiscences" he nowhere else had
such affectionate, sad, thoughtful, and in fact interesting and salutary

Not to be entirely cheated out of my walk, I left the train at Lockerby,
a small Scotch market-town, and accomplished the remainder of the
journey to Ecclefechan on foot, a brief six-mile pull. It was the first
day of June; the afternoon sun was shining brightly. It was still the
honeymoon of travel with me, not yet two weeks in the bonnie land; the
road was smooth and clean as the floor of a sea beach, and firmer, and
my feet devoured the distance with right good will....

Four miles from Lockerby I came to Mainhill, the name of a farm where
the Carlyle family lived many years, and where Carlyle first read
Goethe, "in a dry ditch," Froude says, and translated "Wilhelm Meister."
The land drops gently away to the south and east, opening up broad views
in these directions, but it does not seem to be the bleak and windy
place Froude describes it. The crops looked good, and the fields smooth
and fertile. The soil is rather a stubborn clay, nearly the same as one
sees everywhere....

The Carlyles were living on this farm while their son was teaching
school at Annan, and later at Kircaldy with Irving, and they supplied
him with cheese, butter, ham, oatmeal, etc., from their scanty stores. A
new farmhouse has been built since then, tho the old one is still
standing; doubtless the same Carlyle's father refers to in a letter to
his son, in 1817, as being under way. The parish minister was expected
at Mainhill. "Your mother was very anxious to have the house done before
he came, or else she said she would run over the hill and hide herself."

From Mainhill the highway descends slowly to the village of Ecclefechan,
the site of which is marked to the eye, a mile or more away, by the
spire of the church rising up against a background of Scotch firs, which
clothe a hill beyond. I soon enter the main street of the village, which
in Carlyle's youth had an open burn or creek flowing through the center
of it. This has been covered over by some enterprising citizen, and
instead of a loitering little burn, crossed by numerous bridges, the eye
is now greeted by a broad expanse of small cobble-stones. The cottages
are for the most part very humble, and rise from the outer edges of the
pavement, as if the latter had been turned up and shaped to make their
walls. The church is a handsome brown-stone structure, of recent date,
and is more in keeping with the fine fertile country about than with the
little village in its front. In the cemetery back of it, Carlyle lies
buried. As I approached, a girl sat by the roadside, near the gate,
combing her black locks and arranging her toilet; waiting, as it proved,
for her mother and brother, who lingered in the village. A couple of
boys were cutting nettles against the hedge; for the pigs, they said,
after the sting had been taken out of them by boiling. Across the street
from the cemetery the cows of the villagers were grazing.

I must have thought it would be as easy to distinguish Carlyle's grave
from the others as it was to distinguish the man while living, or his
fame when dead; for it never occurred to me to ask in what part of the
inclosure it was placed. Hence, when I found myself inside the gate,
which opens from the Annan road through a high stone wall, I followed
the most worn path toward a new and imposing-looking monument on the far
side of the cemetery; and the edge of my fine emotion was a good deal
dulled against the marble when I found it bore a strange name. I tried
others, and still others, but was disappointed. I found a long row of
Carlyles, but he whom I sought was not among them. My pilgrim enthusiasm
felt itself needlessly hindered and chilled. How many rebuffs could one
stand? Carlyle dead, then, was the same as Carlyle living; sure to take
you down a peg or two when you came to lay your homage at his feet.

Presently I saw "Thomas Carlyle" on a big marble slab that stood in a
family inclosure. But this turned out to be the name of a nephew of the
great Thomas. However, I had struck the right plat at last; here were
the Carlyles I was looking for, within a space probably of eight by
sixteen feet, surrounded by a high iron fence. The latest made grave was
higher and fuller than the rest, but it had no stone or mark of any kind
to distinguish it. Since my visit, I believe, a stone or monument of
some kind has been put up. A few daisies and the pretty blue-eyed
speedwell were growing amid the grass upon it. The great man lies with
his head toward the south or southwest, with his mother, sister, and
father to the right of him, and his brother John to the left. I was glad
to learn that the high iron fence was not his own suggestion. His father
had put it around the family plot in his lifetime. Carlyle would have
liked to have it cut down about half-way. The whole look of the
cemetery, except in the size of the head-stones, was quite American....

A young man and his wife were working in a nursery of young trees, a few
paces from the graves and I conversed with them through a thin place in
the hedge. They said they had seen Carlyle many times, and seemed to
hold him in proper esteem and reverence. The young man had seen him come
in summer and stand, with uncovered head, beside the graves of his
father and mother. "And long and reverently did he remain there, too,"
said the young gardener. I learned this was Carlyle's invariable custom:
every summer did he make a pilgrimage to this spot, and with bared head
linger beside these graves. The last time be came, which was a couple of
years before he died, he was so feeble that two persons sustained him
while he walked into the cemetery.

BURNS'S LAND [Footnote: From "Our Old Home." Published by Houghton,
Mifflin Co.]


We left Carlisle at a little past eleven, and within the half-hour were
at Gretna Green. Thence we rushed onward into Scotland through a flat
and dreary tract of country, consisting mainly of desert and bog, where
probably the moss-troopers were accustomed to take refuge after their
raids into England. Anon, however, the hills hove themselves up to view,
occasionally attaining a height which might almost be called
mountainous. In about two hours we reached Dumfries, and alighted at the
station there....

We asked for Burns's dwelling; and a woman pointed across a street to a
two-story house, built of stone, and whitewashed, like its neighbors,
but perhaps of a little more respectable aspect than most of them, tho I
hesitate in saying so. It was not a separate structure, but under the
same continuous roof with the next. There was an inscription on the
door, bearing no reference to Burns, but indicating that the house was
now occupied by a ragged or industrial school. On knocking, we were
instantly admitted by a servant-girl, who smiled intelligently when we
told our errand, and showed us into a low and very plain parlor, not
more than twelve or fifteen feet square. A young woman, who seemed to be
a teacher in the school, soon appeared, and told us that this had been
Burns's usual sitting-room, and that he had written many of his
songs here.

She then led us up a narrow staircase into a little bedchamber over the
parlor. Connecting with it, there is a very small room, or windowed
closet, which Burns used as a study; and the bedchamber itself was the
one where he slept in his later lifetime, and in which he died at last.
Altogether, it is an exceedingly unsuitable place for a pastoral and
rural poet to live or die in,--even more unsatisfactory than
Shakespeare's house, which has a certain homely picturesqueness that
contrasts favorably with the suburban sordidness of the abode
before us....

Coming to St. Michael's Church, we saw a man digging a grave, and,
scrambling out of the hole, he let us into the churchyard, which was
crowded full of monuments. There was a footpath through this crowded
churchyard, sufficiently well worn to guide us to the grave of Burns,
but a woman followed behind us, who, it appeared, kept the key to the
mausoleum, and was privileged to show it to strangers. The monument is a
sort of Grecian temple, with pilasters and a dome, covering a space of
about twenty feet square. It was formerly open to all the inclemencies
of the Scotch atmosphere, but is now protected and shut in by large
squares of rough glass, each pane being of the size of one whole side of
the structure. The woman unlocked the door, and admitted us into the
interior. Inlaid into the floor of the mausoleum is the gravestone of
Burns--the very same that was laid over his grave by Jean Armour, before
this monument was built. Displayed against the surrounding wall is a
marble statue of Burns at the plow, with the Genius of Caledonia
summoning the plowman to turn poet. Methought it was not a very
successful piece of work; for the plow was better sculptured than the
man, and the man, tho heavy and cloddish, was more effective than the
goddess. Our guide informed us that an old man of ninety, who knew
Burns, certifies this statue to be very like the original.

The bones of the poet, and of Jean Armour, and of some of their
children, lie in the vault over which we stood. Our guide (who was
intelligent, in her own plain way, and very agreeable to talk withal)
said that the vault was opened about three weeks ago, on occasion of the
burial of the eldest son of Burns. [Footnote: This was written in 1860.]
The poet's bones were disturbed, and the dry skull, once so brimming
over with powerful thought and bright and tender fantasies, was taken
away and kept for several days by a Dumfries doctor. It has since been
deposited in a new leaden coffin, and restored to the vault.

We went into the church, and found it very plain and naked, without
altar-decorations, and having its floor quite covered with unsightly
wooden pews. The woman led us to a pew cornering on one of the
side-aisles, and, telling us that it used to be Burns's family pew,
showed us his seat, which is in the corner by the aisle. It is so
situated, that a sturdy pillar hid him from the pulpit, and from the
minister's eye; "for Robin was no great friends with the ministers,"
said she. This touch--his seat behind the pillar, and Burns himself
nodding in sermon time, or keenly observant of profane things--brought
him before us to the life. In the corner-seat of the next pew, right
before Burns, and not more than two feet off, sat the young lady on whom
the poet saw that unmentionable parasite which he has immortalized in
song. We were ungenerous enough to ask the lady's name, but the good
woman could not tell it. This was the last thing which we saw in
Dumfries worthy of record; and it ought to be noted that our guide
refused some money which my companion offered her, because I had already
paid her what she deemed sufficient.

At the railway station we spent more than a weary hour, waiting for the
train, which at last came up, and took us to Mauchline. We got into an
omnibus, the only conveyance to be had, and drove about a mile to the
village, where we established ourselves at the Loudoun Hotel, one of the
veriest country inns which we have found in Great Britain. The town of
Mauchline, a place more redolent of Burns than almost any other,
consists of a street or two of contiguous cottages, mostly whitewashed,
and with thatched roofs. It has nothing sylvan or rural in the immediate
village, and is as ugly a place as mortal man could contrive to make, or
to render uglier through a succession of untidy generations. The fashion
of paving the village street, and patching one shabby house on the
gable-end of another, quite shuts out all verdure and pleasantness; but,
I presume, we are not likely to see a more genuine old Scotch village,
such as they used to be in Burns's time, and long before, than this of
Mauchline. The church stands about midway up the street, and is built of
red freestone, very simple in its architecture, with a square tower and
pinnacles. In this sacred edifice, and its churchyard, was the scene of
one of Burns's most characteristic productions, "The Holy Fair."

Almost directly opposite its gate, across the village street, stands
Posie Nansie's inn, where the "Jolly Beggars" congregated. The latter is
a two-story, red-stone, thatched house, looking old, but by no means
venerable, like a drunken patriarch. It has small, old-fashioned
windows, and may well have stood for centuries--tho seventy or eighty
years ago, when Burns was conversant with it, I should fancy it might
have been something better than a beggar's alehouse....

[Burns's farm of] Moss Giel is not more than a mile from Mauchline, and
the road extends over a high ridge of land, with a view of far hills and
green slopes on either side. Just before we reached the farm, the driver
stopt to point out a hawthorn, growing by the wayside, which he said was
Burns's "Lousie Thorn"; and I devoutly plucked a branch, altho I have
really forgotten where or how this illustrious shrub has been
celebrated. We then turned into a rude gateway, and almost immediately
came to the farmhouse of Moss Giel, standing some fifty yards removed
from the high-road, behind a tall hedge of hawthorn, and considerably
overshadowed by trees.

The biographers talk of the farm of Moss Giel as being damp and
unwholesome; but I do not see why, outside of the cottage walls, it
should possess so evil a reputation. It occupies a high, broad ridge,
enjoying, surely, whatever benefit can come of a breezy site, and
sloping far downward before any marshy soil is reached. The high hedge,
and the trees that stand beside the cottage, give it a pleasant aspect
enough to one who does, not know the grimy secrets of the interior; and
the summer afternoon was now so bright that I shall remember the scene
with a great deal of sunshine over it.

Leaving the cottage, we drove through a field, which the driver told us
was that in which Burns, turned up the mouse's nest. It is the
enclosure, nearest to the cottage, and seems now to be a pasture, and a
rather remarkably unfertile one. A little farther on, the ground was
whitened with an immense number of daisies--daisies, daisies everywhere;
and in answer to my inquiry, the driver said that this was the field
where Burns ran his plowshare over the daisy. If so, the soil seems to
have been consecrated to daisies by the song which he bestowed on that
first immortal one. I alighted, and plucked a whole handful of these
"wee, modest, crimson-tipped flowers," which will be precious to many
friends in our own country as coming from Burns's farm, and being of the
same race and lineage as that daisy which he turned into an amaranthine
flower while seeming to destroy it. Prom Moss Giel we drove through a
variety of pleasant scenes, some of which were familiar to us by their
connection with Burns.

By and by we came to the spot where Burns saw Miss Alexander, the Lass
of Ballochmyle. It was on a bridge, which (or, more probably, a bridge
that has succeeded to the old one, and is made of iron) crosses from
bank to bank, high in air, over a deep gorge of the road; so that the
young lady may have appeared to Burns like a creature between earth and
sky, and compounded chiefly of celestial elements. But, in honest truth,
the great charm of a woman, in Burns's eyes, was always her womanhood,
and not the angelic mixture which other poets find in her.

Our driver pointed out the course taken by the Lass of Ballochmyle,
through the shrubbery, to a rock on the banks of the Lugar, where it
seems to be the tradition that Burns accosted her. The song implies no
such interview. Lovers, of whatever condition, high or low, could desire
no lovelier scene in which to breathe their vows: the river flowing over
its pebbly bed, sometimes gleaming into the sunshine, sometimes hidden
deep in verdure, and here and there eddying at the foot of high and
precipitous cliffs.

Our ride to Ayr presented nothing very remarkable; and, indeed, a cloudy
and rainy day takes the varnish off the scenery and causes a woeful
diminution in the beauty and impressiveness of everything we see. Much
of our way lay along a flat, sandy level, in a southerly direction. We
reached Ayr in the midst of hopeless rain, and drove to the King's Arms
Hotel. In the intervals of showers I took peeps at the town, which
appeared to have many modern or modern-fronted edifices; altho there are
likewise tall, gray, gabled, and quaint-looking houses in the
by-streets, here and there, betokening an ancient place. The town lies
on both sides of the Ayr, which is here broad and stately, and bordered
with dwellings that look from their windows directly down into the
passing tide.

I crossed the river by a modern and handsome stone bridge, and recrossed
it, at no great distance, by a venerable structure of four gray arches,
which must have bestridden the stream ever since the early days of
Scottish history. These are the "Two Briggs of Ayr," whose midnight
conversation was overheard by Burns, while other auditors were aware
only of the rush and rumble of the wintry stream among the arches. The
ancient bridge is steep and narrow, and paved like a street, and
defended by a parapet of red freestone, except at the two ends, where
some mean old shops allow scanty room for the pathway to creep

The next morning wore a lowering aspect, as if it felt itself destined
to be one of many consecutive days of storm. After a good Scotch
breakfast, however, of fresh herrings and eggs, we took a fly, and
started at a little past ten for the banks of the Doon. On our way, at
about two miles from Ayr, we drew up at a roadside cottage, on which was
an inscription to the effect that Robert Burns was born within its
walls. It is now a public-house; and, of course, we alighted and entered
its little sitting-room, which, as we at present see it, is a neat
apartment, with the modern improvement of a ceiling. The walls are much
overscribbled with names of visitors, and the wooden door of a cupboard
in the wainscot, as well as all the other woodwork of the room, is cut
and carved with initial letters. So, likewise, are two tables, which,
having received a coat of varnish over the inscriptions, form really
curious and interesting articles of furniture. I have seldom (tho I do
not personally adopt this mode of illustrating my humble name) felt
inclined to ridicule the natural impulse of most people thus to record
themselves at the shrines of poets and heroes.

On a panel, let into the wall in a corner of the room, is a portrait of
Burns, copied from the original picture by Nasmyth. The floor of this
apartment is of boards, which are probably a recent substitute for the
ordinary flagstones of a peasant's cottage. There is but one other room
pertaining to the genuine birthplace of Robert Burns: it is the kitchen,
into which we now went. It has a floor of flagstones, even ruder than
those of Shakespeare's house--tho, perhaps, not so strangely cracked and
broken as the latter, over which the hoof of Satan himself might seem to
have been trampling. A new window has been opened through the wall,
toward the road; but on the opposite side is the little original window,
of only four small panes, through which came the first daylight that
shone upon the Scottish poet. At the side of the room, opposite the
fireplace, is a recess, containing a bed, which can be hidden by
curtains. In that humble nook, of all places in the world, Providence
was pleased to deposit the germ of the richest human life which mankind
then had within its circumference.

These two rooms, as I have said, make up the whole sum and substance of
Burns's birthplace: for there were no chambers, nor even attics; and the
thatched roof formed the only ceiling of kitchen and sitting-room, the
height of which was that of the whole house. The cottage, however, is
attached to another edifice of the same size and description, as these
little habitations often are; and, moreover, a splendid addition has
been made to it, since the poet's renown began to draw visitors to the
wayside alehouse. The old woman of the house led us, through an entry,
and showed a vaulted hall, of no vast dimensions, to be sure but
marvelously large and splendid as compared with what might be
anticipated from the outward aspect of the cottage. It contained a bust
of Burns, and was hung round with pictures and engravings, principally
illustrative of his life and poems. In this part of the house, too,
there is a parlor, fragrant with tobacco-smoke; and, no doubt, many a
noggin of whisky is here quaffed to the memory of the bard, who profest
to draw so much inspiration from that potent liquor.

We bought some engravings of Kirk Alloway, the Bridge of Doon, and the
monument, and gave the old woman a fee besides, and took our leave. A
very short drive farther brought us within sight of the monument, and to
the hotel, situated close by the entrance of the ornamental grounds
within which the former is enclosed. We rang the bell at the gate of the
enclosure, but were forced to wait a considerable time; because the old
man, the regular superintendent of the spot, had gone to assist at the
laying of the corner-stone of a new kirk. He appeared anon, and admitted
us, but immediately hurried away to be present at the ceremonies,
leaving us locked up with Burns.

The enclosure around the monument is beautifully laid out as an
ornamental garden, and abundantly provided with rare flowers and
shrubbery, all tended with loving care. The monument stands on an
elevated site, and consists of a massive basement-story, three-sided,
above which rises a light and elegant Grecian temple--a mere dome,
supported on Corinthian pillars, and open to all the winds. The edifice
is beautiful in itself; tho I know not what peculiar appropriateness it
may have, as the memorial of a Scottish rural poet.

The door of the basement-story stood open; and, entering, we saw a bust
of Burns in a niche, looking keener, more refined, but not so warm and
whole-souled as his pictures usually do. I think the likeness can not be
good. In the center of the room stood a glass case, in which were
deposited the two volumes of the little Pocket Bible that Burns gave to
Highland Mary, when they pledged their troth to one another. It is
poorly printed, on coarse paper. A verse of Scripture, referring to the
solemnity and awfulness of vows, is written within the cover of each
volume, in the poet's own hand; and fastened to one of the covers is a
lock of Highland Mary's golden hair. This Bible had been carried to
America by one of her relatives, but was sent back to be fitly
treasured here.

There is a staircase within the monument, by which we ascended to the
top, and had a view of both Briggs of Doon; the scene of Tam O'Shanter's
misadventure being close at hand. Descending, we wandered through the
enclosed garden, and came to a little building in a corner, on entering
which, we found the two statues of Tam and Sutor Wat--ponderous
stonework enough, yet permeated in a remarkable degree with living
warmth and jovial hilarity. Prom this part of the garden, too, we again
beheld the old Briggs of Doon, over which Tam galloped in such imminent
and awful peril. It is a beautiful object in the landscape, with one
high, graceful arch, ivy-grown, and shadowed all over and around
with foliage.

When we had waited a good while, the old gardener came, telling us that
he had heard an excellent prayer at laying the corner-stone of the new
kirk. He now gave us some roses and sweetbrier, and let us out from his
pleasant garden. We immediately hastened to Kirk Alloway, which is
within two or three minutes' walk of the monument. A few steps ascend
from the roadside, through a gate, into the old graveyard, in the midst
of which stands the kirk. The edifice is wholly roofless, but the
side-walls and gable-ends are quite entire, tho portions of them are
evidently modern restorations. Never was there a plainer little church,
or one with smaller architectural pretension; no New England
meetinghouse has more simplicity in its very self, tho poetry and fun
have clambered and clustered so wildly over Kirk Alloway that it is
difficult to see it as it actually exists. By the by, I do not
understand why Satan and an assembly of witches should hold their revels
within a consecrated precinct; but the weird scene has so established
itself in the world's imaginative faith that it must be accepted as an
authentic incident, in spite of rule and reason to the contrary.
Possibly, some carnal minister, some priest of pious aspect and hidden
infidelity, had dispelled the consecration of the holy edifice, by his
pretense of prayer, and thus made it the resort of unhappy ghosts and
sorcerers and devils.

The interior of the kirk, even now, is applied to quite as impertinent a
purpose as when Satan and the witches used it as a dancing-hall; for it
is divided in the midst by a wall of stone masonry, and each compartment
has been converted into a family burial-place. The name on one of the
monuments is Crawfurd; the other bore no inscription. It is impossible
not to feel that these good people, whoever they may be, had no business
to thrust their prosaic bones into a spot that belongs to the world, and
where their presence jars with the emotions, be they sad or gay, which
the pilgrim brings thither. They shut us out from our own precincts,
too--from that inalienable possession which Burns bestowed in free gift
upon mankind, by taking it from the actual earth and annexing it to the
domain of imagination.

Kirk Alloway is inconceivably small, considering how large a space it
fills in our imagination before we see it. I paced its length, outside
of the wall, and found it only seventeen of my paces, and not more than
ten of them in breadth. There seem to have been but very few windows,
all of which, if I rightly remember, are now blocked up with mason-work
of stone. One mullioned window, tall and narrow, in the eastern gable,
might have been seen by Tam O'Shanter, blazing with devilish light, as
he approached along the road from Ayr; and there is a small and square
one, on the side nearest the road, into which he might have peered, as
he sat on horseback. Indeed, I could easily have looked through it,
standing on the ground, had not the opening been walled up. There is an
odd kind of belfry at the peak of one of the gables, with the small bell
still hanging in it. And this is all that I remember of Kirk Alloway,
except that the stones of its material are gray and irregular.

The road from Ayr passes Alloway Kirk, and crosses the Doon by a modern
bridge, without swerving much from a straight line. To reach the old
bridge, it appears to have made a bend, shortly after passing the kirk,
and then to have turned sharply toward the river. The new bridge is
within a minute's walk of the monument; and we went thither, and leaned
over its parapet to admire the beautiful Doon, flowing wildly and
sweetly between its deep and wooded banks. I never saw a lovelier scene;
altho this might have been even lovelier, if a kindly sun had shone upon
it. The ivy-grown, ancient bridge, with its high arch, through which we
had a picture of the river and the green banks beyond, was absolutely
the most picturesque object, in a quiet and gentle way, that ever blest
my eyes. Bonny Doon, with its wooded banks, and the boughs dipping into
the water! The memory of them, at this moment, affects me like the song
of birds, and Burns crooning some verses, simple and wild, in accordance
with their native melody.... We shall appreciate him better as a poet,
hereafter; for there is no writer whose life, as a man, has so much to
do with his fame, and throws such a necessary light upon whatever he has
produced. Henceforth, there will be a personal warmth for us in
everything that he wrote; and, like his countrymen, we shall know him in
a kind of personal way, as if we had shaken hands with him, and felt the
thrill of his actual voice.

HIGHLAND MARY'S HOME AND GRAVE [Footnote: From "A Literary Pilgrimage."
By arrangement with, and by permission of, the publishers, J. B.
Lippincott Co. Copyright, 1895.]


There is no stronger proof of the transcending power of the genius of
Burns than is found in the fact that, by a bare half-dozen of his
stanzas, an humble dairy servant--else unheard of outside her parish and
forgotten at her death--is immortalized as a peeress of Petrarch's Laura
and Dante's Beatrice, and has been for a century loved and mourned of
all the world. We owe much of our tenderest poesy to the heroines whose
charms have attuned the fancy and aroused the impassioned muse of
enamoured bards; readers have always exhibited a natural avidity to
realize the personality of the beings who inspired the tender
lays--prompted often by mere curiosity, but more often by a desire to
appreciate the tastes and motives of the poets themselves. How little is
known of Highland Mary, the most famous heroine of modern song, is shown
by the brief, coherent, and often contradictory allusions to her which
the biographies of the plowman-poet contain. This paper--prepared during
a sojourn in "The Land of Burns"--while it adds a little to our meager
knowledge of Mary Campbell, aims to present consecutively and
congruously so much as may be known of her brief life, her relation to
the bard, and her sad, heroic death.

She first saw the light in 1764, at Ardrossan, on the coast, fifteen
miles northward from the "auld town of Ayr." Her parentage was of the
humblest, her father being a sailor before the mast, and the poor
dwelling which sheltered her was in no way superior to the meanest of
those we find to-day on the narrow streets of her village. From her
birthplace we see, across the Firth of Clyde, the beetling mountains of
the Highlands, where she afterward dwells and southward the great mass
of Ailsa Craig looming, a gigantic pyramid, out of the sea. Mary was
named for her aunt, wife of Peter McPherson, a ship-carpenter of
Greenock, in whose house Mary died. In her infancy her family removed to
the vicinage of Dunoon, on the western shore of the Firth, eight miles
below Greenock, leaving the oldest daughter at Ardrossan. Mary grew to
young womanhood near Dunoon then returned to Ayrshire, and found
occupation at Coilsfield, near Tarbolton, where her acquaintance with
Burns soon began. He told a lady that he first saw Mary while walking in
the woods of Coilsfield: and first spoke with her at a rustic
merrymaking, and "having the luck to win her regards from other
suitors," they speedily became intimate. At this period of life Burn's
"eternal propensity to fall into love" was unusually active, even for
him, and his passion for Mary (at this time) was one of several which
engaged his heart in the interval between the reign of Ellison
Begbie--"the lass of the twa sparkling, roguish een"--and that of
"Bonnie Jean." Mary subsequently became a servant in the house of Burn's
landlord, Gavin Hamilton, a lawyer of Mauchline, who had early
recognized the genius of the bard and admitted him to an intimate
friendship, despite his inferior condition....

Within a stone's-throw of Mary dwelt Jean Armour, and when the former
returned to Coilsfield, he promptly fell in love with Jean, and solaced
himself with her more buxom and compliant charms. It was a year or so
later, when his intercourse with Jean had burdened him with grief and
shame, that the tender and romantic affection for Mary came into his
life. She was yet at Coilsfield, and while he was in hiding--his heart
tortured by the apparent perfidy of Jean and all the countryside
condemning his misconduct--his intimacy with Mary was renewed; his
quickened vision now discerned her endearing attributes, her trust and
sympathy were precious in his distress, and awoke in him an affection
such as he never felt for any other woman. During a few brief weeks the
lovers spent their evenings and Sabbaths together, loitering amid the

"Banks and braes and streams around
The Castle of Montgomery,"

talking of the golden days that were to be theirs when present troubles
were past; then came the parting which the world will never forget, and
Mary relinquished her service and went to her parents at Campbelltown--a
port of Cantyre behind "Arran's mountain isle." Of this parting Burns
says, in a letter to Thomson, "We met by appointment on the second
Sunday of May, in a sequestered spot on the Ayr, where we spent the day
in taking farewell before she should embark for the West Highlands to
prepare for our projected change of life." Lovers of Burns linger over
this final parting, and detail the impressive ceremonials with which the
pair solemnized their betrothal: they stood on either side of a brook,
they laved their hands in the water and scattered it in the air to
symbolize the purity of their intentions; clasping hands above an open
Bible, they swore to be true to each other forever, then exchanged
Bibles, and parted never to meet more.

It is not strange that when death had left him nothing of her but her
poor little Bible, a tress of her golden hair, and a tender memory of
her love, the recollection of this farewell remained in his soul
forever. He has pictured it in the exquisite lines of "Highland Mary"
and "To Mary in Heaven." In the monument at Alloway--between the "auld
haunted kirk" and the bridge where Maggie lost her tail--we are shown a
memento of the parting; it is the Bible which Burns gave to Mary and
above which their vows were said. At Mary's death it passed to her
sister, at Ardrossan, who bequeathed it to her son William Anderson;
subsequently it was carried to America by one of the family, whence it
has been recovered to be treasured here. It is a pocket edition in two
volumes, to one of which is attached a lock of poor Mary's shining

A visit to the scenes of the brief passion of the pair is a pleasing
incident of our Burns pilgrimage. Coilsfield House is somewhat changed
since Mary dwelt beneath its roof--a great rambling edifice of gray
weather-worn stone with a row of white pillars aligned along its facade,
its massive walls embowered in foliage and environed by the grand woods
which Burns and Mary knew so well. It was then a seat of Colonel Hugh
Montgomerie, a patron of Burns. The name Coilsfield is derived from
Coila, the traditional appellation of the district. The grounds comprise
a billowy expanse of wood and sward; great reaches of turf, dotted with
trees already venerable when the lovers here had their tryst a hundred
years ago, slope away from the mansion to the Faile and border its
murmuring course to the Ayr. Here we trace with romantic interest the
wanderings of the pair during the swift hours of that last day of
parting love, their lingering way 'neath the "wild wood's thickening
green," by the pebbled shore of Ayr to the brooklet where their vows
were made, and thence along the Faile to the woodland shades of
Coilsfield, where, at the close of that winged day, "pledging oft to
meet again, they tore themselves asunder." Howitt found at Coilsfield a
thorn-tree, called by all the country "Highland Mary's thorn," and
believed to be the place of final parting; years ago the tree was
notched and broken by souvenir seekers; if it be still in existence the
present occupant of Coilsfield is unaware.....

Mary remained at Campbelltown during the summer of 1786. Coming to
Greenock in the autumn, she found her brother sick of a malignant fever
at the house of her aunt; bravely disregarding danger of contagion, she
devoted herself to nursing him, and brought him to a safe convalescense
only to be herself stricken by his malady and to rapidly sink and die, a
sacrifice to her sisterly affection. By this time the success of his
poems had determined Burns to remain in Scotland, and he returned to
Moss Giel, where tidings of Mary's death reached him. His brother
relates that when the letter was handed to him he went to the window and
read it, then his face was observed to change suddenly, and he quickly
went out without speaking. In June of the next year he made a solitary
journey to the Highlands, apparently drawn by memory of Mary. If,
indeed, he dropt a tear upon her neglected grave and visited her humble
Highland home, we may almost forgive him the excesses of that tour, if
not the renewed liaison with Jean which immediately preceded, and the
amorous correspondence with "Clarinda" (Mrs. M'Lehose) which
followed it.....

Poor Mary is laid in the burial-plot of her uncle in the west kirk-yard
of Greenock, near Crawford Street; our pilgrimage in Burns-land may
fitly end at her grave. A pathway, beaten by the feet of many reverent
visitors, leads us to the spot. It is so pathetically different from the
scenes she loved in life--the heather-clad slopes of her Highland home,
the seclusion of the wooded braes where she loitered with her
poet-lover. Scant foliage is about her; few birds sing above her here.
She lies by the wall; narrow streets hem in the enclosure; the air is
sullied by smoke from factories and from steamers passing within a
stone's throw on the busy Clyde; the clanging of many hammers and the
discordant din of machinery and traffic invade the place and sound in
our ears as we muse above the ashes of the gentle lassie.

For half a century her grave was unmarked and neglected; then, by
subscription, a monument of marble, twelve feet in height, and of
graceful proportions, was raised. It bears a sculptured medallion
representing Burns and Mary, with clasped hands, plighting their troth.
Beneath is the simple inscription, read oft by eyes dim with tears:

Erected over the grave of
Highland Mary

"My Mary, dear departed shade,
Where is thy place of blissful rest?"

England." Published by Henry Holt & Co.]


In the luminous morning mist, amid a line of masts and rigging, the
steamboat sailed down the Clyde to the sea. We proceeded along the
indented and rugged coast from one bay to another. These bays, being
almost entirely closed in, resemble lakes, and the large sheets of water
mirror an amphitheater of green hills. All the corners and windings of
the shore are strewn with white villas; the water is crowded with ships;
a height was pointed out to me whence three hundred sail may often be
counted at a time; a three-decker floats in the distance like a swan
among sea-mews. This vast space spread forth and full of life, dilates
the mind, one's chest expands more freely, one joyfully inhales the
fresh and keen breeze. But the effect upon the nerves and the heart does
not resemble that of the Mediterranean; this air and country, instead of
pre-disposing to pleasure, dispose to action.

We enter a small vessel drawn by three horses, which transports us along
the Crinan canal, between two banks of green turf. On the one side are
rocks covered with brushwood; on the other, steep declivities of a gray
or reddish tinge; this, indeed, is color at least, a pleasure for the
eye, well mingled, matched, and blended tints. On the bank and amid the
bushes are wild roses, and fragile plants with white tufts smile with a
delicate and charming grace.

At the outlet from the canal we go on board a large steamer, and the sea
opens out wider than ever. The sky is exceedingly clear and brilliant,
and the waves break in the sunlight, quivering with reflections of
molten tin. The vessel continues her course, leaving in her track a
bubbling and boiling path; sea gulls follow unweariedly behind her. On
both sides, islands, rocks, boldly-cut promontories stand in sharp
relief in the pale azure; the scene changes every quarter of an hour.
But on rounding every point the infinite ocean reappears, mingling its
almost flat line with the curve of the white sky.

The sun sets, we pass by Glencoe, and Ben Nevis appears sprinkled with
snow; the bay becomes narrower, and the mass of water, confined amid
barren mountains, assumes a tragic appearance. Human beings have come
hither to little purpose. Nature remains indomitable and wild; one feels
oneself upon a planet.

We disembark near Fort William; the dying twilight, the fading red rays
on the horizon enable us to get a glimpse of a desolate country; acres
of peat-bog, eminences rising from the valley between two ranges of huge
mountains. A bird of prey screams amid the stillness. Here and there we
see some wretched hovels; I am told that those on the heights are dens
without windows, and from which the smoke escapes through a hole in the
roof. Many of the old men are blind. What an unpropitious abode for man!

On the morrow we voyaged during four hours on the Caledonian canal
amidst solitudes, a monotonous row of treeless mountains, enormous green
eminences, dotted here and there with fallen stones. A few sheep of a
dwarf breed crop the scanty herbage on the slopes; sometimes the winter
is so severe that they die; in the distance we perceive a shaggy ox,
with savage eyes, the size of a small ass. Both plants and animals
perish, or are stunted. In order to make such a land yield anything it
must first be replanted with trees, as has been done in Sutherlandshire;
a tree renews the soil; it also shelters crops, flocks and herds, and
human beings.

The canal terminates in a series of lakes. Nothing is more noble than
their aspect, nothing more touching. The water, embrowned by the peat,
forms a vast shining plain, surrounded by a circle of mountains. In
proportion as we advance each mountain slowly grows upon us, becomes
more conspicuous, stands forth with its form and physiognomy; the
farther blue peaks melt the one behind the other, diminishing toward the
horizon, which they enclose. Thus they stand in position like an
assemblage of huge, mournful beings around the black water wherein they
are mirrored, while above them and the lake, from time to time, the sun
flashes through the shroud of clouds.

At last the solitude becomes less marked. The mountains are half-wooded
at first, and then wholly so; they dwindle down; the widening valleys
are covered with harvest; the fresh and green verdure of the herbage
which supplies forage begins to clothe the hollows and the slopes. We
enter Inverness, and we are surprised to find at almost the extreme
north of Scotland, on the border of the Highlands, a pretty and lively
modern town. It stretches along the two banks of a clear and rapid
river. Many houses are newly-built; we note a church, a castle, an iron
bridge. In every part are marks of cleanliness, forethought, and special
care. The window-panes shine, the frames have been painted; the
bell-handles are of copper; there are flowers in the windows; the
poorest nouses are freshly whitewashed. Well-drest ladies and carefully
drest gentlemen walk along the streets. Even a desire to possess works
of art is shown by Ionian pillars, specimens of pure Gothic, and other
architectural gimcrackery, and these prove at least the search after
improvement. The land itself is clearly of inferior quality; industry,
order, economy and labor have done everything. How great the contrast
between all this and the aspect of a small town on the shores of the
Mediterranean, so neglected and filthy, where the lower middle class
exist like worms in a worm-eaten beam!

THE SCOTCH HIGHLANDS [Footnote: From "Notes on England." Published by
Henry Holt & Co.]


On the slopes the violet heaths are spread like a silken carpet under
the scanty firs. Higher still are large patches of evergreen wood, and,
as soon as the mountain is approached, a brown circle of barren
eminences may be discerned toward the horizon. At the end of an hour the
desert begins; the climate is inimical to life, even to that of plants.
A tarn, the tint of burned topaz, lies coldly and sadly between stony
slopes whereon a few tufts of fern and heather grow here and there. Half
a league higher is a second tarn, which appears still more dismal in the
rising mist. Around, patches of snow are sprinkled on the peaks, and
these descending in rivulets produce morasses. The small country ponies,
with a sure instinct, surmount the bog, and we arrive at an elevation
whence the eye, as far as it can reach, embraces nothing but an
amphitheater of desolate, yet green summits; owing to the destruction of
timber, everything else has perished; a scene of ruined nature is far
more melancholy a spectacle than any human ruins. On our return across
the lake, a bag-piper played his instrument. The music is strange and
wild, its effects harmonizing with the aspect of the bubbling streams,
veined with striking or somber reflections. The same simple note, a kind
of dance music, runs through the whole piece in an incorrect and odd
manner, and continually recurs, but it is always harsh and rough; it
might be likened to an orange shriveled with the cold and
rendered bitter.

These are the Highlands. From Braemar to Perth we journey through them
for many long miles. It is always a solitude; sometimes five or six
valleys in succession are wholly bare, and one may travel for an hour
without seeing a tree; then for another hour it is rare merely to see in
the distance a wretched twisted birchen-tree, which is dying or dead. It
would be some compensation if the rock were naked, and exhibited its
mineral structure in all its fulness and ruggedness. But these
mountains, of no great elevation, are but bosses with flabby outlines,
they have fallen to pieces, and are stone heaps, resembling the remains
of a quarry. In winter, torrents of water uproot the heather, leaving on
the slopes a leprous, whitened scar, badly tinted by the too feeble sun.
The summits are truncated, and want boldness. Patches of miserable
verdure seam their sides and mark the oozing of springs; the remainder
is covered with brownish heather. Below, at the very bottom, a torrent
obstructed by stones, struggles along its channel, or lingers in
stagnant pools. One sometimes discerns a hovel, with a stunted cow. The
gray, low-lying sky, completes the impression of lugubrious monotony.

Our conveyance ascends the last mountain. At length we see a steep
declivity, a great rocky wall; but it is unique. We descend again, and
enter a habitable tract. Cultivation occurs first on the lower parts,
then on the slopes; the declivities are wooded, and then entire
mountains; forests of firs spread their somber mantle over the crests;
fields of oats and barley extend on all sides; we perceive pretty clumps
of trees, houses surrounded by gardens and flowers, and then culture of
all descriptions upon the lessening hills, here and there a park and a
modern mansion. The sun bursts forth and shines merrily, but without
heat; the fertile plain expands, abounding in promises of convenience
and pleasure, and we enter Perth thinking about the historical
narrations of Sir Walter Scott, and the contrast between the mountain
and the plain, the revilings and scornings interchanged between the
inhabitants of the Highlands and the Lowlands.

BEN LOMOND AND THE HIGHLAND LAKES [Footnote: From "Views Afoot."
Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons.]


It was indeed a glorious walk from Dumbarton to Loch Lomond through this
enchanting valley. The air was mild and clear; a few light clouds
occasionally crossing the sun chequered the hills with sun and shade. I
have as yet seen nothing that in pastoral beauty can compare with its
glassy winding stream, its mossy old woods and guarding hills and the
ivy-grown, castellated towers embosomed in its forests or standing on
the banks of the Leven--the purest of rivers. At the little village
called Renton is a monument to Smollett, but the inhabitants seem to
neglect his memory, as one of the tablets on the pedestal is broken and
half fallen away. Farther up the vale a farmer showed us an old mansion
in the midst of a group of trees on the banks of the Leven which he said
belonged to Smollett--or Roderick Random, as he called him. Two or three
old pear trees were still standing where the garden had formerly been,
under which he was accustomed to play in his childhood.

At the head of Leven Vale we set off in the steamer "Watch-Witch" over
the crystal waters of Loch Lomond, passing Inch Murrin, the deer-park of
the Duke of Montrose, and Inch Caillaeh,

"where gray pines wave
Their shadows o'er Clan Alpine's grave."

Under the clear sky and golden light of the declining sun we entered the
Highlands, and heard on every side names we had learned long ago in the
lays of Scott. Here was Glen Fruin and Bannochar, Ross Dhu and the pass
of Beal-ma-na. Farther still we passed Rob Roy's rock, where the lake is
locked in by lofty mountains. The cone-like peak of Ben Lomond rises far
above on the right, Ben Voirlich stands in front, and the jagged crest
of Ben Arthur looks over the shoulder of the western hills....

When we arose in the morning, at four o'clock, to return with the boat,
the sun was already shining upon the westward hills; scarcely a cloud
was in the sky and the air was pure and cool. To our great delight, Ben
Lomond was unshrouded, and we were told that a more favorable day for
the ascent had not occurred for two months. We left the boat at
Rowardennan, an inn, at the southern base of Ben Lomond. After
breakfasting on Loch Lomond trout I stole out to the shore while my
companions were preparing for the ascent, and made a hasty sketch of
the lake.

We proposed descending on the northern side and crossing the Highlands
to Loch Katrine; tho it was represented as difficult and dangerous by
the guide who wished to accompany us, we determined to run the risk of
being enveloped in a cloud on the summit, and so set out alone, the path
appearing plain before us. We had no difficulty in following it up the
lesser heights, around the base. It wound on over rock and bog, among
the heather and broom with which the mountain is covered, sometimes
running up a steep acclivity and then winding zigzag round a rocky
ascent. The rains two days before had made the bogs damp and muddy; but,
with this exception, we had little trouble for some time.

Ben Lomond is a doubly-formed mountain. For about three-fourths of the
way there is a continued ascent, when it is suddenly terminated by a
large barren plain, from one end of which the summit shoots up abruptly,
forming at the north side a precipice five hundred feet high. As we
approached the summit of the first part of the mountain the way became
very steep and toilsome, but the prospect, which had before been only on
the south side, began to open on the east, and we saw suddenly spread
out below us the vale of Monteith, with "far Loch Ard and Aberfoil" in
the center and the huge front of Ben Venue filling up the picture.
Taking courage from this, we hurried on. The heather had become stunted
and dwarfish, and the ground was covered with short brown grass. The
mountain-sheep which we saw looking at us from the rock above had worn
so many paths along the side that we could not tell which to take, but
pushed on in the direction of the summit, till, thinking it must be near
at hand, we found a mile and a half of plain before us, with the top of
Ben Lomond at the farther end. The plain was full of wet moss crossed in
all directions by deep ravines or gullies worn in it by the
mountain-rains, and the wind swept across with a tempest-like force.

I met near the base a young gentleman from Edinburgh who had left
Rowardennan before us, and we commenced ascending together. It was hard
work, but neither liked to stop; so we climbed up to the first
resting-place, and found the path leading along the brink of a
precipice. We soon attained the summit, and, climbing up a little mound
of earth and stones, I saw the half of Scotland at a glance. The clouds
hung just above the mountain-tops, which rose all around like the waves
of a mightly sea. On every side, near and far, stood their misty
summits, but Ben Lomond was the monarch of them all. Loch Lomond lay
unrolled under my feet like a beautiful map; just opposite, Loch Long
thrust its head from between the feet of crowded hills to catch a
glimpse of the giant. We could see from Ben Nevis to Ayr--from
Edinburgh to Staffa. Stirling and Edinburgh castles would have been
visible but that the clouds hung low in the valley of the Forth and hid
them from our sight.

... At a cottage on the farm of Coman, we procured some oatcakes and
milk for dinner from an old Scotch woman who pointed out the direction
of Loch Katrine, six miles distant; there was no road, nor, indeed, a
solitary dwelling between. The hills were bare of trees, covered with
scraggy bushes and rough heath, which in some places was so thick we
could scarcely drag our feet through. Added to this, the ground was
covered with a kind of moss that retained the moisture like a sponge; so
that our boots ere long became thoroughly soaked. Several considerable
streams were rushing down the side, and many of the wild breed of black
Highland cattle were grazing around. After climbing up and down one or
two heights, occasionally startling the moorcock and ptarmigan from
their heathery coverts, we saw the valley of Loch Con, while in the
middle of the plain on the top of the mountain we had ascended was a
sheet of water which we took to be Loch Ackill. Two or three wild-fowl
swimming on its surface were the only living things in sight. The peaks
around shut it out from all view of the world; a single decayed tree
leaned over it from a mossy rock which gave the whole scene an air of
the most desolate wildness.

From the next mountain we saw Loch Ackill and Loch Katrine below, but a
wet and weary descent had yet to be made. I was about throwing off my
knapsack on a rock to take a sketch of Loch Katrine, which appeared to
be very beautiful from this point, when we discerned a cavalcade of
ponies winding along the path from Inversnaid to the head of the lake,
and hastened down to take the boat when they should arrive.... As we
drew near the eastern end of the lake the scenery became far more
beautiful. The Trosachs opened before us. Ben Ledi looked down over the
"forehead bare" of Ben An, and as we turned a rocky point Ellen's Isle
rose up in front. It is a beautiful little turquoise in the silver
setting of Loch Katrine. The northern side alone is accessible, all the
others being rocky and perpendicular and thickly grown with trees. We
rounded the island to the little bay, bordered by the silver strand,
above which is the rock from which Fitz-James wound his horn, and shot
under an ancient oak which flung its long gray arms over the water. We
here found a flight of rocky steps leading to the top, where stood the
bower erected by Lady Willoughby D'Eresby to correspond with Scott's
description. Two or three blackened beams are all that remain of it,
having been burned down some years ago by the carelessness of
a traveler.

The mountains stand all around, like giants, to "sentinel this enchanted
land." On leaving the island we saw the Goblin's Cave in the side of Ben
Venue, called by the Gaels "Coiran-Uriskin." Near it is Beal-nam-bo--the
"Pass of Cattle"--overhung with gray weeping birch-trees.

Here the boatmen stopt to let us hear the fine echo, and the names of
Rob Roy and Roderick Dhu were sent back to us apparently as loud as they
were given. The description of Scott is wonderfully exact, tho the
forest that feathered o'er the sides of Ben Venue has since been cut
down and sold by the Duke of Montrose.

When we reached the end of the lake, it commenced raining, and we
hastened on through the pass of Beal-an-Duine, scarcely taking time to
glance at the scenery, till Loch Achray appeared through the trees, and
on its banks the ivy-grown front of the inn of Ardcheancrochan--with its
unpronounceable name.

TO THE HEBRIDES [Footnote: From "A Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides
with Samuel Johnson, LL.D."]


My acquaintance, the Reverend Mr. John Macauley, one of the ministers of
Inverary, and brother to our good friend at Calder, came to us this
morning, and accompanied us to the castle, where I presented Dr. Johnson
to the Duke of Argyle. We were shown through the house; and I never
shall forget the impression made upon my fancy by some of the ladies'
maids tripping about in neat morning dresses. After seeing for a long
time little but rusticity, their lively manner, and gay, inviting
appearance, pleased me so much, that I thought for the moment, I could
have been a knight-errant for them.

We then got into a low one-horse chair, ordered for us by the duke, in
which we drove about the place. Dr. Johnson was much struck by the
grandeur and elegance of this princely seat. He thought, however, the
castle too low, and wished it had been a story higher. He said, "What I
admire here, is the total defiance of expense." I had a particular pride
in showing him a great number of fine old trees, to compensate for the
nakedness which had made such an impression on him on the eastern coast
of Scotland.

When we came in, before dinner, we found the duke and some gentlemen in
the hall. Dr. Johnson took much notice of the large collection of arms,
which are excellently disposed there. I told what he had said to Sir
Alexander Macdonald, of his ancestors not suffering their arms to rust.
"Well," said the doctor, "but let us be glad we live in times when arms
may rust. We can sit to-day at his grace's table without any risk of
being attacked, and perhaps sitting down again wounded or maimed." The
duke placed Dr. Johnson next himself at the table. I was in fine
spirits, and tho sensible that I had the misfortune of not being in
favor with the duchess I was not in the least disconcerted, and offered
her grace some of the dish that was before me. It must be owned that I
was in the right to be quite unconcerned, if I could. I was the Duke of
Argyle's guest, and I had no reason to suppose that he adopted the
prejudices and resentments of the Duchess of Hamilton....

The duchess was very attentive to Dr. Johnson. I know not how a middle
state came to be mentioned. Her Grace wished to hear him on that point.
"Madam," said he, "your own relation, Mr. Archibald Campbell, can tell
you better about it than I can. He was a bishop of the Nonjuring
communion, and wrote a book upon the subject." He engaged to get it for
her grace. He afterward gave a full history of Mr. Archibald Campbell,
which I am sorry I do not recollect particularly.

He said Mr. Campbell had been bred a violent Whig, but afterward "kept
better company, and became a Tory." He said this with a smile, in
pleasant allusion, as I thought, to the opposition between his own
political principles and those of the duke's clan. He added that Mr.
Campbell, after the revolution, was thrown into jail on account of his
tenets; but, on application by letter to the old Lord Townshend, was
released; that he always spoke of his lordship with great gratitude,
saying, "tho a Whig, he had humanity."

A gentleman in company, after dinner, was desired by the duke to go into
another room, for a specimen of curious marble, which his grace wished
to show us. He brought a wrong piece, upon which the duke sent him back
again. He could not refuse, but, to avoid any appearance of servility,
he whistled as he walked out of the room, to show his independence. On
my mentioning this afterward to Dr. Johnson, he said, it was a nice
trait of character.

Dr. Johnson talked a great deal, and was so entertaining, that Lady
Betty Hamilton, after dinner, went and placed her chair close to his,
leaned upon the back of it, and listened eagerly. It would have made a
fine picture to have drawn the sage and her at this time in their
several attitudes. He did not know, all the while, how much he was
honored. I told him afterward. I never saw him so gentle and complaisant
as this day.

We went to tea. The duke and I walked up and down the drawing room,
conversing. The duchess still continued to show the same marked coldness
for me; for which, tho I suffered from it, I made every allowance,
considering the very warm part I had taken for Douglas, in the cause in
which she thought her son deeply interested. Had not her grace
discovered some displeasure toward me, I should have suspected her of
insensibility or dissimulation....

He was much pleased with our visit at the castle of Inverary. The Duke
of Argyle was exceedingly polite to him, and, upon his complaining of
the shelties which he had hitherto ridden being too small for him, his
grace told him he should be provided with a good horse to carry him
next day.

STAFFA AND IONA [Footnote: From "Visits to Remarkable Places."]


We are bound for the regions of ghosts and fays, mermaids and kelpies,
of great sea-snakes, and a hundred other marvels and miracles. To
accomplish all this, we have nothing more to do than step on board the
steam-packet that lies at the Broomielaw, or great quay at Glasgow. The
volume of heavy black smoke, issuing from its nickled chimney, announces
that it means to be moving on its way speedily....

Emerging from the Crinan canal, you issue forth into the Sound of Jura,
and feel at once that you are in the stern and yet beautiful region of
your youthful admiration. There is the heavy swell and the solemn roar
of the great Atlantic. You feel the wild winds that sweep over it. You
see around you only high and craggy coasts, that are bleak and naked
with the lashings of a thousand tempests. All before you, are scattered
rocks that emerge from the restless sea, and rocky isles, with patches
of the most beautiful greensward, but with scarcely a single tree. The
waves are leaping in whiteness against the cliffs, and thousands of
sea-birds are floating in long lines on the billows, or skimming past
you singly, and diving into the clear hissing waters as they near your
vessel. One of the very first objects which arrests your senses is the
Coryvreckan, or great whirlpool of the Hebrides, an awful feature in all
the poetry and ballads belonging to these regions.

I never visited any part of Great Britain which more completely met my
anticipated ideas than this. The day was fine, but with a strong breeze.
The sea was rough; the wild-fowl were flying, scudding, and diving on
all hands; and, wherever the eye turned, were craggy islands-mountains
of dark heath or bare splintered stone, and green, solitary slopes,
where scarcely a tree or a hut was to be discovered; but now and then
black cattle might be descried grazing, or flocks of sheep dotted the
hill sides. Far as we could look, were naked rocks rising from the sea,
that were worn almost into roundness, or scooped into hollows by the
eternal action of the stormy waters. Some of them stood in huge arches,
like temples of some shaggy seagod, or haunts of sea-fowl--daylight and
the waves passing freely through them. Everywhere were waves, leaping in
snowy foam against these rocks and against the craggy shores. It was a
stern wilderness of chafing billows and of resisting stone. The rocks
were principally of dark red granite, and were cracked across and
across, as if by the action of fire or frost. Every thing spake to us of
the wild tempests that so frequently rage through these seas....

Staffa rose momently in its majesty before us! After all the
descriptions which we had read, and the views we had seen of this
singular little island, we were struck with delighted astonishment at
its aspect. It is, in fact, one great mass of basaltic columns, bearing
on their heads another huge mass of black stone, here and there covered
with green turf. We sailed past the different caves--the Boat Cave and
the Cormorant Cave, which are themselves very wonderful; but it was
Fingal's Cave that struck us with admiration and awe. To see this
magnificent cavern, with its clustered columns on each side, and pointed
arch, with the bleak precipices above it, and the sea raging at its
base, and dashing and roaring into its gloomy interior, was worth all
the voyage. There are no words that can express the sensation it
creates. We were taken in the boats on shore at the northeast point, and
landed amid a wilderness of basaltic columns thrown into almost all
forms and directions. Some were broken, and lay in heaps in the clear
green water. Others were piled up erect and abrupt; some were twisted up
into tortuous pyramids at a little distance from the shore itself, and
through the passage which they left, the sea came rushing--all foam, and
with the most tremendous roar. Others were bent like so many leaden
pipes, and turned their broken extremities toward us.

We advanced along a sort of giant's causeway, the pavement of which was
the heads of basaltic columns, all fitting together in the most
beautiful symmetry; and, turning round the precipice to our right hand,
found ourselves at the entrance of the great cave. The sea was too
stormy to allow us to enter it, as is often done in boats, we had
therefore to clamber along one of its sides, where a row of columns is
broken off, at some distance above the waves, and presents an
accessible, but certainly very formidable causeway, by which you may
reach the far end. I do not believe that any stranger, if he were there
alone, would dare to pass along that irregular and slippery causeway,
and penetrate to the obscure end of the cave; but numbers animate one
another to anything. We clambered along this causeway or corridor, now
ascending and now descending, as the broken columns required, and soon
stood--upward of seventy of us--ranged along its side from one end to
the other. Let it be remembered that this splendid sea cave is forty-two
feet wide at the entrance; sixty-six feet high from low water; and runs
into the rock two hundred and twenty-seven feet. Let it be imagined that
at eight or ten feet below us it was paved with the sea, which came
rushing and foaming along it, and dashing up against the solid rock at
its termination; while the light thrown from the flickering billows
quivered in its arched roof above us, and the whole place was filled
with the solemn sound of the ocean; and if any one can imagine to
himself any situation more sublime, I should like to know what that is.
The roof is composed of the lower ends of basaltic columns, which have
yet been so cut away by nature as to give it the aspect of the roof of
some gigantic cathedral aisle; and lichens of gold and crimson have
gilded and colored it in the richest manner.

It was difficult to forget, as we stood there, that, if any one slipt,
he would disappear forever, for the billows in their ebb would sweep him
out to the open sea, as it were in a moment. Yet the excitement of the
whole group was too evident to rest with any seriousness on such a
thought. Some one suddenly fired a gun in the place, and the concussion
and reverberated thunders were astounding.

When the first effect was gone off, one general peal of laughter rung
through the cave, and then nearly the whole company began to sing "The
Sea! the sea!" The captain found it a difficult matter to get his
company out of this strange chantry--where they and the wind and waves
seemed all going mad together--to embark them again for Iona.

Venerable Iona--how different! and with what different feelings
approached! As we drew near, we saw a low bleak shore, backed by naked
hills, and at their feet a row of miserable Highland huts, and at
separate intervals the ruins of the monastery and church of Ronad, the
church of St. Oran and its burying-ground, and lastly, the cathedral....

Nothing is more striking, in this wild and neglected spot, than to walk

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest