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Title: From John O'Groats to Land's End
Author: Naylor, Robert, Naylor, John
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "From John O'Groats to Land's End" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Transcribers note: Authors 'R.N and J.N.' are Robert Naylor and John Naylor.]

[Illustration: Mr. Robert Naylor FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN DURING HIS









  When Time, who steals our hours away.
    Shall steal our pleasures too;
  The memory of the past shall stay
    And half our joys renew.

As I grow older my thoughts often revert to the past, and like the old
Persian poet, Khosros, when he walked by the churchyard and thought how
many of his friends were numbered with the dead, I am often tempted to
exclaim: "The friends of my youth! where are they?" but there is only
the mocking echo to answer, as if from a far-distant land, "Where are

"One generation passeth away; and another generation cometh," and
enormous changes have taken place in this country during the past
seventy years, which one can only realise by looking back and comparing
the past with the present.

The railways then were gradually replacing the stage-coaches, of which
the people then living had many stories to tell, and the roads which
formerly had mostly been paved with cobble or other stones were being
macadamised; the brooks which ran across the surface of the roads were
being covered with bridges; toll-gates still barred the highways, and
stories of highway robbers were still largely in circulation, those
about Dick Turpin, whose wonderful mare "Black Bess" could jump over the
turnpike gates, being the most prominent, while Robin Hood and Little
John still retained a place in the minds of the people as former heroes
of the roads and forests.

Primitive methods were still being employed in agriculture. Crops were
cut with scythe and sickle, while old scythe-blades fastened at one end
of a wooden bench did duty to cut turnips in slices to feed the cattle,
and farm work generally was largely done by hand.

At harvest time the farmers depended on the services of large numbers of
men who came over from Ireland by boat, landing at Liverpool, whence
they walked across the country in gangs of twenty or more, their first
stage being Warrington, where they stayed a night at Friar's Green, at
that time the Irish quarter of the town. Some of them walked as far as
Lincolnshire, a great corn-growing county, many of them preferring to
walk bare-footed, with their shoes slung across their shoulders. Good
and steady walkers they were too, with a military step and a
four-mile-per-hour record.

The village churches were mostly of the same form in structure and
service as at the conclusion of the Civil War. The old oak pews were
still in use, as were the galleries and the old "three-decker" pulpits,
with sounding-boards overhead. The parish clerk occupied the lower deck
and gave out the hymns therefrom, as well as other notices of a
character not now announced in church. The minister read the lessons and
prayers, in a white surplice, from the second deck, and then, while a
hymn was being sung, he retired to the vestry, from which he again
emerged, attired in a black gown, to preach the sermon from the upper

The church choir was composed of both sexes, but not surpliced, and, if
there was no organ, bassoons, violins, and other instruments of music
supported the singers.

The churches generally were well filled with worshippers, for it was
within a measurable distance from the time when all parishioners were
compelled to attend church. The names of the farms or owners appeared on
the pew doors, while inferior seats, called free seats, were reserved
for the poor. Pews could be bought and sold, and often changed hands;
but the squire had a large pew railed on from the rest, and raised a
little higher than the others, which enabled him to see if all his
tenants were in their appointed places.

The village inns were generally under the shadow of the church steeple,
and, like the churches, were well attended, reminding one of Daniel
Defoe, the clever author of that wonderful book _Robinson Crusoe_, for
he wrote:

  Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
  The Devil always builds a chapel there;
  And 'twill be found upon examination,
  The Devil has the largest congregation.

The church services were held morning and afternoon, evening service
being then almost unknown in country places; and between the services
the churchwardens and other officials of the church often adjourned to
the inn to hear the news and to smoke tobacco in long clay pipes named
after them "churchwarden pipes"; many of the company who came from long
distances remained eating and drinking until the time came for afternoon
service, generally held at three o'clock.

The landlords of the inns were men of light and leading, and were
specially selected by the magistrates for the difficult and responsible
positions they had to fill; and as many of them had acted as stewards
or butlers--at the great houses of the neighbourhood, and perhaps had
married the cook or the housekeeper, and as each inn was required by law
to provide at least one spare bedroom, travellers could rely upon being
comfortably housed and well victualled, for each landlord brewed his own
beer and tried to vie with his rival as to which should brew the best.

Education was becoming more appreciated by the poorer people, although
few of them could even write their own names; but when their children
could do so, they thought them wonderfully clever, and educated
sufficiently to carry them through life. Many of them were taken away
from school and sent to work when only ten or eleven years of age!

Books were both scarce and dear, the family Bible being, of course, the
principal one. Scarcely a home throughout the land but possessed one of
these family heirlooms, on whose fly-leaf were recorded the births and
deaths of the family sometimes for several successive generations, as it
was no uncommon occurrence for occupiers of houses to be the descendants
of people of the same name who had lived in them for hundreds of years,
and that fact accounted for traditions being handed down from one
generation to another.

Where there was a village library, the books were chiefly of a religious
character; but books of travel and adventure, both by land and sea, were
also much in evidence, and _Robinson Crusoe, Captain Cook's Three
Voyages round the World_, and the _Adventures of Mungo Park in Africa_
were often read by young people. The story of Dick Whittington was
another ideal, and one could well understand the village boys who lived
near the great road routes, when they saw the well-appointed coaches
passing on their way up to London, being filled with a desire to see
that great city, whose streets the immortal Dick had pictured to himself
as being paved with gold, and to wish to emulate his wanderings, and
especially when there was a possibility of becoming the lord mayor.

The bulk of the travelling in the country was done on foot or horseback,
as the light-wheeled vehicles so common in later times had not yet come
into vogue. The roads were still far from safe, and many tragedies were
enacted in lonely places, and in cases of murder the culprit, when
caught, was often hanged or gibbeted near the spot where the crime was
committed, and many gallows trees were still to be seen on the sides of
the highways on which murderers had met with their well-deserved fate.
No smart service of police existed; the parish constables were often
farmers or men engaged in other occupations, and as telegraphy was
practically unknown, the offenders often escaped.

The Duke of Wellington and many of his heroes were still living, and
the tales of fathers and grandfathers were chiefly of a warlike nature;
many of them related to the Peninsula War and Waterloo, as well as
Trafalgar, and boys were thus inspired with a warlike and adventurous
spirit and a desire to see the wonders beyond the seas.

It was in conditions such as these that the writer first lived and moved
and had his being, and his early aspirations were to walk to London, and
to go to sea; but it was many years before his boyish aspirations were
realised. They came at length, however, but not exactly in the form he
had anticipated, for in 1862 he sailed from Liverpool to London, and in
1870 he took the opportunity of walking back from London to Lancashire
in company with his brother. We walked by a circuitous route, commencing
in an easterly direction, and after being on the road for a fortnight,
or twelve walking days, as we did not walk on Sundays, we covered the
distance of 306 miles at an average of twenty-five miles per day.

We had many adventures, pleasant and otherwise, on that journey, but on
the whole we were so delighted with our walk that, when, in the
following year, the question arose. "Where shall we walk this year?" we
unanimously decided to walk from John o' Groat's to Land's End, or, as
my brother described it, "from the top of the map to the bottom."

It was a big undertaking, especially as we had resolved not to journey
by the shortest route, but to walk from one great object of interest to
another, and to see and learn as much as possible of the country we
passed through on our way. We were to walk the whole of the distance
between the north-eastern extremity of Scotland and the south-western
extremity of England, and not to cross a ferry or accept or take a ride
in any kind of conveyance whatever. We were also to abstain from all
intoxicating drink, not to smoke cigars or tobacco, and to walk so that
at the end of the journey we should have maintained an average of
twenty-five miles per day, except Sunday, on which day we were to attend
two religious services, as followers of and believers in Sir Matthew
Hale's Golden Maxim:

  A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content
    And Health for the toils of to-morrow;
  But a Sabbath profaned, WHATE'ER MAY BE GAINED.
    Is a certain forerunner of Sorrow.

With the experience gained in our walk the previous year, we decided to
reduce our equipment to the lowest possible limit, as every ounce had to
be carried personally, and it became a question not of how much luggage
we should take, but of how little; even maps were voted off as
encumbrances, and in place of these we resolved to rely upon our own
judgment, and the result of local inquiries, as we travelled from one
great object of interest to another, but as these were often widely
apart, as might be supposed, our route developed into one of a somewhat
haphazard and zigzag character, and very far from the straight line.

We each purchased a strong, black leather handbag, which could either be
carried by hand or suspended over the shoulder at the end of a stick,
and in these we packed our personal and general luggage; in addition we
carried a set of overalls, including leggings, and armed ourselves with
stout oaken sticks, or cudgels, specially selected by our local fencing
master. They were heavily ferruled by the village blacksmith, for,
although we were men of peace, we thought it advisable to provide
against what were known as single-stick encounters, which were then by
no means uncommon, and as curved handles would have been unsuitable in
the event of our having to use them either for defensive or offensive
purposes, ours were selected with naturally formed knobs at the upper

Then there were our boots, which of course were a matter of the first
importance, as they had to stand the strain and wear and tear of a long
journey, and must be easy fitting and comfortable, with thick soles to
protect our feet from the loose stones which were so plentiful on the
roads, and made so that they could be laced tightly to keep out the
water either when raining or when lying in pools on the roads, for there
were no steam-rollers on the roads in those days.

In buying our boots we did not both adopt the same plan. I made a
special journey to Manchester, and bought the strongest and most
expensive I could find there; while my brother gave his order to an old
cobbler, a particular friend of his, and a man of great experience, who
knew when he had hold of a good piece of leather, and to whom he had
explained his requirements. These boots were not nearly so smart looking
as mine and did not cost as much money, but when I went with him for the
boots, and heard the old gentleman say that he had fastened a piece of
leather on his last so as to provide a corresponding hole inside the
boot to receive the ball of the foot, I knew that my brother would have
more room for his feet to expand in his boots than I had in mine. We
were often asked afterwards, by people who did not walk much, how many
pairs of boots we had worn out during our long journey, and when we
replied only one each, they seemed rather incredulous until we explained
that it was the soles that wore out first, but I had to confess that my
boots were being soled the second time when my brother's were only being
soled the first time, and that I wore three soles out against his two.
Of course both pairs of boots were quite done at the conclusion of our

Changes of clothing we were obliged to have sent on to us to some
railway station, to be afterwards arranged, and soiled clothes were to
be returned in the same box. This seemed a very simple arrangement, but
it did not work satisfactorily, as railways were few and there was no
parcel-post in those days, and then we were always so far from our base
that we were obliged to fix ourselves to call at places we did not
particularly want to see and to miss others that we would much rather
have visited. Another objection was that we nearly always arrived at
these stations at inconvenient times for changing suits of clothes, and
as we were obliged to do this quickly, as we had no time to make a long
stay, we had to resort to some amusing devices.

We ought to have begun our journey much earlier in the year. One thing
after another, however, prevented us making a start, and it was not
until the close of some festivities on the evening of September 6th,
1871, that we were able to bid farewell to "Home, sweet home" and to
journey through what was to us an unknown country, and without any
definite idea of the distance we were about to travel or the length of
time we should be away.


   Sept. 7. Warrington to Glasgow by train--Arrived too late to catch
   the boat on the Caledonian Canal for Iverness--Trained to Aberdeen.

   Sept. 8. A day in the "Granite City"--Boarded the s.s. _St. Magnus_
   intending to land at Wick--Decided to remain on board.

   Sept. 9. Landed for a short time at Kirkwall in the Orkney
   Islands--During the night encountered a storm in the North Sea.

   Sept. 10. _(Sunday)_. Arrived at Lerwick in the Shetland Islands at 2

   Sept. 11. Visited Bressay Island and the Holm of Noss--Returned to
   _St. Magnus_ at night.

   Sept. 12. Landed again at Kirkwall--Explored Cathedral--Walked across
   the Mainland of the Orkneys to Stromness, visiting the underground
   house at Maeshowe and the Standing Stones at Stenness on our way.

   Sept. 13. Visited the Quarries where Hugh Miller made his wonderful
   geological researches--Explored coast scenery, including the Black

   Sept. 14. Crossed the Pentland Firth in a sloop--Unfavourable wind
   prevented us sailing past the Old Man of Hoy, so went by way of Lang
   Hope and Scrabster Roads, passing Dunnet Head on our way to Thurso,
   where we landed and stopped for the night.

   Sept. 15. Travelled six miles by the Wick coach and walked the
   remaining fifteen miles to John o' Groat's--Lodged at the "Huna Inn."

   Sept. 16. Gathered some wonderful shells on the beach and explored
   coast scenery at Duncansbay.

   Sept. 17. _(Sunday)_. Visited a distant kirk with the landlord and
   his wife and listened to a wonderful sermon.


¶ Indicates the day's journey. ¶¶ Indicates where Sunday was spent.

   FIRST WEEK'S JOURNEY--Sept. 18 to 24.

   "Huna Inn"--Canisbay--Bucholie Castle--Keiss--Girnigoe--Sinclair--Noss
   Head--Wick--or ¶ Wick Harbour--Mid Clyth--Lybster--Dunbeath ¶
   Berriedale--Braemore--Maidens Paps Mountain--Lord Galloway's
   Hunting-box--Ord of Caithness--Helmsdale ¶ Loth--Brora--Dunrobin
   Castle--Golspie ¶ The Mound--Loch Buidhee--Bonar Bridge--Dornoch
   Firth--Half-way House [Aultnamain Inn] ¶ Novar--Cromarty
   Firth--Dingwall--Muir of Ord--Beauly--Bogroy Inn--Inverness ¶¶ pp.

   SECOND WEEK'S JOURNEY--Sept. 25 to Oct. 1.

   Tomnahurich--Loch Ness--Caledonian Canal--Drumnadrochit ¶ Urquhart
   Castle--Invermoriston--Glenmoriston--Fort Augustus--Invergarry ¶
   Glengarry--Well of the Heads--Loggan Bridge--Loch Lochy--Spean
   Bridge--Fort William ¶ Inverlochy Castle--Ben Nevis--Fort William ¶
   Loch Linnhe--Loch Leven--Devil's Stair--Pass of Glencoe--Clachaig Inn
   ¶ Glencoe Village--Ballachulish--Kingshouse--Inveroran--Loch
   Tulla--Bridge of Orchy--Glen Orchy ¶ Dalmally ¶¶ pp. 77-111

   THIRD WEEK'S JOURNEY--Oct. 2 to Oct. 8.

   Loch Awe--Cruachan Mountain--Glen Aray--Inverary
   Castle--Inverary--Loch Fyne--Cairndow Inn ¶ Glen Kinglas--Loch
   Restil--Rest and be Thankful--Glen Croe--Ben Arthur--Loch
   Long--Arrochar--Tarbet--Loch Lomond--Luss--Helensburgh ¶ The
   Clyde--Dumbarton--Renton--Alexandria--Balloch--Kilmaronock--Drymen ¶
   Buchlyvie--Kippen--Gargunnock--Windings of the Forth--Stirling ¶
   Wallace Monument--Cambuskenneth--St.
   Ninians--Bannockburn--Carron--Falkirk ¶
   Laurieston--Polmont--Linlithgow--Edinburgh ¶¶ pp. 112-157

   FOURTH WEEK'S JOURNEY--Oct. 9 to Oct. 15.

   ¶ River Tweed--Horsburgh--Innerleithen--Traquair--Elibank
   Castle--Galashiels--Abbotsford--Melrose--Lilliesleaf ¶ Teviot
   Dale--Hassendean--Minto--Hawick--Goldielands Tower--Branxholm
   Tower--Teviothead--Caerlanrig--Mosspaul Inn--Langholm--Gilnockie
   Tower--Canonbie Colliery ¶ River Esk--"Cross Keys Inn"--Scotch
   Dyke--Longtown ¶ Solway Moss--River Sark--Springfield--Gretna
   Green--Todhills--Kingstown--Carlisle--Wigton--Aspatria ¶
   Maryport--Cockermouth--Bassenthwaite Lake--Portinscale--Keswick ¶¶ pp.

   FIFTH WEEK'S JOURNEY--Oct 16 to Oct. 22.

   Falls of Lodore--Derwentwater--Bowder Stone--Borrowdale--Green
   Nip--Wythburn--Grasmere ¶
   Rydal--Ambleside--Windermere--Hawkshead--Coniston--Ulverston ¶
   Dalton-in-Furness--Furness Abbey--Barrow Monument--Haverthwaite ¶
   Newby Bridge--Cartmel Fell--Kendal ¶ Kirkby Lonsdale--Devil's
   Bridge--Ingleton--Giggleswick--Settle--Malham ¶ Malham Cove--Gordale
   Scar--Kilnsey--River Wharfe--Grassington--Greenhow--Pateley Bridge ¶¶
   pp. 233-277

   SIXTH WEEK'S JOURNEY--Oct. 23 to Oct. 29.

   Brimham Rocks--Fountains Abbey--Ripon--Boroughbridge--Devil's
   Arrows--Aldeborough ¶ Marston Moor--River Ouse--York ¶
   Tadcaster--Towton Field--Sherburn-in-Elmet--River
   Aire--Ferrybridge--Pontefract ¶ Robin Hood's Well--Doncaster ¶
   Conisborough--Rotherham ¶ Attercliffe
   Common--Sheffield--Norton--Hathersage--Little John's Grave--Castleton
   ¶¶ pp. 278-339

   SEVENTH WEEK'S JOURNEY--Oct. 30 to Nov. 5.

   Castleton--Tideswell--Miller's Dale--Flagg
   Moor--Newhaven--Tissington--Ashbourne ¶ River
   Dove--Mayfield--Ellastone--Alton Towers--Uttoxeter--Bagot's
   Wood--Needwood Forest--Abbots Bromley--Handsacre ¶
   Lichfield--Tamworth--Atherstone--Watling Street--Nuneaton ¶ Watling
   Street--High Cross--Lutterworth--River Swift--Fosse
   Way--Brinklow--Coventry ¶ Kenilworth--Leamington--Stoneleigh
   Abbey--Warwick--Stratford-on-Avon--Charlecote Park--Kineton--Edge
   Hill ¶ Banbury--Woodstock--Oxford ¶¶ pp. 340-450

   EIGHTH WEEK'S JOURNEY--Nov. 6 to Nov. 12.

   Oxford--Sunningwell--Abingdon--Vale of White Horse--Wantage--Icknield
   Way--Segsbury Camp--West Shefford--Hungerford ¶ Marlborough
   Downs--Miston--Salisbury Plain--Stonehenge--Amesbury--Old
   Sarum--Salisbury ¶ Wilton--Compton
   Chamberlain--Shaftesbury--Blackmoor Vale--Sturminster ¶ Blackmoor
   Vale--Cerne Abbas--Charminster--Dorchester--Bridport ¶ The Chesil
   Bank--Chideoak--Charmouth--Lyme Regis--Axminster--Honiton--Exeter ¶
   Exminster--Star Cross--Dawlish--Teignmouth--Torquay ¶¶ pp. 451-545

   NINTH WEEK'S JOURNEY--Nov. 13 to Nov. 18.

   Torbay--Cockington--Compton Castle--Marldon--Berry Pomeroy--River
   Dart--Totnes--Sharpham--Dittisham--Dartmouth--Totnes ¶
   Dartmoor--River Erme--Ivybridge--Plymouth ¶ Devonport--St.
   Budeaux--Tamerton Foliot--Buckland
   Abbey--Walkhampton--Merridale--River Tavy--Tavistock--Hingston
   Downs--Callington--St. Ive--Liskeard ¶ St. Neot--Restormel
   Castle--Lostwithiel--River Fowey--St. Blazey--St. Austell--Truro ¶
   Perranarworthal--Penryn--Helston--The Lizard--St. Breage--Perran
   Downs--Marazion--St. Michael's Mount--Penzance ¶ Newlyn--St.
   Paul--Mousehole--St. Buryan--Treryn--Logan Rock--St.
   Levan--Tol-Peden-Penwith--Sennen--Land's End--Penzance ¶¶ pp. 546-652

   HOMEWARD BOUND--Nov. 20 and 21 pp. 653-658



_Thursday, September 7th._

It was one o'clock in the morning when we started on the three-mile walk
to Warrington, where we were to join the 2.18 a.m. train for Glasgow,
and it was nearly ten o'clock when we reached that town, the train being
one hour and twenty minutes late. This delay caused us to be too late
for the steamboat by which we intended to continue our journey further
north, and we were greatly disappointed in having thus early in our
journey to abandon the pleasant and interesting sail down the River
Clyde and on through the Caledonian Canal. We were, therefore, compelled
to alter our route, so we adjourned to the Victoria Temperance Hotel for
breakfast, where we were advised to travel to Aberdeen by train, and
thence by steamboat to Wick, the nearest available point to John o'

We had just time to inspect Sir Walter Scott's monument that adorned the
Square at Glasgow, and then we left by the 12.35 train for Aberdeen. It
was a long journey, and it was half-past eight o'clock at night before
we reached our destination, but the weariness of travelling had been
whiled away by pleasant company and delightful scenery.

We had travelled continuously for about 360 miles, and we were both
sleepy and tired as we entered Forsyth's Hotel to stay the night.

_Friday, September 8th._

After a good night's rest, followed by a good breakfast, we went out to
inquire the time our boat would leave, and, finding it was not due away
until evening, we returned to the hotel and refreshed ourselves with a
bath, and then went for a walk to see the town of Aberdeen, which is
mostly built of the famous Aberdeen granite. The citizens were quite
proud of their Union Street, the main thoroughfare, as well they might
be, for though at first sight we thought it had rather a sombre
appearance, yet when the sky cleared and the sun shone out on the golden
letters that adorned the buildings we altered our opinion, for then we
saw the "Granite City" at its best.

We spent the time rambling along the beach, and, as pleasure seekers
generally do, passed the day comfortably, looking at anything and
everything that came in our way. By no means sea-faring men, having
mainly been accustomed to village life, we had some misgivings when we
boarded the s.s. _St. Magnus_ at eight o'clock in the evening, and our
sensations during the night were such as are common to what the sailors
call "land-lubbers." We were fortunate, however, in forming the
acquaintance of a lively young Scot, who was also bound for Wick, and
who cheered us during the night by giving us copious selections from
Scotland's favourite bard, of whom he was greatly enamoured. We heard
more of "Rabbie Burns" that night than we had ever heard before, for our
friend seemed able to recite his poetry by the yard and to sing some of
it also, and he kept us awake by occasionally asking us to join in the
choruses. Some of the sentiments of Burns expressed ideals that seem a
long time in being realised, and one of his favourite quotations,
repeated several times by our friend, dwells in our memory after many

  For a' that an' a' that
  It's coming, yet, for a' that,
  That man to man the war-ld o'er
  Shall brithers be for a' that.

During the night, as the _St. Magnus_ ploughed her way through the
foaming billows, we noticed long, shining streaks on the surface of the
water, varying in colour from a fiery red to a silvery white, the effect
of which, was quite beautiful. Our friend informed us these were caused
by the stampede of the shoals of herrings through which we were then

The herring fishery season was now on, and, though we could not
distinguish either the fishermen or their boats when we passed near one
of their fishing-grounds, we could see the lights they carried dotted
all over the sea, and we were apprehensive lest we should collide with
some of them, but the course of the _St. Magnus_ had evidently been
known and provided for by the fishermen.

We had a long talk with our friend about our journey north, and, as he
knew the country well, he was able to give us some useful information
and advice. He told us that if we left the boat at Wick and walked to
John o' Groat's from there, we should have to walk the same way back, as
there was only the one road, and if we wished to avoid going over the
same ground twice, he would advise us to remain on the _St. Magnus_
until she reached her destination, Lerwick, in the Shetland Islands, and
the cost by the boat would be very little more than to Wick. She would
only stay a short time at Lerwick, and then we could return in her to
Kirkwall, in the Orkney Islands. From that place we could walk across
the Mainland to Stromness, where we should find a small steamboat which
conveyed mails and passengers across the Pentland Firth to Thurso in the
north of Scotland, from which point John o' Groat's could easily be
reached, and, besides, we might never again have such a favourable
opportunity of seeing the fine rock scenery of those northern islands.

[Illustration: WICK HARBOUR. From a photograph taken in 1867.]

We were delighted with his suggestion, and wrote a hurried letter home
advising our people there of this addition to our journey, and our
friend volunteered to post the letter for us at Wick. It was about six
o'clock in the morning when we neared that important fishery town and
anchored in the harbour, where we had to stay an hour or two to load and
unload cargo. Our friend the Scot had to leave us here, but we could not
allow him to depart without some kind of ceremony or other, and as the
small boat came in sight that was to carry him ashore, we decided to
sing a verse or two of "Auld Lang Syne" from his favourite poet Burns;
but my brother could not understand some of the words in one of the
verses, so he altered and anglicised them slightly:

  An' here's a haund, my trusty friend,
    An' gie's a haund o' thine;
  We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
    For the sake o' auld lang syne.

Some of the other passengers joined in the singing, but we never
realised the full force of this verse until we heard it sung in its
original form by a party of Scots, who, when they came to this
particular verse, suited the action to the word by suddenly taking hold
of each other's hands, thereby forming a cross, and meanwhile beating
time to the music. Whether the cross so formed had any religious
significance or not, we did not know.

Our friend was a finely built and intelligent young man, and it was with
feelings of great regret that we bade him farewell and watched his
departure over the great waves, with the rather mournful presentiment
that we were being parted from him for ever!

_Saturday, September 9th._

There were signs of a change in the weather as we left Wick, and the
_St. Magnus_ rolled considerably; but occasionally we had a good view of
the precipitous rocks that lined the coast, many of them having been
christened by the sailors after the objects they represented, as seen
from the sea. The most prominent of these was a double-headed peak in
Caithness, which formed a remarkably perfect resemblance to the breasts
of a female giant with nipples complete, and this they had named the
"Maiden's Paps." Then there was the "Old Man of Hoy," and other rocks
that stood near the entrance to that terrible torrent of the sea, the
Pentland Firth; but, owing to the rolling of our ship, we were not in a
fit state either of mind or body to take much interest in them, and we
were very glad when we reached the shelter of the Orkney Islands and
entered the fine harbour of Kirkwall. Here we had to stay for a short
time, so we went ashore and obtained a substantial lunch at the
Temperance Hotel near the old cathedral, wrote a few letters, and at 3
p.m. rejoined the _St. Magnus_.

The sea had been quite rough enough previously, but it soon became
evident that it had been smooth compared with what followed, and during
the coming night we wished many times that our feet were once more on
_terra firma_. The rain descended, the wind increased in violence, and
the waves rolled high and broke over the ship, and we were no longer
allowed to occupy our favourite position on the upper deck, but had to
descend a stage lower. We were saturated with water from head to foot in
spite of our overalls, and we were also very sick, and, to add to our
misery, we could hear, above the noise of the wind and waves, the
fearful groaning of some poor woman who, a sailor told us, had been
suddenly taken ill, and it was doubtful if she could recover. He carried
a fish in his hand which he had caught as it was washed on deck, and he
invited us to come and see the place where he had to sleep. A dismal
place it was too, flooded with water, and not a dry thing for him to put
on. We could not help feeling sorry that these sailors had such
hardships to undergo; but he seemed to take it as a matter of course,
and appeared to be more interested in the fish he carried than in the
storm that was then raging. We were obliged to keep on the move to
prevent our taking cold, and we realised that we were in a dark,
dismal, and dangerous position, and thought of the words of a
well-known song and how appropriate they were to that occasion:

  "O Pilot! 'tis a fearful night,
    There's danger on the deep;
  I'll come and pace the deck with thee,
    I do not dare to sleep."
  "Go down!" the Pilot cried, "go down!
    This is no place for thee;
  Fear not! but trust in Providence,
    Wherever thou may'st be."

The storm continued for hours, and, as it gradually abated, our feelings
became calmer, our fears subsided, and we again ventured on the upper
deck. The night had been very dark hitherto, but we could now see the
occasional glimmering of a light a long distance ahead, which proved to
be that of a lighthouse, and presently we could distinguish the bold
outlines of the Shetland Islands.

As we entered Bressay Sound, however, a beautiful transformation scene
suddenly appeared, for the clouds vanished as if by magic, and the last
quarter of the moon, surrounded by a host of stars, shone out
brilliantly in the clear sky. It was a glorious sight, for we had never
seen these heavenly bodies in such a clear atmosphere before, and it was
hard to realise that they were so far away from us. We could appreciate
the feelings of a little boy of our acquaintance, who, when carried
outside the house one fine night by his father to see the moon,
exclaimed in an ecstasy of delight: "Oh, reach it, daddy!--reach it!"
and it certainly looked as if we could have reached it then, so very
near did it appear to us.

It was two o'clock on Sunday morning, September 10th, when we reached
Lerwick, the most northerly town in Her Majesty's British Dominions, and
we appealed to a respectable-looking passenger who was being rowed
ashore with us in the boat as to where we could obtain good lodgings. He
kindly volunteered to accompany us to a house at which he had himself
stayed before taking up his permanent residence as a tradesman in the
town and which he could thoroughly recommend. Lerwick seemed a
weird-looking place in the moonlight, and we turned many corners on our
way to our lodgings, and were beginning to wonder how we should find our
way out again, when our companion stopped suddenly before a private
boarding-house, the door of which was at once opened by the mistress. We
thanked the gentleman for his kind introduction, and as we entered the
house the lady explained that it was her custom to wait up for the
arrival of the _St. Magnus_. We found the fire burning and the kettle
boiling, and the cup that cheers was soon on the table with the usual
accompaniments, which were quickly disposed of. We were then ushered to
our apartments--a bedroom and sitting or dining-room combined, clean
and comfortable, but everything seemed to be moving like the ship we had
just left. Once in bed, however, we were soon claimed by the God of
Slumber, sleep, and dreams--our old friend Morpheus.

_Sunday, September 10th._

In the morning we attended the English Episcopalian Church, and, after
service, which was rather of a high church character, we walked into the
country until we came in sight of the rough square tower of Scalloway
Castle, and on our return we inspected the ruins of a Pictish castle,
the first of the kind we had seen, although we were destined to see many
others in the course of our journey.

[Illustration: LERWICK. Commercial Street as it was in 1871.]

The Picts, we were informed, were a race of people who settled in the
north of Scotland in pre-Roman times, and who constructed their
dwellings either of earth or stone, but always in a circular form. This
old castle was built of stone, and the walls were five or six yards
thick; inside these walls rooms had been made for the protection of the
owners, while the circular, open space enclosed by the walls had
probably been for the safe housing of their cattle. An additional
protection had also been formed by the water with which the castle was
surrounded, and which gave it the appearance of a small island in the
middle of a lake. It was connected with the land by means of a narrow
road, across which we walked. The castle did not strike us as having
been a very desirable place of residence; the ruins had such a very
dismal and deserted appearance that we did not stay there long, but
returned to our lodgings for lunch. After this we rested awhile, and
then joined the townspeople, who were patrolling every available space
outside. The great majority of these were women, healthy and
good-looking, and mostly dressed in black, as were also those we
afterwards saw in the Orkneys and the extreme north of Scotland, and we
thought that some of our disconsolate bachelor friends might have been
able to find very desirable partners for life in these northern
dominions of Her Majesty the Queen.

The houses in Lerwick had been built in all sorts of positions without
any attempt at uniformity, and the rough, flagged passage which did duty
for the main street was, to our mind, the greatest curiosity of all, and
almost worth going all the way to Shetland to see. It was curved and
angled in such an abrupt and zigzag manner that it gave us the
impression that the houses had been built first, and the street, where
practicable, filled in afterwards. A gentleman from London was loud in
his praise of this wonderful street; he said he felt so much safer there
than in "beastly London," as he could stand for hours in that street
before the shop windows without being run over by any cab, cart, or
omnibus, and without feeling a solitary hand exploring his coat pockets.
This was quite true, as we did not see any vehicles in Lerwick, nor
could they have passed each other through the crooked streets had they
been there, and thieves would have been equally difficult to find.
Formerly, however, Lerwick had an evil reputation in that respect, as it
was noted for being the abode of sheep-stealers and pirates, so much so,
that, about the year 1700, it had become such a disreputable place that
an earnest appeal was made to the "Higher Authorities" to have the place
burnt, and for ever made desolate, on account of its great wickedness.
Since that time, however, the softening influences of the Christian
religion had permeated the hearts of the people, and, at the time of our
visit, the town was well supplied with places of worship, and it would
have been difficult to have found any thieves there then. We attended
evening service in the Wesleyan Chapel, where we found a good
congregation, a well-conducted service, and an acceptable preacher, and
we reflected that Mr. Wesley himself would have rejoiced to know that
even in such a remote place as Lerwick his principles were being

_Monday, September 11th._

We rose early with the object of seeing all we could in the short time
at our disposal, which was limited to the space of a single day, or
until the _St. Magnus_ was due out in the evening on her return journey.
We were anxious to see a large cavern known as the Orkneyman's Cave, but
as it could only be reached from the sea, we should have had to engage a
boat to take us there. We were told the cave was about fifty feet square
at the entrance, but immediately beyond it increased to double the size;
it was possible indeed to sail into it with a boat and to lose sight of
daylight altogether.

The story goes that many years ago an Orkneyman was pursued by a
press-gang, but escaped being captured by sailing into the cave with his
boat. He took refuge on one of the rocky ledges inside, but in his haste
he forgot to secure his boat, and the ground swell of the sea washed it
out of the cave. To make matters worse, a storm came on, and there he
remained a prisoner in the cave for two days; but as soon as the storm
abated he plunged into the water, swam to a small rock outside, and
thence climbed to the top of the cliff and so escaped. Since that event
it had been known as the Orkneyman's Cave.

We went to the boat at the appointed time, but unfortunately the wind
was too strong for us to get round to the cave, so we were disappointed.
The boatman suggested as the next best thing that we should go to see
the Island of Noss. He accordingly took us across the bay, which was
about a mile wide, and landed us on the Island of Bressay. Here it was
necessary for us to get a permit to enable us to proceed farther, so,
securing his boat, the boatman accompanied us to the factor's house,
where he procured a pass, authorising us to land on the Island of Noss,
of which the following is a facsimile:

  _Allow Mr. Nailer and friends
  to land on Noss.
  To Walter.                    A.M. Walker_.

Here he left us, as we had to walk across the Island of Bressay, and,
after a tramp of two or three miles, during which we did not see a
single human being, we came to another water where there was a boat.
Here we found Walter, and, after we had exhibited our pass, he rowed us
across the narrow arm of the sea and landed us on the Island of Noss. He
gave us careful instructions how to proceed so that we could see the
Holm of Noss, and warned us against approaching too near the edge of the
precipice which we should find there. After a walk of about a mile, all
up hill, we came to the precipitous cliffs which formed the opposite
boundary of the island, and from a promontory there we had a magnificent
view of the rocks, with the waves of the sea dashing against them,
hundreds of feet below. A small portion of the island was here separated
from the remainder by a narrow abyss about fifty feet wide, down which
it was terrible to look, and this separated portion was known as the
Holm of Noss. It rose precipitously on all sides from the sea, and its
level surface on the top formed a favourite nesting-place for myriads of
wild birds of different varieties, which not only covered the top of the
Holm, but also the narrow ledges along its jagged sides. Previous to the
seventeenth century, this was one of the places where the foot of man
had never trod, and a prize of a cow was offered to any man who would
climb the face of the cliff and establish a connection with the mainland
by means of a rope, as it was thought that the Holm would provide
pasturage for about twenty sheep. A daring fowler, from Foula Island,
successfully performed the feat, and ropes were firmly secured to the
rocks on each side, and along two parallel ropes a box or basket was
fixed, capable of holding a man and a sheep. This apparatus was named
the Cradle of Noss, and was so arranged that an Islander with or without
a sheep placed in the cradle could drag himself across the chasm in
either direction. Instead, however, of returning by the rope or cradle,
on which he would have been comparatively safe, the hardy fowler decided
to go back by the same way he had come, and, missing his foothold,
fell on the rocks in the sea below and was dashed to pieces, so that
the prize was never claimed by him.

[Illustration: THE HOLM OF NOSS. "It made us shudder ... as we peered
down on the abysmal depths below."]

We felt almost spellbound as we approached this awful chasm, and as if
we were being impelled by some invisible force towards the edge of the
precipice. It fairly made us shudder as on hands and knees we peered
down on the abysmal depths below. It was a horrible sensation, and one
that sometimes haunted us in our dreams for years afterwards, and we
felt greatly relieved when we found that we could safely crawl away and
regain an upright posture. We could see thousands upon thousands of wild
birds, amongst which the ordinary sea-gull was largely represented; but
there were many other varieties of different colours, and the
combination of their varied cries, mingled with the bleating of the
sheep, the whistling of the wind, the roaring of the waves as they
dashed against the rocks below, or entered the caverns with a sound like
distant thunder, tended to make us feel quite bewildered. We retired to
the highest elevation we could find, and there, 600 miles from home, and
perhaps as many feet above sea-level, was solitude in earnest. We were
the only human beings on the island, and the enchanting effect of the
wild scenery, the vast expanse of sea, the distant moaning of the
waters, the great rocks worn by the wind and the waves into all kinds of
fantastic shapes and caverns, the blue sky above with the glorious sun
shining upon us, all proclaimed to our minds the omnipotence of the
great Creator of the Universe, the Almighty Maker and Giver of all.

We lingered as long as we could in these lonely and romantic solitudes,
and, as we sped down the hill towards the boat, we suddenly became
conscious that we had not thought either of what we should eat or what
we should drink since we had breakfasted early in the morning, and we
were very hungry. Walter was waiting for us on our side of the water, as
he had been watching for our return, and had seen us coming when we were
nearly a mile away. There was no vegetation to obstruct the view, for,
as he said, we might walk fifty miles in Shetland without meeting with a
bush or tree. We had an agreeable surprise when we reached the other
side of the water in finding some light refreshments awaiting our
arrival which he had thoughtfully provided in the event of their being
required, and for which we were profoundly thankful. The cradle of Noss
had disappeared some time before our visit, but, if it had been there,
we should have been too terrified to make use of it. It had become
dangerous, and as the pasturage of sheep on the Holm had proved a
failure, the birds had again become masters of the situation, while the
cradle had fallen to decay. Walter gave us an awful description of the
danger of the fowler's occupation, especially in the Foula Island, where
the rocks rose towering a thousand feet above the sea. The top of the
cliffs there often projected over their base, so that the fowler had to
be suspended on a rope fastened to the top of the cliff, swinging
himself backwards and forwards like a pendulum until he could reach the
ledge of rock where the birds laid their eggs. Immediately he landed on
it, he had to secure his rope, and then gather the eggs in a hoop net,
and put them in his wallet, and then swing off again, perhaps hundreds
of feet above the sea, to find another similar ledge, so that his
business was practically carried on in the air. On one of these
occasions a fowler had just reached a landing-place on the precipice,
when his rope slipped out of his hand, and swung away from the cliff
into the empty air. If he had hesitated one moment, he would have been
lost for ever, as in all probability he would either have been starved
to death on the ledge of rock on which he was or fallen exhausted into
the sea below. The first returning swing of the rope might bring him a
chance of grasping it, but the second would be too far away. The rope
came back, the desperate man measured the distance with his eye, sprang
forward in the air, grasped the rope, and was saved.

Sometimes the rope became frayed or cut by fouling some sharp edge of
rock above, and, if it broke, the fowler was landed in eternity.
Occasionally two or three men were suspended on the same rope at the
same time. Walter told us of a father and two sons who were on the rope
in this way, the father being the lowest and his two sons being above
him, when the son who was uppermost saw that the rope was being frayed
above him, and was about to break. He called to his brother who was just
below that the rope would no longer hold them all, and asked him to cut
it off below him and let their father go. This he indignantly refused to
do, whereupon his brother, without a moment's hesitation, cut the rope
below himself, and both his father and brother perished.

It was terrible to hear such awful stories, as our nerves were unstrung
already, so we asked our friend Walter not to pile on the agony further,
and, after rewarding him for his services, we hurried over the remaining
space of land and sea that separated us from our comfortable quarters at
Lerwick, where a substantial tea was awaiting our arrival.

We were often asked what we thought of Shetland and its inhabitants.

Shetland was fine in its mountain and coast scenery, but it was wanting
in good roads and forests, and it seemed strange that no effort had been
made to plant some trees, as forests had formerly existed there, and, as
a gentleman told us, there seemed no peculiarity in either the soil or
climate to warrant an opinion unfavourable to the country's
arboricultural capacity. Indeed, such was the dearth of trees and
bushes, that a lady, who had explored the country thoroughly, declared
that the tallest and grandest tree she saw during her visit to the
Islands was a stalk of rhubarb which had run to seed and was waving its
head majestically in a garden below the old fort of Lerwick!

Agriculture seemed also to be much neglected, but possibly the fishing
industry was more profitable. The cottages also were very small and of
primitive construction, many of them would have been condemned as being
unfit for human habitation if they had existed elsewhere, and yet, in
spite of this apparent drawback, these hardy islanders enjoyed the best
of health and brought up large families of very healthy-looking
children. Shetland will always have a pleasant place in our memories,
and, as regards the people who live there, to speak the truth we
scarcely ever met with folks we liked better. We received the greatest
kindness and hospitality, and met with far greater courtesy and civility
than in the more outwardly polished and professedly cultivated parts of
the countries further south, especially when making inquiries from
people to whom we had not been "introduced"! The Shetlanders spoke good
English, and seemed a highly intelligent race of people. Many of the
men went to the whale and other fisheries in the northern seas, and
"Greenland's icy mountains" were well known to them.

On the island there were many wives and mothers who mourned the loss of
husbands and sons who had perished in that dangerous occupation, and
these remarks also applied to the Orkney Islands, to which we were
returning, and might also account for so many of these women being
dressed in black. Every one told us we were visiting the islands too
late in the year, and that we ought to have made our appearance at an
earlier period, when the sun never sets, and when we should have been
able to read at midnight without the aid of an artificial light.
Shetland was evidently in the range of the "Land of the Midnight Sun,"
but whether we should have been able to keep awake in order to read at
midnight was rather doubtful, as we were usually very sleepy. At one
time of the year, however, the sun did not shine at all, and the
Islanders had to rely upon the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights,
which then made their appearance and shone out brilliantly, spreading a
beautifully soft light over the islands. We wondered if it were this or
the light of the midnight sun that inspired the poet to write:

  Night walked in beauty o'er the peaceful sea.
  Whose gentle waters spoke tranquillity,

or if it had been borrowed from some more peaceful clime, as we had not
yet seen the "peaceful sea" amongst these northern islands. We had now
once more to venture on its troubled waters, and we made our appearance
at the harbour at the appointed time for the departure of the _St.
Magnus_. We were, however, informed that the weather was too misty for
our boat to leave, so we returned to our lodgings, ordered a fire, and
were just making ourselves comfortable and secretly hoping our departure
might be delayed until morning, when Mrs. Sinclair, our landlady, came
to tell us that the bell, which was the signal for the _St. Magnus_ to
leave, had just rung. We hurried to the quay, only to find that the boat
which conveyed passengers and mails to our ship had disappeared. We were
in a state of consternation, but a group of sailors, who were standing
by, advised us to hire a special boat, and one was brought up
immediately, by which, after a lot of shouting and whistling--for we
could scarcely see anything in the fog--we were safely landed on the
steamboat. We had only just got beyond the harbour, however, when the
fog became so dense that we suddenly came to a standstill, and had to
remain in the bay for a considerable time. When at last we moved slowly
outwards, the hoarse whistle of the _St. Magnus_ was sounded at short
intervals, to avoid collision with any other craft. It had a strangely
mournful sound, suggestive of a funeral or some great calamity, and we
should almost have preferred being in a storm, when we could have seen
the danger, rather than creeping along in the fog and darkness, with a
constant dread of colliding with some other boat or with one of the
dangerous rocks which we knew were in the vicinity. Sleep was out of the
question until later, when the fog began to clear a little, and, in the
meantime, we found ourselves in the company of a group of young men who
told us they were going to Aberdeen.

One of them related a rather sorrowful story. He and his mates had come
from one of the Shetland Islands from which the inhabitants were being
expelled by the factor, so that he could convert the whole of the island
into a sheep farm for his own personal advantage. Their ancestors had
lived there from time immemorial, but their parents had all received
notice to leave, and other islands were being depopulated in the same
way. The young men were going to Aberdeen to try to find ships on which
they could work their passage to some distant part of the world; they
did not know or care where, but he said the time would come when this
country would want soldiers and sailors, and would not be able to find
them after the men had been driven abroad. He also told us about what he
called the "Truck System," which was a great curse in their islands, as
"merchants" encouraged young people to get deeply in their debt, so that
when they grew up they could keep them in their clutches and subject
them to a state of semi-slavery, as with increasing families and low
wages it was then impossible to get out of debt. We were very sorry to
see these fine young men leaving the country, and when we thought of the
wild and almost deserted islands we had just visited, it seemed a pity
they could not have been employed there. We had a longer and much
smoother passage than on our outward voyage, and the fog had given place
to a fine, clear atmosphere as we once more entered the fine harbour of
Kirkwall, and we had a good view of the town, which some enthusiastic
passenger described as the "Metropolis of the Orcadean Archipelago."

_Tuesday, September 12th._

We narrowly escaped a bad accident as we were leaving the _St. Magnus_.
She carried a large number of sheep and Shetland ponies on deck, and our
way off the ship was along a rather narrow passage formed by the cattle
on one side and a pile of merchandise on the other. The passengers were
walking in single file, my brother immediately in front of myself, when
one of the ponies suddenly struck out viciously with its hind legs just
as we were passing. If we had received the full force of the kick, we
should have been incapacitated from walking; but fortunately its
strength was exhausted when it reached us, and it only just grazed our
legs. The passengers behind thought at first we were seriously injured,
and one of them rushed forward and held the animal's head to prevent
further mischief; but the only damage done was to our overalls, on which
the marks of the pony's hoofs remained as a record of the event. On
reaching the landing-place the passengers all came forward to
congratulate us on our lucky escape, and until they separated we were
the heroes of the hour, and rather enjoyed the brief notoriety.

There was an old-world appearance about Kirkwall reminiscent of the time

  When Norse and Danish galleys plied
    Their oars within the Firth of Clyde,
  When floated Haco's banner trim
    Above Norwegian warriors grim,
  Savage of heart and huge of limb.

for it was at the palace there that Haco, King of Norway, died in 1263.
There was only one considerable street in the town, and this was winding
and narrow and paved with flags in the centre, something like that in
Lerwick, but the houses were much more foreign in appearance, and many
of them had dates on their gables, some of them as far back as the
beginning of the fifteenth century. We went to the same hotel as on our
outward journey, and ordered a regular good "set out" to be ready by the
time we had explored the ancient cathedral, which, like our ship, was
dedicated to _St. Magnus_. We were directed to call at a cottage for the
key, which was handed to us by the solitary occupant, and we had to find
our way as best we could. After entering the ancient building, we took
the precaution of locking the door behind us. The interior looked dark
and dismal after the glorious sunshine we had left outside, and was
suggestive more of a dungeon than a place of worship, and of the dark
deeds done in the days of the past. The historian relates that St.
Magnus met his death at the hands of his cousin Haco while in the church
of Eigleshay. He had retired there with a presentiment of some evil
about to happen him, and "while engaged in devotional exercises,
prepared and resigned for whatever might occur, he was slain by one
stroke of a hatchet. Being considered eminently pious, he was looked
upon as a saint, and his nephew Ronald built the cathedral in accordance
with a vow made before leaving Norway to lay claim to the Earldom of
Orkney." The cathedral was considered to be the best-preserved relic of
antiquity in Scotland, and we were much impressed by the dim religious
light which pervaded the interior, and quite bewildered amongst the dark
passages inside the walls. We had been recommended to ascend the
cathedral tower for the sake of the fine view which was to be obtained
from the top, but had some difficulty in finding the way to the steps.
Once we landed at the top of the tower we considered ourselves well
repaid for our exertions, as the view over land and sea was very
beautiful. Immediately below were the remains of the bishop's and earl's
palaces, relics of bygone ages, now gradually crumbling to decay, while
in the distance we could see the greater portion of the sixty-seven
islands which formed the Orkney Group. Only about one-half of these were
inhabited, the remaining and smaller islands being known as holms, or
pasturages for sheep, which, seen in the distance, resembled green
specks in the great blue sea, which everywhere surrounded them.


[Illustration: STROMNESS]

I should have liked to stay a little longer surveying this fairy-like
scene, but my brother declared he could smell our breakfast, which by
this time must have been waiting for us below. Our exit was a little
delayed, as we took a wrong turn in the rather bewildering labyrinth of
arches and passages in the cathedral walls, and it was not without a
feeling of relief that we reached the door we had so carefully locked
behind us. We returned the key to the caretaker, and then went to our
hotel, where we loaded ourselves with a prodigious breakfast, and
afterwards proceeded to walk across the Mainland of the Orkneys, an
estimated distance of fifteen miles.

On our rather lonely way to Stromness we noticed that agriculture was
more advanced than in the Shetland Islands, and that the cattle were
somewhat larger, but we must say that we had been charmed with the
appearance of the little Shetland ponies, excepting perhaps the one that
had done its best to give us a farewell kick when we were leaving the
_St. Magnus_. Oats and barley were the crops chiefly grown, for we did
not see any wheat, and the farmers, with their wives and children, were
all busy harvesting their crops of oats, but there was still room for
extension and improvement, as we passed over miles of uncultivated
moorland later. On our inquiring what objects of interest were to be
seen on our way, our curiosity was raised to its highest pitch when we
were told we should come to an underground house and to a large number
of standing stones a few miles farther on. We fully expected to descend
under the surface of the ground, and to find some cave or cavern below;
but when we got to the place, we found the house practically above
ground, with a small mountain raised above it. It was covered with
grass, and had only been discovered in 1861, about ten years before our
visit. Some boys were playing on the mountain, when one of them found a
small hole which he thought was a rabbit hole, but, pushing his arm down
it, he could feel no bottom. He tried again with a small stick, but with
the same result. The boys then went to a farm and brought a longer
stick, but again failed to reach the bottom of the hole, so they resumed
their play, and when they reached home they told their parents of their
adventure, and the result was that this ancient house was discovered and
an entrance to it found from the level of the land below.

[Illustration: SHETLAND PONIES.]

We went in search of the caretaker, and found him busy with the harvest
in a field some distance away, but he returned with us to the mound. He
opened a small door, and we crept behind him along a low, narrow, and
dark passage for a distance of about seventeen yards, when we entered a
chamber about the size of an ordinary cottage dwelling, but of a
vault-like appearance. It was quite dark, but our guide proceeded to
light a number of small candles, placed in rustic candlesticks, at
intervals, round this strange apartment. We could then see some small
cells in the wall, which might once have been used as burial places for
the dead, and on the walls themselves were hundreds of figures or
letters cut in the rock, in very thin lines, as if engraved with a
needle. We could not decipher any of them, as they appeared more like
Egyptian hieroglyphics than letters of our alphabet, and the only figure
we could distinguish was one which had the appearance of a winged

The history of the place was unknown, but we were afterwards told that
it was looked upon as one of the most important antiquarian discoveries
ever made in Britain. The name of the place was Maeshowe. The mound was
about one hundred yards in circumference, and it was supposed that the
house, or tumulus, was first cut out of the rock and the earth thrown
over it afterwards from the large trench by which it was surrounded.


Our guide then directed us to the "Standing Stones of Stenness," which
were some distance away; but he could not spare time to go with us, so
we had to travel alone to one of the wildest and most desolate places
imaginable, strongly suggestive of ghosts and the spirits of the
departed. We crossed the Bridge of Brogar, or Bruargardr, and then
walked along a narrow strip of land dividing two lochs, both of which at
this point presented a very lonely and dismal appearance. Although they
were so near together, Loch Harry contained fresh water only and Loch
Stenness salt water, as it had a small tidal inlet from the sea passing
under Waith Bridge, which we crossed later. There were two groups of the
standing stones, one to the north and the other to the south, and each
consisted of a double circle of considerable extent. The stones
presented a strange appearance, as while many stood upright, some were
leaning; others had fallen, and some had disappeared altogether. The
storms of many centuries had swept over them, and "they stood like
relics of the past, with lichens waving from their worn surfaces like
grizzly beards, or when in flower mantling them with brilliant orange
hues," while the areas enclosed by them were covered with mosses, the
beautiful stag-head variety being the most prominent. One of the poets
has described them:

  The heavy rocks of giant size
  That o'er the land in circles rise.
  Of which tradition may not tell,
  Fit circles for the Wizard spell;
  Seen far amidst the scowling storm
  Seem each a tall and phantom form,
  As hurrying vapours o'er them flee
  Frowning in grim security,
  While like a dread voice from the past
  Around them moans the autumnal blast!

These lichened "Standing Stones of Stenness," with the famous Stone of
Odin about 150 yards to the north, are second only to Stonehenge, one
measuring 18 feet in length, 5 feet 4 inches in breadth, and 18 inches
in thickness. The Stone of Odin had a hole in it to which it was
supposed that sacrificial victims were fastened in ancient times, but in
later times lovers met and joined hands through the hole in the stone,
and the pledge of love then given was almost as sacred as a marriage
vow. An antiquarian description of this reads as follows: "When the
parties agreed to marry, they repaired to the Temple of the Moon, where
the woman in the presence of the man fell down on her knees and prayed
to the God Wodin that he would enable her to perform, all the promises
and obligations she had made, and was to make, to the young man present,
after which they both went to the Temple of the Sun, where the man
prayed in like manner before the woman. They then went to the Stone of
Odin, and the man being on one side and the woman on the other, they
took hold of each other's right hand through the hole and there swore to
be constant and faithful to each other." The hole in the stone was about
five feet from the ground, but some ignorant farmer had destroyed the
stone, with others, some years before our visit.

There were many other stones in addition to the circles, probably the
remains of Cromlechs, and there were numerous grass mounds, or barrows,
both conoid and bowl-shaped, but these were of a later date than the
circles. It was hard to realise that this deserted and boggarty-looking
place was once the Holy Ground of the ancient Orcadeans, and we were
glad to get away from it. We recrossed the Bridge of Brogar and
proceeded rapidly towards Stromness, obtaining a fine prospective view
of that town, with the huge mountain masses of the Island of Hoy as a
background, on our way. These rise to a great height, and terminate
abruptly near where that strange isolated rock called the "Old Man of
Hoy" rises straight from the sea as if to guard the islands in the rear.
The shades of evening were falling fast as we entered Stromness, but
what a strange-looking town it seemed to us! It was built at the foot of
the hill in the usual irregular manner and in one continuous crooked
street, with many of the houses with their crow-stepped gables built as
it were over the sea itself, and here in one of these, owing to a high
recommendation received inland, we stayed the night. It was perched
above the water's edge, and, had we been so minded, we might have caught
the fish named sillocks for our own breakfast without leaving the house:
many of the houses, indeed, had small piers or landing-stages attached
to them, projecting towards the bay.

We found Mrs. Spence an ideal hostess and were very comfortable, the
only drawback to our happiness being the information that the small
steamboat that carried mails and passengers across to Thurso had gone
round for repairs "and would not be back for a week, but a sloop would
take her place" the day after to-morrow. But just fancy crossing the
stormy waters of the Pentland Firth in a sloop! We didn't quite know
what a sloop was, except that it was a sailing-boat with only one mast;
but the very idea gave us the nightmare, and we looked upon ourselves as
lost already. The mail boat, we had already been told, had been made
enormously strong to enable her to withstand the strain of the stormy
seas, besides having the additional advantage of being propelled by
steam, and it was rather unfortunate that we should have arrived just at
the time she was away. We asked the reason why, and were informed that
during the summer months seaweeds had grown on the bottom of her hull
four or five feet long, which with the barnacles so impeded her progress
that it was necessary to have them scraped off, and that even the great
warships had to undergo the same process.

Seaweeds of the largest size and most beautiful colours flourish, in the
Orcadean seas, and out of 610 species of the flora in the islands we
learned that 133 were seaweeds. Stevenson the great engineer wrote that
the large Algæ, and especially that one he named the "Fucus esculentus,"
grew on the rocks from self-grown seed, six feet in six months, so we
could quite understand how the speed of a ship would be affected when
carrying this enormous growth on the lower parts of her hull.

_Wednesday, September 13th._

We had the whole of the day at our disposal to explore Stromness and the
neighbourhood, and we made the most of it by rambling about the town and
then along the coast to the north, but we were seldom out of sight of
the great mountains of Hoy.

Sir Walter Scott often visited this part of the Orkneys, and some of the
characters he introduced in his novels were found here. In 1814 he made
the acquaintance of a very old woman near Stromness, named Bessie
Miller, whom he described as being nearly one hundred years old,
withered and dried up like a mummy, with light blue eyes that gleamed
with a lustre like that of insanity. She eked out her existence by
selling favourable winds to mariners, for which her fee was sixpence,
and hardly a mariner sailed out to sea from Stromness without visiting
and paying his offering to Old Bessie Miller. Sir Walter drew the
strange, weird character of "Norna of the Fitful Head" in his novel _The
Pirate_ from her.

The prototype of "Captain Cleveland" in the same novel was John Gow, the
son of a Stromness merchant. This man went to sea, and by some means or
other became possessed of a ship named the _Revenge_, which carried
twenty-four guns. He had all the appearance of a brave young officer,
and on the occasions when he came home to see his father he gave
dancing-parties to his friends. Before his true character was known--for
he was afterwards proved to be a pirate--he engaged the affections of a
young lady of fortune, and when he was captured and convicted she
hastened to London to see him before he was executed; but, arriving
there too late, she begged for permission to see his corpse, and, taking
hold of one hand, she vowed to remain true to him, for fear, it was
said, of being haunted by his ghost if she bestowed her hand upon

It is impossible to visit Stromness without hearing something of that
famous geologist Hugh Miller, who was born at Cromarty in the north of
Scotland in the year 1802, and began life as a quarry worker, and wrote
several learned books on geology. In one of these, entitled _Footprints
of the Creator in the Asterolepis of Stromness_, he demolished the
Darwinian theory that would make a man out to be only a highly developed
monkey, and the monkey a highly developed mollusc. My brother had a very
poor opinion of geologists, but his only reason for this seemed to have
been formed from the opinion of some workmen in one of our brickfields.
A gentleman who took an interest in geology used to visit them at
intervals for about half a year, and persuaded the men when excavating
the clay to put the stones they found on one side so that he could
inspect them, and after paying many visits he left without either
thanking them or giving them the price of a drink! But my brother was
pleased with Hugh Miller's book, for he had always contended that Darwin
was mistaken, and that instead of man having descended from the monkey,
it was the monkey that had descended from the man. I persuaded him to
visit the museum, where we saw quite a number of petrified fossils. As
there was no one about to give us any information, we failed to find
Hugh Miller's famous asterolepis, which we heard afterwards had the
appearance of a petrified nail, and had formed part of a huge fish whose
species were known to have measured from eight to twenty-three feet in
length. It was only about six inches long, and was described as one of
the oldest, if not the oldest, vertebrate fossils hitherto discovered.
Stromness ought to be the Mecca, the happy hunting-ground, or the
Paradise to geologists, for Hugh Miller has said it could furnish more
fossil fish than any other geological system in England, Scotland, and
Wales, and could supply ichthyolites by the ton, or a ship load of
fossilised fish sufficient to supply the museums of the world. How came
this vast number of fish to be congregated here? and what was the force
that overwhelmed them? It was quite evident from the distorted portions
of their skeletons, as seen in the quarried flags, that they had
suffered a violent death. But as we were unable to study geology, and
could neither pronounce nor understand the names applied to the fossils,
we gave it up in despair, as a deep where all our thoughts were drowned.

We then walked along the coast, until we came to the highest point of
the cliffs opposite some dangerous rocks called the Black Craigs, about
which a sorrowful story was told. It happened on Wednesday, March 5th,
1834, during a terrific storm, when the _Star of Dundee_, a schooner of
about eighty tons, was seen to be drifting helplessly towards these
rocks. The natives knew there was no chance of escape for the boat, and
ran with ropes to the top of the precipice near the rocks in the hope of
being of some assistance; but such was the fury of the waves that the
boat was broken into pieces before their eyes, and they were utterly
helpless to save even one of their shipwrecked fellow-creatures. The
storm continued for some time, and during the remainder of the week
nothing of any consequence was found, nor was any of the crew heard of
again, either dead or alive, till on the Sunday morning a man was
suddenly observed on the top of the precipice waving his hands, and the
people who saw him first were so astonished that they thought it was a
spectre. It was afterwards discovered that it was one of the crew of the
ill-fated ship who had been miraculously saved. He had been washed into
a cave from a large piece of the wreck, which had partially blocked its
entrance and so checked the violence of the waves inside, and there were
also washed in from the ship some red herrings, a tin can which had been
used for oil, and two pillows. The herrings served him for food and the
tin can to collect drops of fresh water as they trickled down the rocks
from above, while one of the pillows served for his bed and he used the
other for warmth by pulling out the feathers and placing them into his
boots. Occasionally when the waves filled the mouth of the cave he was
afraid of being suffocated. Luckily for him at last the storm subsided
sufficiently to admit of his swimming out of the cave; how he managed to
scale the cliffs seemed little short of a miracle. He was kindly treated
by the Islanders, and when he recovered they fitted him out with
clothing so that he could join another ship. By what we may call the
irony of fate he was again shipwrecked some years afterwards. This time
the fates were less kind, for he was drowned!

[Illustration: THE WRECK.]

We had a splendid view of the mountains and sea, and stayed as usual on
the cliffs until the pangs of hunger compelled us to return to
Stromness, where we knew that a good tea was waiting for us. At one
point on our way back the Heads of Hoy strangely resembled the profile
of the great Sir Walter Scott, and this he would no doubt have seen when
collecting materials for _The Pirate_.

We had heard both in Shetland and Orkney that when we reached John o'
Groat's we should find an enormous number of shells on the beach, and as
we had some extensive rockeries at home already adorned with thousands
of oyster shells, in fact so many as to cause our home to be nicknamed
"Oyster Shell Hall," we decided to gather some of the shells when we got
to John o'Groat's and send them home to our friends. The question of
packages, however, seemed to be rather a serious one, as we were assured
over and over again we should find no packages when we reached that
out-of-the-way corner of Scotland, and that in the whole of the Orkney
Islands there were not sufficient willows grown to make a single basket,
skip, or hamper. So after tea we decided to explore the town in search
of a suitable hamper, and we had some amusing experiences, as the people
did not know what a hamper was. At length we succeeded in finding one
rather ancient and capacious basket, but without a cover, whose
appearance suggested that it had been washed ashore from some ship that
had been wrecked many years ago, and, having purchased it at about three
times its value, we carried it in triumph to our lodgings, to the
intense amusement of our landlady and the excited curiosity of the

We spent the remainder of the evening in looking through Mrs. Spence's
small library of books, but failed to find anything very consoling to
us, as they related chiefly to storms and shipwrecks, and the dangerous
nature of the Pentland Firth, whose turbulent waters we had to cross on
the morrow.

The Pentland Firth lies between the north of Scotland and the Orkney
Islands, varies from five and a half to eight miles in breadth, and is
by repute the most dangerous passage in the British Isles. We were told
in one of the books that if we wanted to witness a regular "passage of
arms" between two mighty seas, the Atlantic at Dunnet Head on the west,
and the North Sea at Duncansbay Head on the east, we must cross Pentland
Firth and be tossed upon its tides before we should be able to imagine
what might be termed their ferocity. "The rush of two mighty oceans,
struggling to sweep this world of waters through a narrow sound, and
dashing their waves in bootless fury against the rocky barriers which
headland and islet present; the endless contest of conflicting tides
hurried forward and repelled, meeting, and mingling--their troubled
surface boiling and spouting--and, even in a summer calm, in an eternal
state of agitation"; and then fancy the calm changing to a storm: "the
wind at west; the whole volume of the Atlantic rolling its wild mass of
waters on, in one sweeping flood, to dash and burst upon the black and
riven promontory of the Dunnet Head, until the mountain wave, shattered
into spray, flies over the summit of a precipice, 400 feet above the
base it broke upon." But this was precisely what we did not want to see,
so we turned to the famous _Statistical Account_, which also described
the difficulty of navigating the Firth for sailing vessels. This
informed us that "the current in the Pentland Firth is exceedingly
strong during the spring tides, so that no vessel can stem it. The
flood-tide runs from west to east at the rate of ten miles an hour, with
new and full moon. It is then high water at Scarfskerry (about three
miles away from Dunnet Head) at nine o'clock. Immediately, as the water
begins to fall on the shore, the current turns to the west; but the
strength of the flood is so great in the middle of the Firth that it
continues to run east till about twelve. With a gentle breeze of
westerly wind, about eight o'clock in the morning the whole Firth, from
Dunnet Head to Hoy Head in Orkney, seems as smooth as a sheet of glass.
About nine the sea begins to rage for about one hundred yards off the
Head, while all without continues smooth as before. This appearance
gradually advances towards the Firth, and along the shore to the east,
though the effects are not much felt along the shore till it reaches
Scarfskerry Head, as the land between these points forms a considerable
bay. By two o'clock the whole of the Firth seems to rage. About three in
the afternoon it is low water on the shore, when all the former
phenomena are reversed, the smooth water beginning to appear next the
land and advancing gradually till it reaches the middle of the Firth. To
strangers the navigation is very dangerous, especially if they approach
near to land. But the natives along the coast are so well acquainted
with the direction of the tides, that they can take advantage of every
one of these currents to carry them safe from one harbour to another.
Hence very few accidents happen, except from want of skill or knowledge
of the tides."

[Illustration: A NORTH SEA ROLLER.]

There were some rather amusing stories about the detention of ships in
the Firth. A Newcastle shipowner had despatched two ships from that port
by the same tide, one to Bombay by the open sea, and the other, via the
Pentland Firth, to Liverpool, and the Bombay vessel arrived at her
destination first. Many vessels trying to force a passage through the
Firth have been known to drift idly about hither and thither for months
before they could get out again, and some ships that once entered
Stromness Bay on New Year's Day were found there, resting from their
labours on the fifteenth day of April following, "after wandering about
like the _Flying Dutchman_." Sir Walter Scott said this was formerly a
ship laden with precious metals, but a horrible murder was committed on
board. A plague broke out amongst the crew, and no port would allow the
vessel to enter for fear of contagion, and so she still wanders about
the sea with her phantom crew, never to rest, but doomed to be tossed
about for ever. She is now a spectral ship, and hovers about the Cape of
Good Hope as an omen of bad luck to mariners who are so unfortunate as
to see her.

The dangerous places at each end of the Firth were likened to the Scylla
and Charybdis between Italy and Sicily, where, in avoiding one mariners
were often wrecked by the other; but the dangers in the Firth were from
the "Merry Men of Mey," a dangerous expanse of sea, where the water was
always boiling like a witch's cauldron at one end, and the dreaded
"Swalchie Whirlpool" at the other. This was very dangerous for small
boats, as they could sail over it safely in one state of the tide, but
when it began to move it carried the boat round so slowly that the
occupants did not realise their danger until too late, when they found
themselves going round quicker and quicker as they descended into the
awful vortex below, where the ancient Vikings firmly believed the
submarine mill existed which ground the salt that supplied the ocean.

We ought not to have read these dismal stories just before retiring to
rest, as the consequence was that we were dreaming of dangerous rocks,
storms, and shipwrecks all through the night, and my brother had toiled
up the hill at the back of the town and found Bessie Miller there, just
as Sir Walter Scott described her, with "a clay-coloured kerchief folded
round her head to match the colour of her corpse-like complexion." He
was just handing her a sixpence to pay for a favourable wind, when
everything was suddenly scattered by a loud knock at the door, followed
by the voice of our hostess informing us that it was five o'clock and
that the boat was "awa' oot" at six.

We were delighted to find that in place of the great storm pictured in
our excited imagination there was every prospect of a fine day, and that
a good "fish breakfast" served in Mrs. Spence's best style was waiting
for us below stairs.

_Thursday, September 14th._

After bidding Mrs. Spence farewell, and thanking her for her kind
attention to us during our visit to Stromness, we made our way to the
sloop, which seemed a frail-looking craft to cross the stormy waters of
the Pentland Firth. We did not, of course, forget our large basket which
we had had so much difficulty in finding, and which excited so much
attention and attracted so much curiosity towards ourselves all the way
to John o' Groat's. It even caused the skipper to take a friendly
interest in us, for after our explanation he stored that ancient basket
amongst his more valuable cargo.

There was only a small number of passengers, but in spite of the early
hour quite a little crowd of people had assembled to witness our
departure, and a considerable amount of banter was going on between
those on board the sloop and the company ashore, which continued as we
moved away, each party trying to get the better of the other. As a
finale, one of our passengers shouted to his friend who had come to see
him off: "Do you want to buy a cow?" "Yes," yelled his friend, "but I
see nothing but a calf." A general roar of laughter followed this
repartee, as we all thought the Orkneyman on shore had scored. We should
have liked to have fired another shot, but by the time the laughter had
subsided we were out of range. We did not expect to be on the way more
than three or four hours, as the distance was only about twenty-four
miles; but we did not reach Thurso until late in the afternoon, and we
should have been later if we had had a less skilful skipper. In the
first place we had an unfavourable wind, which prevented our sailing by
the Hoy Sound, the shortest and orthodox route, and this caused us to
miss the proper sea view of the "Old Man of Hoy," which the steamboat
from Stromness to Thurso always passed in close proximity, but we could
perceive it in the distance as an insular Pillar of Rock, standing 450
feet high with rocks in vicinity rising 1,000 feet, although we could
not see the arch beneath, which gives it the appearance of standing on
two legs, and hence the name given to the rock by the sailors. The
Orcadean poet writes:

  See Hoy's Old Man whose summit bare
  Pierces the dark blue fields of air;
  Based in the sea, his fearful form
  Glooms like the spirit of the storm.

[Illustration: "OLD MAN OF HOY."]

When pointing out the Old Man to us, the captain said that he stood in
the roughest bit of sea round the British coast, and the words "wind and
weather permitting" were very applicable when stoppages wore
contemplated at the Old Man or other places in these stormy seas.

We had therefore to sail by way of Lang Hope, which we supposed was a
longer route, and we were astonished at the way our captain handled his
boat; but when we reached what we thought was Lang Hope, he informed the
passengers that he intended to anchor here for some time, and those who
wished could be ferried ashore. We had decided to remain on the boat,
but when the captain said there was an inn there where refreshments
could be obtained, my brother declared that he felt quite hungry, and
insisted upon our having a second breakfast. We were therefore rowed
ashore, and were ushered into the parlour of the inn as if we were the
lords of the manor and sole owners, and were very hospitably received
and entertained. The inn was appropriately named the "Ship," and the
treatment we received was such as made us wish we were making a longer
stay, but time and tide wait for no man.

  For the next inn he spurs amain,
  In haste alights, and scuds away--
  But time and tide for no man stay.

[Illustration: THE SHIP INN, LANG HOPE. The sign has now been removed to
a new hotel, visible in the photograph, on the opposite side of the

Whether it was for time or tide or for one of those mysterious movements
in the Pentland Firth that our one-masted boat was waiting we never
knew. We had only just finished our breakfast when a messenger appeared
to summon us to rejoin the sloop, which had to tack considerably before
we reached what the skipper described as the Scrabster Roads. A stiff
breeze had now sprung up, and there was a strong current in the sea; at
each turn or tack our boat appeared to be sailing on her side, and we
were apprehensive that she might be blown over into the sea. We watched
the operations carefully and anxiously, and it soon became evident that
what our skipper did not know about the navigation of these stormy seas
was not worth knowing. We stood quite near him (and the mast) the whole
of the time, and he pointed out every interesting landmark as it came in
sight. He seemed to be taking advantage of the shelter afforded by the
islands, as occasionally we came quite near their rocky shores, and at
one point he showed us a small hole in the rock which was only a few
feet above the sea; he told us it formed the entrance to a cave in
which he had often played when, as a boy, he lived on that island.


The time had now arrived to cross the Pentland Firth and to sail round
Dunnet Head to reach Thurso. Fortunately the day was fine, and the
strong breeze was nothing in the shape of a storm; but in spite of these
favourable conditions we got a tossing, and no mistake! Our little ship
was knocked about like a cork on the waters, which were absolutely
boiling and foaming and furiously raging without any perceptible cause,
and as if a gale were blowing on them two ways at once. The appearance
of the foaming mass of waters was terrible to behold; we could hear them
roaring and see them struggling together just below us; the deck of the
sloop was only a few feet above them, and it appeared as if we might be
swallowed up at any moment. The captain told us that this turmoil was
caused by the meeting of the waters of two seas, and that at times it
was very dangerous to small boats.

Many years ago he was passing through the Firth with his boat on a
rather stormy day, when he noticed he was being followed by another boat
belonging to a neighbour of his. He could see it distinctly from time to
time, and he was sure that it could not be more than 200 yards away,
when he suddenly missed it. He watched anxiously for some time, but it
failed to reappear, nor was the boat or its crew ever seen or heard of
again, and it was supposed to have been carried down by a whirlpool!

We were never more thankful than when we got safely across those awful
waters and the great waves we encountered off Dunnet Head, and when we
were safely landed near Thurso we did not forget the skipper, but bade
him a friendly and, to him, lucrative farewell.

We had some distance to walk before reaching the town where, loaded with
our luggage and carrying the large basket between us, each taking hold
of one of the well-worn handles, we attracted considerable attention,
and almost every one we saw showed a disposition to see what we were
carrying in our hamper; but when they discovered it was empty, their
curiosity was turned into another channel, and they must see where we
were taking it; so by the time we reached the house recommended by our
skipper for good lodgings we had a considerable following of "lookers
on." Fortunately, however, no one attempted to add to our burden by
placing anything in the empty basket or we should have been tempted to
carry it bottom upwards like an inmate of one of the asylums in
Lancashire. A new addition was being built in the grounds, and some of
the lunatics were assisting in the building operations, when the foreman
discovered one of them pushing his wheelbarrow with the bottom upwards
and called out to him, "Why don't you wheel it the right way up?"

"I did," said the lunatic solemnly, "but they put bricks in it!"

We felt that some explanation was due to our landlady, who smiled when
she saw the comical nature of that part of our luggage and the motley
group who had followed us, and as we unfolded its history and described
the dearth of willows in the Orkneys, the price we had paid, the
difficulties in finding the hamper, and the care we had taken of it when
crossing the stormy seas, we could see her smile gradually expanding
into a laugh that she could retain no longer when she told us we could
have got a better and a cheaper basket than that in the "toon," meaning
Thurso, of course. It was some time before we recovered ourselves,
laughter being contagious, and we could hear roars of it at the rear of
the house as our antiquated basket was being stored there.

After tea we crossed the river which, like the town, is named Thurso,
the word, we were informed, meaning Thor's House. Thor, the god of
thunder, was the second greatest of the Scandinavian deities, while his
father, Odin, the god of war, was the first. We had some difficulty in
crossing the river, as we had to pass over it by no less than
eighty-five stepping-stones, several of which were slightly submerged.
Here we came in sight of Thurso Castle, the residence of the Sinclair
family, one of whom, Sir John Sinclair, was the talented author of the
famous _Statistical Account of Scotland_, and a little farther on stood
Harold's Tower. This tower was erected by John Sinclair over the tomb of
Earl Harold, the possessor at one time of one half of Orkney, Shetland,
and Caithness, who fell in battle against his own namesake, Earl Harold
the Wicked, in 1190. In the opposite direction was Scrabster and its
castle, the scene of the horrible murder of John, Earl of Caithness, in
the twelfth century, "whose tongue was cut from his throat and whose
eyes were put out." We did not go there, but went into the town, and
there witnessed the departure of the stage, or mail coach, which was
just setting out on its journey of eighty miles, for railways had not
yet made their appearance in Caithness, the most northerly county in
Scotland. We then went to buy another hamper, and got a much better one
for less money than we paid at Stromness, for we had agreed that we
would send home two hampers filled with shells instead of one. We also
inquired the best way of getting to John o' Groat's, and were informed
that the Wick coach would take us the first six miles, and then we
should have to walk the remaining fifteen. We were now only one day's
journey to the end and also from the beginning of our journey, and, as
may easily be imagined, we were anxiously looking forward to the morrow.

_Friday, September 15th._

At eight o'clock in the morning we were comfortably seated in the coach
which was bound for Wick, with our luggage and the two hampers safely
secured on the roof above, and after a ride of about six miles we were
left, with our belongings, at the side of the highway where the by-road
leading in the direction of John o' Groat's branched off to the left
across the open country. The object of our walk had become known to our
fellow-passengers, and they all wished us a pleasant journey as the
coach moved slowly away. Two other men who had friends in the coach also
alighted at the same place, and we joined them in waving adieux, which
were acknowledged from the coach, as long as it remained in sight. They
also very kindly assisted us to carry our luggage as far as they were
going on our way, and then they helped us to scheme how best to carry it
ourselves. We had brought some strong cord with us from Thurso, and with
the aid of this they contrived to sling the hampers over our shoulders,
leaving us free to carry the remainder of our luggage in the usual way,
and then, bidding us a friendly farewell, left us to continue on our
lonely way towards John o' Groat's. We must have presented an
extraordinary appearance with these large baskets extending behind our
backs, and we created great curiosity and some amusement amongst the
men, women, and children who were hard at work harvesting in the country
through which we passed.

My brother said it reminded him of Christian in John Bunyan's _Pilgrim's
Progress_, who carried the burden on his back and wanted to get rid of
it; while I thought of Sinbad the Sailor, who, when wrecked on a desert
island, was compelled to carry the Old Man of the Sea on his shoulders,
and he also wanted to get rid of his burden; but we agreed that, like
both of these worthy characters, we should be obliged to carry our
burdens to the end of the journey.

We had a fine view of Dunnet Head, which is said to be the Cape Orcas
mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, the geographer who lived in the time of
Julius Cæsar, and of the lighthouse which had been built on the top of
it in 1832, standing quite near the edge of the cliff.

The light from the lantern, which was 346 feet above the highest spring
tide, could be seen at a distance of 23 miles; but even this was
sometimes obscured by the heavy storms from the west when the enormous
billows from the Atlantic dashed against the rugged face of the cliff
and threw up the spray as high as the lights of the building itself, so
that the stones they contained have been known to break the glass in the
building; such, indeed, was the prodigious combined force of the wind
and sea upon the headland, that the very rock seemed to tremble as if it
were affected by an earthquake.

While on the coach we had passed the hamlets of Murkle and Castlehill.
Between these two places was a sandy pool on the seashore to which a
curious legend was attached. The story goes that--

   a young lad on one occasion discovered a mermaid bathing and by some
   means or other got into conversation with her and rendered himself so
   agreeable that a regular meeting at the same spot took place between
   them. This continued for some time. The young man grew exceedingly
   wealthy, and no one could tell how he became possessed of such
   riches. He began to cut a dash amongst the lasses, making them
   presents of strings of diamonds of vast value, the gifts of the fair
   sea nymph. By and by he began to forget the day of his appointment;
   and when he did come to see her, money and jewels were his constant
   request. The mermaid lectured him pretty sharply on his love of gold,
   and, exasperated at his perfidy in bestowing her presents on his
   earthly fair ones, enticed him one evening rather farther than usual,
   and at length showed him a beautiful boat, in which she said she
   would convey him to a cave in Darwick Head, where she had all the
   wealth of all the ships that ever were lost in the Pentland Firth and
   on the sands of Dunnet. He hesitated at first, but the love of gold
   prevailed, and off they set to the cave in question. And here, says
   the legend, he is confined with a chain of gold, sufficiently long to
   admit of his walking at times on a small piece of sand under the
   western side of the Head; and here, too, the fair siren laves herself
   in the tiny waves on fine summer evenings, but no consideration will
   induce her to loose his fetters of gold, or trust him one hour out of
   her sight.

We walked on at a good pace and in high spirits, but, after having
knocked about for nine days and four nights and having travelled seven
or eight hundred miles by land and sea, the weight of our extra burden
began to tell upon us, and we felt rather tired and longed for a rest
both for mind and body in some quiet spot over the week's end,
especially as we had decided to begin our long walk on the Monday

Visions of a good hotel which we felt sure we should find at John o'
Groat's began to haunt us, and the more hungry we became the brighter
were our anticipations of the good fare that awaited us. But judge of
our surprise and disappointment when a man whom we met on the road told
us there was no hotel there at all! We asked if he thought we could get
lodgings at John o' Groat's House itself, but the sardonic grin that
spread over his features when he told us that that house had vanished
long ago was cruel. The information gave us quite a shock, and our
spirits seemed to fall below zero as we turned our backs on the man
without even thanking him for answering our questions. We felt not too
full, but too empty for words, as we were awfully hungry, and I heard my
brother murmur something that sounded very like "Liar"; but the man's
information turned out to be perfectly correct. Our luggage also began
to feel heavier, and the country gradually became more wild and
desolate. Our spirits revived a little when a fisherman told us of a
small inn that we should reach a mile or two before coming to John o'
Groat's. We thought we had surely come to the end of everywhere when we
reached the "Huna Inn," for it stood some distance from any other house
and at the extreme end of an old lane that terminated at the sea. It was
a small, primitive structure, but it was now our only hope, as far as we
knew, for obtaining lodgings, and we could scarcely restrain our delight
when we were told we could be accommodated there until Monday morning.
It was an intense relief to us to be separated from our cumbersome
luggage, and we must say that Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie did all in their
power to make us comfortable and happy and to make us feel at home. We
contented ourselves with some light refreshments which to some
non-pedestrians might have appeared decidedly heavy, and then decided to
see all that remained of John o' Groat's House.

Walking along the beach for about a mile and a half, the distance we
were told that separated the ruins from the inn, we failed to find them,
and were about to return when we met a shepherd who said we had already
passed them. We therefore returned with him, as he told us he was going
to the inn, and he showed us a few mounds of earth covered with grass
which marked the site of the foundations of John o' Groat's House, but
the stones had been removed to build a storehouse, or granary, at a
place he pointed out in the distance. We were rather disappointed, as we
expected to find some extensive remains, and, seeing they were so very
scanty, we wondered why, in a land where stones were so plentiful, some
monument or inscribed stone had not been erected to mark the site where
this remarkable house once stood, as, in the absence of some one to
direct them, strangers, like ourselves, might pass and repass these
remains without noticing them. We were not long in reaching the inn, for
the shepherd was a big man and took very long strides, and here we wrote
a few short letters to our friends to advise them of our safe arrival at
John o' Groat's, afterwards walking to the post office about a mile away
to post them, and ordering a high tea to be ready for us on our return.
It was half-past eight when we finished our tea, after which we were
conducted to a little room close to the sea, with two tiny windows in
it, one of them without a blind, and with a peat or turf fire burning
brightly on the hearth. Mrs. Mackenzie then brought us a small candle,
which she lighted, and handed us a book which she said was the "Album,"
and we amused ourselves with looking over this for the remainder of the
evening. It was quite a large volume, dating from the year 1839, and the
following official account of the Groat family, headed with a facsimile
of the "Groat Arms," was pasted inside the cover:



   It is stated in _Sinclair's Statistical Accounts of Scotland_, vol.
   8, page 167 and following:--"In the account of Cannisby by the Rev.
   John Marison, D.D., that in the reign of James the Fourth, King of
   Scotland, Malcom, Cairn and John de Groat, supposed to have been
   brothers and originally from Holland, arrived in Caithness from the
   south of Scotland, bringing with them a letter in Latin by that King
   recommending him to the countenance and protection of his loving
   subjects in the County of Caithness."

   It is stated in _Chambers's Pictures of Scotland_, vol. 2, page 306,
   "that the foundations or ruins of John o' Groat's House, which is
   perhaps the most celebrated in the whole world, are still to be

Then followed the names and addresses of visitors extending over a
period of thirty-three years, many of them having also written remarks
in prose, poetry, or doggerel rhyme, so we found plenty of food for
thought and some amusement before we got even half way through the
volume. Some of these effusions might be described as of more than
ordinary merit, and the remainder as good, bad, and indifferent. Those
written in foreign languages--and there were many of them--we could
neither read nor understand, but they gave us the impression that the
fame of John o' Groat's had spread throughout the civilised world. There
were many references to Stroma, or the Island of the Current, which we
could see in the Pentland Firth about four miles distant, and to the
difficulties and danger the visitors had experienced in crossing that
"stormy bit of sea" between it and John o' Groat's. But their chief
complaint was that, after travelling so far, there was no house for them
to see. They had evidently, like ourselves, expected to find a
substantial structure, and the farther they had travelled the greater
their disappointment would naturally be. One visitor had expressed his
disappointment in a verse more forcible than elegant, but true as
regarded the stone.

    I went in a boat
    To see John o' Groat,
  The place where his home doth lie;
    But when I got there,
    The hill was all bare,
  And the devil a stone saw I.

The following entry also appeared in the Album:--

   Elihu Burrit of New Britain, Connecticut, U.S. America, on a walk
   from Land's End to John o' Groat's, arrived at Huna Inn, upon Monday
   Sep. 28th, 1863. He visited the site of that famous domicile so
   celebrated in the world-wide legend for its ingenious construction to
   promote domestic happiness, and fully realised all he had anticipated
   in standing on a spot so rich with historical associations and
   surrounded with such grand and beautiful scenery. He desires also to
   record his testimony to the hospitality and comfort of the cosy
   little sea-side Inn, where he was pleasantly housed for the night,
   and of which he will ever cherish an interesting remembrance.

_Saturday, September 16th._

"Now for the shells!" exclaimed my brother, as we awoke early in the
morning, for we expected to have a hard day's work before we gathered
shells enough to fill our large baskets. So we hurried on with our
breakfast, and then, shouldering our hampers, walked quickly along the
beach to the place where we had been informed we should find them. When
we got there we saw a sight which surely could not have had its parallel
in the British Isles, for the beach was white with them for the greater
part of two miles. We were greatly astonished, for in some places the
beach was so thickly covered that, had we possessed a shovel, we could
have filled both our baskets with shells in a very few minutes. We
decided therefore to select those best suited to our purpose, and we
worked away until we had filled both our hampers. We then carried them
one at a time to the "Huna Inn," and arranged with Mr. Mackenzie to have
them carefully packed and delivered to the local carrier to be conveyed
by road to the steamboat office at Wick, and thence forwarded by water
to our home, where we knew their contents would be appreciated for
rockery purposes. The whole of our operations were completed by noon,
instead of occupying the whole of the day as anticipated, for we had a
great advantage in having such an enormous number of shells to select
from. Our host told us that farmers occasionally moved them by
cart-loads to serve as lime manure on their land. Their accumulation at
that particular spot was a mystery which he could not explain beyond the
fact that the shells were washed up from the Pentland Firth during the
great storms; so we concluded that there must be a land of shell fish in
or near that stormy deep, perhaps corresponding with that of the larger
fish whose destruction we had seen represented in the Strata of Pomona
in the Orkneys.

[Illustration: ROCKS AT DUNCANSBAY.]

We must not forget to record, however, that amongst the vast number of
shells we had turned over we found some of those lovely little shells
known as "John o' Groat's buckies," so highly prized by visitors. They
were difficult to find, as they were so very small, but we found quite a
number, and considered them to be perfect little gems, and so very
pretty that we reserved them for special presents to our friends. We
afterwards learned that they were known to science as Cyproe Artoca, or
European Cowry.

       *       *       *       *       *

An interesting account of John o' Groat's House and the shells was
written in the year 1698 by the Rev. John Brand, Commissioner of the
General Assembly:--

   The landing-place was called John o' Groat's House, the northernmost
   house in Scotland; the man who now liveth in it and keepeth an inn
   there is called John Grot, who saith his house hath been in the
   possession of his predecessors of that name for some hundreds of
   years; which name of Grot is frequent in Caithness.

   Upon the sand by John Grot's house are found many small pleasant
   buckies and shells, beautified by diverse colours, which some use to
   put upon a string as beads, and account much of their rarity. It is
   also observed of these shells that not one of them can be found
   altogether like another, and upon the review of the parcel I had I
   discovered some difference among them which variety renders them the
   more beautiful.


After our midday dinner had partially digested, for we had eaten rather
too much, we started for Duncansbay Head, following the coast line on an
up-gradient until we reached the top, which formed the north-eastern
extremity of Scotland, and from where we had to start on Monday morning.
It was a lonely spot, and we were the only visitors; but we had a lively
time there, as the thousands of wild birds whose homes were in the
rocks, judging from the loud noises they made as they new about us in
endless processions, resented our intrusion into their sacred
domain--hovering around us in every direction. Perhaps they were only
anxious to ascertain whether we were friends or foes, but we were very
much interested in their strange movements. They appeared to be most
numerous on and about two or three perpendicular rocks which rose from
the sea like pinnacles to a great height. These rocks were named the
"Stacks," or the "Boars of Duncansbay," their sides and summits being
only accessible to birds, and forming safe resting and nesting-places
for them, and on the top of the highest stack the golden-coloured eagles
had for ages reared their young. The "Stacks" might once have formed
part of the headland or of some adjacent island which had been wasted
away by the winds and waves of ages until only these isolated portions
remained, and these were worn into all kinds of crevices and fantastic
shapes which impressed us with a sense of their great antiquity. We
walked along the top of the cliffs, which here presented the appearance
of one vast amphitheatre lined with precipices, with small promontories
here and there jutting out into the sea resembling fortresses, some of
them having the ruins of ancient castles crowning their highest points.
We could scarcely bring our minds to realise that these were the very
rocks we had seen from the deck of the s.s. _St. Magnus_ only a few days
since. We had passed through so many scenes, and had had so many
adventures both by night and day since then, that the lapse of time
seemed to us to be more like years than days. We retraced our steps to
the head, and stood there for some time watching the ships far out at
sea, trying to distinguish the _St. Magnus_, as it was just about the
time she was again due on her outward journey; but the demands of our
hungry insides were again claiming urgent attention, and so we hastened
our return to the "Huna Inn." On our way we again encountered the
shepherd who had shown us the site of John o' Groat's House, and we
invited him to look us up in the evening, as we were anxious to get
further information about John and his famous house. "Huna Inn," in
spite of its disadvantages, was quite a romantic place to stay at, as it
was situated almost on the edge of the boiling torrent of the Pentland
Firth, which at times was so stormy that the island of Stroma could not
be reached for weeks.

The "Swalchie," or whirlpool of Stroma, has been mentioned by many
ancient writers, but the most interesting story is that of its origin as
given in the old Norse legend headed, "Fenja and Menja," and containing
a famous ballad known as the "Grotta Songr," or the "Mill Song," grotta
being the Norse for mill, or quern.

   Odin had a son by name Skjold from whom the Skjoldungs. He had his
   throne and ruled in the lands that are now called Denmark but were
   then called Gotland. Skjold had a son by name Fridleif, who ruled the
   lands after him. Fridleif's son was Frode. He took the kingdom after
   his father, at the time when the Emperor Augustus established peace
   in all the earth, and Christ was born. But Frode being the mightiest
   King in the Northlands, this peace was attributed to him by all who
   spake the Danish tongue and the Norsemen called it the Peace of
   Frode. No man injured the other, even though he might meet, loose or
   in chains, his father's or brother's bane (murderer). There was no
   thief or robber so that a gold ring would lie a long time on
   Jalanger's heath. King Frode sent messengers to Sirthjod, to the King
   whose name was Fjolner, and bought there two maidservants, whose
   names were Fenja and Menja. They were large and strong. About this
   time were found in Denmark two millstones so large that no one had
   the strength to turn them. But the nature belonged to these
   millstones that they ground whatever was demanded of them by the
   miller. The name of the mill was Grotte. But the man to whom King
   Frode gave the mill was called Hengekjapt. King Frode had the
   maidservants led to the mill and requested them to grind for him gold
   and peace and Frode's happiness. Then he gave them no longer time to
   rest or sleep than while the cuckoo was silent or while they sang a
   song. It is said they sang the song called the "Grotte Song," and
   before they ended it they ground out a host against Frode, so that on
   the same night there came the Sea-King whose name was Mysing and slew
   Frode and took a large amount of booty. Mysing took with him Grotte
   and also Fenja and Menja and bade them grind salt, and in the middle
   of the night they asked Mysing whether he did not have salt enough.
   He bade them grind more. They ground only a short time longer before
   the ship sank. But in the ocean arose a whirlpool (maelstrom,
   mill-stream) in the place where the sea runs into the mill-eye: the
   Swalchie of Stroma.

The story "Why is the sea salt?" or "How the sea became salt," has
appeared in one form or another among many nations of the world, and
naturally appealed strongly to the imagination of the youth of a
maritime nation like England. The story as told formerly amongst
schoolboys was as follows:

   Jack had decided to go to sea, but before doing so he went to see his
   fairy godmother, who had a strange looking old coffee-mill on the
   mantelshelf in her kitchen. She set the table for tea without
   anything on it to eat or drink, and then, taking down the old mill,
   placed it on the table and asked it to grind each article she
   required. After the tea-pot had been filled, Jack was anxious for
   something to eat, and said he would like some teacakes, so his fairy
   godmother said to the mill:

  "Mill! Mill! grind away.
  Buttered tea-cakes now I pray!"

   for she knew Jack liked plenty of butter on his cakes, and out they
   came from the mill until the plate was well filled, and then she

  "Mill! Mill! rest thee now,
  Thou hast ground enough I trow,"

   and immediately the mill stopped grinding. When Jack told her he was
   going away on a ship to sea, his fairy godmother made him a present
   of the old mill, which he would find useful, as it would grind
   anything he asked it to; but he must be careful to use the same words
   that he had heard her speak both in starting and stopping the mill.
   When he got to the ship, he stored the old mill carefully in his box,
   and had almost forgotten it when as they neared the country they were
   bound for the ship ran short of potatoes, so Jack told the Captain he
   would soon find him some, and ran for his mill, which he placed on
   the deck of the ship, and said to it:

  "Mill! Mill! grind away,
  Let us have some potatoes I pray!"

   and immediately the potatoes began to roll out of the mill and over
   the deck, to the great astonishment and delight of the sailors, who
   had fine fun gathering them up. Then Jack said to the mill:

  "Mill! Mill! rest thee now,
  Thou hast ground enough I trow,"

   and immediately the mill ceased grinding.

   The Captain determined to get the mill from Jack, who would not part
   with it, and tried to steal it, but did not succeed, and when they
   reached the port, Jack took the mill ashore with him, and rented a
   shop that happened to be empty, and had a sign-board placed over it
   with the words painted in large letters, "All sorts of things
   supplied here on the shortest notice," and he soon got a pile of
   money, the last order being one from the King, who wanted clothing
   for his soldiers in a hurry, as war had broken out unexpectedly.
   Jack's good fortune was soon heard of by the Captain, and when his
   ship was ready to sail he contrived to get one of his friends to
   invite Jack to a party that evening, and then with the help of some
   of his crew he broke into the shop and stole the old mill.

   When Jack returned in the morning his mill was gone, and he could
   just see the sails of the ship far out at sea. But he did not care
   much, as he had now money enough to keep himself for many years.
   Meantime the Captain in his hurry to get away had forgotten to bring
   some things that were wanted, and when he found they had no salt on
   board, he brought the old mill on deck, and said:

  "Mill! Mill! grind away
  Let us have some salt I pray,"

   and immediately the mill began to grind salt at a great speed and
   presently covered the deck all round where it was working, but the
   Captain had forgotten the words spoken by Jack when he stopped the
   mill, and though he used all the words he could think of, the mill
   kept on grinding, and was rapidly filling every available space on
   the deck. The Captain then ran to his cabin and brought out his
   sword, and with a terrific blow he cut the mill in halves; but each
   piece formed itself into a mill, and both mills continued grinding
   until the ship sank to the bottom of the sea, where the mills are
   still grinding in the terrible Swalchie of Stroma, and that is why
   the water in the sea is salt!

There had been a ferry at John o' Groat's years before our visit, and
mails and passengers had been carried across the Firth to and from the
Orkney Islands, the distance across being shorter from this point than
from any other in Scotland; but for some unexplained reason the service
had been discontinued, and the presence of the ferry would probably
account for so many names being written in the album. The day was
already drawing to a close as we sat down to tea and the good things
provided by Mrs. Mackenzie, and we were waited upon by a Scotch lassie,
who wore neither shoes nor stockings; but this we found was nothing
unusual in the north of Scotland in those days. After tea we adjourned
to our room, and sat down in front of our peat fire; but our
conversational powers soon exhausted themselves, for we felt uncommonly
drowsy after having been exposed so long to the open air. We sat there
silently watching the curling smoke as it went up the chimney and
dreamily gazing into the caverns which had been formed in the fire
below, imagining that we could see all kinds of weird objects therein,
and then we thought of the times when we should not have been able to
rest so securely and comfortably in the "Huna Inn," when one Scottish
clan was trying to exterminate another not so far away from where we
were then sitting, for no more apparent reason than that the Scots were
born soldiers, and if they had no foreigners to fight they must fight
among themselves. We must have been nearly asleep when our reveries were
interrupted by the entrance of the shepherd, whom for the moment we had
entirely forgotten. He had come in response to our invitation to talk
with us about things in general, but particularly about John o' Groat,
and we were glad to see him, and we now give--


   John o' Groat was a fisherman belonging to Holland who was caught
   when at sea in a great storm which damaged his sails so that his boat
   drifted almost helplessly across the sea. When he came in sight of
   the Scottish coast he was carried with the current into the Pentland
   Firth, and as he could not repair the sails in the boat and could not
   get back to Holland with them in their damaged condition, he decided
   to land on one of the islands and repair them on shore. His wife was
   very much opposed to his landing on Stroma, as she thought it was a
   desert island, so he got his boat across from there to the Scottish
   coast; but when he attempted to land at Huna, the natives opposed his
   landing, for they thought he was a pirate. Fortunately for him he
   had a few kegs of gin in his boat, and when the canny Scots saw these
   they became more friendly, especially as they had a great respect for
   Holland's gin, and so they allowed him to land, and even helped him
   to mend his sails. They afterwards allowed him to settle amongst them
   on condition that he did not attempt to go into the interior of the
   country, and that he built his house on the seashore. He got on well
   amongst his new friends, and in time became their chief and had eight
   sons, and on one festive occasion, when they all came to see him,
   they quarrelled as to which should have precedence at his table, so
   John told them that the next time they came he would have matters so
   arranged as to avoid that kind of thing in the future. He therefore
   built an entirely new house with eight sides to it and a door in
   each, and made a table inside of the same octagonal shape, so that
   when they came to see him again each of them could enter by his own
   door and sit at his own head of the table.

In reply to our questions the shepherd said he thought this event
happened about 350 years ago, but the house had long since disappeared,
and only the site of the foundations which he had shown us previously
now remained. He also said that heaps of ladies and gentlemen came there
to picnic on the site, and he had seen them take even small stones away;
but though he had lived there for fifty years, he had never seen John o'
Groat's any different from what it was now. We asked him why John did
not return to Holland, and he said it was because he had a letter from
the king. We thanked the shepherd for his story, and, having suitably
rewarded him, bade him farewell and hurried off to bed in the fading
light of our rapidly diminishing candle.

_Sunday, September 17th._

The strict observance of the Sabbath Day in Scotland was to us a most
pleasing feature in Scottish life, and one to which we had been
accustomed from early childhood, so we had no desire to depart from it
now. We were, therefore, very pleased when Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie
invited us to accompany them to the Free Kirk service, and, as half-past
ten o'clock was the time fixed for our departure from the inn, we
concluded that the kirk could not be far away, as that was the hour that
service began in our village church in Cheshire, but we could not
remember seeing any kirk in the neighbourhood of the "Huna Inn." We
continued walking one mile after another for more than an hour, and must
have walked quite four miles before we came in sight of the kirk, and we
were then informed that the service did not commence until twelve
o'clock! The country through which we passed was very bare, there being
a total absence of hedges and trees, so we could see people coming
towards the kirk from every direction. Everybody seemed to know
everybody else, and, as they came nearer the sacred enclosure, they
formed themselves into small groups and stood conversing with each
other, chiefly on religious matters, until the minister arrived to take
charge of his flock. He was a quaintly dressed and rather elderly man,
evidently well known, as he had a nod or a smile of recognition and a
friendly word for all. We followed him into the kirk, where we found
ourselves in the presence of quite a large congregation, and sat with
Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie in their own pew in the rear of the kirk. The
form of the service was quite different from that to which we had been
accustomed. The congregation stood up while they prayed and sat down
while they sang the Psalms, with the exception of one man, who remained
standing in what we thought was the clerk's desk immediately below the
pulpit. This man acted as leader of the singing, but he failed to get
much assistance from the people, and had great difficulty in keeping the
singing going. Possibly the failure of the congregational singing might
be accounted for by the absence of an organ or other instrument of music
to assist and encourage the people to sing, the nearest approach to
anything of the kind being the tuning-fork which the conductor held in
his hand. There was also the fact that the sitting posture was not the
best position for bringing out the powers of the human voice; but we
came to the conclusion that music was not looked upon favourably in that
remote part of Scotland.

In front of the pulpit there was an enclosure, fenced in by the
communion rail, and inside this were seated the elders, or deacons of
the church. These were very old men with bent heads and white hair, and
had the appearance of centenarians; they were indeed the
queerest-looking group of old men we had ever seen assembled together.
But it was their noses that chiefly attracted our attention, as they
were so very long and crooked, and the strange feature about them was
that they were all of the same pattern. Their only rival, as far as we
could see, in length of nose was the minister, but we thought he had
enlarged his by artificial means, as we found to our surprise that he
was addicted to snuff-taking, a habit very prevalent in Scotland in
those days.

Then came the sermon. On the pulpit was the Bible, and beside it a
substantial box of snuff, to which the minister resorted occasionally in
the course of his long discourse. His pinches must have been
considerable, for every sniff lasted from two to three seconds, and
could be heard distinctly all over the kirk. This had a tendency to
distract our attention from his sermon, which, by the way, was a very
good one; but, owing to his rather slow delivery, we experienced a
feeling of relief when he reached the end, for it had lasted quite an

There was now a slight movement amongst the congregation, which we
interpreted as a sign that the service was at an end, and we rose to
leave; but, imagine our consternation when our friends told us that what
we had listened to was only the first part of the service, and that we
must on no account leave, as the second part was to follow immediately.
We therefore remained not altogether unwillingly, for we were curious to
know what the next service was like. It proved to be almost exactly the
same as the first, and we could not distinguish much difference between
the two sermons; but we listened attentively, and were convinced that
the preacher was a thoroughly conscientious man in spite of his
occasional long sniffs of snuff, which were continued as before, but
what astonished us was that the old gentleman never once sneezed! It
was the most remarkable service we had ever attended, and it concluded
exactly at three o'clock, having lasted three hours.

We had then to retrace our four-mile walk to "Huna Inn," but the miles
seemed rather longer, as Mrs. Mackenzie could only walk in a leisurely
manner and we were feeling very hungry. We whiled away the time by
talking about the sermons and the snuff, but chiefly about the deacons
and their wonderful noses, and why they were all alike and so strangely
crooked. Mr. Mackenzie suggested that they were crooked because if they
had grown straight they would have projected over their mouths and
prevented them from eating, the crook in them being a provision of
nature to avoid this; or, they might have descended from the Romans or
some other ancient race who had formerly inhabited the coast of that
part of Scotland. Books had been written and sermons preached about
noses, and the longer the nose the greater the intellect of the owner
was supposed to be. We told our host that there was only one-sixteenth
part of an inch between the length of Napoleon's nose and that of
Wellington's. We had forgotten which was the longer, but as Wellington's
was so conspicuous that he was nicknamed "Nosey" by his troops, and as
he had won the great battle of Waterloo, we concluded that it was his,
and gave him the benefit of the doubt. We quoted the following lines:

  Knows he, that never took a pinch,
  Nosey, the pleasure thence that flows?
  Knows he the titillating joy
  Which my nose knows?
  O Nose, I am as proud of thee
  As any mountain of its snows;
  I gaze on thee, and feel that pride
  A Roman knows.

Our host confided to us the reason why he was so anxious that we should
not leave in the middle of the service. The second service was
originally intended for those who had to come long distances to reach
the kirk, some of whom came from a place seven miles away, but in late
years the two services had become continuous. A few Sundays before our
visit some persons had left the kirk at the end of the first part, and
in his second sermon the minister had plainly described them as
followers of the Devil! so we supposed our host was anxious that we
should not be denounced in the same way.

We found our tea-dinner waiting our arrival at the inn. We sat down to
it at half-past four, and, as we rose from what was left of it at five
o'clock, having worked hard meanwhile, we may safely be credited with
having done our duty.

We had a walk with our host along the shore, and had not proceeded far
before we saw a dark-looking object some distance away in the sea. We
thought it looked like a man in a boat, rising and falling with the
waves, but Mr. Mackenzie told us that it was two whales following the
herrings that were travelling in shoals round the coasts. We were very
much interested in their strange movements, as they were the only
whales we ever saw alive, but we could not help feeling sorry for the
fish. Evening was coming on as we re-entered "Huna Inn," and when we
were again seated before our turf fire, joined by our host and hostess,
our conversation was chiefly on the adventures we had already had, the
great walk we were to begin on the morrow, and the pleasure it had given
us to see the manifest and steadfast determination of the people at the
kirk to observe the Commandment of the God of the Sabbath, "REMEMBER
THAT THOU KEEP HOLY THE SABBATH DAY." We wondered how much the
prosperity of the Scottish nation and its representatives in every part
of the "wide, wide world" was attributable to their strict observance of
the Sabbath. Who knows?


_Monday, September 18th._

We rose early and walked along the beach to Duncansbay Head, or Rongisby
as the old maps have it, gathering a few of those charming little shells
called John o'Groat Buckies by the way. After walking round the site of
John o'Groat's house, we returned to our comfortable quarters at the
Huna Inn for breakfast. John o'Groat seems to have acted with more
wisdom than many entrusted with the affairs of a nation. When his sons
quarrelled for precedence at his table, he consoled them with the
promise that when the next family gathering took place the matter should
be settled to the satisfaction of all. During the interval he built a
house having eight sides, each with a door and window, with an octagonal
table in the centre so that each of his eight sons could enter at his
own door and sit at his own side or "head" of the table. By this
arrangement--which reminded us of King Arthur's use of his round
table--he dispelled the animosity which previously prevailed. After
breakfast, and in the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Mackenzie, we made an
entry in the famous Album with name and address, object of journey, and
exact time of departure, and they promised to reserve a space beneath
the entry to record the result, which was to be posted to them
immediately we reached our journey's end.

[Illustration: JOHN O'GROAT'S HOUSE.]

It was about half-past ten o'clock when we started on our long walk
along a circuitous and unknown route from John o'Groat's to Land's End.
Our host and hostess stood watching our departure and waving adieux
until we disappeared in the distance. We were in high spirits, and soon
reached the junction of roads where we turned to the left towards Wick.
The first part of our walk was through the Parish of Canisbay, in the
ancient records of which some reference is made to the more recent
representatives of the Groat family, but as these were made two hundred
years ago, they were now almost illegible. Our road lay through a wild
moorland district with a few farms and cottages here and there, mainly
occupied by fishermen. There were no fences to the fields or roads, and
no bushes or trees, and the cattle were either herded or tied to stakes.

After passing through Canisbay, we arrived at the most northerly house
in the Parish of Wick, formerly a public-house, and recognised as the
half-way house between Wick and John o'Groat's. We found it occupied as
a farm by Mr. John Nicolson, and here we saw the skeleton of a whale
doing duty as a garden fence. The dead whale, seventy feet in length,
had been found drifting in the sea, and had been hauled ashore by the
fishermen. Mr. Nicolson had an ingenious son, who showed us a working
sun-dial in the garden in front of the house which he had constructed
out of a portion of the backbone, and in the same bone he had also
formed a curious contrivance by which he could tell the day of the
month. He told us he was the only man that studied painting in the
North, and invited us into the house, wherein several rooms he showed us
some of his paintings, which were really excellent considering they were
executed in ordinary wall paint. His mother informed us that he began to
study drawing when he was ill with a slow fever, but not bed-fast. Two
of the pictures, that of an old bachelor and a Scotch lassie, a servant,
were very good indeed. We also saw a picture of an old woman, a local
celebrity, about a hundred years old, which was considered to be an
excellent likeness, and showed the old lady's eyes so sunk in her head
as to be scarcely visible. We considered that we had here found one of
Nature's artists, who would probably have made a name for himself if
given the advantages so many have who lack the ability, for he certainly
possessed both the imaginative faculty and no small degree of dexterity
in execution. He pointed out to us the house of a farmer over the way
who slept in the Parish of Wick and took his meals in that of Canisbay,
the boundary being marked by a chimney in the centre of the roof. He
also informed us that his brother accompanied Elihu Burritt, the
American blacksmith, for some distance when he walked from London to
John o'Groat's.

We were now about eleven miles from Wick, and as Mr. Nicolson told us of
an old castle we had missed, we turned back across the moors for about a
mile and a half to view it. He warned us that we might see a man
belonging to the neighbourhood who was partly insane, and who, roaming
amongst the castle ruins, usually ran straight towards any strangers as
if to do them injury; but if we met him we must not be afraid, as he was
perfectly harmless. We had no desire to meet a madman, and luckily,
although we kept a sharp look-out, we did not see him. We found the
ruined castle resting on a rock overlooking the sea with the rolling
waves dashing on its base below; it was connected with the mainland by a
very narrow strip broken through in one place, and formerly crossed by a
drawbridge. As this was no longer available, it was somewhat difficult
to scale the embankment opposite; still we scrambled up and passed
triumphantly through the archway into the ruins, not meeting with that
resistance we fancied we should have done in the days of its daring
owner. A portion only of the tower remained, as the other part had
fallen about two years before our visit. The castle, so tradition
stated, had been built about the year 1100 by one Buchollie, a famous
pirate, who owned also another castle somewhere in the Orkneys. How men
could carry on such an unholy occupation amidst such dangerous
surroundings was a mystery to us.


On our return we again saw our friend Mr. Nicolson, who told us there
were quite a number of castles in Caithness, as well as Pictish forts
and Druidical circles, a large proportion of the castles lying along the
coast we were traversing. He gave us the names of some of them, and told
us that they materially enhanced the beauty of this rock-bound coast. He
also described to us a point of the coast near Ackergill, which we
should pass, where the rocks formed a remarkably perfect profile of the
Great Duke of Wellington, though others spoke of it as a black giant. It
could only be seen from the sea, but was marvellously correct and
life-like, and of gigantic proportions.

Acting on Mr. Nicolson's instructions, we proceeded along the beach to
Keiss Castle, and ascended to its second storey by means of a rustic
ladder. It was apparently of a more recent date than Buchollie, and a
greater portion of it remained standing. A little to the west of it we
saw another and more modern castle, one of the seats of the Duke of
Portland, who, we were told, had never yet visited it. Before reaching
the village of Keiss, we came to a small quay, where we stayed a short
time watching the fishermen getting their smacks ready before sailing
out to sea, and then we adjourned to the village inn, where we were
provided with a first-class tea, for which we were quite ready. The
people at the inn evidently did not think their business inconsistent
with religion, for on the walls of the apartment where we had our tea
were hanging two pictures of a religious character, and a motto "Offer
unto God thanksgiving," and between them a framed advertisement of
"Edinburgh Ales"!

After tea we continued our journey until we came to the last house in
the village of Keiss, a small cottage on the left-hand side of the road,
and here we called to inspect a model of John o'Groat's house, which had
been built by a local stonemason, and exhibited at the great Exhibition
in London in 1862. Its skilful builder became insane soon after he had
finished it, and shortly afterwards died. It was quite a palatial model
and much more handsome than its supposed original was ever likely to
have been. It had eight doors with eight flights of steps leading up to
them, and above were eight towers with watchmen on them, and inside the
house was a table with eight sides made from wood said to have been from
the original table in the house of Groat, and procured from one of his
descendants. The model was accompanied by a ground plan and a print of
the elevation taken from a photo by a local artist. There was no charge
for admission or for looking at the model, but a donation left with the
fatherless family was thankfully received.

We now walked for miles along the seashore over huge sand-hills with
fine views of the herring-boats putting out to sea. We counted fifty-six
in one fleet, and the number would have been far greater had not Noss
Head intervened to obstruct our view, as many more went out that night
from Wick, although the herring season was now nearly over. We passed
Ackergill Tower, the residence of Sir George Dunbar, and about two miles
farther on we came to two old castles quite near to each other, which
were formerly the strongholds of the Earls of Caithness. They were named
Girnigoe and Sinclair. Girnigoe was the oldest, and under the ruins of
the keep was a dismal dungeon.

It was now getting dark, and not the pleasantest time to view old
castles surrounded by black rocks with the moan of the sea as it invaded
the chasms of the rocks on which they stood. Amongst these lonely ruins
we spoke of the past, for had our visit been three centuries earlier,
the dismal sounds from the sea below would have mingled with those from
the unfortunate young man chained up in that loathsome dungeon, whose
only light came from a small hole high up in the wall. Such was John,
Master of Caithness, the eldest son of the fifth Sinclair, Earl of
Caithness, who is said to have been imprisoned here because he had wooed
and won the affections of the daughter of a neighbouring laird, marked
out by his father, at that time a widower, for himself. He was confined
in that old dungeon for more than six long years before death released
him from his inhuman parent.

During his imprisonment John had three keepers appointed over
him--Murdoch Roy and two brothers named Ingram and David Sinclair. Roy
attended him regularly, and did all the menial work, as the other two
keepers were kinsmen of the earl, his father, who had imprisoned him.
Roy was sorry for the unfortunate nobleman, and arranged a plot to set
him at liberty, which was unfortunately discovered by John's brother
William, who bore him no good will. William told his father, the earl,
who immediately ordered Roy to be executed. The poor wretch was
accordingly brought out and hanged on the common gibbet of the castle
without a moment being allowed him to prepare for his final account.

Soon afterwards, in order to avenge the death of Roy, John, who was a
man of great bodily strength and whose bad usage and long imprisonment
had affected his mind, managed to seize his brother William on the
occasion of his visit to the dungeon and strangle him. This only
deepened the earl's antipathy towards his unhappy son, and his keepers
were encouraged to put him to death. The plan adopted was such as could
only have entered the imagination of fiends, for they withheld food from
their prisoner for the space of five days, and then set before him a
piece of salt beef of which he ate voraciously. Soon after, when he
called for water, they refused to give him any, and he died of raging
thirst. Another account said they gave him brandy, of which he drank so
copiously that he died raving mad. In any case, there is no doubt
whatever that he was barbarously done to death.

[Illustration: GIRNIGOE CASTLE.]

Every castle along the seacoast had some story of cruelty connected with
it, but the story of Girnigoe was perhaps the worst of all, and we were
glad to get away from a place with such dismal associations.

About a hundred years after this sad event the Clan of the Campbells of
Glenorchy declared war on the Sinclairs of Keiss, and marched into
Caithness to meet them; but the Sinclairs instead of going out to meet
them at the Ord of Caithness, a naturally fortified position, stayed at
home, and the Campbells took up a strong position at Altimarloch, about
two miles from Wick. The Sinclairs spent the night before the battle
drinking and carousing, and then attacked the Campbells in the strong
position they had taken up, with the result that the Sinclairs were
routed and many of them perished.

  They meet, they close in deadly strife,
    But brief the bloody fray;
  Before the Campbells' furious charge
    The Caithness ranks give way.

  The shrieking mother wrung her hands,
    The maiden tore her hair,
  And all was lamentation loud,
    And terror, and despair.

It was commonly said that the well-known quicksteps, "The Campbells are
coming" and the "Braes of Glenorchy" obtained their names from this

The Sinclairs of Keiss were a powerful and warlike family, and they soon
regained their position. It was a pleasing contrast to note that in 1765
Sir William Sinclair of Keiss had laid aside his sword, embracing the
views held by the Baptists, and after being baptized in London became
the founder of that denomination in Caithness and a well-known preacher
and writer of hymns.

In his younger days he was in the army, where he earned fame as an
expert swordsman, his fame in that respect spreading throughout the
countryside. Years after he had retired from the service, while sitting
in his study one forenoon intently perusing a religious work, his valet
announced the arrival of a stranger who wished to see him. The servant
was ordered to show him into the apartment, and in stalked a strong
muscular-looking man with a formidable Andrea Ferrara sword hanging by
his side, and, making a low obeisance, he thus addressed the knight:

"Sir William, I hope you will pardon my intrusion. I am a native of
England and a professional swordsman. In the course of my travels
through Scotland, I have not yet met with a gentleman able to cope with
me in the noble science of swordsmanship. Since I came to Caithness I
have heard that you are an adept with my favourite weapon, and I have
called to see if you would do me the honour to exchange a few passes
with me just in the way of testing our respective abilities."

Sir William was both amused and astonished at this extraordinary
request, and replied that he had long ago thrown aside the sword, and,
except in case of necessity, never intended to use it any more. But the
stranger would take no denial, and earnestly insisted that he would
favour him with a proof of his skill.

"Very well," said Sir William, "to please you I shall do so," and,
rising and fetching his sword, he desired the stranger, who was an
ugly-looking fellow, to draw and defend himself. After a pass or two Sir
William, with a dexterous stroke, cut off a button from the vest of his

"Will that satisfy you," inquired Sir William; "or shall I go a little
deeper and draw blood?"

"Oh, I am perfectly satisfied," said the other. "I find I have for once
met a gentleman who knows how to handle his sword."

In about half a mile after leaving the ruins of these old castles we saw
the Noss Head Lighthouse, with its powerful light already flashing over
the darkening seas, and we decided to visit it. We had to scale several
fences, and when we got there we found we had arrived long after the
authorised hours for the admission of visitors. We had therefore some
difficulty in gaining an entrance, as the man whose attention we had
attracted did not at first understand why we could not come again the
next day. When we explained the nature of our journey, he kindly
admitted us through the gate. The lighthouse and its surroundings were
scrupulously clean, and if we had been Her Majesty's Inspectors of
Lighthouses, if such there be, we could not have done otherwise than
report favourably of our visit. The attendants were very kind to us, one
of them accompanying us to the top, and as the lighthouse was 175 feet
high, we had a great number of steps to climb. We had never seen the
interior of a lighthouse before, and were greatly interested in the
wonderful mechanism by which the flashlight was worked. We were much
impressed by the incalculable value of these national institutions,
especially in such dangerous positions as we knew from experience
prevailed on those stormy coasts. We were highly delighted with our
novel adventure, and, after regaining the entrance, we walked briskly
away; but it was quite dark before we had covered the three miles that
separated the lighthouse from the fishery town of Wick. Here we procured
suitable lodgings, and then hurried to the post office for the letters
that waited us, which we were delighted to read, for it seemed ages
since we left home.

(_Distance walked twenty-five miles_.)


_Tuesday, September 19th._

We had our first experience of a herring breakfast, and were surprised
to find how delicious they tasted when absolutely fresh. There was an
old proverb in Wick: "When the herrings come in, the doctors go out!"
which may indicate that these fish had some medicinal value; but more
likely the saying referred to the period of plenty following that of
want and starvation. We went down to the quay and had a talk with some
of the fishermen whom we met returning from their midnight labours.
They told us they had not caught many herrings that night, but that the
season generally had been a good one, and they would have money enough
to support themselves through the coming winter. There were about nine
hundred boats in the district, and sometimes over a thousand, all
employed in the fishing industry; each boat was worked by four men and
one boy, using nets 850 yards long. The herrings appeared about the
second week in August and remained until the end of September, but the
whales swallowed barrels of them at one "jow."

We called at the steamboat depot and found that our hampers of shells
had already arrived, and would be sent forward on the _St. Magnus_; next
we went to get our hair and beards trimmed by the Wick barber. He was a
curious old gentleman and quite an orator, and even at that early hour
had one customer in hand while another was waiting to be shaved, so we
had of course to wait our turn. The man who was waiting began to express
his impatience in rather strong language, but the barber was quite equal
to the occasion, and in the course of a long and eloquent oration, while
he was engaged with the customer he had in hand, he told him that when
he came into a barber's shop he should have the calmness of mind to look
quietly around and note the sublimity of the place, which ought to be
sufficient to enable him to overcome such signs of impatience as he had
exhibited. We were quite sure that the barber's customer did not
understand one-half the big words addressed to him, but they had the
desired effect, and he waited patiently until his turn came to be
shaved. He was a dark-complexioned seafaring man, and had evidently just
returned from a long sea voyage, as the beard on his chin was more like
the bristles on a blacking-brush, and the operation of removing them
more like mowing than shaving. When completed, the barber held out his
hand for payment. The usual charge must have been a penny, for that was
the coin he placed in the barber's hand. But it was now the barber's
turn. Drawing himself up to his full height, with a dignified but
scornful expression on his face, he pointed with his razor to the penny
he held in his other hand, which remained open, and exclaimed fiercely,
"This! for a month's shave!" Another penny was immediately added, and
his impatient customer quickly and quietly departed.

It was now our turn for beard and hair trimming, but we had been so much
amused at some of the words used by the barber that, had it not been for
his awe-inspiring look, the scissors he now held in his hand, and the
razors that were so near to us, we should have failed to suppress our
laughter. The fact was that the shop was the smallest barber's
establishment we had ever patronised, and the dingiest-looking little
place imaginable, the only light being from a very small window at the
back of the shop. To apply the words sublime and sublimity to a place
like this was ludicrous in the extreme. It was before this window that
we sat while our hair was being cut; but as only one side of the head
could be operated upon at once, owing to the scanty light, we had to sit
before it sideways, and then to reverse our position.

We have heard it said that every man's hair has a stronger growth on one
side of his head than the other, but whether this barber left more hair
on the strong side or not we did not know. In any case, the difference
between the two sides, both of hair and beard, after the barber's
operation was very noticeable. The only sublime thing about the shop was
the barber himself, and possibly he thought of himself when speaking of
its sublimity. He was a well-known character in Wick, and if his lot had
been cast in a more expansive neighbourhood he might have filled a much
higher position. He impressed us very much, and had we visited Wick
again we should certainly have paid him a complimentary visit. We then
purchased a few prints of the neighbourhood at Mr. Johnston's shop, and
were given some information concerning the herring industry. It appeared
that this industry was formerly in the hands of the Dutch, who exploited
the British coasts as well as their own, for the log of the _Dutillet_,
the ship which brought Prince Charles Edward to Scotland in 1745,
records that on August 25th it joined two Dutch men-of-war and a fleet
of herring craft off Rongisby.

[Illustration: OLD MAN OF WICK.]

In the early part of the fourteenth century there arose a large demand
for this kind of fish by Roman Catholics both in the British Isles and
on the Continent. The fish deserted the Baltic and new herring fields
were sought, while it became necessary to find some method of preserving
them. The art of curing herrings was discovered by a Dutchman named
Baukel. Such was the importance attached to this discovery that the
Emperor Charles V caused a costly memorial to be erected over his grave
at Biervlet. The trade remained in the hands of the Dutch for a long
time, and the cured herrings were chiefly shipped to Stettin, and thence
to Spain and other Roman Catholic countries, large profits being made.
In 1749, however, a British Fishery Society was established, and a
bounty of £50 offered on every ton of herrings caught. In 1803 an expert
Dutchman was employed to superintend the growing industry, and from 1830
Wick took the lead in the herring industry, which in a few years' time
extended all round the coasts, the piles of herring-barrels along the
quay at Wick making a sight worth seeing.

We had not gone far when we turned aside to visit the ruins of Wick
Castle, which had been named by the sailors "The Auld Man o'Wick." It
was built like most of the others we had seen, on a small promontory
protected by the sea on three sides, but there were two crevices in the
rock up which the sea was rushing with terrific force. The rock on which
its foundations rested we estimated to be about 150 feet high, and there
was only a narrow strip of land connecting it with the mainland. The
solitary tower that remained standing was about fifty feet high, and
apparently broader at the top than at the bottom, being about ten or
twelve yards in length and breadth, with the walls six or seven feet
thick. The roar of the water was like the sound of distant thunder,
lending a melancholy charm to the scene. It was from here that we
obtained our first land view of those strange-looking hills in Caithness
called by the sailors, from their resemblance to the breasts of a
maiden, the Maiden's Paps. An old man directed us the way to Lybster by
what he called the King's Highway, and looking back from this point we
had a fine view of the town of Wick and its surroundings.

Taught by past experience, we had provided ourselves with a specially
constructed apparatus for tea-making, with a flask to fit inside to
carry milk, and this we used many times during our journey through the
Highlands of Scotland. We also carried a reserve stock of provisions,
since we were often likely to be far away from any human habitation.
To-day was the first time we had occasion to make use of it, and we had
our lunch not in the room of an inn, but sitting amongst the heather
under the broad blue canopy of heaven. It was a gloriously fine day, but
not a forerunner of a fine day on the morrow, as after events showed. We
had purchased six eggs at a farmhouse, for which we were only charged
fourpence, and with a half-pound of honey and an enormous oatmeal
cake--real Scotch--we had a jovial little picnic and did not fare badly.
We had many a laugh at the self-satisfied sublimity of our friend the
barber, but the sublimity here was real, surrounded as we were by
magnificent views of the distant hills, and through the clear air we
could see the mountains on the other side of the Moray Firth probably
fifty miles distant. Our road was very hilly, and devoid of fences or
trees or other objects to obstruct our view, so much so that at one
point we could see two milestones, the second before we reached the

We passed Loch Hempriggs on the right of our road, with Iresgoe and its
Needle on the seacoast to the left, also an old ruin which we were
informed was a "tulloch," but we did not know the meaning of the word.
After passing the tenth milestone from Wick, we went to look at an
ancient burial-ground which stood by the seaside about a field's breadth
from our road. The majority of the gravestones were very old, and
whatever inscriptions they ever had were now worn away by age and
weather; some were overgrown with grass and nettles, while in contrast
to these stood some modern stones of polished granite. The inscriptions
on these stones were worded differently from those places farther south.
The familiar words "Sacred to the memory of" did not appear, and the
phrasing appeared rather in the nature of a testimonial to the
benevolence of the bereft. We copied two of the inscriptions:

                      1845 AGED 30 YEARS.
                     _Lovely in Life_.

              _At Death still lovely_.

In the yard we noticed a large number of loose stones and the remains of
a wall which we supposed had been part of the kirk. The name of the
village near here was Mid Clyth, and the ruins those of an old Roman
Catholic chapel last used about four hundred years ago. Several attempts
had been made to obtain power to remove the surplus stones, but our
informant stated that although they had only about a dozen Romanists in
the county, they were strong enough to prevent this being done, and it
was the only burial-ground between there and Wick. He also told us that
there were a thousand volunteers in Caithness.

[Illustration: THE NEEDLE OF IRESGOE.]

The people in the North of Caithness in directing us on our way did not
tell us to turn to right or left, but towards the points of the
compass--say to the east or the west as the case might be, and then turn
south for a given number of chains. This kind of information rather
puzzled us, as we had no compass, nor did we know the length of a chain.
It seemed to point back to a time when there were no roads at all in
that county. We afterwards read that Pennant, the celebrated tourist,
when visiting Caithness in 1769, wrote that at that time there was not
a single cart, nor mile of road properly so called in the county. He
described the whole district as little better than an "immense morass,
with here and there some fruitful spots of oats and bere (barley), and
much coarse grass, almost all wild, there being as yet very little
cultivated." And he goes on to add:

   Here are neither barns nor granaries; the corn is thrashed out and
   preserved in the chaff in bykes, which are stacks in the shape of
   beehives thatched quite round. The tender sex (I blush for the
   Caithnessians) are the only animals of burden; they turn their
   patient backs to the dunghills and receive in their cassties or straw
   baskets as much as their lords and masters think fit to fling in with
   their pitchforks, and then trudge to the fields in droves.

A more modern writer, however, thought that Pennant must have been
observant but not reflective, and wrote:

   It is not on the sea coast that woman looks on man as lord and
   master. The fishing industry more than any other leads to great
   equality between the sexes. The man is away and the woman conducts
   all the family affairs on land. Home means all the comfort man can
   enjoy! His life is one persistent calling for self-reliance and
   independence and equally of obedience to command.

The relations Pennant quoted were not of servility, but of man assisting
woman to do what she regarded as her natural work.

To inland folk like ourselves it was a strange sight to see so many
women engaged in agricultural pursuits, but we realised that the men had
been out fishing in the sea during the night and were now in bed. We saw
one woman mowing oats with a scythe and another following her, gathering
them up and binding them into sheaves, while several others were cutting
down the oats with sickles; we saw others driving horses attached to
carts. The children, or "bairns," as they were called here, wore neither
shoes nor stockings, except a few of the very young ones, and all the
arable land was devoted to the culture of oats and turnips.

We passed through Lybster, which in Lancashire would only be regarded as
a small village, but here was considered to be a town, as it could boast
of a population of about eight hundred people. We made due note of our
reaching what was acknowledged to be the second plantation of trees in
the county; there were six only in the entire county of Caithness, and
even a sight like this was cheery in these almost treeless regions.

An elderly and portly-looking gentleman who was on the road in front of
us awaited our arrival, and as an introduction politely offered us a
pinch of snuff out of his well-filled snuff-box, which we accepted. We
tried to take it, but the application of a small portion to our noses
caused us to sneeze so violently that the gentleman roared with laughter
at our expense, and was evidently both surprised and amused at our
distress. We were soon good friends, however, and he was as pleased with
our company as we were with his, but we accepted no more pinches of
snuff in Scotland. He had many inquiries to make about the method of
farming in Cheshire and regarding the rotation of crops. We informed
him that potatoes were the first crop following grass grown in our
neighbourhood, followed by wheat in the next year, and oats and clover
afterwards--the clover being cut for two years. "And how many years
before wheat again?" he asked; but this question we could not answer, as
we were not sufficiently advanced in agricultural knowledge to undergo a
very serious examination from one who was evidently inclined to dive
deeply into the subject. As we walked along, we noticed a stone on the
slope of a mountain like those we had seen at Stenness in the Orkneys,
but no halo of interest could be thrown around it by our friend, who
simply said it had been there "since the world began." Near Lybster we
had a good view of the Ord of Caithness, a black-looking ridge of
mountains terminating in the Maiden's Paps, which were later to be
associated with one of the most difficult and dangerous traverses we
ever experienced.

The night was now coming on, and we hurried onwards, passing two old
castles, one to the left and the other to the right of our road, and we
noticed a gate, the posts of which had been formed from the rib-bones of
a monster whale, forming an arch ornamented in the centre by a portion
of the backbone of the same creature. In the dark the only objects we
could distinguish were the rocks on the right and the lights of two
lighthouses, one across Dornoch Firth and the other across Moray Firth.
In another mile and a half after leaving the farmer, who had accompanied
us for some miles and who, we afterwards learned, was an old bachelor,
we were seated in the comfortable hotel at Dunbeath. The landlord was
civil and communicative, and we sat talking to him about the great
difference between Caithness and Cheshire, and the relative values of
turf and coal. He informed us that there was very little coal consumed
in the county of Caithness, as the English coal was dear and the Scotch
coal bad, while the peat was of good quality, the darkest-looking being
the richest and the best.

Our tea was now ready, and so were we, as we had walked fifteen miles
since our lunch in the heather. We were ushered into the parlour, where
we were delighted to find a Cheshire gentleman, who told us he had been
out shooting, and intended to leave by the coach at two a.m. Hearing
that two pedestrians had arrived, he had given up his bed, which he had
engaged early in the day, and offered to rest on the sofa until the
arrival of the mail-coach. We thanked him for his kind consideration,
for we were tired and footsore. Who the gentleman was we did not
discover; he knew Warrington and the neighbourhood, had visited Mr. Lyon
of Appleton Hall near that town, and knew Mr. Patten of Bank Hall, who
he said was fast getting "smoked out" of that neighbourhood. We retired
early, and left him in full possession of the coffee-room and its sofa.

At two o'clock in the morning we were wakened by the loud blowing of a
horn, which heralded the approach of the mail-coach, and in another
minute the trampling of horses' feet beneath our window announced its
arrival. We rose hurriedly and rushed to the window, but in the hurry my
brother dashed against a table, and down went something with a smash; on
getting a light we found it was nothing more valuable than a
water-bottle and glass, the broken pieces of which we carefully
collected together, sopping up the water as best we could. We were in
time to see our friend off on the coach, with three horses and an
enormous light in front, which travelled from Thurso to Helmsdale, a
distance of fifty-eight miles, at the rate of eight miles per hour.

(_Distance walked twenty-one and a half miles._)

_Wednesday, September 20th._

We rose early, and while waiting for our breakfast talked with an old
habitué of the hotel, who, after drawing our attention to the weather,
which had now changed for the worse, told us that the building of the
new pier, as he called it, at Wick had been in progress for seven or
eight years, but the sea there was the stormiest in Britain, and when
the wind came one way the waves washed the pier down again, so that it
was now no bigger than it was two years ago. He also told us he could
remember the time when there was no mail-coach in that part of the
country, the letters for that neighbourhood being sent to a man, a
tailor by trade, who being often very busy, sent his wife to deliver
them, so that Her Majesty's mails were carried by a female!

[Illustration: A STORM IN WICK HARBOUR.]

Almost the last piece of advice given us before leaving home was, "Mind
that you always get a good breakfast before starting out in a morning,"
and fortunately we did not neglect it on this occasion, for it proved
one of the worst day's walks that we ever experienced. Helmsdale was our
next stage, and a direct road led to it along the coast, a distance of
sixteen miles. But my brother was a man of original ideas, and he had
made up his mind that we should walk there by an inland route, and climb
over the Maiden's Paps mountain on our way.

The wind had increased considerably during the night, and the rain began
to fall in torrents as we left the Dunbeath Inn, our mackintoshes and
leggings again coming in useful. The question now arose whether we
should adhere to our original proposal, or proceed to Helmsdale by the
shortest route. Our host strongly advised us to keep to the main road,
but we decided, in spite of our sore feet and the raging elements, to
cross over the Maiden's Paps. We therefore left the main road and
followed a track which led towards the mountains and the wild moors. We
had not gone very far when we met a disconsolate sportsman, accompanied
by his gillies and dogs, who was retreating to the inn which he had left
early in the morning. He explained to us how the rain would spoil his
sport amongst the grouse, though he consoled himself by claiming that it
had been one of the finest sporting seasons ever known in Caithness. As
an illustration, he said that on the eighteenth day of September he had
been out with a party who had shot forty-one and a half brace of grouse
to each gun, besides other game. The average weight of grouse on the
Scotch moors was twenty-five ounces, but those on the Caithness moors
were heavier, and averaged twenty-five and a half ounces.

He was curious to know where we were going, and when we told him, he
said we were attempting an impossible feat in such awful weather, and
strongly advised us to return to the hotel, and try the journey on a
finer day. We reflected that the fine weather had now apparently broken,
and it would involve a loss of valuable time if we accepted his advice
to wait for a finer day, so we pressed forwards for quite two hours
across a dreary country, without a tree or a house or a human being to
enliven us on our way. Fortunately the wind and rain were behind us, and
we did not feel their pressure like our friend the sportsman, who was
going in the opposite direction. At last we came to what might be called
a village, where there were a few scattered houses and a burial-ground,
but no kirk that we could see. Near here we crossed a stream known as
Berriedale Water, and reached the last house, a farm, where our track
practically ended. We knocked at the door, which was opened by the
farmer himself, and his wife soon provided us with tea and oatmeal cake,
which we enjoyed after our seven or eight-mile walk. The wind howled in
the chimney and the rain rattled on the window-panes as we partook of
our frugal meal, and we were inclined to exclaim with the poet whose
name we knew not:

  The day is cold and dark and dreary,
  It rains, and the wind is never weary.

The people at the farm had come there from South Wales and did not know
much about the country. All the information they could give us was that
the place we had arrived at was named Braemore, and that on the other
side of the hills, which they had never crossed themselves, there was a
forest with no roads through it, and if we got there, we should have to
make our way as best we could across the moors to Helmsdale. They showed
us the best way to reach the foot of the mountain, but we found the
going much worse than we anticipated, since the storm had now developed
into one of great magnitude. Fortunately the wind was behind us, but the
higher we ascended the stronger it became, and it fairly took our breath
away even when we turned our heads towards it sideways, which made us
realise how impossible it was for us to turn back, however much we
might wish to do so; consequently we struggled onwards, occasionally
taking advantage of the shelter of some projecting rock to recover our
breathing--a very necessary proceeding, for as we approached the summit
the rain became more like sleet, the wind was very cold, and the rocks
were in a frozen and slippery condition. We were in great danger of
being blown over and losing our lives, and as we could no longer walk
upright in safety, we knelt down, not without a prayer to heaven as we
continued on our way. Thus we crawled along upon our hands and knees
over the smooth wind-swept summit of the Maiden's Paps, now one immense
surface of ice. The last bit was the worst of all, for here the raging
elements struck us with full and uninterrupted force. We crossed this
inches at a time, lying flat on the smooth rock with our faces
downwards. Our feelings of thankfulness to the Almighty may be imagined
when we finally reached the other side in safety.

Given a fine day we should have had a glorious view from this point,
and, as it was, in spite of the rain we could see a long distance, but
the prospect was far from encouraging. A great black rock, higher than
that we had climbed, stood before us, with its summit hidden in the
clouds, and a wide expanse of hills and moors, but not a house or tree
so far as the eye could reach. This rather surprised us, as we expected
the forest region to be covered with trees which would afford us some
shelter on our farther way. We learned afterwards that the "forest" was
but a name, the trees having disappeared ages ago from most of these
forests in the northern regions of Scotland.

We were wet through to the skin and shivering with cold as we began to
descend the other side of the Maiden's Paps--a descent we found both
difficult and dangerous. It looked an awful place below us--a wild
amphitheatre of dreary hills and moors!

We had no compass to guide us, and in the absence of light from the sun
we could not tell in what direction we were travelling, so with our
backs towards the hills we had crossed, we made our way across the bog,
now saturated with water. We could hear it gurgling under our feet at
every stride, even when we could not see it, and occasionally we slipped
into holes nearly knee-deep in water. After floundering in the bog for
some time, and not knowing which way to turn, as we appeared to be
surrounded with hills, we decided to try to walk against the wind which
was blowing from the sea, for we knew that if we could reach the coast
we should also reach the highway, which ran alongside it. But we soon
had to give in, for we came to great rocks impossible for us to scale,
so we had to abandon this direction and try another. The rain still
continued, and our hands had now been bleached quite white with the rain
beating on them, just like those of a washerwoman after a heavy day's
washing. We knew that the night would shortly be coming on, and the
terrible thought of a dark night on the moors began to haunt us. If we
could only have found a track we should not have cared, but we were now
really LOST.

We were giving way to despair and beginning to think it might be a
question of life or death when a bright thought suddenly struck us, and
we wondered why we had not thought of it before. Why not follow the
water, which would be sure to be running towards the sea? This idea
inspired us with hope, and seemed to give us new life; but it was
astonishing what a time elapsed before we found a running stream, for
the water appeared to remain where it fell. At length we came to a small
stream, the sight of which gave us renewed energy, and we followed it
joyfully on its downward course. Presently we saw a few small bushes;
then we came to a larger stream, and afterwards to a patch of grassland
which clearly at one time had been under cultivation. At last we came to
trees under which we could see some deer sheltering from the storm: by
this time the stream had become a raging torrent. We stood watching the
deer for a moment, when suddenly three fine stags rushed past us and
dashed into the surging waters of the stream, which carried them down a
considerable distance before they could land on its rocky bank on the
other side. It was an exciting adventure, as the stags were so near us,
and with their fine antlers presented an imposing appearance.

We now crossed over some heather in order to reach a small path which we
could see alongside the swollen river. How pleased we were when we knew
we were out of danger! It seemed to us like an escape from a terrible
fate. We remembered how Mungo Park, when alone in the very heart of
Africa, and in the midst of a great wilderness, derived consolation from
very much smaller sources than the few trees which now cheered us on our
way. The path became broader as we passed through the grounds of Lord
Galloway's hunting-box, and we soon reached the highway, where we
crossed the boiling torrent rushing along with frightful rapidity on its
way to the sea. The shades of night were coming on as we knocked at the
door of the keeper's cottage, and judge of our surprise when we were
informed that, after walking from ten o'clock in the morning to six
o'clock at night, we were only about six miles from Dunbeath, whence we
had started that morning, and had still about ten miles to walk before
we could reach Helmsdale.

We were almost famished with hunger, but we were lucky enough to secure
a splendid tea at the keeper's cottage. Fortunately for us the good lady
of the house had provided a sumptuous repast for some sporting gentlemen
she was expecting, but who had been prevented from coming owing to the
storm. We kept no record of our gastronomical performances on this
occasion, but we can safely state that of a whole rabbit very little
remained, and the same remark would apply to a whole series of other
delicacies which the keeper's wife had so kindly and thoughtfully
provided for her more distinguished but absent guests. We took the
opportunity of drying some of our wet clothing, and before we finished
our tea the keeper himself came in, to whom we related our adventures.
Though accustomed to the broken regions and wild solitudes we had passed
through, he was simply astounded that we had come over them safely,
especially on such a day.

It was pitch dark when we left the keeper's cottage, and he very kindly
accompanied us until we reached the highroad in safety. The noise caused
by the rushing waters of the rivers as they passed us on their way in
frantic haste to the sea, now quite near us, and the roar of the sea
itself as it dashed itself violently against the rocky coast, rendered
conversation very difficult, but our companion gave us to understand
that the road to Helmsdale was very hilly and lonely, and at one time
was considered dangerous for strangers. Fortunately the surface was very
good, and we found it much easier to walk upon than the wet heather we
had passed over for so many miles. The black rocks which lined the road,
the darkness of the night, and the noise from the sea as the great waves
dashed and thundered on the rocks hundreds of feet below, might have
terrified timid travellers, but they seemed nothing to us compared with
our experience earlier in the day. The wind had moderated, but the rain
continued to fall, and occasionally we were startled as we rounded one
of the many bends in the road by coming suddenly on a burn swollen with
the heavy rains, hurling itself like a cataract down the rocky sides of
the hill, and rushing under the road beneath our feet in its noisy
descent helter-skelter towards the sea.

We walked on as rapidly as the hilly nature of our road would permit,
without seeing a house or human being, until we approached Helmsdale,
when we were surprised by the sudden appearance of the stage-coach drawn
by three horses and displaying its enormous red lamp in front. The
driver suddenly pulled up his horses, for, as he said, he did not know
"what the de'il it was coming in front": he scarcely ever met any one on
that road, and particularly on such an "awful" stormy night. We asked
him how far we were from the town, and were delighted to hear it was
only about two miles away. It was after ten o'clock when we arrived at
Helmsdale, tired and footsore, but just in time to secure lodgings for
the night at the Commercial Inn.

(_Distance walked thirty miles_.)

_Thursday, September 21st._

Helmsdale was a pleasant little town inhabited chiefly by fishermen, but
a place of some importance, for it had recently become the northern
terminus of the railway. A book in the hotel, which we read while
waiting for breakfast, gave us some interesting information about the
road we had travelled along the night before, and from it we learned
that the distance between Berriedale and Helmsdale was nine and a half
miles, and that about half-way between these two places it passed the
Ord of Caithness at an elevation of 1,200 feet above the sea-level, an
"aclivity of granite past which no railway can be carried," and the
commencement of a long chain of mountains separating Caithness from

Formerly the road was carried along the edge of a tremendous range of
precipices which overhung the sea in a fashion enough to frighten both
man and beast, and was considered the most dangerous road in Scotland,
so much so that when the Earl of Caithness or any other great landed
proprietor travelled that way a troop of their tenants from the borders
of Sutherland-shire assembled, and drew the carriage themselves across
the hill, a distance of two miles, quadrupeds not being considered safe
enough, as the least deviation would have resulted in a fall over the
rocks into the sea below. This old road, which was too near the sea for
modern traffic, was replaced by the present road in the year 1812. The
old path, looked at from the neighbourhood of Helmsdale, had more the
appearance of a sheep track than a road as it wound up the steep brow of
the hill 300 or 400 feet above the rolling surge of the sea below, and
was quite awe-inspiring even to look at, set among scenery of the most
wild and savage character.

We had now cleared the county of Caithness, which, like Orkney and
Shetland, was almost entirely devoid of trees. To our way of thinking a
sprinkling of woods and copses would have much enhanced the wild beauty
of the surroundings, but there was a difference of opinion or taste on
this point as on everything else. A gentleman who had settled in
America, and had had to clear away the trees from his holding, when he
passed through Caithness on his way to John o' Groat's was continually
ejaculating, "What a beautiful country!" "What a very beautiful
country!" Some one who heard him remarked, "You can hardly call it a
very beautiful country when there are no trees." "Trees," cried the
Yankee; "that's all stuff Caithness, I calculate, is the finest clearing
I ever saw in my life!"

We had often wondered, by the way, how the Harbour Works at Wick would
be affected by the great storms, and we were afterwards greatly
interested when we read in a Scotch provincial newspaper the following


   _From our Wick Correspondent_

   _Wick, Wednesday_, 12:50--A terrific storm is raging here to-day. It
   is a gale from the south-east, with an extraordinary surf which is
   making a complete break of the new Harbour Works, where a number of
   large stones have been dislodged and serious damage is threatened.

   1:30 _p.m._--The storm still continues. A large concrete block,
   weighing 300 tons, has been dislodged, and the whole building seems
   doomed unless the storm abates very soon.

These hours corresponded with the time we were crossing the Maiden's
Paps mountains, and we are not likely ever to forget the great danger we
were in on that occasion.

We were rather backward in making a start on our journey to-day, for our
feet were very sore; but we were advised to apply common soap to our
stocking feet, from which we experienced great relief. As we left the
town we saw some ruins, which we assumed were those of Helmsdale Castle,
and we had now the company of the railway, which, like our road, hugged
the seacoast for some miles. About two miles after leaving Helmsdale we
sighted the first railway train we had seen since we left Aberdeen a
fortnight before. Under ordinary conditions this might have passed
unnoticed, but as we had been travelling through such wild country we
looked upon it as a sign that we were approaching a part of the country
which had communication with civilisation, other than that afforded by
sea or mail-coach.


We now walked through the Parish of Loth, where in Glen Loth we were
informed the last wolf in Scotland was killed, and about half a mile
before reaching Brora we climbed over a stone fence to inspect the ruins
of a Pictish castle standing between our road and the railway. The ruins
were circular, but some of the walls had been built in a zig-zag form,
and had originally contained passages and rooms, some of which still
existed, but they looked so dark that we did not care to go inside them,
though we were informed that about two years before our visit
excavations had been made and several human skulls were discovered. The
weather continued wet, and we passed through several showers on our way
from Helmsdale to Brora, where, after a walk of twelve miles, we stayed
for lunch, and it was again raining as we left there for Golspie.


At Brora we heard stories of wonderful fossils which were to be found in
the rocks on the shore--shells and fish-scales and remains of bigger
creatures--and of a bed of real coal. Certainly the rocks seemed to
change their character hereabouts, which may account for the softening
of the scenery and the contrast in agricultural pursuits in this region
with those farther north. Here the appearance of the country gradually
improved as we approached the woods and grounds and more cultivated
regions surrounding the residence of the Duke of Sutherland.

[Illustration: DUNROBIN CASTLE. "It was the finest building we had
seen, not at all like the gloomy-looking castles, being more like a
palace, with a fine display of oriel windows, battlements, steeples, and

We came in sight of another Pictish castle, which we turned aside to
visit; but by this time we had become quite familiar with the formation
of these strange old structures, which were nearly all built after the
same pattern, although some belonged to an earlier period than others,
and the chambers in them were invariably dark and dismal. If these were
used for the same purpose as similar ones we had seen in Shetland, where
maidens of property and beauty were placed for protection from the
"gallants" who roamed about the land in those days, the fair prisoners
must have had a dismal time while incarcerated in these dungeon-like
apartments. In these ruins, however, we saw some ancient utensils, or
querns, supposed to have been used for crushing corn. They had been
hollowed out in stone, and one of them had a well-worn stone inside it,
but whether or no it was the remains of an ancient pestle used in
crushing the corn we could not determine; it looked strangely like one.

The country hereabouts was of the most charming description, hilly and
undulating rather than rugged, and we left the highway to walk along the
seashore, where we passed the rifle and artillery ranges of the
volunteers. We also saw the duke's private pier extending towards the
open sea, and from this point we had a fine view of Dunrobin Castle, the
duke's residence, which was the finest building we had seen, and not at
all like the other gloomy-looking castles, being more like a palace. It
is a happy blending of the German Schloss, the French château, and
Scottish baronial architecture, with a fine display of oriel windows,
battlements, turrets, and steeples, the great tower rising to a height
of 135 feet above the garden terrace below. A vista of mountains and
forests lay before any one privileged to ascend the tower. The view from
the seashore was simply splendid, as from this point we could see,
showing to great advantage, the lovely gardens, filled with beautiful
shrubs and flowers of luxuriant growth, sloping upwards towards the
castle, and the hills behind them, with their lower slopes covered with
thousands of healthy-looking firs, pines, and some deciduous trees,
while the bare moorland above formed a fine background. On the hill
"Beinn-a-Bhragidh," at a point 1,300 feet above sea-level, standing as
if looking down on all, was a colossal monument erected to the memory of
the duke's grandfather, which could be seen many miles away. The duke
must have been one of the largest landowners in Britain, as, in addition
to other possessions, he owned the entire county of Sutherland,
measuring about sixty miles long and fifty-six miles broad, so that when
at home he could safely exclaim with Robinson Crusoe, "I am monarch of
all I survey."

The castle had an ancient foundation, for it was in 1097 the dun, or
stronghold, of the second Robert of Sutherland, and the gardens have
been famous from time immemorial. An extract from an old book written in
1630 reads, "The Erle of Sutherland made Dunrobin his speciall residence
it being a house well-seated upon a mole hard by the sea, with fair
orchards wher ther be pleasant gardens, planted with all kinds of
froots, hearbs and flours used in this kingdom, and abundance of good
saphorn, tobacco and rosemarie, the froot being excellent and cheeflie
the pears and cherries."

A most pleasing feature to our minds was the fact that the gardens were
open to all comers, but as we heard that the duke was entertaining a
distinguished company, including Lord Delamere of Vale Royal from our
own county of Cheshire, we did not apply for permission to enter the
grounds, and thus missed seeing the great Scotch thistle, the finest in
all Scotland. This thistle was of the ordinary variety, but of colossal
proportions, full seven feet high, or, as we afterwards saw it
described, "a beautiful emblem of a war-like nation with his radious
crown of rubies full seven feet high." We had always looked upon the
thistle as an inferior plant, and in Cheshire destroyed it in thousands,
regarding it as only fit for food for donkeys, of which very few were
kept in that county; but any one seeing this fine plant must have been
greatly impressed by its appearance. The thistle has been the emblem of
Scotland from very early times, and is supposed to have been adopted by
the Scots after a victorious battle with the Danes, who on a dark night
tried to attack them unawares. The Danes were creeping towards them
silently, when one of them placed his bare foot on a thistle, which
caused him to yell out with pain. This served as an alarm to the Scots,
who at once fell upon the Danes and defeated them with great slaughter,
and ever afterwards the thistle appeared as their national emblem, with
the motto, _Nemo me impune lacessit_, or, "No one hurts me with

Golspie was only a short distance away from the castle, and we were
anxious to get there, as we expected letters from home, so we called at
the post office first and got what letters had arrived, but another mail
was expected. We asked where we could get a cup of coffee, and were
directed to a fine reading-room opposite, where we adjourned to read our
letters and reply to them with the accompaniment of coffee and light
refreshments. The building had been erected by the Sutherland family,
and was well patronised, and we wished that we might meet with similar
places in other towns where we happened to call. Such as we found
farther south did not appear to be appreciated by the class of people
for whom they were chiefly intended. This may be accounted for by the
fact that the working-class Scots were decidedly more highly educated
than the English. We were not short of company, and we heard a lot of
gossip, chiefly about what was going on at the castle.

On inquiring about our next stage, we were told that it involved a
twenty-five-mile walk through an uninhabited country, without a village
and with scarcely a house on the road. The distance we found afterwards
had been exaggerated, but as it was still raining and the shades of
evening were coming on, with our recent adventures still fresh in our
minds and the letter my brother expected not having yet arrived, we
agreed to spend the night at Golspie, resolving to make an early start
on the following morning. We therefore went into the town to select
suitable lodgings, again calling at the post office and leaving our
address in the event of any letters coming by the expected mail, which
the officials kindly consented to send to us, and after making a few
purchases we retired to rest. We were just dozing off to sleep, when we
were aroused by a knock at our chamber door, and a voice from without
informed us that our further letters and a newspaper had arrived. We
jumped out of bed, glad to receive additional news from the "old folks
at home," and our sleep was no less peaceful on that account.

(_Distance walked eighteen miles_.)

_Friday, September 22nd._

We rose at seven o'clock, and left Golspie at eight _en route_ for Bonar
Bridge. As we passed the railway station we saw a huge traction engine,
which we were informed belonged to the Duke of Sutherland, and was
employed by him to draw wood and stone to the railway. About a mile
after leaving the town we observed the first field of wheat since we had
left John o' Groat's. The morning had turned out wet, so there was no
one at work among the corn, but several machines there showed that
agriculture received much attention. We met some children carrying milk,
who in reply to our inquiry told us that the cows were milked three
times each day--at six o'clock in the morning, one o'clock at noon, and
eight o'clock at night--with the exception of the small Highland cows,
which were only milked twice. As we were looking over the fields in the
direction of the railway, we observed an engine with only one carriage
attached proceeding along the line, which we thought must be the mail
van, but we were told that it was the duke's private train, and that he
was driving the engine himself, the engine being named after his castle,
"Dunrobin." We learned that the whole railway belonged to him for many
miles, and that he was quite an expert at engine driving.

About five miles after leaving Golspie we crossed what was known as "The
Mound," a bank thrown across what looked like an arm of the sea. It was
upwards of half a mile long, and under the road were six arches to admit
the passage of the tide as it ebbed and flowed. Here we turned off to
the right along the hill road to Bonar Bridge, and visited what had been
once a mansion, but was now nearly all fallen to the ground, very little
remaining to tell of its former glory. What attracted us most was the
site of the garden behind the house, where stood four great yew trees
which must have been growing hundreds of years. They were growing in
pairs, and in a position which suggested that the road had formerly
passed between them.

Presently our way passed through a beautiful and romantic glen, with a
fine stream swollen by the recent rains running alongside it. Had the
weather been more favourable, we should have had a charming walk. The
hills did not rise to any great elevation, but were nicely wooded down
to the very edge of the stream, and the torrent, with its innumerable
rapids and little falls, that met us as we travelled on our upward way,
showed to the best advantage. In a few miles we came to a beautiful
waterfall facing our road, and we climbed up the rocks to get a near
view of it from a rustic bridge placed there for the purpose. A large
projecting rock split the fall into the shape of a two-pronged fork, so
that it appeared like a double waterfall, and looked very pretty.
Another stream entered the river near the foot of the waterfall, but the
fall of this appeared to have been artificially broken thirty or forty
times on its downward course, forming the same number of small lochs, or
ponds. We had a grand sight of these miniature lakes as they overflowed
one into another until their waters joined the stream below.

We now left the trees behind us and, emerging into the open country,
travelled many miles across the moors alongside Loch Buidhee, our only
company being the sheep and the grouse. As we approached Bonar Bridge we
observed a party of sportsmen on the moors. From the frequency of their
fire we supposed they were having good sport; a horse with panniers on
its back, which were fast being ladened with the fallen game, was
following them at a respectful distance. Then we came to a few small
houses, near which were large stacks of peat or turf, which was being
carted away in three carts. We asked the driver of the first cart we
overtook how far it was to Bonar Bridge, and he replied two miles. We
made the same inquiry from the second, who said three miles, and the
reply of the third was two and a half miles. As the distance between the
first and the third drivers was only one hundred yards, their replies
rather amused us. Still we found it quite far enough, for we passed
through shower after shower.

Our eighteen-mile walk had given us a good idea of "Caledonia stern and
wild," and at the same time had developed in us an enormous appetite
when by two o'clock we entered the hotel facing Bonar Bridge for our
dinner. The bridge was a fine substantial iron structure of about 150
feet span, having a stone arching at either end, and was of great
importance, as it connected main roads and did away with the ferry which
once existed there. As we crossed the bridge we noticed two vessels from
Sunderland discharging coals, and some fallen fir-trees lying on the
side of the water apparently waiting shipment for colliery purposes, apt
illustrations of the interchange of productions. There were many fine
plantations of fir-trees near Bonar Bridge, and as we passed the railway
station we saw a rather substantial building across the water which we
were informed was the "Puirshoose," or "Poor House."

Observing a village school to the left of our road, we looked through
the open door; but the room was empty, so we called at the residence of
the schoolmaster adjoining to get some reliable information about our
further way, We found him playing on a piano and very civil and
obliging, and he advised us to stay for the night at what was known as
the Half-way House, which we should find on the hill road to Dingwall,
and so named because it was halfway between Bonar and Alness, and nine
miles from Bonar. Our road for the first two miles was close along
Dornoch Firth, and the fine plantations of trees afforded us some
protection against the wind and rain; then we left the highway and
turned to the right, along the hill road. After a steep ascent for more
than a mile, we passed under a lofty elevation, and found ourselves once
more amongst the heather-bells so dear to the heart of every true Scot.

At this point we could not help lingering awhile to view the magnificent
scene below. What a gorgeous panorama! The wide expanse of water, the
bridge we had lately crossed and the adjoining small village, the fine
plantations of trees, the duke's monument rising above the woods at
Golspie, were all visible, but obscured in places by the drifting
showers. If the "Clerk of the Weather" had granted us sunshine instead
of rain, we should have had a glorious prospect not soon to be
forgotten. But we had still three miles to walk, or, as the people in
the north style it, to travel, before we could reach the Half-Way House,
when we met a solitary pedestrian, who as soon as he saw us coming sat
down on a stone and awaited us until we got within speaking distance,
when he began to talk to us. He was the Inspector of Roads, and had been
walking first in one direction and then in the other during the whole of
the day. He said he liked to speak to everybody he saw, as the roads
were so very lonely in his district. He informed us that the Half-Way
House was a comfortable place, and we could not do better than stay
there for the night.

We were glad when we reached the end of our nine-mile walk, as the day
had been very rough and stormy. As it was the third in succession of the
same character, we did not care how soon the weather took a turn for the
better. The Half-Way House stood in a deserted and lonely position on
the moor some little distance from the road, without another house being
visible for miles, and quite isolated from the outer world. We entered
the farmyard, where we saw the mistress busy amongst the pigs, two dogs
barking at us in a very threatening manner. We walked into the kitchen,
the sole occupant of which was a "bairn," who was quite naked, and whom
we could just see behind a maiden of clothes drying before the fire. The
mistress soon followed us into the house, and in reply to our query as
to whether we could be accommodated for the night said, "I will see,"
and invited us into the parlour, a room containing two beds and sundry
chairs and tables. The floor in the kitchen was formed of clay, the
parlour had a boarded floor, and the mantelpiece and roof were of very
old wood, but there was neither firegrate nor fire.

After we had waited there a short time, the mistress again made her
appearance, with a shovel full of red-hot peat, so, although she had not
given us a decided answer as to whether we could stay the night or not,
we considered that silence gave consent, especially when seconded by the
arrival of the welcome fire.

"You surely must have missed your train!" she said; but when we told her
that we were pedestrian tourists, or, as my brother described it, "on a
walking expedition," she looked surprised.

When she entered the room again we were sorting out our letters and
papers, and she said, "You surely must be sappers!" We had some
difficulty in making her understand the object of our journey, as she
could not see how we could be walking for pleasure in such bad weather.

We found the peat made a very hot fire and did good service in helping
to dry our wet clothing. We wanted some hot milk and bread for supper,
which she was very reluctant to supply, as milk was extremely scarce on
the moors, but as a special favour she robbed the remainder of the
family to comply with our wishes. The wind howled outside, but we heeded
it not, for we were comfortably housed before a blazing peat fire which
gave out a considerable amount of heat. We lit one of our ozokerite
candles, of which we carried a supply to be prepared for emergencies,
and read our home newspaper, _The Warrington Guardian_, which was sent
to us weekly, until supper-time arrived, and then we were surprised by
our hostess bringing in an enormous bowl, apparently an ancient punch
bowl, large enough to wash ourselves in, filled with hot milk and bread,
along with two large wooden spoons. Armed with these, we both sat down
with the punch-bowl between us, hungry enough and greedy enough to
compete with one another as to which should devour the most. Which won
would be difficult to say, but nothing remained except the bowl and the
spoons and our extended selves.

We had walked twenty-seven miles, and it must have been weather such as
we had experienced that inspired the poet to exclaim:

  The west wind blows and brings rough weather,
  The east brings cold and wet together,
  The south wind blows and brings much rain,
  The north wind blows it back again!

The beds were placed end to end, so that our feet came together, with a
wooden fixture between the two beds to act as the dividing line.
Needless to say we slept soundly, giving orders to be wakened early in
the morning.

(_Distance walked twenty-seven miles_.)

_Saturday, September 23rd._

We were awakened at six o'clock in the morning, and after a good
breakfast we left the Half-Way House (later the "Aultnamain Inn"), and
well pleased we were with the way the landlady had catered for our
hungry requirements. We could see the sea in the distance, and as we
resumed our march across the moors we were often alarmed suddenly by the
harsh and disagreeable cries of the startled grouse as they rose
hurriedly from the sides of our path, sounding almost exactly like "Go
back!--go back!" We were, however, obliged to "Go forward," and that
fairly quickly, as we were already a few miles behind our contemplated
average of twenty-five miles per day. We determined to make the loss
good, and if possible to secure a slight margin to our credit, so we set
out intending to reach Inverness that night if possible. In spite,
therefore, of the orders given in such loud and unpleasant tones by the
grouse, we advanced quickly onwards and left those birds to rejoice the
heart of any sportsman who might follow.

Cromarty Firth was clearly visible as we left the moors, and we could
distinguish what we thought was Cromarty itself, with its whitewashed
houses, celebrated as the birthplace of the great geologist, Hugh
Miller, of whom we had heard so much in the Orkneys. The original cause
of the whitewashing of the houses in Cromarty was said to have been the
result of an offer made by a former candidate for Parliamentary
honours, who offered to whitewash any of the houses. As nearly all the
free and independent electors accepted his offer, it was said that
Cromarty came out of the Election of 1826 cleaner than any other place
in Scotland, notwithstanding the fact that it happened in an age when
parliamentarian representation generally went to the highest bidder.

We crossed the Strathrory River, and leaving the hills to our right
found ourselves in quite a different kind of country, a veritable land
of woods, where immense plantations of fir-trees covered the hills as
far as the eye could reach, sufficient, apparently, to make up for the
deficiency in Caithness and Sutherland in that respect, for we were now
in the county of Ross and Cromarty.

Shortly afterwards we crossed over the River Alness. The country we now
passed through was highly cultivated and very productive, containing
some large farms, where every appearance of prosperity prevailed, and
the tall chimneys in the rear of each spoke of the common use of coal.
The breeding of cattle seemed to be carried on extensively; we saw one
large herd assembled in a field adjoining our road, and were amused at a
conversational passage of arms between the farmer and two cattle-dealers
who were trying to do business, each side endeavouring to get the better
of the other. It was not quite a war to the knife, but the fight between
those Scots was like razor trying to cut razor, and we wished we had
time to stay and hear how it ended.

Arriving at Novar, where there was a nice little railway station, we
passed on to the village inn, and called for a second breakfast, which
we thoroughly enjoyed after our twelve-mile walk. Here we heard that
snow had fallen on one of the adjacent hills during the early hours of
the morning, but it was now fine, and fortunately continued to be so
during the whole of the day.

Our next stage was Dingwall, the chief town in the county of Ross, and
at the extreme end of the Cromarty Firth, which was only six miles
distant. We had a lovely walk to that town, very different from the
lonely moors we had traversed earlier in the day, as our road now lay
along the very edge of the Cromarty Firth, while the luxuriant foliage
of the trees on the other side of our road almost formed an arch over
our way. The water of the Firth was about two miles broad all the way to
Dingwall, and the background formed by the wooded hills beyond the Firth
made up a very fine picture. We had been fully prepared to find Dingwall
a very pretty place, and in that we were not disappointed.

The great object of interest as we entered this miniature county town
was a lofty monument fifty or sixty feet high,[Footnote: This monument
has since been swept away.] which stood in a separate enclosure near a
graveyard attached to a church. It was evidently very old, and leaning
several points from the perpendicular, and was bound together almost to
the top with bands of iron crossed in all directions to keep it from
failing. A very curious legend was attached to it. It was erected to
some steward named Roderick Mackenzie, who had been connected with the
Cromarty estate many years ago, and who appeared to have resided at
Kintail, being known as the Tutor of Kintail. He acted as administrator
of the Mackenzie estates during the minority of his nephew, the
grandfather of the first Earl of Cromarty, and was said to have been a
man of much ability and considerable culture for the times in which he
lived. At the same time he was a man of strong personality though of
evil repute in the Gaelic-speaking districts, as the following couplet
still current among the common people showed:

  The three worst things in Scotland--
  Mists in the dog-days, frost in May, and the Tutor of Kintail.

The story went that the tutor had a quarrel with a woman who appeared to
have been quite as strong-minded as himself. She was a dairymaid in
Strathconon with whom he had an agreement to supply him with a stone of
cheese for every horn of milk given by each cow per day. For some reason
the weight of cheese on one occasion happened to be light, and this so
enraged the tutor that he drove her from the Strath. Unfortunately for
him the dairymaid was a poetess, and she gave vent to her sorrow in
verse, in which it may be assumed the tutor came in for much abuse. When
she obtained another situation at the foot of Ben Wyvis, the
far-reaching and powerful hand of the tutor drove her from there also;
so at length she settled in the Clan Ranald Country in Barrisdale, on
the shores of Loch Hourn on the west coast of Inverness-shire, a place
at that time famous for shell-fish, where she might have dwelt in peace
had she mastered the weakness of her sex for demanding the last word;
but she burst forth once more in song, and the tutor came in for another

  Though from Strathconon with its cream you've driven me,
  And from Wyvis with its curds and cheese;
  While billow beats on shore you cannot drive me
  From the shell-fish of fair Barrisdale.

These stanzas came to the ear of the tutor, who wrote to Macdonald of
Barrisdale demanding that he should plough up the beach, and when this
had been done there were no longer any shell-fish to be found there.

The dairymaid vowed to be even with the tutor, and threatened to
desecrate his grave. When he heard of the threat, in order to prevent
its execution he built this strange monument, and instead of being
buried beneath it he was said to have been buried near the summit; but
the woman was not to be out-done, for after the tutor's funeral she
climbed to the top of the pinnacle and kept her vow to micturate there!

As our time was limited, we were obliged to hurry away from this
pleasantly situated town, and in about four miles, after crossing the
River Conon, we entered Conon village, where we called for refreshments,
of which we hastily disposed. Conon was quite an agricultural village,
where the smithy seemed to rival the inn in importance, as the smiths
were busy at work. We saw quite a dozen ploughs waiting to be repaired
in order to fit them to stir up the soil during the ploughing season,
which would commence as soon as the corn was cleared off the land. Here
we observed the first fingerpost we had seen since leaving John o'
Groat's, now more than a hundred miles distant, although it was only an
apology for one, and very different from those we were accustomed to see
farther south in more important but not more beautiful places. It was
simply an upright post with rough pieces of wood nailed across the top,
but we looked upon it as a sign that we were approaching more civilised
regions. The gentry had shown their appreciation of this delightful part
of the country by erecting fine residences in the neighbourhood, some of
which we passed in close proximity. Just before crossing over the
railway bridge we came to a frightful figure of a human head carved on a
stone and built in the battlement in a position where it could be seen
by all. It was coloured white, and we heard it was the work of some
local sculptor. It was an awful-looking thing, and no doubt did duty for
the "boggard" of the neighbourhood. The view of the hills to the right
of our road as we passed along was very fine, lit up as they were by the
rays of the evening sun, and the snow on Ben Wyvis in the distance
contrasted strangely with the luxuriant foliage of the trees near us, as
they scarcely yet showed the first shade of the autumn tints.

About four miles farther on we arrived at a place called the Muir of
Ord, a rather strange name of which we did not know the meaning,
reaching the railway station there just after the arrival of a train
which we were told had come from the "sooth." The passengers consisted
of a gentleman and his family, who were placing themselves in a large
four-wheeled travelling-coach to which were attached four rather
impatient horses. A man-servant in livery was on the top of the coach
arranging a large number of parcels and boxes, those intolerable
appendages of travel. We waited, and watched their departure, as we had
no desire to try conclusions with the restless feet of the horses, our
adventures with the Shetland pony in the north having acted as a warning
to us. Shortly afterwards we crossed a large open space of land studded
with wooden buildings and many cattle-pens which a man told us was now
the great cattlemarket for the North, where sales for cattle were held
each month--the next would be due in about a week's time, when from
30,000 to 35,000 sheep would be sold. It seemed strange to us that a
place of such importance should have been erected where there were
scarcely any houses, but perhaps there were more in the neighbourhood
than we had seen, and in any case it lay conveniently as a meeting-place
for the various passes in the mountain country.

We soon arrived at Beauly, which, as its name implied, was rather a
pretty place, with its houses almost confined to the one street, the
Grammar School giving it an air of distinction. Our attention was
attracted by some venerable ruins at the left of our road, which we
determined to visit, but the gate was locked. Seeing a small girl
standing near, we asked her about the key, and she volunteered to go and
tell the man who kept it to come at once. We were pressed for time, and
the minutes seemed very long as we stood awaiting the arrival of the
key, until at last we decided to move on; but just as we were walking
away we saw an old man coming up a side street with the aid of a crutch
and a stick.

[Illustration: ON THE BEAULY RIVER.]

He pointed with his stick towards the cathedral, so we retraced our
steps and awaited his arrival with the key. A key it certainly was, and
a large one too, for it weighed 2 lbs. 4 ozs. and the bore that fitted
the lock was three-quarters of an inch in diameter. It was the biggest
key we saw in all our long journey. We listened to all the old man had
to tell us about the cathedral, the building of which begun in the year
1230. It measured 152 feet in length and about 24 feet in breadth, but
was ruined in the time of Cromwell. He showed us what he described as
the Holy Water Pot, which was quite near the door and had some water in
it, but why the water happened to be there the old man could not
explain. The front gable of the nave was nearly all standing, but that
at the back, which at one time had contained a large window, was nearly
all down. The old font was in the wall about half-way down the
cathedral; the vestry and chapter house were roofless. The grave-stones
dated from the year 1602, but that which covered the remains of the
founder was of course very much older. Beauly was formerly a
burial-place of the ancient Scottish chieftains, and was still used as
the burial-ground of the Mackenzies, the name reminding us of our
friends at the "Huna Inn." Rewarding our guide and the bairn who had
returned with him for their services, we walked quickly away, as we had
still twelve miles to walk before reaching Inverness.

[Illustration: BEAULY PRIORY.]

After crossing the bridge over the River Beauly we had the company for
about a mile of a huge servant-girl, a fine-looking Scotch lassie, with
whom we ventured to enter into conversation although we felt like dwarfs
in her presence. She told us she had never been in England, but her
sister had been there in service, and had formed a bad opinion of the
way the English spent their Sundays. Some of them never went to church
at all, while one young man her sister knew there actually whistled as
he was going to church! It was very different in Scotland, where, she
said, all went to church and kept holy the Sabbath day. She evidently
thought it a dreadful offence to whistle on Sundays, and we were careful
not to offend the susceptibilities of the Scots, and, we may safely say,
our own, by whistling on the Lord's day. Whistling was, however, an
accomplishment of which we were rather proud, as we considered ourselves
experts, and beguiled many a weary mile's march with
quicksteps--English, Scotch, Welsh, and Irish--which we flattered
ourselves sounded better amongst the hills of the Highlands of Scotland
even than the sacred bagpipes of the most famous Scotch regiments.

We thanked our formidable-looking friend for her company and, presenting
her with a John o' Groat's buckie, bade her farewell. When she must have
been a distance away we accelerated our pace by whistling "Cheer, Boys,
Cheer!" one of Charles Russell's songs. We could not keep it up for
long, as we were not only footsore, but sore in every joint, through
friction, and we were both beginning to limp a little when we came to a
junction in the roads. Here it was necessary to inquire about our way,
and seeing a farm quite near we went to it and asked a gentleman who was
standing in the yard which way we should turn for Inverness and how far
it was. He kindly directed us, and told us that town was nine miles
distant, but added, "I am just going there in my 'machine,' which will
be ready directly, and will be glad to give you a lift." This kind offer
formed one of the greatest temptations we had during our long journey,
as we had already walked thirty miles that day, and were in a pitiable
condition, and it was hard to say "No." We thanked the gentleman
heartily, and explained why we could not accept it, as we had determined
to walk all the way to Land's End, and with an effort both painful and
slow we mournfully took our way. We had only travelled a short distance
when he overtook us with a spirited horse and a well-appointed
conveyance, bidding us "Good night" as he passed.

We had a painful walk for the next three miles, and it was just at the
edge of dark when we called for tea at the "Bogroy Inn." We were shown
into the parlour by the mistress herself, a pleasant elderly lady, very
straight, but very stout, and when my brother complimented her on her
personal appearance, she told him that when she first came into that
neighbourhood thirty-five years ago she only weighed eleven stone, but
six years since she weighed twenty-two stone; now, she rather
sorrowfully added, "I only weigh seventeen stone!" She evidently thought
she had come down in the world, but she was an ideal landlady of the
good old sort, for she sent us some venison in for our tea, the first we
had ever tasted, and with eggs and other good things we had a grand
feast. Moreover, she sent her daughter, a prepossessing young lady, to
wait upon us, so we felt ourselves highly honoured.

As we were devouring the good things provided we heard some mysterious
tappings, which we were unable to locate. My brother suggested the house
might be haunted, but when the young lady entered the room again we
discovered that the tappings were outside the house, on the shutters
which covered the windows, for every one in the Highlands in those days
protected their lower windows with wooden shutters. The tappings were
accompanied by a low whistle, by which we could see the young lady was
visibly affected, until finally she left the room rather hurriedly,
never to appear again; nor did we hear the tappings any more, and the
requiem we sung was:

  If she be not fair for me,
  What care I how fair she be?

We were sorry to leave the "Bogroy Inn," as the mistress said she would
have been glad of our further patronage, but we had determined to reach
Inverness as a better place to stay over the week end. With great
difficulty we walked the remaining six miles under the trees, through
which the moon was shining, and we could see the stars twinkling above
our heads as we marched, or rather crawled, along the Great North Road.
On arriving at Inverness we crossed the bridge, to reach a house that
had been recommended to us, but as it was not up to our requirements we
turned back and found one more suitable across the water. Our week's
walk totalled 160 miles, of which thirty-nine had been covered that day.

(_Distance walked thirty-nine miles._)

_Sunday, September 24th._

After a good night's rest and the application of common soap to the
soles of our feet, and fuller's earth to other parts of our
anatomy--remedies we continued to employ, whenever necessary, on our
long journey--we were served with a good breakfast, and then went out to
see what Inverness looked like in the daylight. We were agreeably
surprised to find it much nicer than it appeared as we entered it, tired
out, the night before, and we had a pleasant walk before going to the
eleven-o'clock service at the kirk.

Inverness, the "Capital of the Highlands," has a long and eventful
history. St. Columba is said to have visited it as early as the year
565, and on a site fortified certainly in the eighth century stands the
castle, which was, in 1039, according to Shakespeare, the scene of the
murder of King Duncan by Macbeth. The town was made a Royal Burgh by
David I, King of Scotland. The Lords of the Isles also appear to have
been crowned here, for their coronation stone is still in existence, and
has been given a name which in Gaelic signifies the "Stone of the Tubs."
In former times the water supply of the town had to be obtained from the
loch or the river, and the young men and maidens carrying it in tubs
passed this stone on their way--or rather did not pass, for they
lingered a while to rest, the stone no doubt being a convenient
trysting-place. We wandered as far as the castle, from which the view of
the River Ness and the Moray Firth was particularly fine.

We attended service in one of the Free Churches, and were much
interested in the proceedings, which were so different from those we had
been accustomed to in England, the people standing while they prayed and
sitting down while they sang. The service began with the one hundredth
Psalm to the good old tune known as the "Old Hundredth" and associated
in our minds with that Psalm from our earliest days:

  All people that on earth do dwell,
    Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
  Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell,
    Come ye before Him, and rejoice.


During the singing of this, all the people remained seated except the
precentor, who stood near the pulpit. Then followed a prayer, the people
all standing; and then the minister read a portion of Scripture from the
thirty-fourth chapter of the prophet Ezekiel beginning at the eleventh
verse: "For thus saith the Lord God; Behold I, even I, will both search
My sheep, and seek them out."

Another hymn was followed by the Lord's Prayer; after which came the
sermon, preached by the Rev. Donald Fraser, M.A., of Marylebone, London,
a former minister of the church. He read the last three verses of the
ninth chapter of St. John's gospel, continued reading down to the
sixteenth verse of the tenth chapter, and then selected for his text the
fourth, ninth, and tenth verses of that chapter, the first verse of
these reading: "And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before
them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice."

The sermon had evidently been well thought out and was ably delivered,
the subject being very appropriate to a district where sheep abound and
where their habits are so well known. Everybody listened with the
greatest attention. At the close there was a public baptism of a child,
whose father and mother stood up before the pulpit with their backs to
the congregation. The minister recited the Apostles' Creed, which was
slightly different in phraseology from that used in the Church of
England, and then, descending from the pulpit, proceeded to baptize the
child in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The closing hymn
followed, and the people stood while the minister pronounced the
benediction, after which the congregation slowly separated.

[Illustration: INVERNESS CASTLE.]

During the afternoon we visited an isolated hill about a mile from the
town named Tomnahurich, or the "Hill of the Fairies." Nicely wooded, it
rose to an elevation of about 200 feet above the sea, and, the summit
being comparatively level and clear from trees, we had a good view of
Inverness and its surroundings. This hill was used as the Cemetery, and
many people had been buried, both on the top and along the sides of the
serpentine walk leading up to it, their remains resting there peacefully
until the resurrection, "when the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall
be raised incorruptible." We considered it an ideal place for the burial
of the dead, and quite a number of people were walking up and down the
paths leading under the trees, many of them stopping on their way to
view the graves where their friends had been buried.

In the evening we attended service in the cathedral, a large modern
structure, with two towers, each of which required a spire forty feet
high to complete the original design. Massive columns of Aberdeen
granite had been erected in the interior to support the roof of polished
oak, adorned with carved devices, some of which had not yet been
completed. The Communion-table, or altar, made in Italy and presented to
the cathedral by a wealthy layman, stood beneath a suspended crucifix,
and was further adorned with a cross, two candlesticks, and two vases
containing flowers. The service, of a High-Church character, was fully
choral, assisted by a robed choir and a good organ. The sermon was
preached by the Rev. Provost Powell, who took for his text Romans xiv.
7: "For none liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself." He gave us
a clever oration, but whether extempore or otherwise we could not tell,
as from where we sat we could not see the preacher. There was not a
large congregation, probably owing to the fact that the people in the
North are opposed to innovations, and look upon crosses and candlesticks
on the Communion-table as imitations of the Roman Catholic ritual, to
which the Presbyterians could never be reconciled. The people generally
seemed much prejudiced against this form of service, for in the town
early in the morning, before we knew this building was the cathedral, we
asked a man what kind of a place of worship it was, and he replied, in a
tone that implied it was a place to be avoided, that he did not know,
but it was "next to th' Catholics." Our landlady spoke of it in exactly
the same way.


_Monday, September 25th._


We rose early, but were not in very good trim for walking, for a mild
attack of diarrhoea yesterday had become intensified during the night,
and still continued. After breakfast we went to the post office for our
"poste restante" letters, and after replying to them resumed our march.
Culloden Muir, the site of the great battle in 1746, in which the
Scottish Clans under Prince Charlie suffered so severely at the hands of
the Duke of Cumberland, is only six miles away from Inverness, and we
had originally planned to visit it, but as that journey would have taken
us farther from the Caledonian Canal, the line of which we were now
anxious to follow, we gave up the idea of going to Culloden. We were,
moreover, in no humour for digressions since we had not yet recovered
from the effects of our long walk on Saturday, and our bodily ailments
were still heavy upon us. As we crossed the suspension-bridge, in close
proximity to the castle, we purchased a few prints of the town and the
neighbourhood through which we were about to pass.

Inverness is built in a delightful situation, skirting the Ness, which
here takes the form of a beautiful, shallow river moving peacefully
forward to its great receptacle, Loch Ness, a few miles away; but,
although the country near the town is comparatively level, it is
surrounded by mountain scenery of the most charming description. Our
route lay along the north-western side of the Caledonian Canal in the
direction of Fort Augustus, and we again passed the Tomnahurich Hill.
Near this we saw a large building which we were surprised to learn was a
lunatic asylum--an institution we did not expect to find here, for we
had only heard of one madman in the three counties of Scotland through
which we had passed. We concluded it must have been built for persons
from farther south.

[Illustration: CULLODEN MUIR.]

The diarrhoea still continued to trouble us, so we asked the advice of a
gentleman we met on the road, and he recommended us to call at the next
farmhouse, which, fortunately, happened to be only a short distance
away, and to "take a quart of milk each, as hot as you can drink it." So
away we walked to the farm, which we found standing a short distance
from our road, and, after explaining our troubles and wishes to the
farmer, were invited into the house, where the mistress quickly provided
us with the hot milk, which luckily proved to be a safe and simple
remedy. The farmer and his wife were as pleased with our company as we
were with theirs, and were just the sort of people that tourists like to
meet. We had a long talk with them about the crops, the markets, our
long walk, and, last but not least, the weather. Speaking of diarrhoea,
the farmer informed us that the water of Inverness often affected
strangers in that way, and that it had even been known to produce

After regaining our road, we had a lovely walk that day; the scenery
and the weather were both very fine, and, about a mile farther on, we
had a glorious view over Loch Ness, beside which our walk led us,
through a delightful country studded with mansions amidst some of
nature's most beautiful scenery. Presently we met a party of men,
consisting of two soldiers and three civilians, engaged in cutting
branches from the trees that were likely to interfere with the working
of the telegraph, which passed along the side of the road. It consisted
of a single wire, and had only just been erected, for we noticed each
post bore the Government mark and the date 1871. We asked the men if
they knew of a good remedy for our complaint, and one of the soldiers,
who had seen service abroad, recommended "a spoonful of sweet oil and
cinnamon mixed with it." Our former remedy had proved to be efficacious,
so we had no need to try this, but we give the information here for the
benefit of all whom it may concern.


We were certainly in for the best day's march we had yet experienced, if
not for distance, certainly for beauty of route; and if we had had the
gift of poetry--which only affected us occasionally--we should have had
here food for poems sufficient to fill the side of a newspaper. Mountain
rills, gushing rivulets, and murmuring waters! Here they were in
abundance, rolling down the rocky mountains from unknown heights, and
lending an additional charm to the landscape! Is it necessary to dilate
on such beauties?--for if words were conjured in the most delicate and
exquisite language imaginable, the glories of Loch Ness and its
surroundings are, after all, things to be seen before they can be fully
appreciated. The loch is over twenty miles long, and averages about a
mile broad; while a strange fact is that its water never freezes.
Scientific men, we were told, attributed this to the action of
earthquakes in distant parts of the world, their vibrations affecting
the surface of the water here; while others, apparently of the more
commonsense type, attribute it to the extreme depth of the water in the
loch itself, for in the centre it is said to exceed 260 yards.

As we loitered along--for we were very lazy--we decided to have a picnic
amongst the large stones on the shore of the loch, so we selected a
suitable position, and broke into the provisions we carried in our bags
as a reserve for emergencies. We were filling our water-boiling
apparatus from the loch, when we saw a steamboat approaching from the
direction of Glasgow. It presented quite a picture as it passed us, in
the sunshine, with its flags flying and its passengers crowded on the
deck, enjoying the fine scenery, and looking for Inverness, where their
trip on the boat, like the Caledonian Canal itself, would doubtless end.
There was music on board, of which we got the full benefit, as the sound
was wafted towards us across the water, to echo and re-echo amongst the
hills and adjoining woods; and we could hear the strains of the music
long after the boat was cut off from our vision by the branches of the
trees which partially surrounded us.

[Illustration: THE WELL OF THE DEAD, CULLODEN MUIR. The stone marks the
spot where MacGillivray of Dunmaglass died while stretching out his hand
toward the little spring of water.]

We were, in reality, having a holiday compared with our exertions on
Saturday, and, as we were practically on the sick-list, considered
ourselves fully entitled to it. We thought we had travelled quite far
enough for invalids when, at fourteen miles from Inverness, and in the
light of a lovely sunset, we reached Drumnadrochit, a village on the
side of the loch.

Is it to be wondered at that we succumbed to the seductions of the
famous inn there, as distinguished men had done before us, as the
records of the inn both in prose and poetry plainly showed? One poetical
Irishman had written a rhyme of four verses each ending with the word
Drumnadrochit, one of which we thought formed a sufficient invitation
and excuse for our calling there; it read:

  Stop, traveller! with well-pack'd bag,
    And hasten to unlock it;
  You'll ne'er regret it, though you lag
    A day at Drumnadrochit.

One of the best advertisements of this hotel and Drumnadrochit generally
appeared in a letter written by Shirley Brooks to _Punch_ in 1860, in
which he wrote:

   The inn whence these lines are dated faces a scene which, happily, is
   not too often to be observed in this planet. I say happily, sir,
   because we are all properly well aware that this world is a vale of
   tears, in which it is our duty to mortify ourselves and make
   everybody else as uncomfortable as possible. If there were many
   places like Drumnadrochit, persons would be in fearful danger of
   forgetting that they ought to be miserable.

But who would have thought that a quiet and sedate-looking Quaker like
John Bright, the famous M.P. for Birmingham, could have been moved by
the spirit to write a verse of poetry--such an unusual thing for a
member of the Society of Friends! Here it is:

  In the Highland glens 'tis far too oft observed,
  That man is chased away and game preserved;
  Glen Urquhart is to me a lovelier glen--
  Here deer and grouse have not supplanted men.

But was the position reversed when Mr. Bright visited it? and did the
men supplant the deer and grouse then?

[Illustration: DRUMNADROCHIT.]

Glen Urquhart was one of the places we had to pass on the following day,
but as we had no designs on the deer and grouse, since our sporting
proclivities did not lie in that direction, we thought that we might be
safely trusted to leave the game undisturbed.

(_Distance walked fourteen miles_.)

_Tuesday, September 26th._

We set out from Drumnadrochit early in the morning, and, leaving Glen
Urquhart to the right, after walking about two miles turned aside to
view Urquhart Castle, a ruin occupying a commanding position on the side
of Loch Ness and immediately opposite the entrance to the glen. The
castle was besieged by Edward I when he was trying to subdue Scotland,
and a melancholy story was told of that period. The Scots, who were
defending the castle, were "in extremis," as their provisions were
exhausted and they knew that when they surrendered they would all be
slain. The Governor, however, was anxious to save his wife, who was
shortly to become a mother, so he bade her clothe herself in rags and
drove her from the gate as though she were a beggar who had been shut up
in the castle and whom they had driven away because their provisions
were running short. The ruse succeeded, for the English, believing her
story, let her go; after the garrison saw that she was safe they sallied
forth to meet their fate, and were all killed.

[Illustration: URQUHART CASTLE.]

The approach to the ruins from the road is by upwards of a hundred rough
hardwood steps, and the castle must have been a well-nigh impregnable
stronghold in former times, protected as it was on three sides by the
water of the loch and by a moat on the fourth, the position of the
drawbridge being still clearly denned.

Beneath the solitary tower is a dismal dungeon, and we wondered what
horrors had been enacted within its time-worn and gloomy walls! Once a
grim fortress, its ruins had now been mellowed by the hand of time, and
looked quite inviting amidst their picturesque surroundings. To them
might fitly be applied the words: "Time has made beautiful that which at
first was only terrible."

Whilst we were amongst the ruins, a steamboat which had called at
Drumnadrochit passed close alongside the castle, and we waved our
handkerchiefs to those on board, our silent salutations being returned
by some of the passengers. We afterwards learned we had been recognised
by a gentleman who had met us on the previous day.

About ten miles from Drumnadrochit we reached Invermoriston, and visited
a church which was almost filled with monuments to the memory of the
Grant family, the lairds of Glenmoriston. Among them was the tombstone
of the son of a former innkeeper, with the following inscription, which
reminded us of our own mortality:

  Remember, Friend, when this you see,
  As I am now so you must be;
  As you are now so once was I.
  Remember, Friend, that you must die.

There was also another tombstone, apparently that of his mother,


and on this appeared the following epitaph:

  Weep not for me, O friends,
  But weep and mourn
  For your own sins.


We then went to visit the remarkable waterfall of Glenmoriston, where
the water after rushing down the rocks for some distance entered a
crevice in a projecting rock below, evidently worn in the course of ages
by the falls themselves. Here the water suddenly disappeared, to
reappear as suddenly some distance below, where, as if furious at its
short imprisonment, it came out splashing, dashing, and boiling in
fantastic beauty amongst the rocks over which it pursued its downward
course. We descended a few paces along a footpath leading to a small
but ancient building, probably at one time a summer house, in the centre
of which a very old millstone had done duty as a table. Here we were
fairly in the whirl of waters, and had a splendid view of the falls and
of the spray which rose to a considerable height. There was no doubt
that we saw this lovely waterfall under the best possible conditions,
and it was some recompense to us when we thought that the heavy rainfall
through which we had passed had contributed to this result. The thistle
may overshadow many more beautiful falls than the falls of Glenmoriston,
but we claim a share of praise for this lively little waterfall as
viewed by us in full force from this shady retreat.



[Illustration: FALLS OF FOYERS AND LOCH NESS. "Here in the whirl of
waters ... the spray rose to a considerable height."]

After refreshing ourselves at the inn, we started on our next stage of
ten miles to Fort Augustus, the loneliness of our journey through its
beauties of scenery being enlivened by occasionally watching the pranks
of the squirrels and gazing at the many burns that flowed down the
mountain slopes. Before reaching Fort Augustus we had a splendid view as
we looked backward over Loch Ness, dotted here and there with several
ships tacking and retacking, their white sails gleaming in the sunshine.
It had been a calm and lovely day; the sun was sinking in the west as
we entered Fort Augustus, but we had only time enough for a superficial
survey, for we had to proceed farther, and, however important the Fort
might have been in 1729 when General Wade constructed his famous
military road, or when the Duke of Cumberland made it his headquarters
while he dealt severely with the adherents of Prince Charlie, shooting
ruthlessly, laying waste on every side, and driving women and children
into the moors only to die, it looked very insignificant that night. The
Highland Clans never looked favourably on the construction of these
military roads, and would doubtless have preferred the mountain tracks
to remain as they were, for by using the Fort as a base these roads
became a weapon to be used against them; their only eulogy was said to
have been written by an Irish officer:

  Had you but seen these roads before they were made,
  You would lift up your eyes, and bless General Wade.

My brother said he must have been a real Irishman, with the eye of
faith, to see roads _before they were made_!


Fort Augustus stands at the extremity of Loch Ness, at the point where
its surplus waters are lowered by means of locks to swell those of Loch
Oich, so as to make both lochs navigable for the purposes of the
Caledonian Canal. We noticed some corn-stacks here that were thatched
with broom, and some small houses that were roofed with what looked like
clods of earth, so we concluded that the district must be a very poor

[Illustration: IN GLENMORISTON.]

As darkness was now coming on, we were anxious to find lodgings for the
night, and, hearing that there was an inn at a place called Invergarry,
seven and a half miles from Fort Augustus, we were obliged to go there.
The moon was just beginning to relieve the darkness when we reached
Invergarry, and, seeing a servant removing some linen from a
clothes-line in a small garden, we asked the way to the inn; she pointed
to a building opposite, and said we had "better go in at that door." We
entered as directed at the side door, and found ourselves in a rather
large inn with a passage through it from end to end. We saw what we
supposed to be the master and the mistress snugly ensconced in a room,
and asked the master if we could obtain lodgings for the night. He said
"yes," but we heard the mistress, who had not seen us, mutter something
we could not hear distinctly. My brother said he was sure he heard the
words "Shepherd's room." The landlord then conducted us into a room at
the end of the long dark passage, in which, we found several shepherds
drinking and conversing with each other in Gaelic. One of them said to
us "Good night," and as we returned his salutation they all retired from
the room. We were now able to look about us, and found the room
contained two tables, four forms, and at least two beds ranged
lengthways along one side. Presently a servant came in and began to make
one of the beds, and then another servant came who, we thought, eyed us
rather closely, as we were holding our faces down to conceal the
laughter which we could scarcely restrain. When she had made the other
bed my brother asked if both the beds were for us. The servant said she
couldn't tell, but "Missis says they are both to be made." We had
evidently been taken for shepherds, and at first we were inclined to
feel angry, for no one came to ask us if we required anything to eat or
drink. We could have done with a good supper, but fortunately we had
replenished our bags at Fort Augustus, so we were in no danger of being
starved. We scribbled in our diaries by the feeble light of the candle
which the servants had left on one of the tables, and as no one turned
up to claim the second bed we occupied both. There was no lock or
fastening on the door, but we barricaded it securely with two of the
forms--and it was perhaps as well that we did so, for some one tried to
open it after we were in bed--and we slept that night not on feathers,
but on chaff with which the beds or mattresses were stuffed.

(_Distance walked twenty-seven miles_.)

_Wednesday, September 27th._

"The sleep of a labouring man is sweet," and so was ours on the
primitive beds of the shepherds. But the sounds in the rear of the hotel
awoke us very early in the morning, and, as there was every appearance
of the weather continuing fine, we decided to walk some distance before
breakfast. We asked one of the servants how much we had to pay, and she
returned with an account amounting to the astounding sum of sixpence!
Just fancy, ye Highland tourists! ye who have felt the keen grip of many
an hotel-keeper there--just fancy, if ye can, two of us staying a night
at a large hotel in the Highlands of Scotland for sixpence!

We followed the servant to a small room at the front of the hotel, where
a lady was seated, to whom the money had to be paid; the surprised and
disappointed look on her face as we handed her a sovereign in payment of
our account was rich in the extreme, amply repaying us for any annoyance
we might have experienced the night before. What made the matter more
aggravating to the lady was that she had not sufficient change, and had
to go upstairs and waken some unwilling money-changer there! Then the
change had to be counted as she reluctantly handed it to us and made a
forlorn effort to recover some of the coins. "Won't you stay for
breakfast?" she asked; but we were not to be persuaded, for although we
were hungry enough, we were of an unforgiving spirit that morning, and,
relying upon getting breakfast elsewhere, we thanked her and went on our
way rejoicing!

About a mile farther on we reached the ruins of Glengarry Castle, which
stand in the private grounds of the owner, but locks and bolts prevented
us from seeing the interior. This castle remains more complete than many
others and still retains its quadrangular appearance, much as it was
when Prince Charlie slept there during his flight after Culloden, and,
although not built on any great elevation, it looks well in its wooded
environs and well-kept grounds. A story was told of the last Lord
Glengarry who, in 1820, travelled 600 miles to be present at the
Coronation of King George IV. He was dressed on that magnificent and
solemn occasion in the full costume of a Highland chief, including, as a
matter of course, a brace of pistols. A lady who was at the reception
happened to see one of the pistols in his clothing, and, being greatly
alarmed, set up a loud shriek, crying, "Oh Lord! Oh Lord! there's a man
with a pistol," and alarming the whole assembly. As she insisted on
Glengarry being arrested, he was immediately surrounded, and the Garter
King of Arms came forward and begged him to give up the much-dreaded
pistols; but he refused, as they were not loaded, and pleaded that they
formed an essential part of his national garb. At length, however, after
much persuasion, he gave them up.

Glengarry wrote a letter to the editor of _The Times_, in which he said:
"I have worn my dress continually at Court, and was never so insulted
before. Pistols, sir, are as essential to the Highland courtier's dress
as a sword is to English, French, or German; and those used by me on
such occasions as unstained with powder as any courtier's sword, with
blood. It is only grossest ignorance of Highland character and costume
which imagined that the assassin lurked under their bold and manly

Glengarry, who, it was said, never properly recovered from the effects
of this insult, died in 1828.

After about another mile we came to a monument near the side of the
road, on the top of which were sculptured the figures of seven human
heads held up by a hand clasping a dagger. On each of the four sides of
the base there was an inscription in one of four different
languages--English, French, Latin, and Gaelic--as follows:

   As a memorial to the ample and summary vengeance which in the swift
   course of Feudal justice inflicted by the orders of the Lord
   MacDonnell and Aross overtook the perpetrators of the foul murder of
   the Keppoch family, a branch of the powerful and illustrious Clan of
   which his Lordship was the Chief, this Monument is erected by Colonel
   MacDonnell of Glengarry XVII Mac-Minc-Alaister his successor and
   Representative in the year of our Lord 1812. The heads of the seven
   murderers were presented at the feet of the noble chief in Glengarry
   Castle after having been washed in this spring and ever since that
   event which took place early in the sixteenth century it has been
   known by the name "Tobar-nan-Ceann" or the Well of the Heads.

The monument was practically built over the well, an arched passage
leading down to the water, where we found a drinking-utensil placed for
any one who desired a drink. We were glad to have one ourselves, but
perhaps some visitors might be of such refined and delicate taste that
they would not care to drink the water after reading the horrible
history recorded above.

It appeared that Macdonald of Keppoch, the owner of the estate, had two
sons whom he sent to France to be educated, and while they were there he
died, leaving the management of his estate to seven kinsmen until the
return of his sons from France; when they came back, they were murdered
by the seven executors of their father's will. The Bard of Keppoch urged
Glengarry to take vengeance on the murderers, and this monument was
erected to commemorate the ample and summary vengeance inflicted about

[Illustration: INVERGARRY CASTLE.]

Leaving this memorial of "ample and summary vengeance," we crossed the
Loggan Bridge and gained the opposite bank of the Caledonian Canal. The
country we now passed through was very lonely and mountainous, and in
one place we came to a large plantation of hazel loaded with nuts. We
reflected that there were scarcely any inhabitants to eat them, as the
persons we met did not average more than a dozen in twenty miles, and on
one occasion only six all told; so we turned into nut-gatherers
ourselves, spurred on by the fact that we had had no breakfast and our
appetites were becoming sharpened, with small prospect of being appeased
in that lonely neighbourhood.

A little farther on, however, we met a man with two dogs, who told us he
was the shepherd, and, in reply to our anxious inquiry, informed us that
we could get plenty to eat at his house, which we should find a little
farther on the road. This was good news, for we had walked eight miles
since leaving Invergarry. When we reached the shepherd's house, which
had formerly been an inn, we found the mistress both civil and
obliging, and she did her best to provide for our hungry requirements.
The house was evidently a very old one, and we wondered what queer
people had sat in that ingle-nook and what strange stories they had told
there. The fireplace was of huge dimensions; hanging above it was a
single-and a double-barrelled gun, while some old crockery and ancient
glass bottles adorned various parts of the kitchen--evidently family
heirlooms, which no doubt had been handed down from one generation to
another--and a very old bed reposed in the chimney corner.

The mistress provided us with a splendid breakfast, upon which we
inflicted "ample and summary vengeance," for those words were still
ringing in our minds and ears and had already become by-words as we
travelled along. The "best tea-pot," which looked as if it had not been
used for ages, was brought from its hiding-place; and, amongst other
good things, we were treated by way of dessert to some ripe
blackberries, which the mistress called brambleberries and which she
told us she had gathered herself. It was half-past ten o'clock when we
left the shepherd's house, and shortly afterwards we had a view of the
snow-covered summit of Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Great Britain.
We had a lonely walk alongside Loch Lochy, which is ten miles in length;
but in about six miles General Wade's road, which we followed, branched
off to the left. About four miles from the junction we reached Spean
Bridge, over which we crossed the river of that name, which brings along
the waters of sundry lochs as well as others from the valley of Glen
Roy. This Glen forms an almost hidden paradise beloved of geologists, as
along the sides of the valley are the famous "Parallel Roads" belonging
to the Glacial Period. We replenished our stock of provisions, which we
had rather neglected, at Spean Bridge, and treated ourselves to another
little picnic in the lonely country beyond. It was dark before we
reached Fort William, where we found comfortable lodgings at the house
of Mrs. MacPherson opposite the Ben Nevis Hotel, and retired with the
intention of ascending Ben Nevis the following day.

(_Distance walked twenty-five and a half miles_.)

_Thursday, September 28th._

After breakfast we commissioned Mrs. MacPherson to engage the services
of the guide to conduct us to the top of Ben Nevis, which is 4,406 feet
high, offering to pay him the sum of one sovereign for his services. We
had passed the old castle of Inverlochy in the dark of the previous
night, and, as we wished to visit it in the daylight that morning, we
arranged that the guide should meet us on a bridge outside the town,
which we must cross on our way to and from what we were told was once a
royal castle, where King Achius signed a treaty with Charlemagne. The
castle was some distance from the town, and quite near the famous
distillery where the whisky known as "Long John" or the "Dew of Ben
Nevis" was produced. We found ready access to the ruins, as the key had
been left in the gate of the walled fence which surrounded them. "Prince
Charlie," we learned, had "knocked" the castle to its present shape from
an adjoining hill, and what he had left of it now looked very solitary.
It was a square structure, with four towers one at each corner, that at
the north-west angle being the most formidable. The space enclosed was
covered with grass. What interested us most were four very old guns, or
cannons, which stood in front of the castle, mounted on wheels supported
on wood planks, and as they were of a very old pattern, these relics of
the past added materially to the effect of the ancient and warlike

We did not stay long in the ruins, as we were anxious to begin our big
climb, so we returned to the bridge to await the arrival of the guide
engaged for us by our hostess, and whom we had not yet seen. We waited
there for more than half an hour, and were just on the point of
returning to the town when we noticed the approach of a military-looking
man carrying a long staff spiked at one end, who turned out to be the
gentleman we were waiting for, and under whose guidance we soon began
the ascent of the big mountain. After climbing for some time, we came to
a huge stone on which the Government engineers had marked the altitude
as 1,000 feet above sea-level, and as we climbed higher still we had a
grand view of the hills and waters in the distance. We went bravely
onward and upward until we arrived at a lake, where on a rock we saw the
Government mark known as the "broad arrow," an emblem which we also saw
in many other places as we walked through the country, often wondering
what the sign could mean. We surmised that it stood for England,
Scotland, and Ireland united in one kingdom, but we afterwards learned
that it was introduced at the end of the seventeenth century to mark
Government stores, and that at one time it had a religious significance
connected with the Holy Trinity. The altitude was also marked on the
rock as 2,200 feet, so that we had now ascended half-way to the top of
Ben Nevis.


On our way up the mountain we had to stop several times, for our guide
complained of diarrhoea, but here he came to a dead stop and said he
could not proceed any farther. We were suspicious at first that he was
only feigning illness to escape the bad weather which we could see
approaching. We did our best to persuade him to proceed, but without
effect, and then we threatened to reduce his fee by one-half if he did
not conduct us to the summit of Ben Nevis as agreed. Finally we asked
him to remain where he was until we returned after completing the ascent
alone; but he pleaded so earnestly with us not to make the attempt to
reach the summit, and described the difficulties and dangers so vividly,
that we reluctantly decided to forgo our long-cherished ambition to
ascend the highest mountain in Great Britain. We were very much
disappointed, but there was no help for it, for the guide was now really
ill, so we took his advice and gave up the attempt.

Ben Nevis, we knew, was already covered with snow at the top, and a
further fall was expected, and without a guide we could not possibly
find the right path. We had noticed the clouds collecting upon the upper
peaks of the great mountain and the sleet was already beginning to fall,
while the wind, apparently blowing from an easterly direction, was icy
cold. My brother, who had had more experience in mountain-climbing than
myself, remarked that if it was so bitterly cold at our present altitude
of 2,200 feet, what might we expect it to be at 4,400, and reminded me
of a mountain adventure he had some years before in North Wales.

On his first visit to the neighbourhood he had been to see a relative
who was the manager of the slate quarries at Llanberis and resided near
Port Dinorwic. The manager gave him an order to ride on the slate train
to the quarries, a distance of seven miles, and to inspect them when he
arrived there. Afterwards he went to the Padaro Villa Hotel for dinner,
and then decided to go on to Portmadoc. There was no railway in those
days, and as the coach had gone he decided to walk. The most direct way,
he calculated, was to cross Snowdon mountain, and without asking any
advice or mentioning the matter to any one he began his walk over a
mountain which is nearly 3,600 feet high. It was two o'clock in the
afternoon when he left the hotel at Llanberis, and from the time he
passed a stone inscribed "3-3/4 miles to the top of Snowdon" he did not
see a single human being. It was the 23rd of November, and the top of
the mountain, which was clearly visible, was covered with snow.

All went well with him until he passed a black-looking lake and had
reached the top of its rocky and precipitous boundary, when with
scarcely any warning he suddenly became enveloped in the clouds and
could only see a yard or two before him. He dared not turn back for fear
he should fall down the precipice into the lake below, so he continued
his walk and presently reached the snow. This, fortunately, was frozen,
and he went on until he came to a small cabin probably used by the guide
in summertime, but the door was locked, the padlock resting upon the
snow; soon afterwards he arrived at the cairn which marked the summit of
Snowdon. It was very cold, and he was soon covered with the frozen
particles from the clouds as they drifted against him in the wind, which
gave out a mournful sound like a funeral dirge as it drove against the

He walked round the tower several times before he could find a way down
on the other side, but at length his attention was attracted by a black
peak of rock rising above the snow, and to his astonishment, in a
sheltered corner behind it, he could distinctly see the footprints of a
man and a small animal, probably a dog, that had gone down behind the
rock just before the snow had frozen. The prints were not visible
anywhere else, but, fortunately, it happened to be the right way, and he
crossed the dreaded "Saddleback" with a precipice on each side of him
without knowing they were there. It was a providential escape, and when
he got clear of the clouds and saw miles of desolate rocky country
before him bounded by the dark sea in the background and strode down the
remainder of the seven miles from the top of Snowdon, his feelings of
thankfulness to the Almighty may be better imagined than described. He
himself--a first-class walker--always considered they were the longest
and quickest he ever accomplished. He occupied two hours in the ascent,
but not much more than an hour in the descent, reaching, just at the
edge of dark, the high-road where the words "Pitt's Head" were painted
in large letters on some rocks, which he afterwards learned represented
an almost exact profile of the head of William Pitt the famous Prime
Minister. He stayed for tea at Beddgelert and then walked down the Pass
of Aberglaslyn on a tree-covered road in almost total darkness, with the
company of roaring waters, which terrified him even more than the
dangers he had already encountered, as far as Tremadoc, where he stayed
the night.

We had a dismal descent from Ben Nevis, and much more troublesome and
laborious than the ascent, for our guide's illness had become more acute
and he looked dreadfully ill. It was a pitiable sight to see him when,
with scarcely strength enough to stand, he leaned heavily upon his staff
on one side and on ourselves alternately on the other. We could not help
feeling sorry for him for we had so recently suffered from the same
complaint ourselves, though in a much milder form. We were compelled to
walk very slowly and to rest at frequent intervals, and to add to our
misery the rain was falling heavily. We were completely saturated long
before reaching Fort William, and were profoundly thankful when we
landed our afflicted friend at his own door. We handed him his full fee,
and he thanked us and said that although he had ascended Ben Nevis on
nearly 1,200 occasions, this was the only time he had failed.

[Illustration: BEN NEVIS]

We had not been quite satisfied that the cause assigned to our attack at
Inverness was the real one, as we had drunk so little water there. We
thought now that there might be some infectious epidemic passing through
that part of Scotland, perhaps a modified form of the cholera that
decimated our part of England thirty or forty years before, and that our
guide as well as ourselves had contracted the sickness in that way.

We must not forget to record that on our way up the "Ben" we saw a most
beautiful rainbow, which appeared to great advantage, as it spread
itself between us and the opposite hills, exhibiting to perfection all
its seven colours.

We were as hungry as hunters when we returned to our lodgings, and,
after changing some of our clothes and drying the others, we sat down to
the good things provided for our noon dinner, which we washed down with
copious libations of tea.

As the rain continued, we decided to stop another night at Mrs.
MacPherson's, so we went out to make some purchases at the chemist's
shop, which also served as an emporium--in fact as a general stores. We
had a chat with the proprietor, who explained that Fort William was a
very healthy place, where his profession would not pay if carried on
alone, so he had to add to it by selling other articles. The Fort, he
told us, was originally built in the time of Cromwell by General Monk to
overawe the Highlanders, but was afterwards re-erected on a smaller
scale by William III; hence its name of Fort William.


We asked the chemist if he could recommend to us a good shoemaker, who
could undertake to sole and heel two pairs of boots before morning, as
ours were showing signs of wear-and-tear owing to the long distances we
had walked both before and after reaching John o' Groat's. This he
promised to do, and he sent one across to Mrs. MacPherson's immediately.
After we had parted with our boots, we were prisoners for the remainder
of the day, though we were partially reconciled to our novel position
when we heard the wind driving the rain against the windows instead of
against ourselves. But it seemed strange to us to be sitting down hour
after hour reading the books our hostess kindly lent to us instead of
walking on the roads. The books were chiefly historical, and interested
us, as they related to the country through which we were passing.
Terrible histories they contained too! describing fierce battles and
murders, and giving us the impression that the Scots of the olden times
were like savages, fighting each other continually, and that for the
mere pleasure of fighting. Especially interesting to us was the record
of the cruel massacre of Glencoe, for we intended visiting there, if
possible, on the morrow. It was not the extent of the carnage on that
occasion, but the horrible way in which it was carried out, that excited
the indignation of the whole country, and my brother spent some time in
copying in his note-book the following history of--


   After King William had defeated the Highland Clans, he gave the
   Highland Chiefs a year and a half to make their submission to his
   officers, and all had done this except MacDonald of Glencoe, whose
   Chief--MacIan--had delayed his submission to the last possible day.
   He then went to Fort William to tender his Oath of Allegiance to the
   King's Officer there, who unfortunately had no power to receive it,
   but he gave him a letter to Sir Colin Campbell, who was at Inverary,
   asking him to administer the Oath to MacIan. The aged Chief hastened
   to Inverary, but the roads were bad and almost impassable owing to a
   heavy fall of snow, so that the first day of January, 1692, had
   passed before he could get there; Campbell administered the Oath and
   MacIan returned to Glencoe thinking that all was now right. But a
   plot was made against him by the Campbells, whose flocks and herds,
   it was said, the MacDonalds had often raided, and it was decided to
   punish MacIan and to exterminate his clan; and a company of the Earl
   of Argyle's regiment, commanded by Captain Campbell of Glenlyon, was
   sent to Glen Coe to await orders. MacIan's sons heard that the
   soldiers were coming, and thought that they were coming to disarm
   them, so they removed their arms to a place of safety, and, with a
   body of men, they went to meet the soldiers to ask if they were
   coming as friends or foes. They assured them that they were coming as
   friends and wished to stay with them for a short time, as there was
   no room for them, for the garrison buildings at Fort William were
   already full of soldiers. Alaster MacDonald, one of MacIan's sons,
   had married a niece of Glenlyon's, so that the soldiers were
   cordially received and treated with every possible hospitality by
   MacIan and his Clan, with whom they remained for about a fortnight.

   Then Glenlyon received a letter from Duncanson, his commanding
   officer, informing him that all the MacDonalds under seventy years of
   age must be killed, and that the Government was not to be troubled
   with prisoners. Glenlyon lost no time in carrying out his orders. He
   took his morning's draught as usual at the house of MacIan's son, who
   had married his niece, and he and two of his officers accepted an
   invitation to dinner from MacIan, whom, as well as the whole clan, he
   was about to slaughter. At four o'clock the next morning, February
   13, 1692, the massacre was begun by a party of soldiers, who knocked
   at MacIan's door and were at once admitted. Lindsay, who was one of
   the officers who had accepted his invitation to dinner, commanded the
   party, and shot MacIan dead at his own bedside while he was dressing
   himself and giving orders for refreshments to be provided for his
   visitors. His aged wife was stripped by the savage soldiers, who
   pulled off the gold rings from her fingers with their teeth, and she
   died next day from grief and the brutal treatment she had received.
   The two sons had had their suspicions aroused, but these had been
   allayed by Glenlyon. However, an old servant woke them and told them
   to flee for their lives as their father had been murdered, and as
   they escaped they heard the shouts of the murderers, the firing of
   muskets, the screams of the wounded, and the groans of the dying
   rising from the village, and it was only their intimate knowledge of
   the almost inaccessible cliffs that enabled them to escape. At the
   house where Glenlyon lodged, he had nine men bound and shot like
   felons. A fine youth of twenty years of age was spared for a time,
   but one, Captain Drummond, ordered him to be put to death; and a boy
   of five or six, who had clung to Glenlyon's knees entreating for
   mercy and offering to become his servant for life if he would spare
   him, and who had moved Glenlyon to pity, was stabbed by Drummond with
   a dirk while he was in the agony of supplication. Barber, a
   sergeant, with some soldiers, fired on a group of nine MacDonalds
   who were round their morning fire, and killed four of them, and one
   of them, who escaped into a house, expressed a wish to die in the
   open air rather than inside the house, "For your bread, which I have
   eaten," said Barber, "I will grant the request." Macdonald was
   accordingly dragged to the door, but he was an active man and, when
   the soldiers presented their firelocks to shoot him, he cast his
   plaid over their eyes and, taking advantage of their confusion and
   the darkness, he escaped up the glen. Some old persons were also
   killed, one of them eighty years of age; and others, with women and
   children who had escaped from the carnage half clad, were starved and
   frozen to death on the snow-clad hills whither they had fled.

  The winter wind that whistled shrill,
  The snows that night that cloaked the hill,
  Though wild and pitiless, had still
  Far more than Southern clemency.

It was thrilling to read the account of the fight between the two Clans,
Mackenzie and MacDonnell, which the Mackenzies won. When the MacDonnells
were retreating they had to cross a river, and those who missed the ford
were either drowned or killed. A young and powerful chief of the
MacDonnells in his flight made towards a spot where the burn rushed
through a yawning chasm, very wide and deep, and was closely followed by
one of the victorious Mackenzies; but MacDonnell, forgetting the danger
of the attempt in the hurry of his flight and the agitation of the
moment, and being of an athletic frame and half naked, made a desperate
leap, and succeeded in clearing the rushing waters below.

Mackenzie inconsiderately followed him, but, not having the impulse of
the powerful feelings that had animated MacDonnell, he did not reach the
top of the opposite bank, succeeding only in grasping the branch of a
birch tree, where he hung suspended over the abyss. Macdonnell, finding
he was not being followed, returned to the edge of the chasm, and,
seeing Mackenzie's situation, took out his dirk, and as he cut off the
branch from the tree he said, "I have left much behind me with you
to-day; take that also," and so Mackenzie perished.

There was another incident of Highland ferocity that attracted us
powerfully, and read as follows: "Sir Ewen encountered a very powerful
English officer, an over-match for him in strength, who, losing his
sword, grappled with the chief, and got him under; but Lochiel's
presence of mind did not forsake him, for grasping the Englishman by the
collar and darting at his extended throat with his teeth, he tore away
the bloody morsel, which he used to say was the sweetest morsel he had
ever tasted."

We felt that the people hereabouts were still of another nation. The
descendants of Prince Charlie's faithful adherents still clung to their
ancient religion, and they preserved many of their old customs and
traditions in spite of the changes in outlook which trade and the great
canal had brought about.

It was therefore not to be wondered at that, after impressing our
memories with these and other fearful stories and eating the heavy
supper provided for us by our landlady, our dreams that night rather
disturbed our slumbers.

[Illustration: SCENE OF THE MASSACRE OF GLENCOE. "Especially
interesting to us was the account of the cruel massacre of Glencoe. Here
was enacted one of the blackest crimes in the annals of Scottish

Personally I was in the middle of a long journey, engaged in
disagreeable adventures in which I was placed at a considerable
disadvantage, as I was walking without my boots, when I was relieved
from an unpleasant position by the announcement that it was six o'clock
and that our boots had arrived according to promise.

(_Distance walked nine miles_.)

_Friday, September 29th._

There was a delightful uncertainty about our journey, for everything we
saw was new to us, and we were able to enjoy to the fullest extent the
magnificent mountain and loch scenery in the Highlands of Scotland, with
which we were greatly impressed. It was seven o'clock in the morning, of
what, fortunately for us, proved to be a fine day, as we left Fort
William, and after coming to the end of the one street which formed the
town we reached a junction of roads, where it was necessary to inquire
the way to Glencoe. We asked a youth who was standing at the door of a
house, but he did not know, so went into the house to inquire, and came
out with the information that we could get there either way. We had
already walked along the full length of Loch Ness, Loch Oich, and Loch
Lochy, so we decided to walk alongside Loch Linnhe, especially as that
road had the best surface. So on we went at a quick pace, for the
half-day's holiday yesterday had resulted in renewed energy. We could
see the great mountains in front which we knew we must cross, and after
walking three and a half miles we met a pedestrian, who informed us that
we were on the right way, and must go on until we reached Ballachulish,
where we could cross the ferry to Glencoe.

This information rather troubled us, as we had determined to walk all
the way, so he advised us to go round the "Head of the Loch"--an
expression we often heard used in Scotland--and to make our way there
across the open country; in this case the loch was Loch Leven, so we
left the highway and Loch Linnhe and walked to a small farm we could see
in the distance. The mistress was the only person about, but she could
only speak Gaelic, and we were all greatly amused at our efforts to make
ourselves understood. Seeing some cows grazing quite near, my brother
took hold of a quart jug standing on a bench and, pointing to the cows,
made her understand that we wanted a quart of milk, which she handed to
us with a smile. We could not ask her the price, so we handed her
fourpence, the highest price we had known to have been paid for a quart
of the best milk at home, and with which she seemed greatly pleased.

We were just leaving the premises when the farmer came up, and he
fortunately could speak English. He told us he had seen us from a
distance, and had returned home, mistaking us for two men who
occasionally called upon him on business. He said we had gone "three
miles wrong," and took great pains to show us the right way. Taking us
through a fence, he pointed out in the distance a place where we should
have to cross the mountains. He also took us to a track leading off in
that direction, which we were to follow, and, leaving him, we went on
our way rejoicing. But this mountain track was a very curious one, as it
broke away in two or three directions and shortly disappeared. It was
unfenced on the moorland, and there were not enough people travelling
that way to make a well-defined path, each appearing to have travelled
as he pleased. We tried the same method, but only to find we had gone
out of the nearest way. We crossed several small burns filled with
delightfully clear water, and presently saw another house in the
distance, to which we now went, finding it to be the shepherd's house.

Here the loud and savage barking of a dog brought out the shepherd's
wife, who called the dog away from us, and the shepherd, who was having
his breakfast, also made his appearance. He directed us to a small
river, which he named in Gaelic, and pointed to a place where it could
easily be forded, warning us at the same time that the road over the
hills was not only dangerous, but difficult to find and extremely
lonely, and that the road to Glencoe was only a drovers' road, used for
driving cattle across the hills. We made the best of our way to the
place, but the stream had been swollen by the recent rains, and we
experienced considerable difficulty in crossing it. At length, after
sundry walkings backwards and forwards, stepping from one large stone to
another in the burn, we reached the opposite bank safely. The only
mishap, beyond getting over shoe-tops in the water, was the dropping of
one of our bags in the burn; but this we were fortunate enough to
recover before its contents were seriously damaged or the bag carried
away by the current.

[Illustration: THE PASS.]

We soon reached the road named by the shepherd, which was made of large
loose stones. But was it a road? Scotland can boast of many good roads,
and has material always at hand both for construction and repair; but
of all the roads we ever travelled on, this was the worst! Presently we
came to a lonely cottage, the last we were to see that day, and we
called to inquire the way, but no English was spoken there. This was
unfortunate, as we were in doubt as to which was our road, so we had to
find our way as best we could. Huge rocks and great mountains reared
their heads on all sides of us, including Ben Nevis, which we could
recognise owing to the snowy coverlet still covering his head. The
country became very desolate, with nothing to be seen but huge rocks,
inaccessible to all except the pedestrian. Hour after hour we toiled up
mountains--sometimes we thought we reached an elevation of two thousand
feet--and then we descended into a deep ravine near a small loch. Who
could forget a day's march like this, now soaring to an immense height
and presently appearing to descend into the very bowels of the earth! We
must have diverged somewhat from the road known as the "Devil's
Staircase," by repute the worst road in Britain, for the track we were
on was in one section like the bed of a mountain torrent and could not
have been used even by cattle. Late in the afternoon we reached the
proper track, and came up with several herds of bullocks, about three
hundred in number, all told, that were being driven over the mountains
to find a better home in England, which we ourselves hoped to do later.

[Illustration: IN GLENCOE.]

We were fortunate in meeting the owner, with whom we were delighted to
enter into conversation. When we told him of our adventures, he said we
must have missed our way, and congratulated us on having a fine day, as
many persons had lost their lives on those hills owing to the sudden
appearance of clouds. He said a heap of stones we passed marked the spot
where two young men had been found dead. They were attempting to descend
the "Devil's Stair," when the mist came on, and they wandered about in
the frost until, overcome by sleep, they lay down never to rise again in
this world.

He had never been in England, but had done business with many of the
nobility and gentlemen there, of whom several he named belonged to our
own county of Chester. He had heard that the bullocks he sold to them,
after feeding on the rich, pastures of England for a short time, grew to
a considerable size, which we thought was not to be wondered at,
considering the hardships these shaggy-looking creatures had to battle
with in the North. We got some information about our farther way, not
the least important being the fact that there was a good inn in the Pass
of Glencoe; and he advised us to push on, as the night would soon be
coming down.

[Illustration: THE PASS IN GLENCOE.]

At the close of day we could just see the outline of a deep, dark valley
which we knew was the Pass of Glencoe, with a good road, hundreds of
feet below. Acting on the advice of the drover, we left the road and
descended cautiously until we could go no farther in safety; then we
collected an enormous number of old roots, the remains of a forest of
birch trees which originally covered the mountain-side, and with some
dry heather lighted an enormous tire, taking care to keep it within
bounds. A small rill trickling down the mountain-side supplied us with
water, and, getting our apparatus to work and some provisions from our
bags, we sat down as happy as kings to partake of our frugal meal, to
the accompaniment of the "cup that cheers but not inebriates," waiting
for the rising of the full moon to light us on our farther way to the
road below. We were reclining amongst the heather, feeling thankful to
the Almighty that we had not shared the fate of the two young men whose
cairn we had seen on the hills above--an end we might easily have met,
given the weather of yesterday and similar conditions--when suddenly we
heard voices below us. Our fire now cast a glare around it, and
everything looked quite dark beyond its margin. Our feelings of surprise
increased as from the gloom emerged the gigantic figures of two stalwart
Highlanders. We thought of the massacre of Glencoe, for these men were
nearly double our size; and, like the Macdonalds, we wondered whether
they came as friends or foes, since we should have fared badly had it
been the latter. But they had been attracted by the light of our fire,
and only asked us if we had seen "the droves." We gave them all the
information we could, and then bidding us "good night" they quietly

[Illustration: "THE SISTERS," GLENCOE. "Here was wild solitude in
earnest.... The scene we looked upon was wild and rugged, as if
convulsed by some frightful cataclysm."]

The darkness of the night soon became modified by the reflected light
from the rising moon behind the great hills on the opposite side of the
glen. We extinguished the dying embers of our fire and watched the full
moon gradually appearing above the rocks, flooding with her glorious
light the surrounding scene, which was of the sublimest grandeur and

[Illustration: THE RIVER COE, GLENCOE.]

Many descriptions of this famous glen have been written, and no one who
could see it under such favourable and extraordinary conditions as we
enjoyed that night would be disposed to dispute the general opinion of
its picturesque and majestic beauty. Surely Nature is here portrayed in
her mightiest form! How grand, and yet how solemn! See the huge masses
of rock rising precipitously on both sides of the glen and rearing their
rugged heads towards the very heavens! Here was wild solitude in
earnest, and not even the cry of the eagle which once, and even now, had
its abode in these vast mountain recesses broke the awful silence which
that night prevailed in the Pass, disturbed only by the slumberous
rippling of water. The scene we looked upon was wild and rugged, as if
convulsed by some frightful cataclysm, and we saw it under conditions in
which Nature conspired to enhance its awfulness--a sight which few
painters could imitate, few writers could graphically describe. The
infidel may deny the existence of the Creator of the universe, but there
was here sufficient to fill the soul with awe and wonder, and to
influence even the sceptic to render acknowledgment to the great God who
framed these majestic hills. The reflection of the moon on the hills was
marvellous, lighting up the white road at the upper end of the pass and
the hills opposite, and casting great black shadows elsewhere which made
the road appear as if to descend and vanish into Hades. We fancied as we
entered the pass that we were descending into an abyss from which it
would be impossible to extricate ourselves; but we were brought up sharp
in our thoughts, for when we reached the road it suddenly occurred to us
that we had forgotten to ask in which direction we had to turn for the
"Clachaig Inn" named by the drover.

We sat down by the roadside in the hope that some one would come from
whom we might obtain the information, and were just beginning to think
it was a forlorn hope when we heard the sound of horse's feet
approaching from the distance. Presently the rider appeared, who proved
to be a cattle-dealer, he told us he had some cattle out at the foot of
the glen, and said the inn was seven miles away in the direction in
which he was going. We asked him if he would kindly call there and tell
them that two travellers were coming who required lodgings for the
night. This he promised to do, and added that we should find the inn on
the left-hand side of the road. We then started on our seven-mile walk
down the Pass of Glencoe in the light of the full moon shining from a
clear sky, and in about an hour's time in the greatest solitude we were
almost startled by the sudden appearance of a house set back from the
left-hand side of the road with forms and tables spread out on the grass
in front. Could this be the inn? It was on the left-hand side, but we
could not yet have walked the distance named by the cattle-dealer; so we
knocked at the door, which was opened by a queer-looking old man, who
told us it was not the inn, but the shepherd's house, and that the forms
and tables in front were for the use of passengers by the coach, who
called there for milk and light refreshments. Then the mistress, who was
more weird-looking still, came forward, and down the passage we could
see other strange-looking people. The old lady insisted upon our coming
in, saying she would make us some porridge; but my brother, whose nerves
seemed slightly unstrung, thought that we might never come out of the
house again alive! We found, however, that the company improved on
closer acquaintance.

The meal was served in two deep bowls, and was so thick that when our
spoons were placed in it on end they stood upright without any further
support, so it was, as the Lancashire people describe it, proper "thick
porridge." We were unable to make much impression on it, as we had not
yet digested the repast we had enjoyed on the hills above, and the good
old lady added to our difficulties by bringing a plentiful supply of
milk. It was the first time we had tasted meal porridge in Scotland.
Needless to say, after paying our hostess for her hospitality, we were
allowed to depart in peace, nor were we molested during the remainder of
our romantic evening walk. After proceeding about two miles farther
amidst some of the most lonely and impressive scenery in the Highlands,
we arrived at the "Clachaig Inn." It was after closing-time, but as the
gentleman on horseback had delivered our message according to promise,
the people of the inn were awaiting our arrival. We received a friendly
welcome, and proceeded to satisfy what remained of a formerly voracious
appetite by a weak attack on the good things provided for supper, after
which, retiring to rest in the two beds reserved for us, we slept so
soundly that in the morning when roused by a six-o'clock call we could
not recall that our dreams had been disturbed even by the awful massacre
enacted at Glencoe, which place was now so near.

(_Distance walked thirty miles_.)

_Saturday, September 30th._

By seven o'clock a.m. we were again on the road bound for Inverary,
which place we were anxious to visit, as it had recently been the scene
of a royal wedding, that of the Princess Louise with the Marquis of
Lorne. The morning was beautifully fine, but there had been a frost
during the night and the grass on the sides of the road was quite white.
The sky was clear, not a cloud being visible as we resumed our walk down
the glen, and in about three miles we reached the village of Glencoe.
Here we heard blasting operations being carried on quite near our road,
and presently we reached the edge of the loch, where there was a pier
and a ferry. We now found that in directing us to Inverary our friends
at the inn had taken it for granted that we wished to go the nearest
way, which was across this ferry, and we were told there were others to
cross before reaching Inverary. We therefore replenished our stock of
provisions at the village shop and turned back up the glen, so that
after seeing it in the light of the full moon the night before we had
now the privilege of seeing it in the glorious sunshine. We walked on
until we got to the shepherd's house where we had been treated to such a
heavy repast of meal porridge the previous evening, and there we had a
substantial meal to fortify us for our farther journey. On our way up
the glen we had passed a small lake at the side of our road, and as
there was not sufficient wind to raise the least ripple on its surface
it formed a magnificent mirror to the mountains on both sides. Several
carts laden with wool had halted by the side of the lake and these also
were reflected on its surface. We considered the view pictured in this
lake to be one of the prettiest sights we had ever seen in the sunshine,
and the small streams flowing down the mountain sides looked very
beautiful, resembling streaks of silver. We compared the scene in
imagination with the changes two months hence, when the streams would be
lines of ice and the mountain roads covered with a surface of frozen
snow, making them difficult to find and to walk upon, and rendering
travelling far less pleasant than on this beautiful morning. We often
thought that we should not have completed our walk if we had undertaken
it at the same period of the year but in the reverse direction, since we
were walking far too late in the season for a journey of this
description. We considered ourselves very fortunate in walking from John
o' Groat's to Land's End, instead of from Land's End to John o' Groat's,
for by the time we finished deep snow might have covered these Northern
altitudes. How those poor women and children must have suffered at the
time of the massacre of Glencoe, when, as Sir Walter Scott writes--

   flying from their burning huts, and from their murderous visitors,
   the half-naked fugitives committed themselves to a winter morning of
   darkness, snow, and storm, amidst a wilderness the most savage in the
   Western Highlands, having a bloody death behind them, and before them
   tempest, famine, and desolation when some of them, bewildered by the
   snow-wreaths, sank in them to rise no more!

[Illustration: BRIDGE OF ORCHY.]

They were doubtless ignorant of the danger they were in, even as they
escaped up the glen, practically the only way of escape from Glencoe,
for Duncanson had arranged for four hundred soldiers to be at the top
end of the pass at four o'clock that morning, the hour at which the
massacre was to begin at the other end. Owing to the heavy fall of snow,
however, the soldiers did not arrive until eleven o'clock in the
forenoon--long after the fugitives had reached places of safety.

Like many other travellers before us, we could not resist passing a
bitter malediction on the perpetrators of this cruel wrong, although
they had long since gone to their reward. And yet we are told that it
hastened that amalgamation of the two kingdoms which has been productive
of so much good.

We had our breakfast or lunch served on one of the tables ranged outside
the front of the shepherd's house, and in quite a romantic spot, whence
we walked on to a place which had figured on mileposts for a long
distance named "Kingshouse." Here we expected to find a village, but as
far as we could see there was only one fairly large house there, and
that an inn. What king it was named after did not appear, but there was
no other house in sight. Soon after passing it we again came in contact
with the master cattle-drover we had interviewed the day before, who
told us that he had brought his bullocks from the Isle of Skye, from
which place they had to travel seventy-one miles. We also passed several
other droves, some of which we might have seen previously, and by
nightfall came to Inveroran. Here we saw a comfortable inn which would
have just suited us, but as there was no church there and the next day
was Sunday, we decided to walk to the next village, about three miles
farther on, where we were informed there was a church, and a drover's
house quite near it where we could get lodgings. By this time it was
quite dark, and we passed Loch Tulla without either seeing it or knowing
it was there, and arriving at the Bridge of Orchy we found the drover's
house near the church. To our great disappointment the accommodation had
all been taken up, and the only place that the lady of the house knew of
in the direction we were going was a farmhouse about four miles away,
where she said, with a tone of doubt in her voice, "we might get in!" We
crossed the bridge and passed over the River Orchy, which connected Loch
Tulla with Loch Awe, some sixteen miles distant.

Fortunately for us the moon now rose, though obscured by great black
clouds, which we could see meant mischief, probably to make us pay
dearly for the lovely weather during the day. But luckily there was
sufficient light to enable us to see the many burns that crossed the
surface of the road, otherwise it would have been impossible for us to
have found our way. The streams were very numerous, and ran into the
river which flowed alongside our road, from among some great hills the
outlines of which we could see dimly to the left. We were tired, and the
miles seemed very long, but the excitement of crossing the rushing
waters of the burns and the noise of the river close by kept us awake.
We began to think we should never reach that farmhouse, and that we had
either missed our way or had been misinformed, when at length we reached
the desired haven at a point where a gate guarded the entrance to the
moor. All was in darkness, but we went to the house and knocked at the
front door. There was no response, so we tried the shutters that
barricaded the lower windows, our knocks disturbing the dogs at the back
of the house, which began to bark and assisted us to waken the
occupants. Presently we heard a sleepy voice behind the shutters, and my
brother explained the object of our visit in a fine flow of language
(for he was quite an orator), including references, as usual, to our
"walking expedition," a favourite phrase of his. As the vehement words
from within sounded more like Gaelic than English, I gathered that his
application for lodgings had not been successful. Tired as I was, I
could not help laughing at the storm we had created, in which the
"walking expedition" man heartily joined. But what were we to do? Here
we were on a stormy night, ten miles from the inn at Dalmally, which for
aught we knew might be the next house, hungry and tired, cold and wet;
and having covered thirty miles that day and thirty miles the day
before, how could we walk a further ten miles? Our track was unfenced
and bounded by the river on one side and the moors on the other, but
presently we came to a place where the surface of the moor rose sharply
and for some distance overhung the road, forming a kind of a cove. Here
we gathered, some of the dry heather that extended under that which
ornamented the sides of the cove, made quite a respectable fire, and ate
our last morsel of food, with which unluckily we were poorly provided.
To add to our misfortune, the wind grew into a hurricane and whirled the
smoke in every direction, forcing us at last to beat a hasty retreat.

We now faced the prospect of a night on the moors, and resolved to crawl
along at a sufficient speed to keep up our circulation, stopping at the
first house we came to. Here again the subdued light from the moon
proved useful, for we had not gone very far before we saw what appeared
to be a small house on the moor about a hundred yards away. We
approached it very cautiously, and found it was a small hut. How glad we
were to see that hut! We struck a light, and at once began an
exploration of the interior, which we found contained a form, a rustic
table reared against the wall, and, better than all, a fireplace with a
chimney above it about a yard high; the door was lying loose outside the
hovel. It may have been a retreat for keepers, though more likely a
shelter for men who had once been employed on the land, for attached to
it was a small patch of land fenced in which looked as though it had
been cultivated. With a few sticks which we found in one corner and a
handful of hay gathered from the floor we lighted a fire, for we were
now becoming experts in such matters; but the smoke seemed undecided
which way it should go, for at one minute it went up the chimney, at
another it came down. We went outside and altered the chimney a little,
for it was only formed of loose stones, and thus effected an improvement
for a time. The door gave us the most trouble, since being loose we had
the greatest difficulty in keeping it in its proper position, for the
wind was now blowing hard--so much so that we thought at times that the
hut itself would be blown over. At last a tremendous gust came, and down
went the chimney altogether. The fire and smoke now made towards the
doorway, so that we had frequently to step outside in order to get a
breath of fresh air. We tried to build the chimney up again, but this
was impossible owing to the velocity of the wind and rain and the
exposed situation. Our slender supply of fuel was nearly exhausted,
which was the worst feature, as it was imperative that we should keep
ourselves warm; so we decided to go back towards the river, where we had
seen a few small trees or bushes lining the bank between our track and
the water. Luckily, however, we discovered a dead tree inside the
enclosed land, and as I was somewhat of an expert at climbing, I
"swarmed" up it and broke off all the dead branches I could reach with
safety, it being as much as I could do to retain my hold on the slippery
trunk of the tree.

With the dead wood and some heather and pieces of turf we returned laden
and wet through to our dug-out, where we managed to get our fire burning
again and to clear away some of the stones that had fallen upon it.
Still there was no sleep for us that night, which was the most miserable
one almost that we ever experienced.

But just fancy the contrast! In the dead of night, in a desolate
Highland glen, scaling a stone fence in a pitiless storm of wind and
rain, and climbing up a dead tree to break off a few branches to serve
as fuel for a most obstinate fire--such was the reality; and then
picture, instead of this, sitting before a good fire in a comfortable
inn, with a good supper, and snug apartments with every
accommodation--these had been our fond anticipations for the week-end!
We certainly had a good supply of wet fuel, and perhaps burned something
else we ought not to have done: but we were really prisoners for the
night. The merciless wind and rain raged throughout, and we had to stick
to our novel apartment and breathe until daylight the awful smoke from
the fire we were compelled to keep alight. Yet our spirits were not
entirely damped, for we found ourselves in the morning, and often during
the night, singing the refrain of an old song:

  We'll stand the storm, it won't be long;
    We'll anchor by and by.

Just occasionally the gloom thickened when we ventured to think of
details, among which came uppermost the great question, "Where and when
shall we get our breakfast?"

(_Distance walked, including that to Dalmally, forty miles_.)

_Sunday, October 1st._

Soon after daylight appeared the rain moderated, and so did the wind,
which now seemed to have exhausted itself. Our sleep, as may easily be
imagined, had been of a very precarious and fitful character; still the
hut had rendered substantial service in sheltering us from the fury of
the storm. Soon after leaving our sorry shelter we saw a white house
standing near the foot of a hill beyond the moor, and to this we
resolved to go, even though it was a long distance away, as it was now
imperative that we should obtain food. A knock at the door, more than
once repeated--for it was still very early--at last roused the mistress
of the house, who opened the door and with kindly sympathy listened to
our tale of woe. She at once lit the fire, while the other members of
the family were still asleep in the room, and found us some soap and
water, our hands and faces being as black as smoke and burnt sticks
could make them. After a good wash we felt much better and refreshed,
although still very sleepy. She then provided us with some hot milk and
oatcake, and something we had never tasted before, which she called
"seath." It proved to be a compound of flour and potatoes, and after our
long fast it tasted uncommonly good. Altogether we had an enormous
breakfast, the good wife waiting upon us meanwhile in what we supposed
was the costume common to the Highlands--in other words, minus her gown,
shoes, and stockings. We rewarded her handsomely and thanked her
profusely as she directed us the nearest way to Dalmally.

On arrival at the well-appointed inn there, we received every
attention, and retired to our bedrooms, giving strict orders to the
waiter to see that we were called in time for lunch, and for the English
service at the kirk, which he told us would be held that day between one
and two o'clock. In accordance with our instructions we were called, but
it was not surprising, after walking quite forty miles since Saturday at
daybreak, that we should be found soundly sleeping when the call came.

Lunch was waiting for us, and, after disposing of it as hungry folk
should, we went to Glenorchy Church, only to find that, unfortunately,
there was no service that day. The minister, who had charge of two
parishes, was holding a service at his other church, seven miles distant
up the glen! We therefore hurried to the Free Kirk, which stood in
another part of the village; but as the Gaelic service had been taken at
one o'clock and the English service followed it immediately afterwards,
the minister had already begun his sermon when we arrived. The door was
shut, so entering quietly and closing it behind us, we were astonished
to find a table in the vestibule with a plate exposing to our view a
large number of coins evidently the result of the collection from the
worshippers within. We were surprised at the large proportion of silver
coins, an evidence that the people had given liberally. We added our
mites to the collection, while we wondered what would have become of the
money if left in a similar position in some districts we could think of
farther south. We were well pleased with the sermon, and as the
congregation dispersed we held a conversation and exchanged views with
one of the elders of the church chiefly on the subject of collections.
He explained that the prevailing practice in the Scottish Churches was
for the collection to be taken--or rather given--on entering the House
of God, and that one or two of the deacons generally stood in the
vestibule beside the plate. We told him it was the best way of taking a
collection that we had ever seen, since it did not interrupt or
interfere with the service of the church, and explained the system
adopted in the churches in England.

In our youthful days collections were only made in church on special
occasions, and for such purposes as the support of Sunday schools and
Missionary Societies. The churchwardens collected the money in large and
deep wooden boxes, and the rattle of the coins as they were dropped into
the boxes was the only sound we could hear, for the congregation
remained seated in a deep and solemn silence, which we in our youthful
innocence thought was because their money was being taken away from

In later years brass plates were substituted for boxes in some churches,
and each member of the congregation then seemed to vie with his
neighbours for the honour of placing the most valuable coin on the
plate. The rivalry, however, did not last long, and we knew one church
where this custom was ended by mutual arrangement. The hatchet was
buried by substituting bags, attached, in this case, to the end of long
sticks, to enable the wardens to reach the farthest end of the pews when

This system continued for some time, but when collections were
instituted at each service and the total result had to be placarded on
the outside of the church door, with the numbers and total value of each
class of coin recorded separately, the wardens sometimes found a few
items in the bags which were of no monetary value, and could not be
classified in the list without bringing scandal to the church and
punishment to the, perhaps youthful, offenders; so the bags were
withdrawn and plates reinstated, resulting in an initial increase of 10
per cent, in the amount collected.

The church was a large one, and a great number of ladies attended it on
Sundays, their number being considerably augmented by the lady students
from the Collegiate Institutions in the town, who sat in a portion of
the church specially reserved for them.

The Rector of the parish was an elderly man and an eloquent preacher,
who years before had earned his reputation in London, where in a minor
capacity he had been described by Charles Dickens as the model East End

Eight gentlemen were associated with him as wardens and sidesmen, all
well-known men in the town, one of whom being specially known for the
faultless way in which he was dressed and by his beautiful pink
complexion--the presence of the light hair on his face being scarcely
discernible, and giving him the appearance of being endowed with
perpetual youth. His surname also was that of the gentleman for whom all
young ladies are supposed to be waiting, so it was not to be wondered at
that he was a general favourite with them, and that some slight feeling
of jealousy existed among his colleagues. It was part of their duties to
collect the offerings from the congregation, and afterwards assemble at
the west end of the church, marching two and two in military step to the
east end to hand their collections to the clergyman who stood there
waiting to receive them.

One Sunday morning, when the favourite collector reached that end of the
church where most of the young ladies were located, he was surprised to
notice that all of them received him with a smile as he handed them the
plate. Several of them actually went so far as to incline their heads
slightly, as if adding a nod to their smiles. He thought at first that
they were amused at something connected with his new suit of clothes--of
which, by the way, he was quite proud--but a hasty examination of his
person from collar downwards showed everything to be in perfect order.
He felt annoyed and very uncomfortable when the ladies continued to
smile as he visited each pew, without his being able to ascertain the
reason why, and he was greatly relieved when he got away from them to
rejoin his colleagues. As he was advancing with them up the centre of
the church his eye chanced to rest for a moment on the contents of his
plate, and there, to his horror, he saw a large white mint-drop about
the size of a half-crown, which had been placed face upwards bearing the
words printed in clear red letters, "WILL YOU MARRY ME?" Then he
understood why the young ladies smiled and nodded acceptance so
pleasantly that morning, for, unconsciously, he had been "popping the
question" all round; although inquired into at the time, the mystery of
the mint-drop was never satisfactorily solved.

A gentleman to whom we told this story said it reminded him of another
of what he called a "swell"--a fine young fellow, with apparently more
money than sense--who dropped into a country church for service and was
shown into the squire's pew. The squire was old and of fixed habits.
After settling in his seat he drew out his half-crown as usual and
placed it on the ledge in front. His companion pulled out a sovereign
and ostentatiously put it on the ledge too. The squire stared hard at
him and soon reckoned him up. He then placed a second half-crown on the
first, and the stranger produced a second sovereign. Five times was this
repeated during the service. At last the churchwarden brought his brass
plate, which the squire gravely took and held out to his neighbour, who
swept the five sovereigns on to it in a very grand manner. The squire
picked up one half-crown for the plate and, with a twinkle in his eye,
returned the rest to his pocket!

Since the days of King David singing has always been considered a most
valuable aid in the offering up of prayers and praises to the Almighty,
and nothing sounded better in our ears than the hearty singing of a good
old hymn by the entire congregation. But why this period in the Church
Service should have been chosen in later years as a suitable time for
the wardens to disturb the harmony and thoughts of the parishioners by
handing round their collection plates was beyond our comprehension. The
interruption caused by that abominable practice often raised
unchristian-like feelings in our minds, and we wished at times that the
author of it, whoever he might be, could be brought to the gallows and
publicly hanged for his services; for why should our devotions be
disturbed by the thought that at any moment during the singing of a hymn
the collector might suddenly appear on the scene, possibly sneaking up
from the rear like a thief in the night, to the annoyance of every one
within reach? If the saving of time is the object, why not reduce the
length of the sermon, which might often be done to advantage? or,
failing that, why not adopt the system which prevailed in the Scottish


The elder of the Free Kirk at Dalmally was much interested in what we
told him about our English Services, where the congregations both prayed
and sang in positions differing from those adopted in Scotland, and to
continue the conversation he walked with us as far as Dalmally Bridge,
where we parted company. We then continued on our way to visit a
monument erected on a hill we could see in the distance "to the memory
of Duncan-Bann-Macintyre, the Glenorchy poet, who was born in the year
1724 and departed this life in 1812"; and, judging from the size of the
monument, which was in the style of a Grecian temple in grey granite and
inscribed to the memory of the "Sweetest and Purest of Gaelic Bards," he
must have been a man of considerable importance. From that point we had
a fine view of Loch Awe, perhaps the finest obtainable, for although it
is above twenty miles long, the lake here, in spite of being at its
greatest breadth, appeared almost dwarfed into a pool within the mighty
mass of mountains with lofty Ben Cruachan soaring steeply to the clouds,
and forming a majestic framework to a picture of surpassing beauty. The
waters of the lake reflected the beauties of its islands and of its
mountainous banks. These islands all had their own history or clan
legend and were full of mysteries. Inishail, once a nunnery, and for
ages the burying-place of the clan chieftains; Innischonell, from the
eleventh century the stronghold of the Argyll, whence they often sent
forth their famous slogan or defiant war-cry, "It's a far cry to
Lochawe"; Fraoch Eilean, where the hero Fraoch slew and was himself
slain by the serpent that guarded the apples for which the fair Mego

We then retraced our steps slowly to the Dalmally inn, where we were
served with tea in the sumptuous manner common to all first-class inns
in the Highlands of Scotland, after which we retired to rest, bent on
making good the sleep we had lost and on proceeding on our journey early
the following morning.


_Monday, October 2nd._


We left our comfortable quarters at Dalmally at seven o'clock in the
morning, and presently reached Loch Awe, with the poet's monument still
in sight and some islands quite near to us in the loch. We soon left
Loch Awe, turning off when we reached Cladich and striking over the
hills to the left. After walking about two miles all uphill, we reached
the summit, whence we had a fine backward view of Loch Awe, which from
this point appeared in a deep valley with its sides nicely wooded. Here
we were in the neighbourhood of the Cruachan mountains, to which, with
Loch Awe, a curious tradition was attached that a supernatural being
named "Calliach Bhere," or "The Old Woman," a kind of female genie,
lived on these high mountains. It was said that she could step in a
moment with ease from one mountain to another, and, when offended, she
could cause the floods to descend from the mountains and lay the whole
of the low ground perpetually under water. Her ancestors were said to
have lived from time immemorial near the summit of the vast mountain of
Cruachan, and to have possessed a great number of herds in the vale
below. She was the last of her line, and, like that of her ancestors,
her existence was bound up with a fatal fountain which lay in the side
of her native hill and was committed to the charge of her family since
it first came into existence. It was their duty at evening to cover the
well with a large flat stone, and in the morning to remove it again.
This ceremony was to be performed before the setting and the rising of
the sun, that its last beam might not die upon nor its first ray shine
upon the water in the well. If this care were neglected, a fearful and
mysterious doom would be the punishment. When the father of the Calliach
Bhere died, he committed the charge to her, warning her of its
importance and solemnity and the fatality attending its neglect. For
many years this mysterious woman attended carefully to her duties, but
one unlucky evening, tired with her exertions in hunting and ascending
the hills, she sat down by the fountain to await the setting of the sun,
and falling asleep, did not awake until morning. When she arose she
looked around, but the vale had vanished and a great sheet of water
taken its place. The neglected well had overflowed while she slept, the
glen was changed into a lake, the hills into islets, and her people and
cattle had perished in the deluge. The Calliach took but one look over
the ruin she had caused, and all that remained of her large possessions
in the glen was Loch Awe and its islands! Then she herself vanished into

It is strange how these old stories are told with but little variation
in so many places. This very story appears in Wales and Ireland and
other regions where Celts predominate, and except in one instance, that
of the destruction of the Lowland Hundreds, now under the water of
Cardigan Bay, always in connection with a woman. We first heard it in
Shropshire, but there it was an old woman who lived in a small cottage
and possessed the only well in the place, charging the townspeople one
farthing per bucket for the water. In those remote times this formed a
great tax on the poor people, and many were the prayers offered up that
the imposition might be removed. These prayers were answered, for one
night a great storm arose, the well continued to overflow, and in the
morning the old woman and her cottage had disappeared, and in place of
the well appeared the beautiful Lake of Ellesmere.

[Illustration: INVERARY CASTLE.]

We had a fine walk down Glen Aray, with the River Aray on the left for
some distance to keep us company, and after about four miles' walking we
came to a ladder inserted in a high stone wall to the left of our road,
which was here covered with trees. My brother climbed up to see what was
on the other side, and reported that there was a similar ladder in the
wall for descent, that he could see the river rushing down the rocks,
and that a pretty little pathway ran under the trees alongside the
stream. We had not met a single person since leaving the neighbourhood
of Cladich, and as there was no one about from whom to make inquiries,
we took "French leave" and climbed over the fence, to see at once a
pretty waterfall and to follow a lovely path for a mile or two until it
landed us in one of the main drives from Inverary Castle. Here we
stopped to consider whether we should proceed or retreat, for we were
sure we had been trespassing. My brother reminded me of an experience
that occurred to us in the previous year in London. Before we began our
walk home from that great city we visited as many of the sights of
London as we could, and amongst these was the famous Tower. We had
passed through the Gateway, but were then uncertain how to proceed,
when, peeping round a corner, we saw a man dressed in a very
strange-looking uniform, whom we afterwards learned was called a
"Beef-eater." We approached him rather timidly to make inquiries, to
which he kindly replied, but told us afterwards that he knew we were
Englishmen the minute he saw us coming round the corner. Foreigners in
coming through the gateway always walked firmly and quickly, while the
English came creeping along and looking round the corners as if they
were afraid. "My advice to you, young men," he said, "when visiting
strange places, is to go on until you are stopped!" So on this occasion
we decided to follow that advice and to go on towards the castle we
could see in the distance. We had not proceeded very far, however,
before we met a couple of two-horse open carriages followed by quite a
number of persons on horseback. Feeling rather guilty, we stepped upon
the grass by the roadside, and tried to look as if we were not there,
but we could see that we had been observed by the occupants of the
carriages and by their retinue. We knew from their appearance that they
belonged to the aristocracy, and were not surprised to learn that the
second carriage contained the Duke and Duchess of Argyll, while the
people on horseback were the younger members of their family. We had
almost reached the castle when we were stopped by a servant in livery,
to whom we explained the cause of our presence, asking him the nearest
way to Inverary, which he pointed out. He told us, among other things,
that the Duke could drive many miles in his own domain, and that his
family consisted of thirteen children, all of whom were living. We
thanked him, and as we retired along the road he had directed us, we
considered we had added one more adventure to enliven us on our journey.
We had only walked a little way from the castle when a lady came across
the park to speak to us, and told us that the cannon and the large
wooden structure we could see in the park had been used for the "spree"
at the royal wedding, when the Marquis of Lome, the eldest son of the
Duke, had been married to the Princess Louise of England. She also told
us that the Princess and the Marquis had been staying at the castle a
short time before, but were not there then. Who the lady was we did not
know, but she was of fine appearance and well educated, and from her
conversation had evidently travelled extensively both at home and
abroad. We thanked her for her courage and courtesy in coming to speak
to us, at which she smiled and, bowing gracefully, retired towards the
castle. How her conduct compared with that of some people in England may
be judged from the following extract which we clipped from a Scottish
newspaper shortly afterwards:

   A War Office clerk was riding outside the Oban coach from Inverary. A
   fellow-passenger at his side remarked, "What a glorious view! what a
   lovely scene!" to which the young gentleman of the War Office, with a
   strong glance at the speaker, replied, "Sir, I don't know you; we
   have not been introduced."

It was a fine afternoon, and Inverary town looked at its best and quite
pleasant in the sunshine, for most of the houses were coloured white. We
halted awhile at the picturesque sculptured cross, where many a weary
pilgrim had rested before us, with a glorious view over Loch Fyne and
the mountains beyond. The church stood at the end of the street, and the
"Argyll Arms Hotel" would have been a fine place to stay at for the
night. There was also quite a large temperance hotel where carriages
could be hired; but we had only walked about sixteen miles, so we had to
resist these attractions and walk on to Cairndow, a further distance of
ten miles.

[Illustration: INVERARY CROSS]

Loch Fyne, along the edge of which our road ran all the way to Cairndow,
is tidal and about two miles wide at Inverary. We were now on the
opposite side of the castle grounds, and could see another entrance
gate, which had been decorated for the royal wedding. Fine woods bounded
our road on the left until we reached the round hill of Duniquaich,
where it turned rather abruptly until at Strone Point it was nearly
opposite Inverary. From this place we had a magnificent view of the
district we had just passed through; the splendid castle with its grey
walls and the lofty tower on the wooded hill adjoining it contrasted
finely with the whitened houses of the town of Inverary, as it stood in
the light of the setting sun. We journeyed on alongside the loch, when
as the shades of evening were coming on we met a young man and a young
woman apparently in great distress. They told us they had crossed the
loch in a small boat to look for ferns, and as the tide was going out
had thought they might safely leave their boat on the side of the loch,
but when they returned they could not find it anywhere. They seemed to
have been equally unsuccessful with regard to the ferns, as we could not
see any in their possession, but we guessed they had other interests, so
we went to their assistance and soon found the boat, which doubtless was
in the place where they had left it. The tide must have receded farther
than they had anticipated, and they had looked for it too near the
water. We assisted them to launch the boat, and when they were safely
seated the young woman, who had looked far more alarmed than her
companion, smiled upon us sweetly. In response to their looks and words
of thanks we wished them a pleasant and safe journey; but we never saw
any ferns! Our conversation as we resumed our walk was largely upon this
adventure, and we wondered if the ferns could not have been found as
easily on the other side of the loch as on this--but then we knew that
Love is proverbially blind, and we consigned this fern story to the
region of our mythological remembrances, and were still in good humour
and not too tired when we reached the Cairndow inn, where we were
hospitably, sumptuously, and we could safely add, when we paid the bill
next morning, expensively entertained. But was this partly accounted for
by the finely flavoured herrings known as Loch Fyne kippers we had for
breakfast, which were said to fetch a higher price than any others in

(_Distance walked twenty-five miles_.)

_Tuesday, October 3rd._

We left Cairndow early in the morning, and soon afterwards turned away
from Loch Fyne to ascend a rough and lonely road leading towards Loch
Long, about eight miles distant. It was a cold, bleak, and showery
morning as we travelled along Glen Kinglas against a strong head wind,
which greatly impeded our progress. On reaching the top of the glen, we
came to the small Loch Restil, reposing at the foot of a mountain the
summit of which was 2,955 feet above sea-level. The only persons we had
seen on our way up the glen were two shepherds on the slope of one of
the hills some distance from our road; but now we came to two men
mending the road, in which great holes had been caused by the heavy
rainfall. We chatted with them, and they told us that a little farther
on we should come to "The Rest." Though it may seem a trifling matter to
record, we were very glad to see those two men, as our way had been
excessively lonely and depressing, for the pass only reached about 900
feet at its crown, while the great hills which immediately adjoined the
road on either side rose to an altitude of from 2,500 to 3,300 feet!
When we arrived at "The Rest" we found a rock on which were inscribed
the words "Rest and be Thankful," while another inscription informed us
that "This is a Military Road repaired by the 93rd Regiment in 1768." We
thought that at one time there must have been a stone placed there, to
do duty as a travellers' rest, where weary travellers might "Rest and be
Thankful," but nothing of the kind existed now except the surface of the
road on which we were walking. On reaching a short stiff rise, followed
by a sharp double bend in the road, we passed the entrance of a track
leading down to "Hell's Glen"; but if this glen was any worse than Glen
Kinglas which we had just ascended, or Glen Croe which we now descended,
it must have been a very dreadful place indeed. Fortunately for us, the
weather began to improve, and before we reached Loch Long with its lofty
ramparts the sun shone out in all its matchless glory and lighted up not
only the loch but the whole of the amphitheatre formed by the lofty
hills that surrounded it. A passenger steamboat plying on the bosom of
the loch lent additional interest to the scene, and the combined view
quite cheered our drooping spirits. The change, both as regarded scenery
and atmosphere, between this side of the pass and the other was really
marvellous, reminding us of the contrast between winter and summer. The
sight of the numerous little waterfalls flowing over the rocks above to
contribute their quota to the waters of the loch below was quite
refreshing. One of the great hills we had passed without being able to
see its summit--for it was quite near our road--was the well-known Ben
Arthur, 2,891 feet high, commonly spoken of either as "The Cobbler" or
"The Cobbler and his Wife." It was not until we had got some distance
away that our attention was called to it. We walked round the head of
Loch Long and crossed a bridge, some words on the iron fixtures
informing us that we were now passing from Argyllshire into
Dumbartonshire. The coping on the bridge was of fresh, neatly clipped
grass instead of the usual stonework we expected to find, and looked
very remarkable; we saw nothing like it on our further travels.


We asked a gentleman who was standing in the road about the various
objects of interest in the neighbourhood. Pointing to Ben Arthur in the
distance, he very kindly tried to explain the curious formation of the
rocks at the summit and to show us the Cobbler and his Wife which they
were said to represent. We had a long argument with him, and although he
explained that the Cobbler was sitting down, for the life of us we could
not distinguish the form either of him or of his Wife. We could see that
he considered we were very stupid for not being able to see objects so
plain to himself; and when my brother asked him jocularly for the third
time which was the Cobbler and which was his Wife, he became very angry
and was inclined to quarrel with us. We smoothed him down as well as we
could by saying that we now thought we could see some faint resemblance
to the objects referred to, and he looked as if he had, as the poet
says, "cleared from thick films of vice the visual ray."


We thanked him kindly for all the trouble he had taken, and concluded,
at first, that perhaps we were not of a sufficiently imaginative
temperament or else not in the most favourable position for viewing the
outlines. But we became conscious of a rather strong smell of whisky
which emanated from our loquacious friend, from which fact we persuaded
ourselves that he had been trying to show us features visible only under
more elevated conditions. When we last saw him he was still standing in
the road gazing at the distant hills, and probably still looking at the
Cobbler and his Wife.

I asked my brother, as we walked along, why he put his question in that
particular form: "Which is the Cobbler and which is his Wife?" He told
me he was thinking of a question so expressed many years ago, long
before revolving pictures were thought of, and when pictures of any kind
were very scarce. A fair was being held in the country, and a showman
was exhibiting pictures which were arranged in a row alongside his booth
or van in such a way that his customers could pass from one picture to
another and which they could see by looking through slightly magnifying
glasses placed in pairs, one to fit each eye after the fashion of a pair
of spectacles. Before the show stood a number of small boys who would
have been pleased to have a peep at the pictures if they could have
raised the money. Just at that moment a mother with her two little girls
appeared, and when the children came near the show, one of them called
out, "Oh, Ma! may we see the peep-shows? It's only a penny!" whereupon
the mother took out her purse and handed each of the little girls a
penny. When the showman saw them approaching, he shouted angrily to the
small boys who were blocking the entrance; "Get away, you little ragged
rascals that have no money," and then he added in a much milder tone,
"and let the little dears come up what's a-going to pay." When the
children reached the first peep-show, he said: "Now, my little dears,
look straight forwards, blow your noses, and don't breathe upon the
glass! Here you see the combat between the Scotch Lion, Wallace, and the
English Bulldogs, for eight hundred guineas a side, while the spectators
are a-looking on in the most facetious manner. Here you see the lion has
got his paws on one of the dogs whilst he is whisking out the eyes of
another with his tail!"

The little girls could see a picture but could not quite make out what
it was, so one of them called out: "Please, Mr. Showman, which is the
lion and which is the dogs?" and he said: "Oh! whichever you please, my
little dears, and the likes was never seen, and all for the small sum of
one penny!"

My brother said that when he asked the gentleman which was the Cobbler
and which was his Wife he would not have been surprised if he had said
angrily, "Whichever you please," and had walked away, since he seemed in
a very irritable frame of mind.

Since those "good old times" the character of these country fairs has
changed entirely, and we no longer sing the old ballad:

  Oh yes, I own 'tis my delight
  To see the laughter and the fright
  In such a motley, merry sight
    As at a country fair.

  Boys on mamma's treacle fed,
  On spicy cakes and gingerbread.
  On everybody's toes they tread
    All at a country fair.

The village of Arrochar stood in a very pleasant position, at the head
of Loch Long amid scenery of the loftiest and most varied description.
Illuminated as it was by the magic rays of the sun, we thought it would
compare favourably with any other watering-place in the Highlands, and
was just the spot to offer irresistible temptations to those who
required a short respite from the more busy scenes of life.


We were in high spirits and inclined to speak to every one we saw, so,
when we met a boy, we asked him if he had seen a cow on the road, to
which he replied, rather seriously, that he had not. We thought
afterwards that we had laid ourselves open to a reply like that given by
the Orkneyman at Stromness, for the loss of a cow in Scotland was looked
upon as a very serious matter, but we escaped for a time. Shortly
afterwards, however, we saw a vehicle approaching in the distance
labelled "Royal Mail," and then another vehicle, similarly marked,
passed us from the opposite direction, in which we noticed the boy we
had just seen. When the two conveyances met, they stopped and a number
of bags were transferred from the one conveyance to the other, so that
it was obvious that they were exchanging their sacks of letters. When we
came up to them, the driver of the one that had overtaken us asked if we
had lost a cow, and when we answered "No," he said, "But didn't you ask
the boy there if he had seen one on the road?" When we answered "Yes,"
and it was found to be all a joke, there was a general laugh all round,
which was joined in heartily by the boy himself, for he had evidently
got a ride on the strength of the story of the lost cow. We observed
that the cart that overtook us had two horses, whilst that we met had
only one, so we conjectured that our further way would be comparatively
level, and this we afterwards found to be correct. The boy did not
altogether miss his opportunity, for when we had reached, as he thought,
a safe distance, we heard him shout: "Ask your mother when you get home
if _she_ has seen a cow!"--but perhaps "two calves" would have been
nearer the mark.

We had a lovely two-mile walk between Arrochar and Tarbet, with a
magnificent view of Loch Lomond on our way; while before us, across the
loch, stood Ben Lomond, a mountain which rises to the height of 3,192
feet above sea-level.

The scene was one that cannot properly be described--the blue waters, of
the loch, with the trees beyond, and behind them this magnificent
mountain, its top covered with pure white snow, and the sun shining on
all, formed a picture beautiful beyond description, which seemed to
lift our hearts and minds from the earth to the blue heavens above, and
our thoughts to the great Almighty Who is in all and over all in that
"land of pure delight where saints immortal reign."

[Illustration: LOCH LOMOND AND THE BEN.]

Our road now skirted the banks of Loch Lomond, the largest fresh-water
lake in Scotland or England, being twenty-four miles long and five miles
in width at its broadest point, and containing over twenty islands, some
of which we saw. At the hotel where we called for tea it was thus

   Loch Lomond is the paragon of Scottish lakes. In island beauty
   unrivalled, for all that forms romance is here--scenery varying and
   increasing in loveliness, matchless combinations of grandeur and
   softness united, forming a magic land from which poesy and painting
   have caught their happiest inspirations. Islands of different forms
   and magnitude. Some are covered with the most luxuriant wood of every
   different tint; but others show a beautiful intermixture of rock and
   coppices--some, like plains of emerald, scarcely above the level of
   the water, are covered with grass; and others, again, are bare rocks,
   rising into precipices and destitute of vegetation.

Scotland has produced many men mighty in mind as well as in body, and
their ideas have doubtless been enlarged not only by their advanced
system of education, but by the great things which have surrounded
them--the great rocks and the great waters. So long as these qualities
are turned in a good direction, all goes well, but when in a bad one
like the "facilis descensus" described in George Cruikshank's great
picture "The Worship of Bacchus," then all goes badly. An illustration
of these large ideas turned to a bad account appeared in a story we read
of a degenerate son of the North to whom the gods had granted the
fulfilment of three wishes: First, he would have a Loch Lomond of
whisky; secondly, a Ben Lomond of snuff; thirdly, (with some hesitation)
another Loch Lomond of whisky.

We did not attempt the ascent of Ben Lomond, as our experiences of
mountain climbing hitherto had not been very encouraging. Nor did we
require the aid of those doubtful articles so ardently desired by the
degenerate Scot as we walked along the good road, sheltered with trees,
that lay alongside Loch Lomond, with the slopes of the high hills to the
right and to the left, the great loch with its lovely islands backed by
the mountains beyond.

Tarbet, which we soon left behind us, was notorious as the port of
Magnus the Norseman, whose followers dragged their boats there from the
sea to harry the islands whither so many of the natives had fled for

Ninnius, writing in the eighth century, tells of the great King Arthur,
who defeated the Scots and drove them for refuge to Loch Lomond, "in
which there were sixty islands and sixty rocks, and on each an eagle's
nest. Every first of May they came together, and from the sound of their
voices the men of that country knew what should befall during the coming
year. And sixty rivers fell into this remarkable lake, but only one
river ran from the lake to the sea." The exactness of every point rather
amused us, for of course the invincible Arthur, like all other
mythological heroes, must ever succeed, and he soon cleared the Scots
from their stronghold.

Sir Walter Scott has made this district famous, and we could have
lingered long in the region of the Trossachs, and should have been
delighted to see Loch Katrine, close by, which the "Lady of the Lake"
had rendered so familiar, but time is a hard taskmaster and we had to be
content with what Loch Lomond provided for us.

We therefore hurried on, and eventually reached the lovely little
village of Luss, where, as we entered, we were welcomed by the warbling
of a robin singing out right merrily, as if to announce our arrival. Our
first impression soon told us that Luss was well patronised by visitors
and by artists ever on the alert for scenery such as here abounded. It
was quite an English-looking village, with a small quarry, not as
extensively worked as formerly, we were informed, for only about twenty
men were now employed.

Before proceeding farther we called for refreshments, and learned that a
steamboat called periodically at Luss. We left this favourite resort by
the Dumbarton road, walking alongside Loch Lomond--one of the finest
walks we ever took and quite baffling description. It was rather
provoking, therefore, when darkness came on just as we reached the
widest part of the Loch where quite a number of islands could be seen.
The road still continued beautiful, being arched over with trees in some
places, with the stars shining brightly above.

Luss, we learned, had its place in history as the home of the
Colquhouns, whose feud with the MacGregors led to such murderous
results. But perhaps its associations with Robert Bruce in his days of
adversity form its greater claim to fame, and the yews on Inch Lonaig,
just above, are said to have been planted by him to supply his bowmen.

Before we reached the end of the loch we turned on the Dumbarton road,
following the road for Helensburgh, as we wanted to see the River Clyde.
This road was fairly level, but about two miles from Helensburgh it rose
to an elevation of about 300 feet. On reaching the top, we saw a sight
which fairly startled us, for a great stretch of water suddenly and
unexpectedly came in view, and across its surface we could see hundreds
of gas lights, twinkling like stars in the darkness. We found afterwards
that they were those of the town of Greenock, on the other side of the
Clyde Estuary, which was some five or six miles across this, its widest
part. We considered this was one of the greatest sights of our journey,
and one well worth while climbing the hill to see. It must, however, be
noted that these were the first gas lights we had seen for what seemed
to us to be ages. We went straight to the Temperance Hotel, which had
been closed for the night, but we gained admission and found comfortable
quarters there.

(_Distance walked thirty-one miles_.)

_Wednesday, October 4th._

We had pictured Helensburgh, from its name, as a very old town, and were
rather surprised when we discovered that it was only founded at the
close of the eighteenth century, by Sir James Colquhoun, who named the
place after his wife, the Lady Helen Sutherland. At the time of our
visit it was a favourite resort of visitors from across the Clyde and
elsewhere. We were unable to explore the town and its environs, owing to
a dense mist or fog which had accumulated during the night; and this
probably accounted for our sleeping longer than usual, for it was quite
nine o'clock before we left Helensburgh on our way to Dumbarton. If the
atmosphere had been clear, we should have had fine views of Greenock,
Port Glasgow, Roseneath Castle, the residence of the Marquis of Lorne,
and other places of interest across the Clyde, and of the ships passing
up and down the river. As it was, we had to be content with listening to
the busy sounds of labour and the thuds of the steam hammers in the
extensive shipbuilding yards across the water, and the ominous sounds of
the steam-whistles from the ships, as they ploughed their way along the
watery tracks on the Clyde. We were naturally very much disappointed
that we had to pass along this road under such unfavourable conditions,
but, as the mist cleared a little, we could just discern the outlines of
one or two of the steamboats as we neared Dumbarton. The fields
alongside our road were chiefly devoted to the growth of potatoes, and
the fine agricultural land reminded us of England. We stayed to speak
with one of the farmers, standing at his gate, and he told us that he
sent potatoes to the Manchester market, which struck us with surprise
because of the great distance. We also stayed awhile, just before
entering Dumbarton, as there had been a slight railway accident,
probably owing to the fog, and the officials, with a gang of men, were
making strenuous efforts to remove the remains of a truck which had come
to grief. We were walking into the town quite unconscious of the
presence of the castle, and were startled at its sudden appearance, as
it stood on an isolated rock, rising almost perpendicularly to the
height of about 300 feet, and we could only just see its dim outline
appearing, as it were, in the clouds. We left it for future inspection
and, as it was now twelve o'clock, hurried into the town for a noon
dinner, for which we were quite ready.

As a sample of the brief way in which the history of an important town
can be summarised, we give the following extract:--

   Dumbarton, immortalised by Osian, possessed in turns by first Edward
   and John Balliol, the prison of William Wallace, and the scene of
   that unavailing remorse which agonised the bosom of his betrayer (a
   rude sculpture within the castle represents Sir John Monteith in an
   attitude of despair, lamenting his former treachery), captured by
   Bruce, unsuccessfully besieged by the fourth Edward, reduced by the
   Earl of Argyll, surprised, while in false security, by the daring of
   a bold soldier, Captain Crawford, resided in by James V, visited by
   that fair and erring Queen, the "peerless Mary," and one of the four
   castles kept up by the Act of Union.

And we have been told that it was the birthplace of Taliesin, the early
poet of the Celts, and Gildas their historian.

In former times the castle of Dumbarton was looked upon as one of the
strongest places in the world, and, rising precipitously from the level
plain, it appeared to us to be quite impregnable. Captain Crawford's
feat in capturing this castle equals anything else of the kind recorded
in history. In the time of Queen Elizabeth of England, when a quarrel
was raging in Scotland between the partisans of King James and his
mother Queen Mary, and when even the children of the towns and villages
formed themselves into bands and fought with sticks, stones, and even
knives for King James or Queen Mary, the castle of Dumbarton was held
for the Queen; but a distinguished adherent of the King, one Captain
Crawford of Jordanhill, resolved to make an attempt to take it. There
was only one access to the castle, approached by 365 steps, but these
were strongly guarded and fortified. The captain took advantage of a
misty and moonless night to bring his scaling-ladders to the foot of the
rock at the opposite side, where it was the most precipitous, and
consequently the least guarded by the soldiers at the top. The choice of
this side of the rock was fortunate, as the first ladder broke with the
weight of the men who attempted to climb it, and the noise of the fall
must have betrayed them if they had been on the other and more guarded
side. Crawford, who was assisted by a soldier who had deserted from the
castle, renewed the attempt in person, and, having scrambled up a
projecting ledge of rock, fastened the ladder by tying it to the roots
of a tree which grew midway up the rock. Here they found a footing for
the whole party, which was, of course, small in number. In scaling the
second precipice, however, one of the party was seized with an
epileptic fit, to which he was subject, brought on, perhaps, by terror
in the act of climbing the ladder. He could neither ascend nor descend;
moreover, if they had thrown him down, apart from the cruelty of the
thing, the fall of his body might have alarmed the garrison. Crawford,
therefore, ordered him to be tied fast to one side of the ladder, and,
turning it round, they mounted with ease. When the party gained the
summit, they slew the sentinel before he had time to give the alarm, and
easily surprised the slumbering garrison, who had trusted too much to
the security of their position. Some of the climbing irons used are
shown within the castle.

[Illustration: DUMBARTON CASTLE]

We now set out from Dumbarton, with its old castle, and the old sword
worn by the brave Wallace reposing in the armoury, at the same time
leaving the River Clyde and its fine scenery, which, owing to the fog,
we had almost totally missed. We proceeded towards Stirling, where we
hoped to arrive on the following day; but we now found ourselves passing
through a semi-manufacturing district, and gradually it dawned upon us
that we had now left the Highlands and were approaching the Lowlands of
Scotland. We thought then and many times afterwards of that verse of
Robbie Burns's:--

  My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
  My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer;
  A-chasing the wild deer and following the roe--
  My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

We passed through Renton, where there were bleaching and calico
printing works. A public library graced the centre of the village, as
well as a fine Tuscan column nearly 60 feet high, erected to Tobias
Smollett, the poet, historian and novelist, who was born in 1721 not
half a mile from the spot. The houses were small and not very clean. The
next village we came to was Alexandria, a busy manufacturing place where
the chief ornament was a very handsome drinking-fountain erected to a
member of the same family, a former M.P., "by his tenants and friends,"
forming a striking contrast to its mean and insignificant surroundings
of one-storied houses and dismal factories. We were soon in the country
again, and passed some fine residences, including the modern-looking
Castle of Tullichewan situated in a fine park, and reached Balloch at
the extreme end of Loch Lomond, from which point we had a momentary view
of the part of the lake we had missed seeing on the preceding evening.
Here we paid the sum of one halfpenny each for the privilege of passing
over the Suspension Bridge, which gave us access to a very pleasant part
of the country, and crossed one spur of a hill, from the top of which,
under favourable conditions, we might have seen nearly the whole of Loch
Lomond, including the islands and the ranges of hills on either side--


  Mountains that like giants stand
  To sentinel enchanted land.

But though it was only about a mile and a half from our path to the
summit, and the total elevation only 576 feet, 297 of which we had
already ascended, we did not visit it, as the mist would have prevented
an extended view. It stood in a beautiful position, surrounded by woods
and the grounds of Boturich Castle; why such a pretty place should be
called "Mount Misery" was not clear, unless it had some connection with
one of the Earls of Argyll who came to grief in that neighbourhood in
1685 near Gartocharn, which we passed shortly afterwards. He had
collected his clan to overthrow the Government of James VII (James II of
England) and had crossed the Leven at Balloch when he found Gartocharn
occupied by the royal troops. Instead of attacking them, he turned
aside, to seek refuge among the hills, and in the darkness and amid the
bogs and moors most of his men deserted, only about five hundred
answering to their names the following morning. The Earl, giving up the
attempt, was captured an hour or two later as he was attempting to cross
the River Clyde, and the words applied to him, "Unhappy Argyll,"
indicated his fate. We passed Kilmaronock church in the dark and, after
crossing the bridge over Endrick Water, entered Drymen and put up at the
"Buchanan Arms" Inn, where we had been recommended to stay the night.

(_Distance walked twenty miles_.)

_Thursday, October 5th._

We were up early this morning and went to have a look round the village
of Drymen and its surroundings before breakfast. We were quite near
Buchanan Castle, and took the liberty of trespassing for a short time in
the walks and woods surrounding it. The Duke of Montrose here reigned
supreme, his family the Grahams having been in possession for twenty
generations; among his ancestors were Sir Patrick de Graham, who was
killed at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296, and Sir John de Graham, the
beloved friend of the immortal Wallace, who was slain at the Battle of
Falkirk in 1298. The village had been built in the form of a square
which enclosed a large field of grass called the Cross Green, with
nothing remarkable about it beyond an enormous ash tree supposed to be
over 300 years old which stood in the churchyard. It measured about 17
feet in circumference at 5 feet from the ground, and was called the Bell
Tree, because the church bell which summoned the villagers to worship
was suspended from one of its branches. The tree began to show signs of
decay, so eventually the bell had to be taken down and a belfry built to
receive it.

[Illustration: THE SQUARE, DRYMEN]

We finished our breakfast at 8.30, and then, with the roads in a
fearfully muddy condition owing to heavy downfalls of rain, started on
our walk towards Stirling. The region here was pleasing agricultural
country, and we passed many large and well-stocked farms on our way,
some of them having as many as a hundred stacks of corn and beans in
their stack-yards. After walking about seven miles we arrived at the
dismal-looking village of Buchlyvie, where we saw many houses in ruins,
standing in all their gloominess as evidences of the devastating effects
of war. Some of the inhabitants were trying to eke out their livelihood
by hand-loom weaving, but there was a poverty-stricken appearance about
the place which had, we found, altered but little since Sir Walter Scott
wrote of it in the following rhyme which he had copied from an old

  Baron of Buchlivie,
  May the foul fiend drive ye
  And a' to pieces rive ye
  For building sic a town,
  Where there's neither horse meat
  Nor man's meat, nor a chair to sit down.

We did not find the place quite so bad as that, for there were two or
three small inns where travellers could get refreshments and a chair to
sit down upon; but we did not halt for these luxuries until we reached
Kippen, about five miles farther on. Before arriving there we overtook
two drovers who were well acquainted with Glencoe and the Devil's
Stairs, and when we told them of our adventures there they said we were
very lucky to have had a fine day when we crossed those hills. They told
us the story of the two young men who perished there, but thought their
death was partially caused through lack of food. Kippen, they informed
us, was on the borders of Perthshire and Stirlingshire, and when we told
them we intended calling for refreshments they advised us to patronise
the "Cross Keys Inn." We found Kippen, or, as it was sometimes named,
the Kingdom of Kippen, a pleasant place, and we had no difficulty in
finding the "Cross Keys." Here we learned about the King of Kippen, the
Scottish Robin Hood, and were told that it was only two miles away to
the Ford of Frew, where Prince Charlie crossed the River Forth on his
way from Perth to Stirling, and that about three minutes' walk from the
Cross there was a place from which the most extensive and beautiful
views of the country could be obtained. Rising like towers from the
valley of the Forth could be seen three craigs--Dumyate Craig, Forth
Abbey Craig, and the craig on which Stirling Castle had been built;
spreading out below was the Carse of Stirling, which merged into and
included the Vale of Monteith, about six miles from Kippen; while the
distant view comprised the summits of many mountains, including that of
Ben Lomond.

[Illustration: OLD BELFRY, KIPPEN]

As usual in Scotland, the village contained two churches--the Parish
Church and the United Free Church. In the old churchyard was an ancient
ivy-covered belfry, but the church to which it belonged had long since
disappeared. Here was the burial-place of the family of Edinbellie, and
here lived in olden times an attractive and wealthy young lady named
Jean Kay, whom Rob Roy, the youngest son of Rob Roy Macgregor, desired
to marry. She would not accept him, so leaving Balquidder, the home of
the Macgregors, accompanied by his three brothers and five other men, he
went to Edinbellie and carried her off to Rowardennan, where a sham form
of marriage was gone through. But the romantic lover paid dearly for his
exploit, as it was for robbing this family of their daughter that Rob
forfeited his life on the scaffold at Edinburgh on February 16th, 1754,
Jean Kay having died at Glasgow on October 4th, 1751.


We were well provided for at the "Cross Keys," and heard a lot about
Mary Queen of Scots, as we were now approaching a district where much of
the history of Scotland was made. Her name seemed to be on everybody's
lips and her portrait in everybody's house, including the smallest
dwellings. She seemed to be the most romantic character in the minds of
the Scots, by whom she was almost idolised--not perhaps so much for her
beauty and character as for her sufferings and the circumstances
connected with her death. The following concise account of the career of
this beautiful but unfortunate Queen and her son King James greatly
interested us. She was born at Linlithgow Palace in the year 1542, and
her father died when she was only eight days old. In the next year she
was crowned Queen of Scotland at Stirling, and remained at the Castle
there for about four years. She was then removed to Inchmahome, an
island of about six acres in extent situated in the small Lake of
Monteith, about six miles north of Kippen. In 1547, when six years old,
she was sent to France in a Flemish ship from Dumbarton, and in the
following year she was married to the Dauphin of France, afterwards King
Francis II, who died in the year 1560. Afterwards she returned to
Scotland and went to Stirling Castle, where she met her cousin Lord
Darnley and was married to him at Holyrood in 1565, her son being born
in 1566. Troubles, however, soon arose, and for a short time she was
made a prisoner and placed in the Castle of Loch Leven, from which she
escaped with the intention of going to Dumbarton Castle for safety. Her
army under the Earl of Argyll accompanied her, but on the way they met
an opposing army commanded by the Regent Murray, who defeated her army,
and Queen Mary fled to England. Here she again became a prisoner and was
placed in various castles for the long period of nineteen years, first
in one and then in another, with a view probably to preventing her being
rescued by her friends; and finally she was beheaded in 1587 in the
forty-eighth year of her age at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire,
by command of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth.

Her son James VI of Scotland, who subsequently became James I of
England, was baptised in the Royal Chapel at Stirling Castle in 1566,
and in 1567, when he was only about thirteen months old, was crowned in
the parish church at Stirling, his mother Queen Mary having been forced
to abdicate in favour of her son. The great Puritan divine John Knox
preached the Coronation sermon on that occasion, and the young king was
educated until he was thirteen years of age by George Buchanan, the
celebrated scholar and historian, in the castle, where his class-room is
still to be seen. He succeeded to the English throne on the death of
Queen Elizabeth, and was crowned as King James I of England in the year

Leaving Kippen, we passed through Gargunnock, with the extraordinary
windings of the River Forth to our left, and arrived at Stirling at 5.15
p.m., where at the post-office we found a host of letters waiting our
arrival and at the railway-station a welcome change of clothing from

(_Distance walked twenty-two miles_.)

_Friday, October 6th._

Stirling is one of the most attractive towns in Scotland, and we could
not resist staying there awhile to explore it. It is the "key to the
Highlands," and one of the oldest of the Royal burghs. It was a place of
some importance in the time of the Romans, as it stood between the two
great Firths of the Clyde and the Forth, where the Island of Britain is
at its narrowest. The first Roman wall was built between the Forth and
the Clyde, and the Second Roman Legion was stationed at Stirling.
According to an old inscription on a stone near the Ballengeich road,
they kept a watch there day and night, and in A.D. 81 a great battle
was fought near by against 30,000 Caledonians, who were defeated.
Stirling has a commanding geographical position, and all the roads
converge there to cross the River Forth. It was at Stirling Bridge that
Wallace defeated the army of 50,000 soldiers sent against him in the
year 1297 by Edward I, King of England. The town had also a lively time
in the days of Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," whose
father, during his exile in France, had been encouraged by the French to
return and lay claim to the English Crown. Landing in Inverness-shire in
1745, Prince Charlie was immediately joined by many of the Highland
clans, and passed with his army through Stirling on his way towards
London. Not finding the support they expected from the south, they were
compelled to return, followed closely along their line of retreat by the
English Army, and they were soon back again at Stirling, where they made
a desperate but unsuccessful effort to obtain possession of the castle,
which was held for the English. The Duke of Cumberland's Army by this
time was close upon their heels, and gave them no rest until they caught
them and defeated them with great slaughter up at Culloden, near


There was much in Stirling and its environs that we wished to see, so we
were astir early in the morning, although the weather was inclined to be
showery. First of all, we went to see the cemetery, which occupies a
beautiful position on a hill overlooking the wonderful windings of the
River Forth, and here we found the tomb of the Protestant martyrs
"Margaret and Agnes," the latter only eighteen years of age, who were
tied to stakes at low water in the Bay of Wigtown on May 11th, 1685,
and, refusing an opportunity to recant and return to the Roman Catholic
faith, were left to be drowned in the rising tide. Over the spot where
they were buried their figures appeared beautifully sculptured in white
marble, accompanied by that of an angel standing beside them; the
epitaph read:

                 M. O  A.




  Love, many waters cannot quench! GOD saves
  His chaste impearled One! in Covenant true.
  "O Scotia's Daughters! earnest scan the Page."
  And prize this Flower of Grace, blood-bought for you.

              PSALMS IX., XIX.


We stayed there for a few solemn moments, for it was a sight that
impressed us deeply, and then we went to inspect an old stone with the
following curious inscription cut on its surface:

  Some . only . breakfast . and . away:
  Others . to . dinner . stay .
    And . are . full . fed .
  the . oldest . man . but . sups:
    And . goes . to . bed:
  large . is . his . debt:
    that . lingers . out . the . day:
  he . that . goes . soonest:
    has . the . least . to . pay:

We saw another remarkable structure called "The Rock of Ages," a large
monument built of stone, on each of the four sides of which was a Bible
sculptured in marble with texts from the Scriptures, and near the top a
device like that of a crown. It was a fine-looking and substantial
building, but we could not ascertain the reason for its erection.

There were two churches quite near to each other standing at one end of
the cemetery, and these, we were informed, were known as the East and
West Churches, and had been formed out of the old Church of Stirling,
formerly noted for its bells, which were still in existence. One of
them, a Dutch bell, was marked "Rotterdam, 1657," and inscribed "Soli
Deo Gloria"; the only pre-Reformation bell was one that was said to have
come from Cambuskenneth Abbey, measuring 8 ft. 6-1/2 in. round the
mouth, 4 ft. 6 in. over the neck, and 2 ft. 1-1/2 in. in depth, and
bearing a Latin inscription, in Old English characters, which was said
to be the angelic salutation from St. Luke i. 28: "Hail, Mary, full of
grace, God is with thee; blessed art thou among women and to be
blessed." This bell, dating from the fourteenth century, was perfect in
sound, and had been the tone bell in the old abbey. The remainder of the
bells of Cambuskenneth had been lost owing to the swamping of the boat
that was bringing them across the river.


We now went to view the castle, and as we approached the entrance we
were accosted by a sergeant, whom we engaged to act as our guide.

   The ramparts of the castle command the noblest prospect
   imaginable--Grampian, Ochil and Pentland Hills, the River Forth,
   through all its windings, and "Auld Reekie" in the distance--twelve
   foughten fields are visible--the bridge where Archbishop Hamilton was
   hanged, the mound on which the Regent, Earl of Levenax, was beheaded
   on May 25th, 1425, along with the Duke of Albany, his son-in-law, and
   his grandson--the chamber where the Scottish King James II was
   assassinated--a noble valley, where tournaments were held, and the
   hill, whence Beauty viewed "gentle passages of arms" and rewarded
   knights' valour with her smiles, lie just below the ramparts. Here
   James I lived, and James II was born, and it was a favourite
   residence of James III. From these walls the "Good Man of
   Ballangeich" made many an excursion, and here James V and James VI
   were indoctrinated at the feet of that stern preceptor, George
   Buchanan, and the seventh James and the second of England visited
   here in company with the future Queen Anne and the last of the


[Illustration: STIRLING BRIDGE. "At Stirling Bridge Wallace defeated the
army of fifty thousand soldiers sent against him by Edward I; ... it was
a battle won by strategy."]

[Illustration: STIRLING CASTLE. "The ramparts of the castle command the
noblest prospect imaginable--from the top of the walls the sites of
seven battlefields were pointed out to us."]

Such was the official description of the place we were now visiting. As
our guide conducted us through the archway into the castle, he showed us
the old chains that worked the portcullis. We noted how cautious the old
occupants of these strongholds were, for while one of the massive doors
was being drawn up the other went down, so that the inner entrance was
always protected. From the top of the walls the sites of seven
battlefields were pointed out to us, including those of Bannockburn and
Stirling Bridge. The Battle of Stirling Bridge was won by Wallace by
strategy; he had a much smaller army than the English, but he watched
them until they had got one-half their army over the narrow bridge, and
then attacked each half in turn, since the one could not assist the
other, the river being between them. In the following year he was
defeated himself, but as he retreated he reduced Stirling and its castle
to ruins. The Bridge of Allan, which could be seen in the distance, was
described as a miniature Torquay without the sea, and the view from the
castle on a clear day extended a distance of nearly fifty miles. We were
shown the aperture through which Mary Queen of Scots watched the games
in the royal garden below, and of course we had to be shown the exact
spot where "our most gracious Majesty Queen Victoria with the Prince of
Wales" sat on a much more recent date. The castle stood on a rock,
rising precipitously on two of its sides, and was now being used as a
barracks. It was a fine sight to see the soldiers as they were being
drilled. The old Chapel Royal was used as the armoury, and our guide
told us of many objects of interest which were stored there; but we had
no time to see them, so, rewarding him suitably for his services, we
hastened back to the town to refresh the "inner man."

It appeared that in former times none of the members of the Town Council
accepted any gift or emolument while in office; and, before writing was
as common as it is now, the old treasurer kept his accounts in a pair of
boots which he hung one on each side of the chimney. Into one of them he
put all the money he received and into the other the vouchers for the
money he paid away, and balanced his accounts at the end of the year by
emptying his boots, and counting the money left in one and that paid
away by the receipts in the other. What a delightfully simple system of
"double entry," and just fancy the "borough treasurer" with a balance
always in hand! Whether the non-payment for services rendered by the
Council accounted for this did not appear; but there must have been some
select convivials even in those days, as the famous Stirling Jug
remained as evidence of something of the kind. It was a fine old vessel
made of brass and taken great care of by the Stirling people, who became
possessed of it four or five hundred years before our visit.

We then walked some distance to see Wallace's Monument, the most
conspicuous object for many miles round, and which had only just been
erected to perpetuate the memory of that great warrior, having been
opened by the Duke of Atholl in 1869. We paid twopence each for
admission, and in addition to climbing the hill to reach the entrance
to the monument we had to ascend a further 220 feet by means of a flight
of 246 steps before we could reach the top. There were several rooms in
the basement, in one of which we found an enthusiastic party of young
Scots who were vociferously singing:

  Scots, wha hae wie Wallace bled,
  Scots, wham Bruce has often led,
  Welcome to your gory bed,
    Or to victorie.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Lay the proud usurpers low!
  Tyrants fall in every foe!
  Liberty's in every blow!
    Let us do or die!

These were the first and last verses of the poem written by the immortal
Burns to represent Robert Bruce's address to his army before the Battle
of Bannockburn. We did not reveal our nationality to the uproarious
Scots, but, after listening to the song, which we had never heard sung
before, and the cheers which followed it, in which we ourselves joined,
we went quietly past them, for fear they might treat us as the
"usurpers" named in the last verse and "lay _us_ low."

[Illustration: WALLACE MONUMENT.]

On reaching the top of the monument we had a magnificent view, which
well repaid us for our exertions in climbing up the craig and ascending
the tower, and we lingered awhile to view the almost fairy-like scene
that lay below us, with the distant mountains in the background. On
descending, we entered our names in the visitors' book and took our

Just as we were leaving, our attention was attracted by a notice which
informed us that Cambuskenneth Abbey was only one mile away, so we
walked along the banks of the Forth to that ancient ruin. The abbey was
supposed to have taken its name from one Kenneth, who fought a
successful battle with the Picts on the site where it was built. A
Parliament was held within its walls in 1314 by King Robert Bruce, but
the abbey was destroyed, with the exception of the tower, in 1559. The
chief object of interest was the tomb of James III, King of Scots, and
his Queen, the Princess Margaret of Denmark, who were buried near the
High Altar. The tomb, which appeared quite modern, recorded that King
James died June 11th, 1488, and that "This Restoration of the Tomb of
her Ancestors was executed by command of Her Majesty Queen Victoria,
A.D. 1865."

We now walked back to Stirling, and were again among the windings of the
River Forth, which are a striking feature whether viewed from Wallace's
Monument, the Castle walls, or the cemetery. To follow them in some
places, the traveller, it was said, would have to go four times farther
than by the straighter road.


Recovering possession of our bags from the hotel, we resumed our march
along the road to Falkirk, eleven miles distant, and, on the way, came
to the village of St. Ninians, with its long, narrow street of
dismal-looking houses, many of them empty and in ruins, and some marked
"To Let"; and, from their dingy appearance, we imagined they were likely
to remain so. The people who lived in these houses were formerly of evil
reputation, as, before railways were constructed so far north, all the
cattle from the Western Isles and the North were driven along the roads
to Falkirk to be sold, and had to pass through St. Ninians, which was so
dreaded by the drovers that they called this long, narrow street "The
Pass of St. Ninians." For, if a sheep happened to go through a doorway
or stray along one of the passages, ever open to receive them, it was
never seen again and nobody knew of its whereabouts except the thieves
themselves. We walked along this miry pass and observed what we thought
might be an old church, which we went to examine, but found it to be
only a tower and a few ruins. The yard was very full of gravestones. A
large building at the bottom of the yard was, we were told, what now did
duty for the original church, which in the time of Prince Charlie was
used as a powder magazine, and was blown up in 1745 by a party of his
Highlanders to prevent its falling into the hands of the advancing
English Army, before which they were retreating.

Shortly afterwards we overtook a gentleman whom we at first thought was
a farmer, but found afterwards to be a surgeon who resided at
Bannockburn, the next village. He was a cheerful and intelligent
companion, and told us that the large flagstaff we could see in the
fields to the left was where Robert Bruce planted his standard at the
famous Battle of Bannockburn, which, he said, was fought at midsummer in
the year 1314. Bruce had been preparing the ground for some time so as
to make it difficult for the English to advance even though they were
much more numerous and better armed than the Scots. As soon as the
armies came in sight of each other on the evening of June 24th, King
Robert Bruce, dressed in armour and with a golden crown on his helmet,
to distinguish him from the rest of his army, mounted on a small pony,
and, with a battle-axe in his hand, went up and down the ranks of his
army to put them in order. Seeing the English horsemen draw near, he
advanced a little in front of his own men to have a nearer view of the
enemy. An English knight, Sir Henry de Bohun, seeing the Scottish king
so poorly mounted, thought he would rise to fame by killing Bruce and so
putting an end to the war at once. So he challenged him to fight by
galloping at him suddenly and furiously, thinking with his long spear
and tall, powerful horse to extinguish Bruce immediately. Waiting until
Bohun came up, and then suddenly turning his pony aside to avoid the
point of his lance, Bruce rose in his stirrups and struck Sir Henry, as
he passed at full speed, such a terrific blow on the head with his
battle-axe that it cut through his helmet and his head at the same time,
so that he died before reaching the ground. The only remark that Bruce
is said to have made was, "I have broken my good battle-axe."

This fearful encounter and the death of their champion was looked upon
as a bad omen by the English, and Sir Walter Scott thus describes it:

  The heart had hardly time to think,
  The eyelid scarce had time to wink,

         *       *       *       *       *

  High in his stirrups stood the King,
  And gave his battle-axe the swing;
  Right on De Boune, the whiles he pass'd,
  Fell that stern dint--the first--the last!--
  Such strength upon the blow was put,
  The helmet crash'd like hazel-nut;
  The axe shaft, with its brazen clasp,
  Was shiver'd to the gauntlet grasp.
  Springs from the blow the startled horse,
  Drops to the plain the lifeless corse.

The battle began on the following morning, Midsummer Day, and the mighty
host of heavily armed men on large horses moved forward along what they
thought was hard road, only to fall into the concealed pits carefully
prepared beforehand by Bruce and to sink in the bogs over which they had
to pass. It can easily be imagined that those behind pressing forward
would ride over those who had sunk already, only to sink themselves in
turn. Thousands perished in that way, and many a thrown rider, heavily
laden with armour, fell an easy prey to the hardy Scots. The result was
disastrous to the English, and it was said that 30,000 of them were
killed, while the Scots were able afterwards to raid the borders of
England almost to the gates of York.

The surgeon said that in the Royal College of Surgeons in London a rib
of Bruce, the great Scottish king, was included in the curios of the
college, together with a bit of the cancerous growth which killed
Napoleon. It was said that Bruce's rib was injured in a jousting match
in England many years before he died, and that the fracture was made
good by a first-class surgeon of the time. In 1329 Bruce died of leprosy
in his fifty fifth year and the twenty-third of his reign, and was
buried in the Abbey Church of Dunfermline. In clearing the foundation
for the third church on the same site, in 1818, the bones of the hero
were discovered, Sir Walter Scott being present. The breastbone of the
skeleton had been sawn through some 500 years before, as was customary,
in order to allow of the removal of the heart, which was then embalmed,
and given to Bruce's friend, Sir James Douglas, to be carried to
Palestine and buried in Jerusalem.

The surgeon also told us--in order, we supposed, to cheer our drooping
spirits--of another battle fought in the neighbourhood of Bannockburn in
1488, but this time it was the Scottish King James III who came to
grief. He had a fine grey courser given him "that could war all the
horse of Scotland if the king could sit up well." But he was a coward
and could not ride, and when some men came up shouting and throwing
arrows, they frightened the king. Feeling the spurs, the horse went at
"flight speed" through Bannockburn, and a woman carrying water, when she
saw the horse coming, dropped her bucket down on the road and ran for
safety. The horse, frightened by the bucket, jumped over the brook that
turned the mill, and threw the king off at the mill door. The miller and
his wife, who saw the accident, not knowing that the rider was the king,
put him in a nook in the mill and covered him with a cloth. When he came
round, he asked for a priest and told them he was the king. But he had
fallen into the hands of his enemies. The miller's wife clapped her
hands, and ran out crying for a priest for the king. A man called out,
"I am a priest; where is the king?" When he saw the king he told him he
might recover if he had a good leeching, but the king desired him to
give him the Sacrament. The supposed priest said, "That I shall do
quickly," and suiting the action to the word, he stabbed him several
times in the heart. The corpse he took away on his back, no one knew
whither, and the king's soldiers, now leaderless, fled to Stirling and

We thanked our friend for his company and bade him farewell, as we
reached Bannockburn village. We observed there, as in most villages near
Stirling, many houses in ruins or built with the ruins of others. We
thought what a blessing it was that the two nations were now united, and
that the days of these cruel wars were gone for ever! At a junction of
roads a finger-post pointed "To the Bannockburn Collieries," and we saw
several coal-pits in the distance with the ruins of an old building near
them, but we did not take the trouble to inspect them.

The shades of night were coming on when, after walking a few miles, we
saw an old man standing at the garden gate of a very small cottage by
the wayside, who told us he was an old sailor and that Liverpool had
been his port, from which he had taken his first voyage in 1814. He
could remember Birkenhead and that side of the River Mersey when there
was only one house, and that a farm from which he used to fetch
buttermilk, and when there was only one dock in Liverpool--the Prince's.
We thought what a contrast the old man would find if he were to visit
that neighbourhood now! He told us of a place near by named Norwood,
where were the remains of an old castle of Prince Charlie's time, with
some arches and underground passages, but it was now too dark to see
them. We proceeded towards Camelon, with the great ironworks of Carron
illuminating the sky to our left, and finally arrived at Falkirk. Here,
in reply to our question, a sergeant of police recommended us to stay
the night at the "Swan Inn," kept by a widow, a native of Inverness,
where we were made very comfortable. After our supper of bread and milk,
we began to take off our boots to prepare for bed, but we were requested
to keep them on as our bedroom was outside! We followed our leader along
the yard at the back of the inn and up a flight of stone steps, at the
top of which we were ushered into a comfortable bedroom containing three
beds, any or all of which, we were informed, were at our service. Having
made our selection and fastened the door, we were soon asleep,
notwithstanding the dreadful stories we had heard that day, and the
great battlefields we had visited--haunted, no doubt, by the ghosts of
legions of our English ancestors who had fallen therein!

(_Distance walked seventeen miles_.)

_Saturday, October 7th._

Falkirk, which stands on a gentle slope on the great Carse of Forth, is
surrounded by the Grampian Hills, the Ochills, and the Campsie Range.
Here King Edward I entirely routed the Scottish Army in the year 1298.
Wallace's great friend was slain in the battle and buried in the
churchyard, where an inscription recorded that "Sir John de Grahame,
equally remarkable for wisdom and courage, and the faithful friend of
Wallace, being slain in the battle by the English, lies buried in this

We left the inn at six o'clock in the morning, the only people visible
being workmen turning out for their day's work. The last great fair of
the season was to be held that day, and we had the previous day seen the
roads filled with cattle making for Falkirk Fair, perhaps one of the
largest fairs in the kingdom. We had been told by the drovers that the
position was well adapted for the purpose, as the ground was very sandy
and therefore not so liable to be trampled into mud by the animals'

We passed through the village of Laurieston, where Alfred Nobel, the
inventor of dynamite and blasting gelatine, lived, and saw a plough at
work turning up potatoes, a crowd of women and boys following it and
gathering up the potatoes in aprons and then emptying them into a long
row of baskets which extended from one end of the field to the other. A
horse and cart followed, and the man in charge emptied the contents of
the baskets into the cart. We questioned the driver of the plough, who
assured us that no potatoes were left in the land, but that all were
turned up and gathered, and that it was a much better way than turning
them out by hand with a fork, as was usual in England.

[Illustration: LINLITHGOW PALACE.]


About two miles farther on we passed the romantic village of Polmont,
and on through a fine stretch of country until we reached another
fair-sized village called Linlithgow Bridge. We were then about a mile
and a half from the old town of Linlithgow; here the River Avon
separates the counties of Stirlingshire and Linlithgowshire. The old
bridge from which the place takes its name is said to have been built by
Edward I of England. In 1526 the Battle of Linlithgow Bridge was fought
at this spot; it was one of those faction fights between two contending
armies for predominance which were so prevalent in Scotland at the time,
the real object, however, being to rescue King James V from the
domination of the Earl of Angus. The opposing fronts under Angus and
Lennox extended on both sides of the Avon. The Earl of Lennox was slain
by Sir James Hamilton after quarter had been granted to the former. His
sword was afterwards found, and may still be seen in the small museum at
Linlithgow. In this village Stephen Mitchell, tobacco and snuff
manufacturer, carried on business and had an old snuff mill here; he was
the first founder in Great Britain of a Free Library. Burns the Scottish
poet stayed a night here on August 25th, 1787.

We arrived at the royal and ancient burgh of Linlithgow at about nine
o'clock. The town, as Burns says, "carries the appearance of rude,
decayed, idle grandeur"; it is, however, very pleasantly situated, with
rich, fertile surroundings. There is a fine old royal palace here within
which, on December 7th, 1542, the unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots was
born, whose beauty and magnificence have imbued her history with so deep
and melancholy an interest. Sir Walter Scott in "Marmion" sings the
praises of this palace as follows:--

  Of all the palaces so fair,
    Built for the royal dwelling.
  In Scotland, far beyond compare
    Linlithgow is excelling.

We fully endorsed the great Sir Walter's opinion, for it certainly was a
magnificent structure and occupied a grand situation, with a large lake
in front covering perhaps a hundred acres. We were now, however, getting
ravenously hungry, so we adjourned to the hotel for breakfast, which was
quickly served and almost as quickly eaten. The palace was not open
until ten o'clock, so we had to be content with a view of the exterior,
nor could we visit the fine old church, for we wanted to reach
Edinburgh, where we had decided to stay the week-end in order to see
some of the sights of the historic capital.


A halo of deepest interest surrounded the history of Linlithgow, whose
every stone spoke volumes of the storied past. The traditions of the
place go far back into the dim shadowy regions where historic fact
merges into myth and legend. Solid ground is only reached about the
twelfth century. The English had possession of the palace in 1313, and
the way it was taken from them was probably unique in the history of
such places. The garrison was supplied with hay for the horses by a
local farmer named Binnock, who determined to strike a blow for the
freedom of his country. A new supply of hay had been ordered, and he
contrived to conceal eight men, well armed, under it. The team was
driven by a sturdy waggoner, who had a sharp axe concealed in his
clothing, while Binnock himself walked alongside. The porter, on seeing
their approach, lowered the drawbridge and raised the portcullis to
admit of the passage of the hay within the castle walls. Just as they
reached the centre of the gateway the driver drew his axe and cut off
the tackle that attached the oxen to the waggon, at the same time
striking the warder dead and shouting a preconcerted signal--"Call all!
Call all!" "The armed men jumped from amongst the hay, and a strong
party of Scots, who by arrangement were in ambush outside, rushed in and
attacked the astonished garrison, who were unprepared for the
onslaught--the load of hay being so placed that the gate could not be
closed nor the bridge raised--and so the Scots made themselves masters
of the palace."


The last event of any historical interest or importance connected with
this palace was the visit paid to it by Prince Charles Stewart in 1745;
it was destroyed in the following year.

The beautiful old Gothic church of St. Michael is situated close to the
palace. Perhaps no tradition connected with this church is more
interesting than the vision which is said to have appeared to James IV
while praying within St. Catherine's Aisle immediately before the Battle
of Flodden. According to Lindsay of Pitscottie, on whose authority the
tale rests, the King, being "in a very sad and dolorous mood, was making
his devotions to God to send him good chance and fortune in his voyage"
when a man "clad in ane blue gown" appeared to him, and with little
ceremony declared to the King that he had been sent to desire him "nocht
to pass whither he purposed," for if he did, things "would not fare well
with him or any who went with him." How little this warning was heeded
by the King is known to all readers of Scottish history. The "ghost,"
if it may be called so, was in all likelihood an attempt to frighten the
King, and it is certain that the tale would never have gained the weird
interest it possesses if Flodden Field had not proved so disastrous. It
has been helped to immortality by Sir Walter Scott, who in "Marmion" has
invested Pitscottie's antique prose with the charm of imperishable

[Illustration: THE OLD CROSS WELL.]

One characteristic of the towns or villages in Scotland through which we
passed was their fine drinking-fountains, and we had admired a very fine
one at Falkirk that morning; but Linlithgow's fountain surpassed it--it
was indeed the finest we had seen, and a common saying occurred to us:

  Glasgow for bells,
  Linlithgow for wells.

Linlithgow has long been celebrated for its wells, some of them of
ancient date and closely associated with the history of the town. We
came to an old pump-well with the date 1720, and the words "Saint
Michael is kinde to straingers." As we considered ourselves to be
included in that category, we had a drink of the water.

[Illustration: THE TOWN HERALD, LINLITHGOW (A survival of the past)]

At the end of the village or town we passed the union workhouse, where
the paupers were busy digging up potatoes in the garden, and a short
distance farther on we passed a number of boys with an elderly man in
charge of them, who informed us they came from the "institute," meaning
the workhouse we had just seen, and that he took them out for a walk
once every week. Presently we met a shepherd who was employed by an
English farmer in the neighbourhood, and he told us that the man we had
met in charge of the boys was an old pensioner who had served fifty-two
years in the army, but as soon as he got his pension money he spent it,
as he couldn't keep it, the colour of his nose showing the direction in
which it went. It struck us the shepherd seemed inclined that way
himself, as he said if he had met us nearer a public-house he would have
"treated us to a good glass." We thought what a pity it was that men had
not a better eye to their own future interests than to spend all their
money "for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which
satisfieth not," and how many there were who would ultimately become
burdens to society who might have secured a comfortable competency for
old age by wisely investing their surplus earnings instead of allowing
them to flow down that awful channel of waste!

[Illustration: ST. MICHAEL'S WELL.]

We walked through a fine agricultural district--for we were now in
Midlothian--adorned with great family mansions surrounded by well-kept
grounds, and arrived in sight of Edinburgh at 1.30, and by two o'clock
we were opposite a large building which we were told was Donaldson's
Hospital, founded in 1842, and on which about £100,000 had been spent.

Our first business on reaching Edinburgh was to find suitable lodgings
until Monday morning, and we decided to stay at Fogg's Temperance Hotel
in the city. We had then to decide whether we should visit Edinburgh
Castle or Holyrood Palace that day--both being open to visitors at the
same hour in the afternoon, but as they were some distance apart we
could not explore both; we decided in favour of the palace, where we
were conducted through the picture gallery and the many apartments
connected with Mary Queen of Scots and her husband Lord Darnley.

The picture-gallery contained the reputed portraits of all the Kings of
Scotland from Fergus I, 330 B.C., down to the end of the Stuart dynasty;
and my brother, who claimed to have a "painter's eye," as he had learned
something of that art when at school, discovered a great similarity
between the portraits of the early kings and those that followed them
centuries later. Although I explained that it was only an illustration
of history repeating itself, and reminded him of the adage, "Like
father, like son," he was not altogether satisfied. We found afterwards,
indeed, that the majority of the portraits had been painted by a Flemish
artist, one John de Witt, who in the year 1684 made a contract, which
was still in existence, whereby he bound himself to paint no portraits
within two years, he supplying the canvas and colours, and the
Government paying him £120 per year and supplying him with the
"originalls" from which he was to copy. We wondered what had become of
these "originalls," especially that of Fergus, 330 B.C., but as no
information was forthcoming we agreed to consider them as lost in the
mists of antiquity.

[Illustration: HOLYROOD PALACE.]

There was much old tapestry on the walls of the various rooms we
inspected in the palace, and although it was now faded we could see that
it must have looked very beautiful in its original state. The tapestry
in one room was almost wholly devoted to scenes in which
heavenly-looking little boys figured as playing in lovely gardens amidst
beautiful scenery. One of these scenes showed a lake in the background
with a castle standing at one end of it. In the lake were two small
islands covered with trees which were reflected in the still waters,
while in the front was a large orange tree, growing in a lovely garden,
up which some of the little boys had climbed, one of whom was throwing
oranges to a companion on the ground below; while two others were
enjoying a game of leapfrog, one jumping over the other's back. Three
other boys were engaged in the fascinating game of blowing bubbles--one
making the lather, another blowing the bubbles, while a third was trying
to catch them. There were also three more boys--one of them apparently
pretending to be a witch, as he was riding on a broomstick, while
another was giving a companion a donkey-ride upon his back. All had the
appearance of little cupids or angels and looked so lifelike and happy
that we almost wished we were young again and could join them in their

The rooms more closely connected with the unfortunate Mary Queen of
Scots were of course the most interesting to visitors; and in her
audience-room, where she had such distressing interviews with John Knox,
the famous Presbyterian divine and reformer, we saw the bed that was
used by King Charles I when he resided at Holyrood, and afterwards
occupied on one occasion, in September 1745, by his descendant Prince
Charlie, and again after the battle of Culloden by the Duke of


We passed on to Queen Mary's bedroom, in which we were greatly
interested, and in spite of its decayed appearance we could see it had
been a magnificent apartment. Its walls were adorned with emblems and
initials of former Scottish royalties, and an old tapestry representing
the mythological story of the fall of Photon, who, according to the
Greeks, lost his life in rashly attempting to drive the chariot of his
father the God of the Sun. Here we saw Queen Mary's bed, which must have
looked superb in its hangings of crimson damask, trimmed with green silk
fringes and tassels, when these were new, but now in their decay they
seemed to remind us of their former magnificence and of their
unfortunate owner, to whom the oft-quoted words

   Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown

so aptly applied. We wondered how many times her weary head had passed
its restless nights there, and in the many castles in which she had been
placed during her long imprisonment of nineteen years. Half hidden by
the tapestry there was a small door opening upon a secret stair, and it
was by this that Darnley and his infamous associates ascended when they
went to murder the Queen's unfortunate Italian secretary, Rizzio, in the
Queen's supping-room, which we now visited. There we had to listen to
the recital of this horrible crime: how the Queen had been forcibly
restrained by Darnley, her table overthrown and the viands scattered,
while the blood-thirsty conspirators crowded into the room; how Rizzio
rushed behind the Queen for protection, until one of the assassins
snatched Darnley's dagger from its sheath, and stabbed Rizzio, leaving
the dagger sticking in his body, while the others dragged him furiously
from the room, stabbing him as he went, shrieking for mercy, until he
fell dead at the head of the staircase, pierced by fifty-six wounds;
and how one of the assassins threatened to cut the Queen "into collops"
if she dared to speak to the populace through the window. The bloodstain
on the floor was of course shown us, which the mockers assert is duly
"restored" every winter before the visiting season commences.

Leaving the Palace, we saw Queen Mary's Bath, a quaintly shaped little
building built for her by King James IV, in which she was said to have
bathed herself in white wine--an operation said to have been the secret
of her beauty. During some alterations which were made to it in 1798, a
richly inlaid but wasted dagger was found stuck in the sarking of the
roof, supposedly by the murderers of Rizzio on their escape from the


We then visited the now roofless ruins of the Abbey or Chapel Royal
adjoining the Palace. A fine doorway on which some good carving still
remained recalled something of its former beauty and grandeur. There
were quite a number of tombs, and what surprised us most was the large
size of the gravestones, which stood 6 to 7 feet high, and were about 3
feet wide. Those we had been accustomed to in England were much smaller,
but everything in Scotland seemed big, including the people themselves,
and this was no less true of the buildings in Edinburgh. There was a
monument in one corner of the Chapel Royal on which was an inscription
in Latin, of which we read the English translation to be:--


   ALEXANDER MILNE, 20 Feb. A.D. 1643

  Stay Passenger, here famous Milne doth rest,
  Worthy to be in Ægypt's Marble drest;
  What Myron or Apelles could have done
  In brass or paintry, he could do in stone;
  But thretty yeares hee [blameless] lived; old age
  He did betray, and in's Prime left this stage.

   Restored by Robert Mylne

   Architect. MDCCLXXVI.

The builder of the Palace was Robert Milne, the descendant of a family
of distinguished masons. He was the "master mason," and a record of him
in large letters on a pillar ran--

  FVN . BE . RO . MILNE . M.M. . I . JYL . 1671.

After leaving Holyrood we walked up Calton Hill, where we had a splendid
view of the fine old city of Edinburgh seated on rocks that are older
than history, and surrounded by hills with the gleaming Firth of Forth
in the distance. The panorama as seen from this point was magnificent,
and one of the finest in Great Britain. On the hill there were good
roads and walks and some monuments. One of these, erected to the memory
of Nelson, was very ugly, and another--beautiful in its
incompleteness--consisted of a number of immense fluted columns in
imitation of the Parthenon of Athens, which we were told was a memorial
to the Scottish heroes who fell in the Wars of Napoleon, but which was
not completed, as sufficient funds had not been forthcoming to finish
what had evidently been intended to be an extensive and costly erection.
We supposed that these lofty pillars remained as a warning to those who
begin to build without first sitting down and counting the cost. They
were beautifully proportioned, resembling a fragment of some great ruin,
and probably had as fine an effect as they stood, as the finished
structure would have had.

[Illustration: "MONS MEG."]

Edinburgh Castle stood out in the distance on an imposing rock. As we
did not arrive during visiting hours we missed many objects of interest,
including the Scottish crown and regalia, which are stored therein. On
the ramparts of the castle we saw an ancient gun named "Mons Meg," whose
history was both long and interesting. It had been made by hand with
long bars of hammered iron held together by coils of iron hoops, and had
a bore of 20 in.; the cannon-balls resting alongside it were made of
wood. It was constructed in 1455 by native artisans at the instance of
James II, and was used in the siege of Dumbarton in 1489 and in the
Civil Wars. In Cromwell's list of captured guns in 1650 it was described
as "the great iron murderer Meg." When fired on the occasion of the
Duke of York's visit to Edinburgh in 1682 the gun burst. After this bad
behaviour "Meg" was sent to the Tower of London, not, however, to be
executed, but to remain there until the year 1829, when, owing to the
intercession of Sir Walter Scott with King George IV, the great gun was
returned to Edinburgh, and was received with great rejoicings and drawn
up with great ceremony to the castle, where it still remains as a relic
of the past.

On our way we had observed a placard announcing a soirée in connection
with the I.O.G.T. (the Independent Order of Good Templars), and this
being somewhat of a novelty to us we decided to patronise it.
Accordingly at 7 p.m. we found ourselves paying the sum of ninepence
each at the entrance to the Calton Rooms. As we filed through along with
others, a cup and saucer and a paper bag containing a variety of cakes
were handed to us, and the positions assigned to us were on either side
of an elderly gentleman whom we afterwards found to be a schoolmaster.

When the tea came round there were no nice young ladies to ask us if we
took sugar and milk, and how many pieces of sugar; to our great
amusement the tea was poured into our cups from large tin kettles
carried by men who from their solemn countenances appeared fitting
representatives of "Caledonia stern and wild." We thought this method a
good one from the labour-saving point of view, and it was certainly one
we had never seen adopted before. The weak point about it was that it
left no opportunity for individual taste in the matter of milk and
sugar, which had already been added, but as we did not hear any
complaints and all appeared satisfied, we concluded that the happy
medium had been reached, and that all had enjoyed themselves as we did

Our friend the schoolmaster was very communicative, and added to our
pleasure considerably by his intelligent conversation, in the course of
which he told us that the I.O.G.T. was a temperance organisation
introduced from America, and he thought it was engaged in a good work.
The members wore a very smart regalia, much finer than would have suited
us under the climatic conditions we had to pass through. After tea they
gave us an entertainment consisting of recitations and songs, the whole
of which were very creditably rendered. But the great event of the
evening was the very able address delivered by the Rev. Professor Kirk,
who explained the objects of the Good Templar movement and the good work
it was doing in Edinburgh and elsewhere. Every one listened attentively,
for the Professor was a good speaker and he was frequently applauded by
his audience.

We had spent a very pleasant evening, and the schoolmaster accompanied
us nearly all the way to our lodgings, which we reached at 11 p.m.

(_Distance walked up to 2 p.m. twenty-four miles_.)

_Sunday, October 8th._

To judge by what we heard and saw, there were connected with Edinburgh
three great characters who stand out above all others in historic
importance--Mary Queen of Scots, John Knox, and Sir Walter Scott; but we
thought and read more about John Knox this day than either of the
others, possibly because it was Sunday. We attended service in three
different churches, and give the following particulars for the
information of our clerical and other friends who "search the
Scriptures," in the hope that they may find in the reading of the texts
food for thought.


In the morning we went to the High Church. Preacher, the Rev. C. Giffin,
M.A. Text. 2 Corinthians viii. 13 and to the end.

In the afternoon to the Tron Church. Preacher, the Rev. James McGregor,
D.D. Text: Isaiah lvii., the last three verses, and Ephesians ii. and
the first clause of verse 14.

In the evening to the Wesleyan Chapel, Nicolson Square. Preacher, the
Rev. Dr. James, President of the Wesleyan Conference. Text: I
Corinthians ii. 1, 2.

The excellence of the sermons, and the able way in which they had been
prepared and were delivered, gave us the impression that rivalry existed
between the ministers of the different churches as to which of them
could preach the best sermon. They were all fine orations, carefully
thought out and elaborated, especially that by Dr. James.

During the intervals between the services we walked about the city, and
again passed the splendid monument to Sir Walter Scott with the
following remarkable inscription, written by Lord Jeffery, beneath its
foundation stone:

   _This Graven Plate, deposited in the base of a votive building on the
   fifteenth day of August in the year of Christ 1840, and never likely
   to see the light again till all the surrounding structures are
   crumbled to dust by the decay of time, or by human or elemental
   violence, may then testify to a distant posterity that his countrymen
   began on that day to raise an effigy and architectural monument to
   the memory of Sir Walter Scott, Bart., whose admirable writings were
   then allowed to have given more delight and suggested better
   feelings to a large class of readers in every rank of society than
   those of any other author, with the exception of Shakespeare alone,
   and which were, therefore, thought likely to be remembered long after
   this act of gratitude on the part of the first generation of his
   admirers should be forgotten. He was born at Edinburgh 15th August
   1771: and died at Abbotsford, 21st September 1832._

We also passed that ancient and picturesque mansion in the High Street
known as the "House of John Knox," in which the distinguished reformer
died in 1572. Born in the year 1505, it was he who, in the reign of Mary
Queen of Scots, stirred Scotland to mighty religious impulses, boldly
denouncing Mary as a Papist and a Jezebel. How he escaped being beheaded
or burned or assassinated was, considering the nature of the times in
which he lived, a mystery almost amounting to a miracle.

[Illustration: MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS]

Queen Mary sailed from France and landed at Leith, near Edinburgh, on
August 19th, 1561, where she was welcomed by the Scots as Dowager of
France, Queen of Scotland, and heiress of England, and was "gorgeouslie
and magnificentlie" received, according to Scottish ideas, by the lords
and ladies who came to meet and accompany her to Edinburgh; but,
according to the diary of one of the Queen's ladies, "when they saw them
mounted on such wretched little hackneys so wretchedly caparisoned they
were greatly disappointed, and thought of the gorgeous pomp and superb
palfreys they had been accustomed to in France, and the Queen began to
weep." On their arrival at Edinburgh they retired to rest in the Abbey,
"a fine building and not at all partaking of that country, but here came
under her window a crew of five or six hundred scoundrels from the city,
who gave her a serenade with wretched violins and little rebecks of
which there are enough in that country, and began to sing Psalms so
miserably mis-tuned and mis-timed that nothing could be worse. Alas!
what music, and what a night's rest!" What the lady would have written
if bagpipes had been included in the serenade we could not imagine, but
as these instruments of torture were not named, we concluded they must
have been invented at a later period.

[Illustration: JOHN KNOX'S HOUSE, EDINBURGH. "We also passed the ancient
and picturesque mansion in the High Street ... in which that
distinguished reformer died."]

Mary had been away in France for about thirteen years, and during that
time she had for her companions four young ladies of the same name as
her own and of about the same age, Mary Fleming, Mary Bethune, Mary
Livingstone, and Mary Seaton, all of whom formed part of her retinue on
her return to Scotland, where they were known as the "Queen's Marys."


She was a staunch adherent of the Romish Church, a fact which accounted
for many of her trials and mortifications. Mainly owing to the powerful
preaching of John Knox, many of the people of Scotland, both of high and
low degree, had become fierce opponents of that form of religion, which
they considered idolatrous. The first Sunday after her arrival was St.
Bartholomew's Day, August 24th, and preparations had been made to
celebrate mass in the Chapel Royal, at which the Queen was to be
present. But no sooner was this known, than a mob rushed towards the
edifice, exclaiming: "Shall the idol be again erected in the land?" and
shouting, "The idolatrous priests shall die the death!" On September 2nd
the Queen made her public entry into Edinburgh, and on the same day John
Knox had an audience with Mary, who, hearing of a furious sermon he had
preached against the Mass on the previous Sunday in St. Giles's Church,
thought that a personal interview would mitigate his sternness. The
Queen took him to task for his book entitled _The First Blast of the
Trumpet against the Monstrous Regimen of Women_, and his intolerance
towards every one who differed from him in opinion, and further
requested him to obey the precepts of the Scriptures, a copy of which
she perceived in his possession, and urged him to use more meekness in
his sermons. Knox in reply, it was said, "knocked so hastily upon her
heart," that he made her weep with tears of anguish and indignation, and
she said, "My subjects, it would appear, must obey you, and not me; I
must be subject to them, and not they to me!" Knox left Holyrood that
day convinced that Mary's soul was lost for ever, and that she despised
and mocked all exhortation against the Mass.

When Mary attended her first Parliament, accompanied by her ladies, the
Duke of Chatelherault carrying the Crown, the Earl of Argyll the
Sceptre, and the Earl of Moray the Sword, she appeared so graceful and
beautiful that the people who saw her were quite captivated, and many
exclaimed, "God save that sweet face!"

During this short Parliament Knox preached in St. Giles's Church, and
argued that they ought to demand from the Queen "that which by God's
Word they may justly require, and if she would not agree with them in
God, they were not bound to agree with her in the devil!" and concluded
with some observations respecting the Queen's rumoured marriage with
Don Carlos of Spain, declaring, "Whenever ye consent that an infidel,
and all Papists are infidels, shall be our head to our soverane, ye do
so far as in ye lieth to banisch Christ Jesus from his realme; ye bring
God's vengeance upon this country, a plague upon yourselves, and
perchance ye shall do no small discomfirt to your soverane."

[Illustration: JOHN KNOX.]

Mary heard of this furious attack upon her, which Knox admitted had
offended both Papists and Protestants, and he was again summoned to
Holyrood. As soon as Mary saw Knox she was greatly excited, and
exclaimed: "Never was prince handled as I am." "I have borne with you,"
she said to Knox, "in all your vigorous manner of speaking, both against
myself and my uncles; yea, I have sought your favour by all possible
means--I offered unto you presence and audience whenever it pleased you
to admonish me, and yet I cannot be quit of you. I vow to God I shall be
once avenged."

Knox answered, "True it is, Madam, your Grace and I have been at divers
controversies into the which I never perceived your Grace to be offended
at me; but when it shall please God to deliver you from that bondage of
darkness and error in the which ye have been nourished for the lack of
true doctrine, your majesty will find the liberty of my tongue nothing
offensive. Without the preaching-place, Madam, I am not master of
myself, for I must obey Him who commands me to speak plain, and flatter
no flesh upon the face of the earth."

The Queen asked him again, "What have ye to do with my marriage, or what
are ye in this commonwealth?" "A subject born within the same, Madam,"
was the stern reply; "and albeit I be neither Earl, Lord, nor Baron
within it, yet has God made me, how abject soever I may be in your eyes,
a profitable member within the same."

He was entering into some personal explanations, when the Queen ordered
him to leave the Cabinet, and remain in the ante-chamber till her
pleasure should be intimated. Here Knox found himself in the company of
the Queen's Marys and other ladies, to whom he gave a religious
admonition. "Oh, fair ladies," he said, "how pleasing is this life of
yours if it would ever abide, and then in the end that you pass to
Heaven with all this gay gear! But fie upon the knave Death, that will
come whether we will or not, and when he has laid on his arrest, the
foul worms will be busy with this flesh, be it never so fair and tender;
and the silly soul, I fear, shall be so feeble, that it can neither
carry with it gold, garnishing, targetting, pearl nor precious stones."

Several noblemen had accompanied Knox when he went to see the Queen, but
only Erskine of Dun was admitted to the Cabinet, and Lord Ochiltree
attended Knox in the ante-room while Queen Mary held a consultation with
Lord John Stuart and Erskine lasting nearly an hour, at the end of which
Erskine appeared and accompanied Knox home. Knox must have been in great
danger of losing his life owing to his fearless and determined daring in
rebuking those in high places, and indeed his life was afterwards
repeatedly aimed at; but Providence foiled all attempts to assassinate
him, and in the end he died a peaceful death. On November 9th, 1572, a
fortnight before he died, he preached his farewell sermon, the entire
congregation following his tottering footsteps to his home. When the
time came for him to die he asked for I Corinthians xv., and after that
had been read he remarked: "Is not that a comfortable chapter?" There
was also read to him Isaiah liii. Asked if he could hear, he replied: "I
hear, I thank God, and understand far better." He afterwards said to his
wife, "Read, where I cast my first anchor." Mrs. Knox knew what he
meant, and read to him his favourite seventeenth chapter of St. John's
Gospel. His friend Bannatyne, seeing that he was just about to depart,
and was becoming speechless, drew near to him saying, "Hast thou hope?"
and asked him if he heard to give them a sign that he died in peace.
Knox pointed upwards with two of his fingers, and thus he died without a
struggle. Truly one of the most remarkable men that ever lived in
Scotland, and whose end was peace.


A vast concourse of people attended his funeral, the nobility walking in
front of the procession, headed by Morton, who had been appointed Regent
of Scotland on the very day on which Knox died, and whose panegyric at
the grave was: "Here lieth a man who in his life never feared the face
of man."

St. Giles's was the first parochial church in Edinburgh, and its history
dates from the early part of the twelfth century. John Knox was
appointed its minister at the Reformation. When Edinburgh was created a
bishopric, the Church of St. Giles became the Cathedral of the diocese.
A remarkable incident happened at this church on Sunday, July 23rd,
1639, when King Charles I ordered the English service-book to be used.
It was the custom of the people in those days to bring their own seats
to church, in the shape of folding-stools, and just as Dean Hanney was
about to read the collect for the day, a woman in the congregation named
Jenny Geddes, who must have had a strong objection to this innovation,
astonished the dean by suddenly throwing her stool at his head. What
Jenny's punishment was for this violent offence we did not hear, but her
stool was still preserved together with John Knox's pulpit and other


Although three hundred years save one had elapsed since John Knox
departed this life, his memory was still greatly revered in Edinburgh,
and his spirit still seemed to pervade the whole place and to dwell in
the hearts and minds of the people with whom we came in contact. A good
illustration of this was the story related by an American visitor. He
was being driven round the city, when the coachman pointed out the
residence of John Knox. "And who was John Knox?" he asked. The coachman
seemed quite shocked that he did not know John Knox, and, looking down
on him with an eye of pity, replied, in a tone of great solemnity,
"Deed, mawn, an' d'ye no read y'r Beeble!"

As we walked about the crowded streets of Edinburgh that Sunday evening
we did not see a single drunken person, a fact which we attributed to
the closing of public houses in Scotland on Sundays. We wished that a
similar enactment might be passed in England, for there many people
might habitually be seen much the worse for liquor on Sunday evenings,
to the great annoyance of those returning from their various places of


_Monday, October 9th_

There were some streets in Edinburgh called wynds, and it was in one of
these, the College Wynd, that Sir Walter Scott was born in the year
1771. It seemed a strange coincidence that the great Dr. Samuel Johnson
should have visited the city in the same year, and have been conducted
by Boswell and Principal Robertson to inspect the college along that
same wynd when the future Sir Walter Scott was only about two years old.
We had not yet ventured to explore one of these ancient wynds, as they
appeared to us like private passages between two rows of tall houses. As
we could not see the other end, we looked upon them as traps for the
unwary, but we mustered up our courage and decided to explore one of
them before leaving the town. We therefore rose early and selected one
of an antiquated appearance, but we must confess to a feeling of some
apprehension in entering it, as the houses on each side were of six to
eight storeys high, and so lofty that they appeared almost to touch each
other at the top. To make matters worse for us, there were a number of
poles projecting from the windows high above our track, for use on
washing days, when clothes were hung upon them to dry. We had not gone
very far, when my brother drew my attention to two women whose heads
appeared through opposite windows in the upper storeys, and who were
talking to each other across the wynd. On our approach we heard one of
them call to the other in a mischievous tone of voice, "See! there's twa
mair comin'!" We were rather nervous already, so we beat an ignominious
retreat, not knowing what might be coming on our devoted heads if we
proceeded farther. In the event of hostilities the two ladies were so
high up in the buildings, which were probably let in flats, that we
should never have been able to find them, and, like the stray sheep in
the Pass of St. Ninians, we might never have been found ourselves. We
were probably taken for a pair of sporting young medical students
instead of grave searchers after wisdom and truth. We therefore returned
to our hotel for the early breakfast that was waiting for us, and left
Edinburgh at 8.10 a.m. on our way towards Peebles.

[Illustration: QUEEN MARY'S BATH.]


We journeyed along an upward gradient with a view of Craigmillar Castle
to our left, obtaining on our way a magnificent view of the fine city we
had left behind us, with its castle, and the more lofty elevation known
as Arthur's Seat, from which portions of twelve counties might be seen.
It was a curiously shaped hill with ribs and bones crossing in various
directions, which geologists tell us are undoubted remains of an old
volcano. It certainly was a very active one, if one can judge by the
quantity of debris it threw out. There was an old saying, especially
interesting to ladies, that if you washed your face at sunrise on May
1st, with dew collected off the top of Arthur's Seat, you would be
beautiful for ever. We were either too late or too soon, as it was now
October 9th, and as we had a lot to see on that day, with not overmuch
time to see it in, we left the dew to the ladies, feeling certain,
however, that they would be more likely to find it there in October than
on May Day. When we had walked about five miles, we turned off the main
road to visit the pretty village of Rosslyn, or Roslin, with its three
great attractions: the chapel, the castle, and the dell. We found it
surrounded by woods and watered by a very pretty reach of the River Esk,
and as full of history as almost any place in Scotland.

The unique chapel was the great object of interest. The guide informed
us that it was founded in 1446 by William St. Clair, who also built the
castle, in which he resided in princely splendour. He must have been a
person of very great importance, for he had titles enough even to weary
a Spaniard, being Prince of Orkney, Duke of Oldenburg, Earl of Caithness
and Stratherne, Lord St. Clair, Lord Liddlesdale, Lord Admiral of the
Scottish Seas, Lord Chief Justice of Scotland, Lord Warden of the three
Marches, Baron of Roslin, Knight of the Cockle, and High Chancellor,
Chamberlain, and Lieutenant of Scotland!

The lords of Rosslyn were buried in their complete armour beneath the
chapel floor up to the year 1650, but afterwards in coffins. Sir Walter
Scott refers to them in his "Lay of the Last Minstrel" thus:--

  There are twenty of Rosslyn's Barons bold
  Lie buried within that proud Chapelle.


[Illustration: THE "'PRENTICE PILLAR."]

There were more carvings in Rosslyn Chapel than in any place of equal
size that we saw in all our wanderings, finely executed, and with every
small detail beautifully finished and exquisitely carved. Foliage,
flowers, and ferns abounded, and religious allegories, such as the Seven
Acts of Mercy, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Dance of Death, and many
scenes from the Scriptures; it was thought that the original idea had
been to represent a Bible in stone. The great object of interest was the
magnificently carved pillar known as the "'Prentice Pillar," and in the
chapel were two carved heads, each of them showing a deep scar on the
right temple. To these, as well as the pillar, a melancholy memory was
attached, from which it appeared that the master mason received orders
that this pillar should be of exquisite workmanship and design. Fearing
his inability to carry out his instructions, he went abroad to Rome to
see what designs he could find for its execution. While he was away his
apprentice had a dream in which he saw a most beautiful column, and,
setting to work at once to carry out the design of his dream, finished
the pillar, a perfect marvel of workmanship. When his master returned
and found the pillar completed, he was so envious and enraged at the
success of his apprentice that he struck him on the head with his mallet
with such force that he killed him on the spot, a crime for which he was
afterwards executed.

We passed on to the castle across a very narrow bridge over a ravine,
but we did not find much there except a modern-looking house built with
some of the old stones, under which were four dungeons. Rosslyn was
associated with scenes rendered famous by Bruce and Wallace, Queen Mary
and Rizzio, Robert III and Queen Annabella Drummond, by Comyn and
Fraser, and by the St. Clairs, as well as by legendary stories of the
Laird of Gilmorton Grange, who set fire to the house in which were his
beautiful daughter and her lover, the guilty abbot, so that both of them
were burnt to death, and of the Lady of Woodhouselee, a white-robed,
restless spectre, who appeared with her infant in her arms. Then there
was the triple battle between the Scots and the English, in which the
Scots were victorious:

  Three triumphs in a day!
  Three hosts subdued by one!
  Three armies scattered like the spray,
  Beneath one vernal sun.

[Illustration: ROSSLYN CASTLE.]

Here, too, was the inn, now the caretaker's house, visited by Dr.
Johnson and Boswell in 1773, the poet Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy
in 1803, while some of the many other celebrities who called from time
to time had left their signatures on the window-panes. Burns and his
friend Nasmyth the artist breakfasted there on one occasion, and Burns
was so pleased with the catering that he rewarded the landlady by
scratching on a pewter plate the two following verses:

  My blessings on you, sonsie wife,
    I ne'er was here before;
  You've gien us walth for horn and knife--
    Nae heart could wish for more.

  Heaven keep you free from care and strife.
    Till far ayont four score;
  And while I toddle on through life,
    I'll ne'er gang bye your door.

Rosslyn at one time was a quiet place and only thought of in Edinburgh
when an explosion was heard at the Rosslyn gunpowder works. But many
more visitors appeared after Sir Walter Scott raised it to eminence by
his famous "Lay" and his ballad of "Rosabelle":

  Seem'd all on fire that chapel proud.
  Where Rosslyn's chiefs uncoffin'd lie.

Hawthornden was quite near where stood Ben Jonson's sycamore, and
Drummond's Halls, and Cyprus Grove, but we had no time to see the caves
where Sir Alexander Ramsay had such hairbreadth escapes. About the end
of the year 1618 Ben Jonson, then Poet Laureate of England, walked from
London to Edinburgh to visit his friend Taylor, the Thames waterman,
commonly known as the Water Poet, who at that time was at Leith. In the
January following he called to see the poet Drummond of Hawthornden, who
was more frequently called by the name of the place where he lived than
by his own. He found him sitting in front of his house, and as he
approached Drummond welcomed him with the poetical salutation:

  "Welcome! welcome! Royal Ben,"

to which Jonson responded,

  "Thank ye, thank ye, Hawthornden."

[Illustration: HAWTHORNDEN.]

The poet Drummond was born in 1585, and died in 1649, his end being
hastened by grief at the execution of Charles I. A relative erected a
monument to his memory in 1784, to which the poet Young added the
following lines:

  O sacred solitude, divine retreat,
  Choice of the prudent, envy of the great!
  By the pure stream, or in the waving shade
  I court fair Wisdom, that celestial maid;
  Here from the ways of men, laid safe ashore,
  I smile to hear the distant tempest roar;
  Here, blest with health, with business unperplex'd,
  This life I relish, and secure the next.

Rosslyn Glen was a lovely place, almost like a fairy scene, and we
wondered if Burns had it in his mind when he wrote:

  Their groves of sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon,
  Where bright-beaming summers exalt the perfume;
  Far dearer to me yon lone glen of green bracken,
  Wi' the burn stealing under the long yellow broom.


We walked very quietly and quickly past the gunpowder works, lest
conversation might cause an explosion that would put an end to our
walking expedition and ourselves at the same time, and regained the
highway at a point about seven miles from Edinburgh. Presently we came
to the Glencorse Barracks, some portions of which adjoined our road,
and, judging from the dress and speech of the solitary sentinel who was
pacing to and fro in front of the entrance, we concluded that a regiment
of Highlanders must be stationed there. He informed us that in the time
of the French Wars some of the prisoners were employed in making Scotch
banknotes at a mill close by, and that portions of the barracks were
still used for prisoners, deserters, and the like. Passing on to
Pennicuick, we crossed a stream that flowed from the direction of the
Pentland Hills, and were informed that no less than seven paper mills
were worked by that stream within a distance of five miles. Here we saw
a monument which commemorated the interment of 309 French prisoners who
died during the years 1811 to 1814, a list of their names being still in
existence. This apparently large death-rate could not have been due to
the unhealthiness of the Glencorse Barracks, where they were confined,
for it was by repute one of the healthiest in the kingdom, the road
being 600 feet or more above sea-level, and the district generally,
including Pennicuick, considered a desirable health-resort for persons
suffering from pulmonary complaints. We stayed a short time here for
refreshments, and outside the town we came in contact with two young men
who were travelling a mile or two on our way, with whom we joined
company. We were giving them an outline of our journey and they were
relating to us their version of the massacre of Glencoe, when suddenly a
pretty little squirrel crossed our path and ran into a wood opposite.
This caused the massacre story to be ended abruptly and roused the
bloodthirsty instinct of the two Scots, who at once began to throw
stones at it with murderous intent. We watched the battle as the
squirrel jumped from branch to branch and passed from one tree to
another until it reached one of rather large dimensions. At this stage
our friends' ammunition, which they had gathered hastily from the road,
became exhausted, and we saw the squirrel looking at them from behind
the trunk of the tree as they went to gather another supply. Before they
were again ready for action the squirrel disappeared. We were pleased
that it escaped, for our companions were good shots. They explained to
us that squirrels were difficult animals to kill with a stone, unless
they were hit under the throat. Stone-throwing was quite a common
practice for country boys in Scotland, and many of them became so expert
that they could hit small objects at a considerable distance. We were
fairly good hands at it ourselves. It was rather a cruel sport, but
loose stones were always plentiful on the roads--for the surfaces were
not rolled, as in later years--and small animals, such as dogs and cats
and all kinds of birds, were tempting targets. Dogs were the greatest
sufferers, as they were more aggressive on the roads, and as my brother
had once been bitten by one it was woe to the dog that came within his
reach. Such was the accuracy acquired in the art of stone-throwing at
these animals, that even stooping down in the road and pretending to
lift a stone often caused the most savage dog to retreat quickly. We
parted from the two Scots without asking them to finish their story of
Glencoe, as the details were already fixed in our memories. They told us
our road skirted a moor which extended for forty-seven miles or nearly
as far as Glasgow, but we did not see much of the moor as we travelled
in a different direction.


We passed through Edleston, where the church was dedicated to St. Mungo,
reminding us of Mungo Park, the famous African traveller, and, strangely
enough, it appeared we were not far away from where he was born. In the
churchyard here was a tombstone to the memory of four ministers named
Robertson, who followed each other in a direct line extending to 160
years. There was also to be seen the ancient "Jougs," or iron rings in
which the necks of criminals were enclosed and fastened to a wall or
post or tree. About three miles before reaching Peebles we came to the
Mansion of Cringletie, the residence of the Wolfe-Murray family. The
name of Wolfe had been adopted because one of the Murrays greatly
distinguished himself at the Battle of Quebec, and on the lawn in front
of the house was a cannon on which the following words had been

   _His Majesty's Ship Royal George of 108 guns, sunk at Spithead 29th
   August 1782. This gun, a 32 pounder, part of the armament of the
   Royal George, was fished up from the wreck of that ship by Mr. Deans,
   the zealous and enterprising Diver, on the 15th November 1836, and
   was presented by the Master-General and Board of Ordnance to General
   Durham of Largo, the elder Brother of Sir Philip Charles Henderson
   Durham, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Military Order of
   the Bath, Knight Commander of the Most Ancient Military Order of
   Merit of France, Admiral of the White Squadron of Her Majesty's
   Fleet, and Commander-in-Chief of the Port of Portsmouth, 1836._

Sir Philip was serving as a lieutenant in the _Royal George_, and was
actually on duty as officer of the watch upon deck when the awful
catastrophe took place. He was providentially and miraculously saved,
but nearly 900 persons perished, amongst them the brave Admiral
Kempenfelt, whose flag went down with the ship.

The wreck of the _Royal George_ was the most awful disaster that had
hitherto happened to the Royal Navy. William Cowper the poet, as soon as
the sad news was brought to him, wrote a solemn poem entitled "The Loss
of the _Royal George_," from which it seems that Admiral Kempenfelt was
in his cabin when the great ship suddenly foundered.

  His sword was in its sheath,
    His fingers held the pen,
  When Kempenfelt went down
    With twice four hundred men.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Toll for the brave!
    Brave Kempenfelt is gone:
  His last sea-fight is fought,
    His work of glory done.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Toll for the brave!
    The brave that are no more.
  All sunk beneath the wave.
    Fast by their native shore!

It was nearly dark when we entered the town of Peebles, where we called
at the post office for letters, and experienced some difficulty at first
in obtaining lodgings, seeing that it was the night before the Hiring
Fair. We went first to the Temperance Hotel, but all the beds had been
taken down to make room for the great company they expected on the
morrow; eventually we found good accommodation at the "Cross Keys Inn,"
formerly the residence of a country laird.

We had seen notices posted about the town informing the public that, by
order of the Magistrates, who saw the evil of intoxicating drinks,
refreshments were to be provided the following day at the Town Hall. The
Good Templars had also issued a notice that they were having a
tea-party, for which of course we could not stay.

We found Peebles a most interesting place, and the neighbourhood
immediately surrounding it was full of history. The site on which our
hotel had been built was that of the hostelage belonging to the Abbey of
Arbroath in 1317, the monks granting the hostelage to William Maceon, a
burgess of Peebles, on condition that he would give to them, and their
attorneys, honest lodging whenever business brought them to that town.
He was to let them have the use of the hall, with tables and trestles,
also the use of the spence (pantry) and buttery, sleeping chambers, a
decent kitchen, and stables, and to provide them with the best candles
of Paris, with rushes for the floor and salt for the table. In later
times it was the town house of Williamson of Cardrona, and in the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries became one of the principal inns,
especially for those who, like ourselves, were travelling from the
north, and was conducted by a family named Ritchie. Sir Walter Scott,
who at that time resided quite near, frequented the house, which in his
day was called the "Yett," and we were shown the room he sat in. Miss
Ritchie, the landlady in Scott's day, who died in 1841, was the
prototype of "Meg Dobs," the inn being the "Cleikum Inn" of his novel
_St. Ronan's Well_.


There was a St. Mungo's Well in Peebles, and Mungo Park was intimately
associated with the town. He was born at Foulshiels, Yarrow, in the same
year as Sir Walter Scott, 1771, just one hundred years before our visit,
and, after studying for the Church, adopted medicine as his profession.
He served a short time with a doctor at Selkirk, before completing his
course at the University of Edinburgh, and sailed in 1792 for the East
Indies in the service of the East India Company. Later he joined an
association for the promotion of discovery in Africa, and in 1795 he
explored the basin of the Niger. In 1798 he was in London, and in 1801
began practice as a doctor in Peebles. He told Sir Walter Scott, after
passing through one of the severe winters in Peebleshire, that he would
rather return to the wilds of Africa than pass another winter there. He
returned to London in December 1803 to sail with another expedition, but
its departure was delayed for a short time, so he again visited Peebles,
and astonished the people there by bringing with him a black man named
"Sidi Omback Boubi," who was to be his tutor in Arabic. Meantime, in
1779, he had published a book entitled _Travels in the Interior of
Africa_, which caused a profound sensation at the time on account of the
wonderful stories it contained of adventures in what was then an unknown
part of the world. This book of "Adventures of Mungo Park" was highly
popular and extensively read throughout the country, by ourselves
amongst the rest.

[Illustration: THE BLACK DWARF.]

It was not until January 29th, 1805, that the expedition left Spithead,
and before Mungo Park left Peebles he rode over to Clovenfords, where
Sir Walter Scott was then residing, to stay a night with him at
Ashestiel. On the following morning Sir Walter accompanied him a short
distance on the return journey, and when they were parting where a small
ditch divided the moor from the road Park's horse stumbled a little. Sir
Walter said, "I am afraid, Mungo, that is a bad omen," to which Park
replied, smiling, "Friets (omens) follow those that look for them," and
so they parted for ever. In company with his friends Anderson and Scott
he explored the rivers Gambia and Niger, but his friends died, and Dr.
Park himself was murdered by hostile natives who attacked his canoe in
the River Niger.

Quite near our lodgings was the house where this famous African
traveller lived and practised blood-letting as a surgeon, and where
dreams of the tent in which he was once a prisoner and of dark faces
came to him at night, while the door at which his horse was tethered as
he went to see Sir Walter Scott, and the window out of which he put his
head when knocked up in the night, were all shown as objects of interest
to visitors. Mungo had at least one strange patient, and that was the
Black Dwarf, David Ritchie, who lies buried close to the gate in the old
churchyard. This was a horrid-looking creature, who paraded the country
as a privileged beggar. He affected to be a judge of female beauty, and
there was a hole in the wall of his cottage through which the fair
maidens had to look, a rose being passed through if his fantastic
fancies were pleased; but if not, the tiny window was closed in their
faces. He was known to Sir Walter Scott, who adopted his name in one of
his novels, _The Bowed Davie of the Windus_. His cottage, which was
practically in the same state as at the period of David Ritchie's death,
bore a tablet showing that it had been restored by the great Edinburgh
publishers W. and R. Chambers, who were natives of Peebles, and worded:
"In memory D.R., died 1811. W. and R. Chambers, 1845."

Dr. Pennicuick, who flourished A.D. 1652-1722, had written:

  Peebles, the Metropolis of the shire,
  Six times three praises doth from me require;
  Three streets, three ports, three bridges, it adorn,
  And three old steeples by three churches borne,
  Three mills to serve the town in time of need.
  On Peebles water, and on River Tweed,
  Their arms are _proper_, and point forth their meaning,
  Three salmon fishes nimbly counter swimming;

but there were other "Threes" connected with Peebles both before and
after the doctor's time: "The Three Tales of the Three Priests of
Peebles," supposed to have been told about the year 1460 before a
blazing fire at the "Virgin Inn."

There were also the Three Hopes buried in the churchyard, whose
tombstone records:

  Here lie three Hopes enclosed within,
  Death's prisoners by Adam's sin;
  Yet rest in hope that they shall be
  Set by the Second Adam free.

And there were probably other triplets, but when my brother suggested
there were also three letter e's in the name of Peebles, I reminded him
that it was closing-time, and also bed-time, so we rested that night in
an old inn such as Charles Dickens would have been delighted to

(_Distance walked twenty-five miles_.)

_Tuesday, October 10th._

This was the day of the Great Peebles Fair, and everybody was awake
early, including ourselves. We left the "Cross Keys" hotel at six
o'clock in the morning, and a very cold one it was, for there had been a
sharp frost during the night. The famous old Cross formerly stood near
our inn, and the Cross Church close at hand, or rather all that remained
of them after the wars. In spite of the somewhat modern appearance of
the town, which was probably the result of the business element
introduced by the establishment of the woollen factories, Peebles was in
reality one of the ancient royal burghs, and formerly an ecclesiastical
centre of considerable importance, for in the reign of Alexander III
several very old relics were said to have been found, including what was
supposed to be a fragment of the true Cross, and with it the calcined
bones of St. Nicholas, who suffered in the Roman persecution, A.D. 294.
On the strength of these discoveries the king ordered a magnificent
church to be erected, which caused Peebles to be a Mecca for pilgrims,
who came there from all parts to venerate the relics. The building was
known as the Cross Church, where a monastery was founded at the desire
of James III in 1473 and attached to the church, in truly Christian
spirit, one-third of its revenues being devoted to the redemption of
Christian captives who remained in the hands of the Turks after the

[Illustration: ST. ANDREWS CHURCH, PEEBLES, A.D. 1195.]

If we had visited the town in past ages, there would not have been any
fair on October 10th, since the Great Fair, called the Beltane Festival,
was then held on May Day; but after the finding of the relics it was
made the occasion on which to celebrate the "Finding of the Cross,"
pilgrims and merchants coming from all parts to join the festivities and
attend the special celebrations at the Cross Church. On the occasion of
a Beltane Fair it was the custom to light a fire on the hill, round
which the young people danced and feasted on cakes made of milk and
eggs. We thought Beltane was the name of a Sun-god, but it appeared that
it was a Gaelic word meaning Bel, or Beal's-fire, and probably
originated from the Baal mentioned in Holy Writ.

As our next great object of interest was Abbotsford, the last house
inhabited by Sir Walter Scott, our course lay alongside the River Tweed.
We were fortunate in seeing the stream at Peebles, which stood at the
entrance to one of the most beautiful stretches in the whole of its
length of 103 miles, 41 of which lay in Peeblesshire. The twenty miles
along which we walked was magnificent river scenery.


We passed many castles and towers and other ancient fortifications along
its banks, the first being at Horsburgh, where the castle looked down
upon a grass field called the Chapelyards, on which formerly stood the
chapel and hospice of the two saints, Leonard and Lawrence. At this
hospice pilgrims from England were lodged when on their way to Peebles
to attend the feasts of the "Finding of the Cross" and the "Exaltation
of the Cross," which were celebrated at Beltane and Roodmass
respectively, in the ancient church and monastery of the Holy Cross. It
was said that King James I of England on his visits to Peebles was also
lodged here, and it is almost certain the Beltane Sports suggested to
him his famous poem, "Peebles to the Play," one of its lines being:

  Hope Kailzie, and Cardrona, gathered out thickfold,
  Singing "Hey ho, rumbelow, the young folks were full bold."

both of which places could be seen from Horsburgh Castle looking across
the river.

We saw the Tower of Cardrona, just before entering the considerable
village, or town, of Innerleithen at six miles from Peebles, and
although the time was so early, we met many people on their way to the
fair. Just before reaching Innerleithen we came to a sharp deep bend in
the river, which we were informed was known as the "Dirt Pot" owing to
its black appearance. At the bottom of this dark depth the silver bells
of Peebles were supposed to be lying. We also saw Glennormiston House,
the residence of William Chambers, who, with his brother, Robert,
founded _Chambers's Journal_ of wide-world fame, and authors, singly and
conjointly, of many other volumes. The two brothers were both
benefactors to their native town of Peebles, and William became Lord
Provost of Edinburgh, and the restorer of its ancient Cathedral of St.
Giles's. His brother Robert died earlier in that very year in which we
were walking. We reached Innerleithen just as the factory operatives
were returning from breakfast to their work at the woollen factories,
and they seemed quite a respectable class of people. Here we called at
the principal inn for our own breakfast, for which we were quite ready,
but we did not know then that Rabbie Burns had been to Innerleithen,
where, as he wrote, he had from a jug "a dribble o' drink," or we should
have done ourselves the honour of calling at the same place. At
Innerleithen we came to another "Bell-tree Field," where the bell hung
on the branch of a tree to summon worshippers to church, and there were
also some mineral springs which became famous after the publication of
Sir Walter Scott's novel, _St. Ronan's Well_.

[Illustration: TRAQUAIR HOUSE.]

Soon after leaving Innerleithen we could see Traquair House towering
above the trees by which it was surrounded. Traquair was said to be the
oldest inhabited house in Scotland. Sir Walter Scott knew it well, it
being quite near to Ashiestiel, where he wrote "The Lay of the Last
Minstrel," "Marmion," and "The Lady of the Lake." It was one of the
prototypes of "Tully Veolan" in his _Waverley_. There was no abode in
Scotland more quaint and curious than Traquair House, for it was
turreted, walled, buttressed, windowed, and loopholed, all as in the
days of old. Within were preserved many relics of the storied past and
also of royalty. Here was the bed on which Queen Mary slept in 1566;
here also the oaken cradle of the infant King James VI. The library was
rich in valuable and rare books and MSS. and service books of the
twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries in beautiful penmanship
upon fine vellum. The magnificent avenue was grass-grown, the gates had
not been opened for many years, while the pillars of the gateway were
adorned with two huge bears standing erect and bearing the motto: "Judge
Nocht." Magnificent woods adorned the grounds, remains of the
once-famous forest of Ettrick, said to be the old classical forest of
Caledon of the days of King Arthur.

Here was also Flora Hill, with its beautiful woods, where Hogg, the
Ettrick Shepherd, lays the scene of his exquisite poem "Kilmeny" in the
_Queen's Wake_, where--

  Bonnie Kilmeny gae'd up the Glen,
  But it wisna to meet Duneira's men, etc.

Through beautiful scenery we continued alongside the Tweed, and noticed
that even the rooks could not do without breakfast, for they were busy
in a potato field. We were amused to see them fly away on our approach,
some of them with potatoes in their mouths, and, like other thieves,
looking quite guilty.

Presently we came to a solitary fisherman standing knee-deep in the
river, with whom we had a short conversation. He said he was fishing for
salmon, which ascended the river from Berwick about that time of the
year and returned in May. We were rather amused at his mentioning the
return journey, as from the frantic efforts he was making to catch the
fish he was doing his best to prevent them from coming back again. He
told us he had been fishing there since daylight that morning, and had
caught nothing. By way of sympathy my brother told him a story of two
young men who walked sixteen miles over the hills to fish in a stream.
They stayed that night at the nearest inn, and started out very early
the next morning. When they got back to the hotel at night they wrote
the following verse in the visitors' book:

  Hickory dickory dock!
  We began at six o'clock,
  We fished till night without a bite.
  Hickory dickory dock!

This was a description, he said, of real fishermen's luck, but whether
the absence of the "bite" referred to the fishermen or to the fish was
not quite clear. It had been known to apply to both.

Proceeding further we met a gentleman walking along the road, of whom we
made inquiries about the country we were passing through. He told us
that the castle we could see across the river was named "Muckle Mouthed
Meg." A certain man in ancient times, having offended against the laws,
was given a choice for a sentence by the King of Scotland---either he
must marry Muckle Mouthed Meg, a woman with a very large mouth, or
suffer death. He chose the first, and the pair lived together in the old
castle for some years. We told him we were walking from John o' Groat's
to Land's End, but when he said he had passed John o' Groat's in the
train, we had considerable doubts as to the accuracy of his statements,
for there was no railway at all in the County of Caithness in which John
o' Groat's was situated. We therefore made further inquiries about the
old castle, and were informed that the proper name of it was Elibank
Castle, and that it once belonged to Sir Gideon Murray, who one night
caught young Willie Scott of Oakwood Tower trying to "lift the kye." The
lowing of the cattle roused him up, and with his retainers he drove off
the marauders, while his lady watched the fight from the battlement of
the Tower. Willie, or, to be more correct, Sir William Scott, Junr., was
caught and put in the dungeon. Sir Gideon Murray decided to hang him,
but his lady interposed: "Would ye hang the winsome Laird o' Harden,"
she said, "when ye hae three ill-favoured daughters to marry?" Sir
Willie was one of the handsomest men of his time, and when the men
brought the rope to hang him he was given the option of marrying Muckle
Mou'd Meg or of being hanged with a "hempen halter." It was said that
when he first saw Meg he said he preferred to be hanged, but he found
she improved on closer acquaintance, and so in three days' time a
clergyman said, "Wilt thou take this woman here present to be thy lawful
wife?" knowing full well what the answer must be. Short of other
materials, the marriage contract was written with a goose quill on the
parchment head of a drum. Sir William found that Meg made him a very
good wife in spite of her wide mouth, and they lived happily together,
the moral being, we supposed, that it is not always the prettiest girl
that makes the best wife.

Shortly afterwards we left the River Tweed for a time while we walked
across the hills to Galashiels, and on our way to that town we came to a
railway station near which were some large vineries. A carriage was
standing at the entrance to the gardens, where two gentlemen were buying
some fine bunches of grapes which we could easily have disposed of, for
we were getting rather hungry, but as they did not give us the chance,
we walked on. Galashiels was formerly only a village, the "shiels"
meaning shelters for sheep, but it had risen to importance owing to its
woollen factories. It was now a burgh, boasting a coat-of-arms on which
was represented a plum-tree with a fox on either side, and the motto,
"Sour plums of Galashiels." The origin of this was an incident that
occurred in 1337, in the time of Edward III, when some Englishmen who
were retreating stopped here to eat some wild plums. While they were so
engaged they were attacked by a party of Scots with swords, who killed
every one of them, throwing their bodies into a trench afterwards known
as the "Englishman's Syke." We passed a road leading off to the left to
Stow, where King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table were said to
have defeated the Heathens. We left Galashiels by the Melrose Road, and,
after walking about a mile and a half, we turned aside to cross the
River Tweed, not by a ferry, as that was against our rule, but by a
railway bridge. No doubt this was against the railway company's by-laws
and regulations, but it served our purpose, and we soon reached
Abbotsford, that fine mansion, once the residence of the great Sir
Walter Scott, the king of novelists, on the building of which he had
spent a great amount of money, and the place of his death September
21st, 1832.


Abbotsford, including the gardens, park, walks and woods, was all his
own creation, and was so named by him because the River Tweed was
crossed at that point by the monks on their way to and from Melrose
Abbey in the olden times.

[Illustration: SIR WALTER SCOTT.]

We found the house in splendid condition and the garden just as Sir
Walter had left it. We were shown through the hall, study, library, and
drawing-room, and even his last suit of clothes, with his white beaver
hat, was carefully preserved under a glass case. We saw much armour, the
largest suit belonging formerly to Sir John Cheney, the biggest man who
fought at the battle of Bosworth Field. The collection of arms gathered
out of all ages and countries was said to be the finest in the world,
including Rob Roy Macgregor's gun, sword, and dirk, the Marquis of
Montrose's sword, and the rifle of Andreas Hofer the Tyrolese patriot.

Amongst these great curios was the small pocket-knife used by Sir
Walter when he was a boy. We were shown the presents given to him from
all parts of the kingdom, and from abroad, including an ebony suite of
furniture presented to him by King George IV. There were many portraits
and busts of himself, and his wife and children, including a marble bust
of himself by Chantrey, the great sculptor, carved in the year 1820. The
other portraits included one of Queen Elizabeth, another of Rob Roy; a
painting of Queen Mary's head, after it had been cut off at Fotheringay,
and a print of Stothard's _Canterbury Pilgrims_. We also saw an iron box
in which Queen Mary kept her money for the poor, and near this was her
crucifix. In fact, the place reminded us of some great museum, for there
were numberless relics of antiquity stored in every nook and corner, and
in the most unlikely places. We were sorry we had not time to stay and
take a longer survey, for the mansion and its surroundings form one of
the great sights of Scotland, whose people revere the memory of the
great man who lived there.


The declining days of Sir Walter were not without sickness and sorrow,
for he had spent all the money obtained by the sale of his books on this
palatial mansion. After a long illness, and as a last resource, he was
taken to Italy; but while there he had another apoplectic attack, and
was brought home again, only just in time to die. He expressed a wish
that Lockhart, his son-in-law, should read to him, and when asked from
what book, he answered, "Need you ask? There is but one." He chose the
fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel, and when it was ended, he said,
"Well, this is a great comfort: I have followed you distinctly, and I
feel as if I were yet to be myself again." In an interval of
consciousness he said, "Lockhart! I may have but a minute to speak to
you, my dear; be a good man, be virtuous, be religious, be a good man.
Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here."

A friend who was present at the death of Sir Walter wrote: "It was a
beautiful day--so warm that every window was wide open, and so perfectly
still that the sound of all others most delicious to his ear, the gentle
ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles, was distinctly audible--as we
kneeled around his bed, and his eldest son kissed and closed his eyes."
We could imagine the wish that would echo in more than one mind as Sir
Walter's soul departed, perhaps through one of the open windows, "Let me
die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his."

  So coldly sweet, so deadly fair,
  We start, for soul is wanting there;
  It is the loneliness in death
  That parts not quite with parting breath,
  But beauty with that fearful bloom,
  The hue which haunts it to the tomb,
  Expression's last receding ray;
  A gilded halo hov'ring round decay.

[Illustration: ABBOTSFORD.]

We passed slowly through the garden and grounds, and when we reached the
road along which Sir Walter Scott had so often walked, we hurried on to
see the old abbey of Melrose, which was founded by King David I. On our
way we passed a large hydropathic establishment and an asylum not quite
completed, and on reaching Melrose we called at one of the inns for tea,
where we read a description by Sir Walter of his "flitting" from
Ashiestiel, his former residence, to his grand house at Abbotsford. The
flitting took place at Whitsuntide in 1812, so, as he died in 1832, he
must have lived at Abbotsford about twenty years. He was a great
collector of curios, and wrote a letter describing the comical scene
which took place on that occasion. "The neighbours," he wrote, "have
been very much delighted with the procession of furniture, in which old
swords, bows, targets, and lances made a very conspicuous show. A family
of turkeys was accommodated within the helmet of some _preux chevalier_
of ancient Border fame, and the very cows, for aught I know, were
bearing banners and muskets. I assure you that this caravan, attended by
a dozen ragged, rosy, peasant children carrying fishing-rods and spears,
and leading ponies, greyhounds, and spaniels, would, as it crossed the
Tweed, have furnished no bad subject for the pencil."


Melrose Abbey was said to afford the finest specimen of Gothic
architecture and Gothic sculpture of which Scotland could boast, and the
stone of which it had been built, though it had resisted the weather for
many ages, retained perfect sharpness, so that even the most minute
ornaments seemed as entire as when they had been newly wrought. In some
of the cloisters there were representations of flowers, leaves, and
vegetables carved in stone with "accuracy and precision so delicate that
it almost made visitors distrust their senses when they considered the
difficulty of subjecting so hard a substance to such intricate and
exquisite modulation." This superb convent was dedicated to St. Mary,
and the monks were of the Cistercian Order, of whom the poet wrote:

  Oh, the monks of Melrose made gude kail (broth)
    On Fridays when they fasted;
  Nor wanted they gude beef and ale,
    So lang's their neighbours' lasted.

There were one hundred monks at Melrose in the year 1542, and it was
supposed that in earlier times much of the carving had been done by
monks under strong religious influences. The rose predominated amongst
the carved flowers, as it was the abbot's favourite flower, emblematic
of the locality from which the abbey took its name. The curly green, or
kale, which grew in nearly every garden in Scotland, was a very
difficult plant to sculpture, but was so delicately executed here as to
resemble exactly the natural leaf; and there was a curious gargoyle
representing a pig playing on the bagpipes, so this instrument must have
been of far more ancient origin than we had supposed when we noticed its
absence from the instruments recorded as having been played when Mary
Queen of Scots was serenaded in Edinburgh on her arrival in Scotland.


Under the high altar were buried the remains of Alexander II, the dust
of Douglas the hero of Otterburn, and others of his illustrious and
heroic race, as well as the remains of Sir Michael Scott. Here too was
buried the heart of King Robert the Bruce. It appeared that Bruce told
his son that he wished to have his heart buried at Melrose; but when he
was ready to die and his friends were assembled round his bedside, he
confessed to them that in his passion he had killed Comyn with his own
hand, before the altar, and had intended, had he lived, to make war on
the Saracens, who held the Holy Land, for the evil deeds he had done. He
requested his dearest friend, Lord James Douglas, to carry his heart to
Jerusalem and bury it there. Douglas wept bitterly, but as soon as the
king was dead he had his heart taken from his body, embalmed, and
enclosed in a silver case which he had made for it, and wore it
suspended from his neck by a string of silk and gold. With some of the
bravest men in Scotland he set out for Jerusalem, but, landing in Spain,
they were persuaded to take part in a battle there against the Saracens.
Douglas, seeing one of his friends being hard pressed by the enemy, went
to his assistance and became surrounded by the Moors himself. Seeing no
chance of escape, he took from his neck the heart of Bruce, and speaking
to it as he would have done to Bruce if alive, said, "Pass first in the
fight as thou wert wont to do, and Douglas will follow thee or die."
With these words he threw the king's heart among the enemy, and rushing
forward to the place where it fell, was there slain, and his body was
found lying on the silver case. Most of the Scots were slain in this
battle with the Moors, and they that remained alive returned to
Scotland, the charge of Bruce's heart being entrusted to Sir Simon
Lockhard of Lee, who afterwards for his device bore on his shield a
man's heart with a padlock upon it, in memory of Bruce's heart which was
padlocked in the silver case. For this reason, also, Sir Simon's name
was changed from Lockhard to Lockheart, and Bruce's heart was buried in
accordance with his original desire at Melrose.

Sir Michael Scott of Balwearie, who also lies buried in the abbey,
flourished in the thirteenth century. His great learning, chiefly
acquired in foreign countries, together with an identity in name, had
given rise to a certain confusion, among the earlier historians, between
him and Michael Scott the "wondrous wizard and magician" referred to by
Dante in Canto xxmo of the "Inferno." Michael Scott studied such
abstruse subjects as judicial astrology, alchemy, physiognomy, and
chiromancy, and his commentary on Aristotle was considered to be of such
a high order that it was printed in Venice in 1496. Sir Walter Scott
referred to Michael Scott:

  The wondrous Michael Scott
  A wizard, of such dreaded fame,
  That when in Salamanca's Cave
  Him listed his magic wand to wave
  The bells would ring in Notre Dame,

and he explained the origin of this by relating the story that Michael
on one occasion when in Spain was sent as an Ambassador to the King of
France to obtain some concessions, but instead of going in great state,
as usual on those occasions, he evoked the services of a demon in the
shape of a huge black horse, forcing it to fly through the air to Paris.
The king was rather offended at his coming in such an unceremonious
manner, and was about to give him a contemptuous refusal when Scott
asked him to defer his decision until his horse had stamped its foot
three times. The first stamp shook every church in Paris, causing all
the bells to ring; the second threw down three of the towers of the
palace; and when the infernal steed had lifted up his hoof for the third
time, the king stopped him by promising Michael the most ample

A modern writer, commenting upon this story, says, "There is something
uncanny about the Celts which makes them love a Trinity of ideas, and
the old stories of the Welsh collected in the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries include a story very similar about Kilhwch, cousin to Arthur,
who threatens if he cannot have what he wants that he will set up three
shouts than which none were ever heard more deadly and which will be
heard from Pengwaed in Cornwall to Dinsol in the North and Ergair Oerful
in Ireland. The Triads show the method best and furnish many examples,
quoting the following:

Three things are best when hung--salt fish, a wet hat, and an

Three things are difficult to get--gold from the miser, love from the
devil, and courtesy from the Englishman.

The three hardest things--a granite block, a miser's barley loaf, and an
Englishman's heart. But perhaps the best known is one translated long
ago from the Welsh:

  A woman, a dog, and a walnut tree,
  The more they are beaten, the better they be.

But to return to Michael Scott. Another strange story about Michael was
his adventure with the witch of Falschope. To avenge himself upon her
for striking him suddenly with his own wand whereby he was transformed
for a time and assumed the appearance of a hare, Michael sent his man
with two greyhounds to the house where the witch lived, to ask the old
lady to give him a bit of bread for the greyhounds; if she refused he
was to place a piece of paper, which he handed to him, over the top of
the house door. The witch gave the man a curt refusal, and so he
fastened the paper, on which were some words, including, "Michael
Scott's man sought meat and gat nane," as directed. This acted as a
spell, and the old witch, who was making cakes for the reapers then at
work in the corn, now began to dance round the fire (which, as usual in
those days, was burning in the middle of the room) and to sing the

  "Maister Michael Scott's man
  Sought meat and gat nane."

and she had to continue thus until the spell was broken. Meantime, her
husband and the reapers who were with him were wondering why the cakes
had not reached them, so the old man sent one of the reapers to inquire
the reason. As soon as he went through the door he was caught by the
spell and so had to perform the same antics as his mistress. As he did
not return, the husband sent man after man until he was alone, and then
went himself. But, knowing all about the quarrel between Michael and his
wife, and having seen the wizard on the hill, he was rather more
cautious than his men, so, instead of going through the door, he looked
through the window. There he saw the reapers dragging his wife, who had
become quite exhausted, sometimes round, and sometimes through the fire,
singing the chorus as they did so. He at once saddled his horse and rode
as fast as he could to find Michael, who good-naturedly granted his
request, and directed him to enter his house backwards, removing the
paper from above the door with his left hand as he went in. The old man
lost no time in returning home, where he found them all still dancing
furiously and singing the same rhyme; but immediately he entered, the
supernatural performance ended, very much, we imagine, to the relief of
all concerned.

Michael Scott was at one time, it was said, much embarrassed by a spirit
for whom he had to find constant employment, and amongst other work he
commanded him to build a dam or other weir across the River Tweed at
Kelso. He completed that in a single night. Michael next ordered him to
divide the summit of the Eildon Hill in three parts; but as this
stupendous work was also completed in one night, he was at his wits'
end what work to find him to do next. At last he bethought himself of a
job that would find him constant employment. He sent him to the seashore
and employed him at the hopeless and endless task of making ropes of
sand there, which as fast as he made them were washed away by the tides.
The three peaks of Eildon Hill, of nearly equal height, are still to be
seen. Magnificent views are to be obtained from their tops, which Sir
Walter Scott often frequented and of which he wrote, "I can stand on the
Eildon and point out forty-three places famous in war and in verse."

Another legend connected with these hills was that in the "Eildon
caverns vast" a cave existed where the British King Arthur and his
famous Knights of the Round Table lie asleep waiting the blast of the
bugle which will recall them from Fairyland to lead the British on to a
victory that will ensure a united and glorious Empire. King Arthur has a
number of burial-places of the same character, according to local
stories both in England and Wales, and even one in Cheshire at Alderley
Edge, close By the "Wizard Inn," which title refers to the story.

[Illustration: MELROSE ABBEY.]

Melrose and district has been hallowed by the influence and memory of
Sir Walter Scott, who was to Melrose what Shakespeare was to
Stratford-on-Avon, and he has invested the old abbey with an additional
halo of interest by his "Lay of the Last Minstrel," a copy of which we
saw for the first time at the inn where we called for tea. We were
greatly interested, as it related to the neighbourhood we were about to
pass through in particular, and we were quite captivated with its
opening lines, which appealed so strongly to wayfarers like ourselves:

  The way was long, the wind was cold.
  The Minstrel was infirm and old;
  His wither'd cheek, and tresses gray,
  Seem'd to have known a better day;

  The harp, his sole remaining joy,
  Was carried by an orphan boy.
  The last of all the Bards was he,
  Who sung of Border chivalry.

We were now nearing the Borders of Scotland and England, where this
Border warfare formerly raged for centuries. The desperadoes engaged in
it on the Scottish side were known as Moss-troopers, any of whom when
caught by the English were taken to Carlisle and hanged near there at a
place called Hairibee. Those who claimed the "benefit of clergy" were
allowed to repeat in Latin the "Miserere mei," at the beginning of the
51st Psalm, before they were executed, this becoming known as the

William of Deloraine was one of the most desperate Moss-troopers ever
engaged in Border warfare, but he, according to Sir Walter Scott:

  By wily turns, by desperate bounds,
  Had baffled Percy's best blood-hounds;
  In Eske or Liddel, fords were none,
  But he would ride them, one by one;

         *       *       *       *       *

  Steady of heart, and stout of hand.
  As ever drove prey from Cumberland;
  Five times outlawed had he been,
  By England's King, and Scotland's Queen.

When Sir Michael Scott was buried in Melrose Abbey his Mystic
Book--which no one was ever to see except the Chief of Branxholm, and
then only in the time of need--was buried with him. Branxholm Tower was
about eighteen miles from Melrose and situated in the vale of Cheviot.
After the death of Lord Walter (who had been killed in the Border
warfare), a gathering of the kinsmen of the great Buccleuch was held
there, and the "Ladye Margaret" left the company, retiring laden with
sorrow and her impending troubles to her bower. It was a fine moonlight
night when--

  From amid the arméd train
  She called to her, William of Deloraine.

and sent him for the mighty book to Melrose Abbey which was to relieve
her of all her troubles.

  "Sir William of Deloraine, good at need,
  Mount thee on the wightest steed;
  Spare not to spur, nor stint to ride.
  Until thou come to fair Tweedside;
  And in Melrose's holy pile
  Seek thou the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.
    Greet the Father well from me;
      Say that the fated hour is come,
    And to-night he shall watch with thee,
      To win the treasure of the tomb:
  For this will be St. Michael's night,
  And, though stars be dim, the moon is bright;
  And the Cross, of bloody red,
  Will point to the grave of the mighty dead.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "What he gives thee, see thou keep;
  Stay not thou for food or sleep:
  Be it scroll, or be it book,
  Into it, Knight, thou must not look;
  If thou readest, thou art lorn!
  Better had'st thou ne'er been born."--

         *       *       *       *       *

  "O swiftly can speed my dapple-grey steed,
    Which drinks of the Teviot clear;
  Ere break of day," the Warrior 'gan say,
    "Again will I be here:
  And safer by none may thy errand be done,
    Than, noble dame, by me;
  Letter nor line know I never a one,
    Wer't my neck-verse at Hairibee."

Deloraine lost no time in carrying out his Ladye's wishes, and rode
furiously on his horse to Melrose Abbey in order to be there by
midnight, and as described in Sir Walter Scott's "Lay of the Last

  Short halt did Deloraine make there;
  Little reck'd he of the scene so fair
  With dagger's hilt, on the wicket strong,
  He struck full loud, and struck full long.
  The porter hurried to the gate--
  "Who knocks so loud, and knocks so late?"
  "From Branksome I," the warrior cried;
  And straight the wicket open'd wide
  For Branksome's Chiefs had in battle stood,
  To fence the rights of fair Melrose;
  And lands and livings, many a rood,
  Had gifted the Shrine for their souls' repose.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Bold Deloraine his errand said;
  The porter bent his humble head;
  With torch in hand, and feet unshod.
  And noiseless step, the path he trod.
  The archèd cloister, far and wide,
  Rang to the warrior's clanking stride,
  Till, stooping low his lofty crest,
  He enter'd the cell of the ancient priest,
  And lifted his barred aventayle,
  To hail the Monk of St. Mary's aisle.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "The Ladye of Branksome greets thee by me,
  Says, that the fated hour is come,
  And that to-night I shall watch with thee,
  To win the treasure of the tomb."
  From sackcloth couch the Monk arose,
  With toil his stiffen'd limbs he rear'd;
  A hundred years had flung their snows
  On his thin locks and floating beard.

  And strangely on the Knight look'd he,
    And his blue eyes gleam'd wild and wide;
  "And, darest thou, Warrior! seek to see
    What heaven and hell alike would hide?
  My breast, in belt of iron pent,
    With shirt of hair and scourge of thorn;
  For threescore years, in penance spent.
    My knees those flinty stones have worn;
  Yet all too little to atone
  For knowing what should ne'er be known.
    Would'st thou thy every future year
     In ceaseless prayer and penance drie,
  Yet wait thy latter end with fear
  Then, daring Warrior, follow me!"

         *       *       *       *       *

  "Penance, father, will I none;
  Prayer know I hardly one;
  For mass or prayer can I rarely tarry,
  Save to patter an Ave Mary,
  When I ride on a Border foray.
  Other prayer can I none;
  So speed me my errand, and let me be gone."

         *       *       *       *       *

  Again on the Knight look'd the Churchman old,
    And again he sighed heavily;
  For he had himself been a warrior bold.
    And fought in Spain and Italy.
  And he thought on the days that were long since by,
  When his limbs were strong, and his courage was high--
  Now, slow and faint, he led the way,
  Where, cloister'd round, the garden lay;
  The pillar'd arches were over their head,
  And beneath their feet were the bones of the dead.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The moon on the east oriel shone
  Through slender shafts of shapely stone,

         *       *       *       *       *

  The silver light, so pale and faint,
  Shew'd many a prophet, and many a saint,
    Whose image on the glass was dyed;
  Full in the midst, his Cross of Red
  Triumphal Michael brandished,
    And trampled the Apostate's pride.
  The moon beam kiss'd the holy pane,
  And threw on the pavement a bloody stain.

         *       *       *       *       *

  They sate them down on a marble stone,--
  (A Scottish monarch slept below;)
  Thus spoke the Monk, in solemn tone--
    "I was not always a man of woe;
  For Paynim countries I have trod,
  And fought beneath the Cross of God:
  Now, strange to my eyes thine arms appear.
  And their iron clang sounds strange to my ear.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "In these far climes it was my lot
  To meet the wondrous Michael Scott;

         *       *       *       *       *

  Some of his skill he taught to me;
  And, Warrior, I could say to thee
  The words that cleft Eildon hills in three,
    And bridled the Tweed with a curb of stone:
  But to speak them were a deadly sin;
  And for having but thought them my heart within,
    A treble penance must be done.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "When Michael lay on his dying bed,
  His conscience was awakened
  He bethought him of his sinful deed,
  And he gave me a sign to come with speed.
  I was in Spain when the morning rose,
  But I stood by his bed ere evening close.
  The words may not again be said
  That he spoke to me, on death-bed laid;
  They would rend this Abbaye's massy nave,
  And pile it in heaps above his grave.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "I swore to bury his Mighty Book,
  That never mortal might therein look;
  And never to tell where it was hid,
  Save at his Chief of Branksome's need:
  And when that need was past and o'er,
  Again the volume to restore.
  I buried him on St. Michael's night,
  When the bell toll'd one, and the moon was bright,
  And I dug his chamber among the dead,
  When the floor of the chancel was stained red,
  That his patron's cross might over him wave,
  And scare the fiends from the Wizard's grave.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "It was a night of woe and dread,
  When Michael in the tomb I laid!
  Strange sounds along the chancel pass'd,
  The banners waved without a blast"--
    Still spoke the Monk, when the bell toll'd one!--
  I tell you, that a braver man
  Than William of Deloraine, good at need,
  Against a foe ne'er spurr'd a steed;
  Yet somewhat was he chill'd with dread,
  And his hair did bristle upon his head.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "Lo, Warrior! now, the Cross of Red
  Points to the grave of the mighty dead;
  Within it burns a wondrous light,
  To chase the spirits that love the night:
  That lamp shall burn unquenchably,
  Until the eternal doom shall be."--
  Slow moved the Monk to the broad flag-stone,
  Which the bloody Cross was traced upon:

  He pointed to a secret nook;
  An iron bar the Warrior took;
  And the Monk made a sign with his wither'd hand,
  The grave's huge portal to expand.

         *       *       *       *       *

  With beating heart to the task he went;
  His sinewy frame o'er the grave-stone bent;
  With bar of iron heaved amain,
  Till the toil-drops fell from his brows, like rain.
  It was by dint of passing strength,
  That he moved the massy stone at length.
  I would you had been there, to see
  How the light broke forth so gloriously,
  Stream'd upward to the chancel roof,
  And through the galleries far aloof!
  No earthly flame blazed e'er so bright:
  It shone like heaven's own blessed light,
    And, issuing from the tomb,
  Show'd the Monk's cowl, and visage pale,
  Danced on the dark-brow'd Warrior's mail,
  And kiss'd his waving plume.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Before their eyes the Wizard lay,
  As if he had not been dead a day.
  His hoary beard in silver roll'd.
  He seem'd some seventy winters old;
    A palmer's amice wrapp'd him round,
    With a wrought Spanish baldric bound,
      Like a pilgrim from beyond the sea:
    His left hand held his Book of Might;
    A silver cross was in his right;
      The lamp was placed beside his knee:
  High and majestic was his look,
  At which the fellest fiends had shook.
  And all unruffled was his face:
  They trusted his soul had gotten grace.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Often had William of Deloraine
  Rode through the battle's bloody plain,
  And trampled down the warriors slain,
    And neither known remorse nor awe;
  Yet now remorse and awe he own'd;
  His breath came thick, his head swam round.
    When this strange scene of death he saw.
  Bewilder'd and unnerved he stood.
  And the priest pray'd fervently and loud:
  With eyes averted prayed he;
  He might not endure the sight to see.
  Of the man he had loved so brotherly.

         *       *       *       *       *

  And when the priest his death-prayer had pray'd,
  Thus unto Deloraine he said:--
  "Now, speed thee what thou hast to do,
  Or, Warrior, we may dearly rue;

  For those, thou may'st not look upon,
  Are gathering fast round the yawning stone!"--
  Then Deloraine, in terror, took
  From the cold hand the Mighty Book,
  With iron clasp'd, and with iron bound:
  He thought, as he took it, the dead man frown'd;
  But the glare of the sepulchral light,
  Perchance, had dazzled the Warrior's sight.

         *       *       *       *       *

  When the huge stone sunk o'er the tomb.
  The night return'd in double gloom;
  For the moon had gone down, and the stars were few;
  And, as the Knight and Priest withdrew.
  With wavering steps and dizzy brain,
  They hardly might the postern gain.
  'Tis said, as through the aisles they pass'd,
  They heard strange noises on the blast;
  And through the cloister-galleries small,
  Which at mid-height thread the chancel wall,
  Loud sobs, and laughter louder, ran,
  And voices unlike the voices of man;
  As if the fiends kept holiday,
  Because these spells were brought to day.
  I cannot tell how the truth may be;
  I say the tale as 'twas said to me.

         *       *       *       *       *

  "Now, hie thee hence," the Father said,
  "And when we are on death-bed laid,
  O may our dear Ladye, and sweet St. John,
  Forgive our souls for the deed we have done!"--
    The Monk return'd him to his cell,
      And many a prayer and penance sped;
    When the convent met at the noontide bell--
      The Monk of St. Mary's aisle was dead!
  Before the cross was the body laid,
  With hands clasp'd fast, as if still he pray'd.

What became of Sir William Deloraine and the wonderful book on his
return journey we had no time to read that evening, but we afterwards
learned he fell into the hands of the terrible Black Dwarf. We had
decided to walk to Hawick if possible, although we were rather reluctant
to leave Melrose. We had had one good tea on entering the town, and my
brother suggested having another before leaving it, so after visiting
the graveyard of the abbey, where the following curious epitaph appeared
on one of the stones, we returned to the inn, where the people were
highly amused at seeing us return so soon and for such a purpose:

  The earth goeth to the earth
    Glist'ring like gold;
  The earth goeth to the earth
    Sooner than it wold;
  The earth builds on the earth
    Castles and Towers;
  The earth says to the earth,
    All shall be ours.

Still, we were quite ready for our second tea, and wondered whether
there was any exercise that gave people a better appetite and a greater
joy in appeasing it than walking, especially in the clear and sharp air
of Scotland, for we were nearly always extremely hungry after an hour or
two's walk. When the tea was served, I noticed that my brother lingered
over it longer than usual, and when I reminded him that the night would
soon be on us, he said he did not want to leave before dark, as he
wanted to see how the old abbey appeared at night, quoting Sir Walter
Scott as the reason why:

  If thou would'st view fair Melrose aright,
  Go visit it by the pale moonlight;
  For the gay beams of lightsome day
  Gild, but to flout, the ruins grey.
  When the broken arches are black in night,
  And each shafted oriel glimmers white;
  When the cold light's uncertain shower
  Streams on the ruin'd central tower;
  When buttress and buttress, alternately,
  Seem framed of ebon and ivory;
  When silver edges the imagery.
  And the scrolls that teach thee to live and die;
  When distant Tweed is heard to rave,
  And the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave,
  Then go--but go alone the while--
  Then view St. David's ruin'd pile;
  And, home returning, soothly swear.
  Was ever scene so sad and fair?

I reminded my brother that there would be no moon visible that night,
and that it would therefore be impossible to see the old abbey "by the
pale moonlight"; but he said the starlight would do just as well for
him, so we had to wait until one or two stars made their appearance, and
then departed, calling at a shop to make a few small purchases as we
passed on our way. The path alongside the abbey was entirely deserted.
Though so near the town there was scarcely a sound to be heard, not even
"the owlet to hoot o'er the dead man's grave." Although we had no
moonlight, the stars were shining brightly through the ruined arches
which had once been filled with stained glass, representing the figures
"of many a prophet and many a saint." It was a beautiful sight that
remained in our memories long after other scenes had been forgotten.

According to the Koran there were four archangels: Azrael, the angel of
death; Azrafil, who was to sound the trumpet at the resurrection;
Gabriel, the angel of revelations, who wrote down the divine decrees;
and Michael, the champion, who fought the battles of faith,--and it was
this Michael whose figure Sir Walter Scott described as appearing full
in the midst of the east oriel window "with his Cross of bloody red,"
which in the light of the moon shone on the floor of the abbey and
"pointed to the grave of the mighty dead" into which the Monk and
William of Deloraine had to descend to secure possession of the "Mighty

After passing the old abbey and the shade of the walls and trees to find
our way to the narrow and rough road along which we had to travel
towards Hawick, we halted for a few moments at the side of the road to
arrange the contents of our bags, in order to make room for the small
purchases we had made in the town. We had almost completed the
readjustment when we heard the heavy footsteps of a man approaching, who
passed us walking along the road we were about to follow. My brother
asked him if he was going far that way, to which he replied, "A goodish
bit," so we said we should be glad of his company; but he walked on
without speaking to us further. We pushed the remaining things in our
bags as quickly as possible, and hurried on after him. As we did not
overtake him, we stood still and listened attentively, though
fruitlessly, for not a footstep could we hear. We then accelerated our
pace to what was known as the "Irishman's Trig"--a peculiar step,
quicker than a walk, but slower than a run--and after going some
distance we stopped again to listen; but the only sound we could hear
was the barking of a solitary dog a long distance away. This was very
provoking, as we wanted to get some information about our road, which,
besides being rough, was both hilly and very lonely, and more in the
nature of a track than a road. Where the man could have disappeared to
was a mystery on a road apparently without any offshoots, so we
concluded he must have thought we contemplated doing him some bodily
harm, and had either "bolted" or "clapp'd," as my brother described it,
behind some rock or bush, in which case he must have felt relieved and
perhaps amused when he heard us "trigging" past him on the road.


We continued along the lonely road without his company, with the ghostly
Eildon Hills on one side and the moors on the other, until after walking
steadily onwards for a few miles, we heard the roar of a mountain stream
in the distance. When we reached it we were horrified to find it running
right across our road. It looked awful in the dark, as it was quite
deep, and although we could just see where our road emerged from the
stream on the other side, it was quite impossible for us to cross in the
dark. We could see a few lights some distance beyond the stream, but it
was useless to attempt to call for help, since our voices could not be
heard above the noise of the torrent. Our position seemed almost
hopeless, until my brother said he thought he had seen a shed or a small
house behind a gate some distance before coming to the stream. We
resolved to turn back, and luckily we discovered it to be a small lodge
guarding the entrance to a private road. We knocked at the door of the
house, which was in darkness, the people having evidently gone to bed.
Presently a woman asked what was wanted, and when we told her we could
not get across the stream, she said there was a footbridge near by,
which we had not seen in the dark, and told us how to find it a little
higher up the stream. Needless to relate, we were very pleased when we
got across the bridge, and we measured the distance across that
turbulent stream in fifteen long strides.

We soon reached the lights we had seen, and found a small village, where
at the inn we got some strange lodgings, and slept that night in a bed
of a most curious construction, as it was in a dark place under the
stairs, entered by a door from the parlour. But it was clean and
comfortable, and we were delighted to make use of it after our long

(_Distance walked thirty miles_.)

_Wednesday, October 11th._

We had been warned when we retired to rest that it was most likely we
should be wakened early in the morning by people coming down the stairs,
and advised to take no notice of them, as no one would interfere with us
or our belongings. We were not surprised, therefore, when we were
aroused early by heavy footsteps immediately over our heads, which we
supposed were those of the landlord as he came down the stairs. We had
slept soundly, and, since there was little chance of any further
slumber, we decided to get up and look round, the village before
breakfast. We had to use the parlour as a dressing-room, and not knowing
who might be coming down the stairs next, we dressed ourselves as
quickly as possible. We found that the village was called Lilliesleaf,
which we thought a pretty name, though we were informed it had been
spelt in twenty-seven different ways, while the stream we came to in the
night was known by the incongruous name of Ale Water. The lodge we had
gone back to for information as to the means of crossing was the East
Gate guarding one of the entrances to Riddell, a very ancient place
where Sir Walter Scott had recorded the unearthing of two graves of
special interest, one containing an earthen pot filled with ashes and
arms, and bearing the legible date of 729, and the other dated 936,
filled with the bones of a man of gigantic size.

A local historian wrote of the Ale Water that "it is one thing to see it
on a summer day when it can be crossed by the stepping-stones, and
another when heavy rains have fallen in the autumn--then it is a
strong, deep current and carries branches and even trees on its surface,
the ford at Riddell East Gate being impassable, and it is only then that
we can appreciate the scene." It seemed a strange coincidence that we
should be travelling on the same track but in the opposite direction as
that pursued by William Deloraine, and that we should have crossed the
Ale Water about a fortnight later in the year, as Sir Walter described
him in his "Lay" as riding along the wooded path when "green hazels o'er
his basnet nod," which indicated the month of September.

  Unchallenged, thence pass'd Deloraine,
  To ancient Riddell's fair domain,
  Where Aill, from mountain freed,
  Down from the lakes did raving come;
  Each wave was crested with tawny foam,
  Like the mane of a chestnut steed.
  In vain! no torrent, deep or broad.
  Might bar the bold moss-trooper's road.

         *       *       *       *       *

  At the first plunge the horse sunk low,
  And the water broke o'er the saddlebow;
  Above the foaming tide, I ween,
  Scarce half the charger's neck was seen;
  For he was barded from counter to tail,
  And the rider was armed complete in mail;
  Never heavier man and horse
  Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force.
  The warrior's very plume, I say
  Was daggled by the dashing spray;
  Yet, through good heart, and Our Ladye's grace,
  At length he gain'd the landing place.

What would have become of ourselves if we had attempted to cross the
treacherous stream in the dark of the previous night we did not know,
but we were sure we should have risked our lives had we made the

We were only able to explore the churchyard at Lilliesleaf, as the
church was not open at that early hour in the morning. We copied a
curious inscription from one of the old stones there:

  Near this stone we lifeless lie
  No more the things of earth to spy,
  But we shall leave this dusty bed
  When Christ appears to judge the dead.
  For He shall come in glory great
  And in the air shall have His seat
  And call all men before His throne.
  Rewarding all as they have done.

We were served with a prodigious breakfast at the inn to match, as we
supposed, the big appetites prevailing in the North, and then we resumed
our walk towards Hawick, meeting on our way the children coming to the
school at Lilliesleaf, some indeed quite a long way from their
destination. In about four miles we reached Hassendean and the River
Teviot, for we were now in Teviot Dale, along which we were to walk,
following the river nearly to its source in the hills above. The old
kirk of Hassendean had been dismantled in 1693, but its burial-ground
continued to be used until 1795, when an ice-flood swept away all
vestiges both of the old kirk and the churchyard. It was of this
disaster that Leyden, the poet and orientalist, who was born in 1775 at
the pretty village of Denholm close by, wrote the following lines:

  By fancy wrapt, where tombs are crusted grey,
  I seem by moon-illumined graves to stray,
  Where now a mouldering pile is faintly seen--
  The old deserted church of Hassendean,
  Where slept my fathers in their natal clay
  Till Teviot waters rolled their bones away.

[Illustration: LEYDEN'S COTTAGE.]

Leyden was a great friend of Sir Walter Scott, whom he helped to gather
materials for his "Border Minstrelsie," and was referred to in his novel
of _St. Ronan's Well_ as "a lamp too early quenched." In 1811 he went to
India with Lord Minto, who was at that time Governor-General, as his
interpreter, for Leyden was a great linguist. He died of fever caused by
looking through some old infected manuscripts at Batavia on the coast of
Java. Sir Walter had written a long letter to him which was returned
owing to his death. He also referred to him in his _Lord of the Isles_:

  His bright and brief career is o'er,
    And mute his tuneful strains;
  Quench'd is his lamp of varied lore,
  That loved the light of song to pour;
  A distant and a deadly shore
    Has Leyden's cold remains.

The Minto estate adjoined Hassenden, and the country around it was very
beautiful, embracing the Minto Hills or Crags, Minto House, and a castle
rejoicing, as we thought, in the queer name of "Fatlips."

The walk to the top of Minto Crags was very pleasant, but in olden times
no stranger dared venture there, as the Outlaw Brownhills was in
possession, and had hewn himself out of the rock an almost inaccessible
platform on one of the crags still known as "Brownhills' Bed" from which
he could see all the roads below. Woe betide the unsuspecting traveller
who happened to fall into his hands!

But we must not forget Deloraine, for after receiving instructions from
the "Ladye of Branksome"--

[Illustration: "FATLIPS" CASTLE.]

  Soon in the saddle sate he fast,
  And soon the steep descent he past,
  Soon cross'd the sounding barbican.
  And soon the Teviot side he won.
  Eastward the wooded path he rode.
  Green hazels o'er his basnet nod;
  He passed the Peel of Goldieland,
  And crossed old Borthwick's roaring strand;
  Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound.
  Where Druid shades still flitted round;
  In Hawick twinkled many a light;
  Behind him soon they set in night;
  And soon he spurr'd his courser keen
  Beneath the tower of Hazeldean.

         *       *       *       *       *

  The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark;--
  "Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark."--
  "For Branksome, ho!" the knight rejoin'd.
  And left the friendly tower behind.
  He turn'd him now from Tiviotside,
    And, guided by the tinkling rill,
  Northward the dark ascent did ride.
    And gained the moor at Horsliehill;
  Broad on the left before him lay,
  For many a mile, the Roman Way.

         *       *       *       *       *

  A moment now he slacked his speed,
  A moment breathed his panting steed;
  Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band,
  And loosen'd in the sheath his brand.
  On Minto-crags the moonbeams glint,
  Where Barnhills hew'd his bed of flint;
  Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest,
  Where falcons hang their giddy nest
  Mid cliffs, from whence his eagle eye
  For many a league his prey could spy;
  Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne,
  The terrors of the robber's horn!

We passed through a cultivated country on the verge of the moors, where
we saw some good farms, one farmer telling us he had 900 acres of arable
land with some moorland in addition. He was superintending the gathering
of a good crop of fine potatoes, which he told us were "Protestant
Rocks." He was highly amused when one of us suggested to the other that
they might just have suited a country parson we knew in England who
would not have the best variety of potatoes, called "Radicals," planted
in his garden because he did not like the name. He was further amused
when we innocently asked him the best way to reach Hawick, pronouncing
the name in two syllables which sounded like Hay-wick, while the local
pronunciation was "Hoike." However, we soon reached that town and had a
twelve-o'clock lunch at one of the inns, where we heard something of the
principal annual event of the town, the "Common Riding," the occasion on
which the officials rode round the boundaries. There was an artificial
mound in the town called the "Mote-Hill," formerly used by the Druids.
It was to the top of this hill the cornet and his followers ascended at
sunrise on the day of the festival, after which they adjourned to a
platform specially erected in the town, to sing the Common Riding Song.
We could not obtain a copy of this, but we were fortunate in obtaining
one for the next town we were to visit--Langholm--which proved to be the
last on our walk through Scotland. From what we could learn, the
ceremony at Hawick seemed very like the walking of the parish boundaries
in England, a custom which was there slowly becoming obsolete. We could
only remember attending one of these ceremonies, and that was in
Cheshire. The people of the adjoining parish walked their boundaries on
the same day, so we were bound to meet them at some point _en route_,
and a free fight, fanned by calling at sundry public-houses, was
generally the result. The greatest danger-zone lay where a stream formed
the boundary between the two parishes, at a point traversed by a culvert
or small tunnel through a lofty embankment supporting a canal which
crossed a small valley. This boundary was, of course, common to both
parishes, and representatives of each were expected to pass through it
to maintain their rights, so that it became a matter of some anxiety as
to which of the boundary walkers would reach it first, or whether that
would be the point where both parties would meet. We remembered coming
to a full stop when we reached one entrance to the small tunnel, while
the scouts ascended the embankment to see if the enemy were in sight on
the other side; but as they reported favourably, we decided that two of
our party should walk through the culvert, while the others went round
by the roads to the other end. There was a fair amount of water passing
through at that time, so they were very wet on emerging from the
opposite end, and it was impossible for the men to walk upright, the
contracted position in which they were compelled to walk making the
passage very difficult. What would have happened if the opposition had
come up while our boundary walkers were in the tunnel we could only

Hawick is in Roxburghshire and was joined on to Wilton at a house called
the Salt Hall, or the "Saut Ha'," as it is pronounced in Scotch, where a
tragedy took place in the year 1758. The tenant of the Hall at that time
was a man named Rea, whose wife had committed suicide by cutting her
throat. In those days it was the custom to bury suicides at the dead of
night where the laird's lands met, usually a very lonely corner, and a
stake was driven through the body of the corpse; but from some cause or
other the authorities allowed "Jenny Saut Ha'," as she was commonly
called, to be buried in the churchyard. This was considered by many
people to be an outrage, and the body was disinterred at night, and the
coffin placed against the Saut Ha' door, where Rea was confronted with
it next morning. There was a sharp contest between the Church
authorities and the public, and the body was once more interred in the
churchyard, but only to fall on Rea when he opened his door the next
morning. The authorities were then compelled to yield to the popular
clamour, and the corpse found a temporary resting-place in a remote
corner of Wilton Common; but the minister ultimately triumphed, and
Jenny was again buried in the churchyard, there to rest for all time in

[Illustration: WILTON OLD CHURCH.]

We had now joined the old coach road from London to Edinburgh, a stone
on the bridge informing us that that city was fifty miles distant. We
turned towards London, and as we were leaving the town we asked three
men, who had evidently tramped a long distance, what sort of a road it
was to Langholm, our next stage. They informed us that it was
twenty-three miles to that town, that the road was a good one, but we
should not be able to get a drink the whole way, for "there wasn't a
single public-house on the road."

Presently, however, we reached a turnpike gate across our road, and as
there was some fruit exhibited for sale in the window of the toll-house
we went inside, and found the mistress working at her spinning-wheel,
making a kind of worsted out of which she made stockings. We bought as
much fruit from her as the limited space in our bags allowed, and had a
chat with her about the stocking trade, which was the staple industry of
Hawick. She told us there were about 800 people employed in that
business, and that they went out on strike on the Monday previous, but
with an advance in their wages had gone in again that morning.

The stockings were now made by machines, but were formerly all made by
hand. The inventor of the first machine was a young man who had fallen
deeply in love with a young woman, who, like most others living
thereabouts at that time, got her living by making stockings. When he
proposed to her, she would not have him, because she knew another young
man she liked better. He then told her if she would not marry him he
would make a machine that would make stockings and throw her out of work
and ruin them all. But the girl decided to remain true to the young man
she loved best, and was presently married to him.

[Illustration: GOLDIELANDS TOWER.]

The disappointed lover then set to work, and, after much thought and
labour, succeeded in making a stocking machine; and although it created
a great stir in Hawick, where all three were well known, it did not
throw any one out of work, but was so improved upon with the result that
more stockings were made and sold at Hawick than ever before!

We thanked the old lady for her story, and, bidding her good-bye, went
on our way. Presently we came to the ruins of a castle standing near the
road which a clergyman informed us was Goldielands Tower, mentioned with
Harden by Sir Walter Scott in the "Lay of the Last Minstrel." He told us
that a little farther on our way we should also see Branxholm, another
place referred to by Scott. Although we were on the look out for
Branxholm, we passed without recognising it, as it resembled a large
family mansion more than the old tower we had expected it to be.

[Illustration: BRANXHOLM TOWER.]

It was astonishing what a number of miles we walked in Scotland without
finding anything of any value on the roads. A gentleman told us he once
found a threepenny bit on the road near a village where he happened to
be staying at the inn. When his find became known in the village, it
created quite a sensation amongst the inhabitants, owing to the "siller"
having fallen into the hands of a "Saxon," and he gravely added to the
information that one-half of the people went in mourning and that it was
even mentioned in the kirk as the "awfu'" waste that had occurred in the


We were not so lucky as to find a silver coin, but had the good fortune
to find something of more importance in the shape of a love-letter which
some one had lost on the road, and which supplied us with food for
thought and words for expression, quite cheering us up as we marched
along our lonely road. As Kate and John now belong to a past generation,
we consider ourselves absolved from any breach of confidence and give a
facsimile of the letter (see page 198). The envelope was not addressed,
so possibly John might have intended sending it by messenger, or Kate
might have received it and lost it on the road, which would perhaps be
the more likely thing to happen. We wondered whether the meeting ever
came off.

[Illustration: COVENANTER'S GRAVE.]

Shortly after passing Branxholm, and near the point where the Allan
Water joined the River Teviot, we turned to visit what we had been
informed was in the time of King Charles I a hiding place for the people
known as Covenanters. These were Scottish Presbyterians, who in 1638, to
resist that king's encroachments on their religious liberty, formed a
"Solemn League," followed in 1643 by an international Solemn League and
Covenant "between England and Scotland to secure both civil and
religious liberty." These early Covenanters were subjected to great
persecution, consequently their meetings were held in the most lonely
places--on the moors, in the glens, and on the wild mountain sides. We
climbed up through a wood and found the meeting-place in the ruins of a
tower--commonly said to have been built by the Romans, though we
doubted it--the remains of which consisted of an archway a few yard
longs and a few yards square, surrounded by three trenches. It occupied
a very strong position, and standing upon it we could see a hill a short
distance away on the top of which was a heap of stones marking the spot
where a bon-fire was lit and a flag reared when Queen Victoria drove
along the road below, a few years before our visit.

In former times in this part of Scotland there seemed to have been a
bard, poet, or minstrel in every village, and they appeared to have been
numerous enough to settle their differences, and sometimes themselves,
by fighting for supremacy, for it was at Bradhaugh near here that a
deadly combat took place in 1627 between William Henderson, known as
"Rattling Roaring Willie," and Robert Rule, another Border minstrel, in
which, according to an old ballad, Willie slew his opponent, for--

  Rob Roole, he handled rude.
  And Willie left Newmill's banks
  Red-wat wi' Robin's blude.

[Illustration: HENRY SCOTT RIDDELL.]

At Teviothead our road parted company with the River Teviot, which
forked away to the right, its source being only about six miles farther
up the hills from that point. In the churchyard at Teviothead, Henry
Scott Riddell, the author of _Scotland Yet_, had only recently been
buried. Near here also was Caerlanrig, where the murder of Johnnie
Armstrong of Gilnockie, a very powerful chief who levied blackmail along
the Border from Esk to Tyne, or practically the whole length of
Hadrian's Wall, took place in 1530. Johnnie was a notorious freebooter
and Border raider, no one daring to go his way for fear of Johnnie or
his followers. But of him more anon.

The distance from Caerlanrig, where Armstrong was executed, to Gilnockie
Tower, where he resided, was about seventeen miles, and we had to
follow, though in the opposite direction and a better surfaced road, the
same lonely and romantic track that he traversed on that occasion. It
formed a pass between the hills, and for the first seven miles the
elevations in feet above sea-level on each side of the road were:

   To our right:--1193. 1286. 1687. 1950. 1714. 1317. 1446. To our
   left:--1156. 1595. 1620. 1761. 1741. 1242. 1209.

The distance between the summits as the crow flies was only about a
mile, while the road maintained an altitude above the sea of from five
to eight hundred feet, so that we had a most lonely walk of about
thirteen miles before we reached Langholm. The road was a good one, and
we were in no danger of missing our way, hemmed in as it was on either
side by the hills, which, although treeless, were covered with grass
apparently right away to their tops, a novelty to us after the bare and
rocky hills we had passed elsewhere. We quite enjoyed our walk, and as
we watched the daylight gradually fade away before the approaching
shadows of the night, we realised that we were passing through the
wildest solitudes. We did not meet one human being until we reached
Langholm, and the only habitation we noted before reaching a small
village just outside that town was the "Halfway House" between Hawick
and Langholm, known in stage-coach days as the "Mosspaul Inn." It was a
large house near the entrance to a small glen, but apparently now
closed, for we could not see a solitary light nor hear the sound of a
human voice.

How different it must have appeared when the stage-coaches were passing
up and down that valley, now deserted, for even the railway, which
supplanted them, had passed it by on the other side! In imagination we
could hear the sound of the horn, echoing in the mountains, heralding
the approach of the stage-coach, with its great lamp in front, and could
see a light in almost every window in the hotel. We could picture mine
host and his wife standing at the open door ready to receive their
visitors, expectant guests assembled behind them in the hall and
expectant servants both indoors and out; then staying for the night,
refreshing ourselves with the good things provided for supper, and
afterwards relating our adventures to a friendly and appreciative
audience, finally sinking our weary limbs in the good old-fashioned

But these visions passed away almost as quickly as they appeared, so we
left the dark and dreary mansion whose glory had departed, and marched
on our way, expecting to find at Langholm that which we so badly
needed--food and rest.

The old inn at Mosspaul, where the stage-coaches stopped to change
horses, was built at the junction of the counties of Dumfries and
Roxburgh, and was very extensive with accommodation for many horses, but
fell to ruin after the stage-coaches ceased running. Many notable
visitors had patronised it, among others Dorothy Wordsworth, who visited
it with her brother the poet in September 1803, and described it in the
following graphic terms:

   The scene, with this single dwelling, was melancholy and wild, but
   not dreary, though there was no tree nor shrub: the small streamlet
   glittered, the hills were populous with sheep, but the gentle bending
   of the valley, and the correspondent softness in the forms of the
   hills were of themselves enough to delight the eye.

A good story is told of one of the Armstrongs and the inn:

Once when Lord Kames went for the first time on the Circuit as
Advocate-depute, Armstrong of Sorbie inquired of Lord Minto in a whisper
"What long black, dour-looking Chiel" that was that they had broc'ht
with them?

"That," said his lordship, "is a man come to hang a' the Armstrongs."

"Then," was the dry retort, "it's time the Elliots were
ridin'."[Footnote: Elliot was the family name of Lord Minto.]

The effusions of one of the local poets whose district we had passed
through had raised our expectations in the following lines:

  There's a wee toon on the Borders
    That my heart sair langs to see,
  Where in youthful days I wander'd,
    Knowing every bank and brae;
  O'er the hills and through the valleys,
    Thro' the woodlands wild and free,
  Thro' the narrow straits and loanings,
    There my heart sair langs to be.


There was also an old saying, "Out of the world and into Langholm,"
which seemed very applicable to ourselves, for after a walk of
thirty-two and a half miles through a lonely and hilly country, without
a solitary house of call for twenty-three, our hungry and weary
condition may be imagined when we entered Langholm just on the stroke of
eleven o'clock at night.

We went to the Temperance Hotel, but were informed they were full. We
called at the other four inns with the same result. Next we appealed to
the solitary police officer, who told us curtly that the inns closed at
eleven and the lodgings at ten, and marched away without another word.
The disappointment and feeling of agony at having to walk farther cannot
be described, but there was no help for it, so we shook the dust, or
mud, off our feet and turned dejectedly along the Carlisle road.

Just at the end of the town we met a gentleman wearing a top-hat and a
frock-coat, so we appealed to him. The hour was too late to find us
lodgings, but he said, if we wished to do so, we could shelter in his
distillery, which we should come to a little farther on our way. His men
would all be in bed, but there was one door that was unlocked and we
should find some of the rooms very warm. We thanked him for his kindness
and found the door, as he had described, opening into a dark room. We
had never been in a distillery before, so we were naturally rather
nervous, and as we could not see a yard before us, we lighted one of our
candles. We were about to go in search of one of the warmer rooms when
the thought occurred to us that our light might attract the attention of
some outsider, and in the absence of any written authority from the
owner might cause us temporary trouble, while to explore the distillery
without a light was out of the question, for we might fall through some
trap-door or into a vat, besides which, we could hear a great rush of
water in the rear of the premises, so we decided to stay where we were.

The book we had obtained at Hawick contained the following description
of the Langholm "Common Riding," which was held each year on July 17th
when the people gathered together to feast on barley bannock and red
herring, of course washed down with plenteous supplies of the
indispensable whisky. The Riding began with the following proclamation
in the marketplace, given by a man standing upright on horseback, in the
presence of thousands of people:

   Gentlemen,--The first thing that I am going to acquaint you with are
   the names of the Portioners' Grounds of Langholm:--

  Now, Gentlemen, we're gan' frae the Toun,
  An' first of a' the Kil Green we gang roun',
  It is an ancient place where Clay is got,
  And it belangs to us by Right and Lot,
  And then frae here the Lang-Wood we gang throu'
  Where every ane may breckons out an' pu',
  An' last of a' oor Marches they be clear,
  An' when unto the Castle Craigs we come,
  I'll cry the Langholm Fair and then we'll beat the drum.

   Now, Gentlemen. What you have heard this day concerning going round
   our Marches, it is expected that every one who has occasion for
   Peats, Breckons, Flacks, Stanes, or Clay, will go out in defence of
   their Property, and they shall hear the Proclamation of the Langholm
   Fair upon the Castle Craigs.

  Now, Gentlemen, we have gane roun our hill,
  So now I think it's right we had oor fill
  Of guid strang punch--'twould make us a' to sing.
  Because this day we have dune a guid thing;
  For gangin' roun' oor hill we think nae shame,
  Because frae it oor peats and flacks come hame;
  So now I will conclude and say nae mair.
  An' if ye're pleased I'll cry the Langholm Fair.
  Hoys, yes! that's ae time! Hoys, yes! that's twae times!!
  Hoys, yes! that's the third and the last time!!!

   This is to Give Notice,

   That there is a muckle Fair to be hadden in the muckle Toun o' the
   Langholm, on the 15th day of July, auld style, upon his Grace the
   Duke of Buccleuch's Merk Land, for the space of eight days and
   upwards; and a' land-loupers, and dub-scoupers, and
   gae-by-the-gate-swingers, that come here to breed hurdums or durdums,
   huliments or buliments, haggle-ments or braggle-ments, or to molest
   this public Fair, they shall be ta'en by order of the Bailie and Toun
   Council, and their lugs be nailed to the Tron wi' a twal-penny nail,
   and they shall sit doun on their bare knees and pray seven times for
   the King, and thrice for the Mickle Laird o' Ralton, and pay a groat
   to me, Jemmy Ferguson, Bailie o' the aforesaid Manor, and I'll awa'
   hame and ha'e a bannock and a saut herrin'.



The monument on the top of Whita Hill was erected in memory of one of
the famous four Knights of Langholm, the sons of Malcolm of Burn Foot,
whose Christian names were James, Pulteney, John, and Charles, all of
whom became distinguished men. Sir James was made a K.C.B, and a Colonel
in the Royal Marines. He served on board the _Canopus_ at the Battle of
San Domingo, taking a prominent part in the American War of 1812. He
died at Milnholm, near Langholm, at the age of eighty-two. Pulteney
Malcolm rose to the rank of Admiral and served under Lord Nelson, but as
his ship was refitting at Gibraltar he missed taking part in the Battle
of Trafalgar, though he arrived just in time to capture the Spanish
120-gun ship _El Kago_. He became intimately acquainted with Napoleon
Bonaparte, as he had the command of the British worships that guarded
him during his captivity at St. Helena. Sir John Malcolm was a
distinguished Indian statesman, and it was to him that the monument on
Whita Hill had been erected. The monument, which was visible for many
miles, was 100 feet high, and the hill itself 1,162 feet above
sea-level. Sir Charles Malcolm, the youngest of the four brothers, after
seeing much active service, rose to be Vice-Admiral of the Fleet.

[Illustration: GILNOCKIE TOWER]

If the great fair-day had been on when we reached Langholm we should not
have been surprised at being unable to find lodgings, but as it was we
could only attribute our failure to arriving at that town so late in the
evening, nearly an hour after the authorised closing time of the inns.
We found we could not stay very long in the distillery without a fire,
for a sharp frost had now developed, and we began to feel the effect of
the lower temperature; we therefore decided, after a short rest, to
continue our walk on the Carlisle road. Turning over the bridge that
crossed the rapidly running stream of the River Esk--the cause of the
rush of water we heard in the distillery--we followed the river on its
downward course for some miles. It was a splendid starlight, frosty
night, but, as we were very tired and hungry, we could only proceed
slowly--in fact scarcely quickly enough to maintain our circulation.
Being also very sleepy, we had to do something desperate to keep
ourselves awake, so we amused ourselves by knocking with our heavy oaken
sticks at the doors or window-shutters of the houses we passed on our
way. It was a mild revenge we took for the town's inhospitality, and we
pictured to ourselves how the story of two highwaymen being about the
roads during the midnight hours would be circulated along the
countryside during the following day, but we could not get any one to
come beyond the keyhole of the door or the panes of the shuttered
windows. We were, however, becoming quite desperate, as we were now
nearly famished, and, when we came to a small shop, the sounds from our
sticks on the door quickly aroused the mistress, who asked us what we
wanted. My brother entered into his usual explanation that we were
pedestrian tourists on a walking expedition, and offered her a
substantial sum for some bread or something to eat; but it was of no
use, as the only answer we got was, "I ha' not a bit till th' baker
coomes ith' morn'."

This reply, and the tone of voice in which it was spoken, for the woman
"snaffled," was too much for us, and, tired as we were, we both roared
with laughter; absurd though it may seem, it was astonishing how this
little incident cheered us on our way.

It was a lovely country through which we were travelling, and our road,
as well as the river alongside, was in many places overhung by the
foliage of the fine trees, through which the brilliant lustre of the
stars appeared overhead; in fact we heard afterwards that this length of
road was said to include the finest landscapes along the whole of the
stage-coach road between London and Edinburgh. The bridge by which we
recrossed the river had been partially built with stones from the ruins
of Gilnockie Tower, once the stronghold of the famous freebooter Johnnie
Armstrong, of whom we had heard higher up the country.

[Illustration: COCKBURN'S GRAVE.]

Sir Walter Scott tells us that King James V resolved to take very
serious measures against the Border Warriors, and under pretence of
coming to hunt the deer in those desolate regions he assembled an army,
and suddenly appeared at the Castle of Piers Cockburn of Henderland,
near where we had been further north. He ordered that baron to be seized
and executed in spite of the fact that he was preparing a great feast of
welcome. Adam Scott of Tushielaw, known as the King of the Border, met
with the same fate, but an event of greater importance was the fate of
John Armstrong. This free-booting chief had risen to such consequence,
that the whole neighbouring district of England paid him "black-mail," a
sort of regular tribute in consideration of which he forbore to plunder
them. He had a high idea of his own importance, and seems to have been
unconscious of having merited any severe usage at the king's hands. On
the contrary, he went to meet his sovereign at Carlingrigg Chapel,
richly dressed, and having twenty-four gentlemen, his constant retinue,
as well attired as himself. The king, incensed to see a freebooter so
gentlemanly equipped, commanded him instantly to be led to execution,
saying, "What wants this knave save a crown to be as magnificent as a
king?" John Armstrong made great offers for his life, offering to
maintain himself, with forty men, to serve the king at a moment's
notice, at his own expense, engaging never to hurt or injure any
Scottish subject, as indeed had never been his practice, and undertaking
that there was not a man in England, of whatever degree, duke, earl,
lord, or baron, but he would engage, within a short time, to present him
to the king, dead or alive. But when the king would listen to none of
his oilers, the robber chief said very proudly, "I am but a fool to ask
grace at a graceless face; but had I guessed you would have used me
thus, I would have kept the Border-side in spite of the King of England
and you, both, for I well know that the King Henry would give the weight
of my best horse in gold to know that I am sentenced to die this day."

John Armstrong was led to execution, with all his men, and hanged
without mercy. The people of the inland countries were glad to get rid
of him; but on the Borders he was both missed and mourned, as a brave
warrior, and a stout man-of-arms against England.

But to return to Gilnockie Bridge! After crossing it we struggled on for
another mile or two, and when about six miles from Langholm we reached
another bridge where our road again crossed the river. Here we stopped
in mute despair, leaning against the battlements, and listening to the
water in the river as it rushed under the bridge. We must have been half
asleep, when we were suddenly aroused by the sound of heavy footsteps
approaching in the distance. Whoever could it be? I suggested one of the
Border freebooters; but my brother, who could laugh when everybody else
cried, said it sounded more like a free-clogger. We listened again, and
sure enough it was the clattering of a heavy pair of clogs on the partly
frozen surface of the road. We could not be mistaken, for we were too
well accustomed to the sound of clogs in Lancashire; but who could be
the wearer! We had not long to wait before a man appeared, as much
surprised to see us as we were to see him. We told him of our long walk
the day before, how we had been disappointed in not getting lodgings,
and asked him how far we were away from an inn. He told us we were quite
near one, but it was no use going there, as "they wouldn't get up for
the Queen of England." He further told us he was going to the two
o'clock "shift" at the colliery. "Colliery!" my brother ejaculated; "but
surely there isn't a coal-pit in a pretty place like this?" He assured
us that there was, and, seeing we were both shivering with cold, kindly
invited us to go with him and he would put us near to a good fire that
was burning there. "How far is it?" we asked anxiously. "Oh, only about
half a mile," said the collier. So we went with him, and walked what
seemed to be the longest half-mile we ever walked in all our lives, as
we followed him along a fearfully rough road, partly on the tramlines of
the Canonbie Collieries belonging to the Duke of Buccleuch, where two or
three hundred men were employed.

We each handed him a silver coin as he landed us in front of a large
open fire which was blazing furiously near the mouth of the pit, and,
bidding us "good morning," he placed a lighted lamp in front of his cap
and disappeared down the shaft to the regions below. He was rather late
owing to his having slackened his pace to our own, which was naturally
slower than his, since walking along colliery sidings at night was
difficult for strangers. We had taken of our boots to warm and ease our
feet, when a man emerged from the darkness and asked us to put them on
again, saying we should be more comfortable in the engine-house. If we
stayed there we should be sure to catch a cold, as a result of being
roasted on one side and frozen on the other. He kindly volunteered to
accompany us there, so we thankfully accepted his invitation. We had
some difficulty in following him owing to the darkness and obstructions
in the way, but we reached the engine-room in safety, round the inside
of which was a wooden seat, or bench, and acting upon his instructions
we lay down on this to sleep, with a promise that he would waken us when
he went off duty at six o'clock in the morning. We found it more
comfortable here than on the windy pit bank, for there was an even and
sleepy temperature. We were soon embosomed in the arms of nature's great
refresher, notwithstanding the occasional working of the winding
engines, sleeping as soundly on those wooden benches as ever we did on
the best feather-bed we patronised on our journey.

(_Distance walked thirty-nine miles_.)

_Thursday, October 12th._

We were roused at six o'clock a.m. by the engine-driver, who had taken
good care of us while we slept, and as we had had nothing to eat since
our lunch at Hawick the day before, except the fruit purchased from the
toll-keeper there, which we had consumed long before reaching Langholm,
we were frightfully hungry. The engine-man told us there was a shop
close by the colliery gate kept by a young man, where, if he happened to
be in, we should be able to get some refreshments. He accompanied us to
the place, and, after knocking loudly at the shop door, we were
delighted to see the head of the shopkeeper appear through the window
above. He was evidently well known to the engineer, who told him what we
wanted, and he promised to "be down directly."

It seemed a long time to us before the shop door was opened, and every
minute appeared more like five than one; but we were soon comfortably
seated in the shop, in the midst of all sorts of good things fit to
eat. We should have liked to begin to eat them immediately, but the fire
had to be lit and the kettle boiled, so we assisted with these
operations while the young man cut into a fresh loaf of bread, broke
open a pot of plum jam, opened a tin of biscuits, and, with the addition
of a large slice of cheese and four fresh eggs, we had a really good
breakfast, which we thoroughly enjoyed. He said it was a wonder we found
him there, for it was very seldom he slept at the shop. His mother lived
at a farm about a mile and a half away, where he nearly always slept;
that night, however, he had been sleeping with his dog, which was to run
in a race that day, and he spent the night with it lest it should be
tampered with. He called the dog downstairs, and, though we knew very
little about dogs, we could see it was a very fine-looking animal. Our
friend said he would not take £50 for it, a price we thought exorbitant
for any dog. When we had finished our enormous breakfast, we assisted
the shopkeeper to clear the table, and as it was now his turn, we helped
him to get his own breakfast ready, waiting upon him as he had waited
upon us, while we conversed chiefly about colliers and dogs and our
approaching visit to Gretna Green, which, as neither of us was married,
was naturally our next great object of interest.


After our long walk the previous day, with very little sleep at the end
of it, and the heavy breakfast we had just eaten, we felt uncommonly
lazy and disinclined to walk very far that day. So, after wishing our
friend good luck at the races, we bade him good-bye, and idly retraced
our steps along the colliery road until we reached the bridge where we
had met the collier so early in the morning. We had now time to admire
the scenery, and regretted having passed through that beautiful part of
the country during our weary tramp in the dark, and that we had missed
so much of it, including the Border Towers on the River Esk.

Riddel Water, with its fine scenery, was on our left as we came from the
colliery, where it formed the boundary between Scotland and England,
emptying itself into the River Esk about two miles from Canonbie Bridge,
which we now crossed, and soon arrived at the "Cross Keys Inn," of which
we had heard but failed to reach the previous night. The landlord of the
inn, who was standing at the door, was formerly the driver of the Royal
Mail Stagecoach "Engineer" which ran daily between Hawick and Carlisle
on the Edinburgh to London main road. A good-looking and healthy man of
over fifty years of age, his real name was Elder, but he was popularly
known as Mr. Sandy or Sandy Elder. The coach, the last stage-coach that
ever ran on that road, was drawn in ordinary weather by three horses,
which were changed every seven or eight miles, the "Cross Keys" at
Canonbie being one of the stopping-places.

[Illustration: "CROSS KEYS INN."]

Mr. Elder had many tales to tell of stage-coach days; one adventure,
however, seemed more prominent in his thoughts than the others. It
happened many years ago, when on one cold day the passengers had, with
the solitary exception of one woman, who was sitting on the back seat of
the coach, gone into the "Cross Keys Inn" for refreshments while the
horses were being changed. The fresh set of horses had been put in, and
the stablemen had gone to the hotel to say all was ready, when, without
a minute's warning, the fresh horses started off at full gallop along
the turnpike road towards Carlisle. Great was the consternation at the
inn, and Sandy immediately saddled a horse and rode after them at full
speed. Meantime the woman, who Mr. Sandy said must have been as brave a
woman as ever lived, crawled over the luggage on the top of the coach
and on to the footboard in front. Kneeling down while holding on with
one hand, she stretched the other to the horses' backs and secured the
reins, which had slipped down and were urging the horses forward. By
this time the runaway horses had nearly covered the two miles between
the inn and the tollgates, which were standing open, as the mail coach
was expected, whose progress nothing must delay. Fortunately the keeper
of the first gate was on the look-out, and he was horrified when he saw
the horses coming at their usual great speed without Sandy the driver;
he immediately closed the gate, and, with the aid of the brave woman,
who had recovered the reins, the horses were brought to a dead stop at
the gate, Mr. Sandy arriving a few minutes afterwards. The last run of
this coach was in 1862, about nine years before our visit, and there was
rather a pathetic scene on that occasion. We afterwards obtained from
one of Mr. Elder's ten children a cutting from an old newspaper she had
carefully preserved, a copy of which is as follows:

   Mr. Elder, the Landlord of the "Cross Keys Hotel," was the last of
   the Border Royal Mail Coach Drivers and was familiarly known as
   "Sandy," and for ten years was known as the driver of the coach
   between Hawick and Carlisle. When the railway started and gave the
   death-blow to his calling, he left the seat of the stage coach, and
   invested his savings in the cosy hostelry of the road-side type
   immortalised by Scott in his "Young Lochinvar." He told of the time
   when he did duty on the stage coach for Dukes, Earls, and Lords, and
   aided run-a-way couples to reach the "blacksmith" at Gretna Green. He
   told of the days when he manipulated the ribbons from the box of the
   famous coach "Engineer" when he dashed along with foaming horses as
   if the fate of a nation depended upon his reaching his stage at a
   given time. He could remember Mosspaul Inn at the zenith of its fame
   under the reigning sovereign Mr. Gownlock--whose tact and management
   made his Hotel famous. He had frequently to carry large sums of money
   from the Border banks and although these were the days of footpads
   and highwaymen, and coaches were "held up" in other parts, Sandy's
   Coach was never molested, although he had been blocked with his
   four-in-hand in the snow. He gave a graphic description of the
   running of the last mail coach from Hawick to Merrie Carlisle in
   1862. Willie Crozier the noted driver was mounted on the box, and the
   horses were all decked out for the occasion. Jemmie Ferguson the old
   strapper, whose occupation like that of Othello's was all gone, saw
   it start with a heavy heart, and crowds turned out to bid it
   good-bye. When the valleys rang with the cheery notes of the
   well-blown horn, and the rumbling sound of the wheels and the
   clattering hoofs of the horses echoed along the way, rich and poor
   everywhere came to view the end of a system which had so long kept
   them in touch with civilisation. The "Engineer" guards and drivers
   with scarlet coats, white hats, and overflowing boots, and all the
   coaching paraphernalia so minutely described by Dickens, then passed
   away, and the solitary remnant of these good old times was "Sandy"
   Elder the old Landlord of the "Cross Keys" on Canonbie Lea.

Soon after leaving the "Cross Keys" we came to a wood where we saw a
"Warning to Trespassers" headed "Dangerous," followed by the words
"Beware of fox-traps and spears in these plantations." This, we
supposed, was intended for the colliers, for in some districts they were
noted as expert poachers. Soon afterwards we reached what was called the
Scotch Dyke, the name given to a mound of earth, or "dyke," as it was
called locally, some four miles long and erected in the year 1552
between the rivers Esk and Sark to mark the boundary between England and
Scotland. We expected to find a range of hills or some substantial
monument or noble ruin to mark the boundary between the two countries,
and were rather disappointed to find only an ordinary dry dyke and a
plantation, while a solitary milestone informed us that it was
eighty-one and a half miles to Edinburgh. We were now between the two
tollbars, one in Scotland and the other in England, with a space of
only about fifty yards between them, and as we crossed the centre we
gave three tremendous cheers which brought out the whole population of
the two tollhouses to see what was the matter. We felt very silly, and
wondered why we had done so, since we had spent five weeks in Scotland
and had nothing but praise both for the inhabitants and the scenery. It
was exactly 9.50 a.m. when we crossed the boundary, and my brother on
reflection recovered his self-respect and said he was sure we could have
got absolution from Sir Walter Scott for making all that noise, for had
he not written:

  Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
  Who never to himself hath said,
    This is my own, my native land!
  Whose heart hath ne'er within him burn'd,
  As home his footsteps he hath turn'd.

[Illustration: NETHERBY HALL.]

As the morning was beautifully fine, we soon forsook the highway and
walked along the grassy banks of the Esk, a charming river whose waters
appeared at this point as if they were running up hill. We were very
idle, and stayed to wash our feet in its crystal waters, dressing them
with common soap, which we had always found very beneficial as a salve.
We sauntered past Kirkandrew's Tower; across the river was the mansion
of Netherby, the home of the Graham family, with its beautiful
surroundings, immortalised by Sir Walter Scott in his "Young Lochinvar,"
who came out of the West, and--

  One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear,
  When they reached the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
  So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
  So light to the saddle before her he spran!
  "She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
  They'll have fleet steeds that follow," quoth young Lochinvar.

  There was mounting 'mong Græmes of the Netherby clan;
  Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
  There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
  But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
  So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
  Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

We were far more inclined to think and talk than to walk, and as we sat
on the peaceful banks of the river we thought what a blessing it was
that those Border wars were banished for ever, for they appeared to
have been practically continuous from the time of the Romans down to the
end of the sixteenth century, when the two countries were united under
one king, and we thought of that verse so often quoted:

  The Nations in the present day
    Preserve the good old plan,
  That all shall take who have the power
    And all shall keep who can.

We were not far from the narrowest point of the kingdom from east to
west, or from one sea to the other, where the Roman Emperor, Hadrian,
built his boundary wall; but since that time, if we may credit the words
of another poet who described the warriors and their origin, other
nationalities have waged war on the Borders--

  From the worst scoundrel race that ever lived
  A horrid crowd of rambling thieves and drones,
  Who ransacked Kingdoms and dispeopled towns,
  The Pict, the painted Briton, treacherous Scot
  By hunger, theft, and rapine, hither brought
  Norwegian Pirates--buccaneering Danes,
  Whose red-haired offspring everywhere remains;
  Who, joined with Norman French, compound the breed,
  From whence you time-born Bordermen proceed.

How long we should have loitered on the bank of the river if the pangs
of hunger had not again made themselves felt we could not say, but we
resolved at last to walk to Longtown for some refreshments, and arrived
there by noon, determined to make amends for our shortcomings after
lunch, for, incredible though it seemed, we had only walked six miles!
But we landed in a little cosy temperance house, one of those places
where comfort prevailed to a much greater extent than in many more
brilliant establishments. It was kept by one Forster, a gentleman of
distinction, possessing a remarkable temperament and following numerous
avocations. He informed us he was the parish clerk, and that the Lord
Bishop was holding a Confirmation Service in the church at 3 p.m. We had
intended only to stay for lunch and then resume our journey, but the
mention of a much less important person than the Lord Bishop would have
made us stay until tea-time, and travel on afterwards, so we decided to
remain for the service. Punctually at three o'clock, escorted by the son
of our landlord, we entered the Arthuret Church, the Parish Church of
Longtown, about half a mile away from the town. It was built in 1609 and
dedicated to St. Michael, but had recently been restored and a handsome
stained-glass window placed at the east end in memory of the late Sir
James Graham, whose burial-place we observed marked by a plain stone
slab as we entered the churchyard. In consequence of a domestic
bereavement the organist was absent, and as he had forgotten to leave
the key the harmonium was useless. Our friend the parish clerk, however,
was quite equal to the occasion, for as the Psalm commencing "All
people that on earth do dwell" was given out, he stepped out into the
aisle and led off with the good old tune the "Old Hundredth," so
admirably adapted for congregational use, and afterwards followed with
the hymn beginning "Before Jehovah's awful throne," completing the
choral part of the service to the tune of "Duke Street"; we often
wondered where that street was, and who the duke was that it was named
after. Our admiration of the parish clerk increased when we found he
could start the singing of Psalms and on the correct note in the
presence of a Lord Bishop, and we contemplated what might have been the
result had he started the singing in a higher or a lower key. We
rejoiced that the responsibility rested upon him and not on ourselves.
The Candidates for Confirmation were now requested to stand while the
remainder of the congregation remained seated. The Bishop, Dr. Goodwin,
delivered a homely, solemn, and impressive address. His lordship did not
take any text, but spoke extempore, and we were well pleased with his
address, so appropriate was it to the occasion; the language was easy
and suited to the capacities of those for whom the service was specially
held. As sympathisers with the temperance movement we thoroughly
coincided with the Bishop's observations when he affectionately warned
his hearers against evil habits, amongst which he catalogued that of
indulgence in intoxicating drinks, and warned the young men not to
frequent public-houses, however much they might be ridiculed or thought
mean for not doing so. The candidates came from three parishes, the
girls dressed very plainly and as usual outnumbering the boys. The
general congregation was numerically small, and we were surprised that
there was no collection! Service over, we returned to our lodgings for
tea, intending to resume our walk immediately afterwards. We were so
comfortable, however, and the experiences of the previous day and night
so fresh in our minds, and bodies, that we decided to rest our still
weary limbs here for the night, even though we had that day only walked
six miles, the shortest walk in all our journey.


Our host, Mr. Forster, was moreover a very entertaining and remarkable
man. He had been parish clerk for many years, a Freemason for upwards of
thirty years, letter-carrier or postman for fourteen years, and recently
he and his wife had joined the Good Templars! He had many interesting
stories of the runaway marriages at Gretna Green, a piece of Borderland
neither in Scotland nor England, and he claimed to have suggested the
Act of Parliament brought in by Lord Brougham to abolish these so-called
"Scotch" marriages by a clause which required twenty-one days' residence
before the marriage could be solemnised, so that although the Act was
called Lord Brougham's Act, he said it was really his. Its effects were
clearly demonstrated in a letter he had written, which appeared in the
Registrar-General's Report, of which he showed us a copy, stating that
while in the year 1856, the year of the passing of Lord Brougham's Act,
there were 757 marriages celebrated in the district of Gretna Green,
thirty-nine entered as taking place in one day, November 8th, in the
following year there were only thirty and in the next forty-one, showing
conclusively that the Act had been effectual. We could have listened
longer to our host's stories, but we had to rise early next morning to
make up for our loss of mileage, and retired early to make up for our
loss of sleep on the previous night.

(_Distance walked six miles_.)

_Friday, October 13th._

We left Longtown at 7.30 a.m. by the long and wide thoroughfare which
gives rise to its name, and followed the Carlisle road until we turned
to the right for Gretna Green. Our road lay between Solway Moss and the
River Esk, to both of which some historic events were attached. Solway
Moss is about seven miles in circumference, and is covered with grass
and rushes, but it shakes under the least pressure, and will swallow up
nearly anything. In 1776, after heavy rains, it burst, and, as in
Ireland, streams of black peaty mud began to creep over the plain and to
overwhelm the houses. It was the scene of a battle fought on November
24th, 1542, when the English Army under Sir Thomas Wharton defeated a
Scottish Army of 10,000 men, who were either killed, drowned, or taken
prisoners. One of the unfortunates was unearthed in later times by
peat-diggers, a man on his horse, who had sunk in the bog. The skeletons
were well preserved, and the different parts of the armour easily
recognisable. The disastrous result of this battle so affected James V,
King of Scotland, that he is said to have died of a broken heart.
Personally, we thought he deserved a greater punishment for the murder
of Johnnie Armstrong and his followers twelve years before this event,
for Armstrong was just the man who could and would have protected the

The River Esk was associated with Prince Charlie, who, with his
soldiers, had to cross it when retreating before the army of the Duke of
Cumberland. It was a difficult operation to carry out, as the usually
shallow ford had been converted by the melting snow into a swift-flowing
current four feet deep. The cavalry were drawn up in two lines across
the stream, one to break the current and the other to prevent any of the
foot-soldiers being washed away as they crossed the river between the
two lines of cavalry. Lower down the river still were Prince Charlie and
his officers, who were better mounted than the others. The foot-soldiers
walked arm-in-arm, with their heads barely above the water, making the
space between the cavalry lines to look as if it were set with
paving-stones. One poor soldier lost his hold on his comrade and was
washed down the river, and would certainly have been drowned had not the
Prince seized him by the hair, and, shouting in Gaelic for help, held on
until both of them were rescued. After being hunted in the Highland
glens for months with a ransom of £30,000 placed on his head--not a Celt
betraying his whereabouts--by the help of Flora Macdonald Prince Charlie
escaped to Brittany, and finally died at Rome in the arms of the Master
of Nairn in 1788. In 1794 the Beds of Esk, a large sandbank where the
tide meets the stream, presented an unusual spectacle, and a striking
tribute to the dangerous character of the river especially when in
flood. Collected together on the beach were a varied assortment of
animals and human beings, consisting of no less than 9 black cattle, 3
horses, 1,040 sheep, 45 dogs, 180 hares, many smaller animals, and 3
human beings, all of whom had been cut off by the rapidly advancing

Many other events have happened in this neighbourhood, one of the most
sensational perhaps being the death of King Edward I, "The Hammer of the
Scots," also nicknamed "Longshanks," from the length of his lower limbs,
who died in 1307 on these marshes, requesting his effeminate son, the
Prince of Wales, as he bade him farewell, not to bury his body until the
Scots were utterly subdued, but this wish was prevented by the defeat at
the Battle of Bannockburn.

We passed by some large peat-fields, and, crossing the River Sark, were
once more in Scotland, notwithstanding the fact that we had so recently
given three cheers as we passed out of it. We traversed the length of
Springfield, a stone-built village of whitewashed, one-storied cottages,
in which we could see handloom weavers at work, nearly fifty of them
being employed in that industry. Formerly, we were told, the villagers
carried on an illicit commerce in whisky and salt, on which there were
heavy duties in England, but none on whisky in Scotland. The position
here being so close to the borders, it was a very favourable one for
smuggling both these articles into England, and we heard various
exciting stories of the means they devised for eluding the vigilance of
the excise officers. As we passed through the neighbourhood at a quick
rate, the villagers turned out to have a look at us, evidently thinking
something important was going on.

We saw many workers in the fields, who called out to us hinting about
the nature of our journey, as we travelled towards Gretna Green. Some of
the women went so far as to ask us if we wanted any company. The most
conspicuous objects in the village were the church and the remarkably
high gravestones standing like sentinels in the churchyard. Bonnie
Prince Charlie arrived here on the afternoon of his birthday in 1745,
stabling his horse in the church, while the vicar fled from what he
described in the church book as "the Rebels." A small cottage--said to
be the oldest in Gretna--is shown in which Prince Charlie slept. The
village green appeared to us as if it had been fenced in and made into
a garden, and a lady pointed out an ancient-looking building, which she
said was the hall where the original "Blacksmith" who married the
runaway couples resided, but which was now occupied by a gentleman from
Edinburgh. She explained the ceremony as being a very simple one, and
performed expeditiously: often in the road, almost in sight of the
pursuers of the runaway pair. All sorts and conditions of men and women
were united there, some of them from far-off lands, black people amongst
the rest, and she added with a sigh, "There's been many an unhappy job
here," which we quite believed. There were other people beside the
gentleman at the hall who made great profit by marrying people, both at
Springfield and Gretna, and a list of operators, dated from the year
1720, included a soldier, shoemaker, weaver, poacher, innkeeper,
toll-keeper, fisherman, pedlar, and other tradesmen. But the only
blacksmith who acted in that capacity was a man named Joe Paisley, who
died in 1811 aged seventy-nine years. His motto was, "Strike while the
iron's hot," and he boasted that he could weld the parties together as
firmly as he could one piece of iron to another.

[Illustration: JOSEPH PAISLEY, The Celebrated Gretna-Green Parson Dec'd
January 9, 1811, aged 79. The first great "priest" of Gretna Green.]

Joe was a man of prodigious strength; he could bend a strong iron poker
over his arm, and had frequently straightened an ordinary horse-shoe in
its cold state with his hands. He could also squeeze the blood from the
finger ends of any one who incurred his anger. He was an habitual
drunkard, his greatest boast being that he had once been "teetotal" for
a whole forenoon. When he died he was an overgrown mass of superfluous
fat, weighing at least twenty-five stone. He was said to have earned
quite a thousand pounds per year by his encroachments into the province
of the cleric, and when on his deathbed he heard three carriages arrive,
he consented to marry the three wealthy couples they contained, and
found himself two or three hundred pounds richer than before. He also
boasted that the marriage business had been in his family for quite one
hundred years, and that his uncle, the old soldier Gordon, used to marry
couples in the full uniform of his regiment, the British Grenadiers. He
gave a form of certificate that the persons had declared themselves to
be single, that they were married by the form of the Kirk of Scotland,
and agreeably to that of the Church of England.

[Illustration: GRETNA GREEN.]

One of the most celebrated elopements to Gretna was that of the Earl of
Westmorland and Miss Child, the daughter of the great London banker. The
earl had asked for the hand of Sarah, and had been refused, the banker
remarking, "Your blood is good enough, but my money is better," so the
two young people made it up to elope and get married at Gretna Green.
The earl made arrangements beforehand at the different stages where they
had to change horses, but the banker, finding that his daughter had
gone, pursued them in hot haste. All went well with the runaway couple
until they arrived at Shap, in Westmorland, where they became aware they
were being pursued. Here the earl hired all the available horses, so as
to delay the irate banker's progress. The banker's "money was good,"
however, and the runaways were overtaken between Penrith and Carlisle.
Hero the earl's "blood was good," for, taking deliberate aim at the
little star of white on the forehead of the banker's leading horse, he
fired successfully, and so delayed the pursuit that the fugitives
arrived at Gretna first; and when the bride's father drove up, purple
with rage and almost choking from sheer exasperation, he found them
safely locked in what was called the bridal chamber! The affair created
a great sensation in London, where the parties were well known, heavy
bets being made as to which party would win the race. At the close of
the market it stood at two to one on the earl and the girl.

In those days "postboys" were employed to drive the runaways from the
hotels at Carlisle to Gretna, one of the most noted of whom was Jock
Ainslie, on the staff of the "Bush Inn" at Carlisle. On one occasion he
was commissioned to drive a runaway couple, who had just arrived by the
coach from London, to Gretna, but when they got as far as Longtown they
insisted they were tired and must stay for dinner before going forward,
so they sent Jock back. He returned to Carlisle rather reluctantly,
advising the runaways to lose no time. But when he got back to the "Bush
Inn" he saw the mother of the lady whom he had left at Longtown drive up
to the hotel door accompanied by a Bow Street officer. While they were
changing horses, Jock went to the stable, saddled a horse, rode off to
Longtown, and told his patrons what he had seen. They immediately
hurried into a chaise, but had not gone far before they heard the
carriage wheels of their pursuers. Jock Ainslie was quite equal to the
occasion, and drove the chaise behind a thick bush, whence the pair had
the satisfaction of seeing "Mamma" hurry past at full speed in pursuit.
While she was continuing her search on the Annan Road, Jock quietly
drove into Springfield and had his patrons "hitched up" without further
delay, and doubtless was well rewarded for his services.

[Illustration: WILLIE LANG The last of the "Lang" line of priests.]

It seemed a strange thing that Lord Brougham, who brought in the famous
Act, should himself have taken advantage of a "Scotch" marriage, and
that two other Lord Chancellors, both celebrated men, should have acted
in the same manner; Lord Eldon, the originator of the proverb--

  New brooms sweep clean,

was married at Gretna, and Lord Erskine at Springfield. Marriage in this
part of Scotland had not the same religious significance as elsewhere,
being looked upon as more in the nature of a civil contract than a
religious ceremony. The form of marriage was almost entirely a secular
matter, and if a man and woman made a declaration before two witnesses
that they were single persons and had resided twenty-one days in
Scotland, they were considered as being man and wife. At the point where
the Black Esk and White Esk Rivers join, a remarkable custom called
"Handfasting" prevailed hundreds of years ago. Here, at a place known
as Handfasting Hough, young men and women assembled in great numbers and
made matrimonial engagements by joining hands. The marriage was only
binding for one year, but if both parties were then satisfied, the
"handfasting" was continued for life. King Robert II of Scotland, it was
said, was one of those who was "hand-fasted" there.

[Illustration: (Facsimile of Lord Erskine's signature.)]

[Illustration: SPRINGFIELD TOLL.]

We now left Gretna, still single, for Carlisle, nine and a half miles
away, the distance to Glasgow in the opposite direction being
eighty-five miles. We recrossed the River Sark, the boundary here
between Scotland and England, the famous tollbar through which eloping
couples had to hurry before they could reach Gretna Green. In those days
gangs of men were ever on the watch to levy blackmail both on the
pursued and their pursuers, and the heaviest purse generally won when
the race was a close one. We saw a new hotel on the English side of the
river which had been built by a Mr. Murray specially for the
accommodation of the runaways while the "Blacksmith" was sent for to
join them together on the other side of the boundary, but it had only
just been finished when Lord Brougham's Act rendered it practically
useless, and made it a bad speculation for Mr. Murray. Passing through
the tollgate we overtook a man with half a dozen fine greyhounds, in
which, after our conversation with the owner of the racing dog at
Canonbie Collieries, we had become quite interested; and we listened to
his description of each as if we were the most ardent dog-fanciers on
the road. One of the dogs had taken a first prize at Lytham and another
a second at Stranraer. We passed through a country where there were
immense beds of peat, hurrying through Todhilis without even calling at
the "Highland Laddie" or the "Jovial Butcher" at Kingstown, and we
crossed the River Eden as we entered the Border city of Carlisle,
sometimes called "Merrie Carlisle," or, as the Romans had it, Lugovalum.

An elderly gentleman whom we overtook, and of whom we inquired
concerning the objects of interest to be seen, appeared to take more
interest in business matters than in those of an antiquarian nature, for
he told us that "Carr's Biscuit Manufactory" with its machinery was a
far finer sight than either the cathedral or the castle. Perhaps he was
right, but our thoughts were more in the direction of bygone ages, with
the exception of the letters that were waiting for us at the post
office, and for which we did not forget to call. Merrie Carlisle, we
were informed, was the chief residence of King Arthur, whose supposed
ghostly abode and that of his famous knights, or one of them, we had
passed earlier in the week. We were now told that near Penrith, a town
to the south of Carlisle, there was still to be seen a large circle
surrounded by a mound of earth called "Arthur's Round Table," and that
in the churchyard were the giants' graves.

In the very old ballad on the "Lothely Lady" King Arthur was described
as returning after a long journey to his Queen Guenevere, in a very sad

  And there came to him his cozen, Sir Gawain,
    Y' was a courteous Knight;
  Why sigh you soe sore, Unkle Arthur, he said,
    Or who hath done thee unright?

Arthur told him he had been taken prisoner by a fierce, gigantic chief,
who had only released him and spared his life on condition that he would
return and pay his ransom on New Year's Day, the ransom being that he
must tell the giant "that which all women most desire." When the morning
of the day arrived, Arthur was in great despair, for nearly all the
women he had asked had given him different answers, but he was in honour
bound to give himself up; and as he rode over the moors he saw a lady
dressed in scarlet, sitting between an oak and a green holly. Glancing
at her, Arthur saw the most hideous woman he had ever seen.

  Then there as shold have stood her mouth,
    Then there was sett her e'e,
  The other was in her forhead fast,
    The way that she might see.
  Her nose was crooked, and turned outward,
    Her mouth stood foul awry;
  A worse formed lady than she was,
    Never man saw with his eye.

King Arthur rode on and pretended not to see her, but she called him
back and said she could help him with his ransom. The King answered, "If
you can release me from my bond, lady, I shall be grateful, and you
shall marry my nephew Gawain, with a gold ring." Then the lothely lady
told Arthur that the thing all women desired was "to have their own
way." The answer proved to be correct, and Arthur was released; but the
"gentle Gawain" was now bound by his uncle's promise, and the "lothely
lady" came to Carlisle and was wedded in the church to Gawain. When
they were alone after the ceremony she told him she could be ugly by day
and lovely by night, or _vice versa_, as he pleased, and for her sake,
as she had to appear amongst all the fine ladies at the Court, he begged
her to appear lovely by day. Then she begged him to kiss her, which with
a shudder he did, and immediately the spell cast over her by a
witch-step mother was broken, and Gawain beheld a young and lovely
maiden. She was presented to Arthur and Guenevere, and was no longer a
"lothely" lady. Then the ballad goes on:

  King Arthur beheld the lady faire,
    That was soe faire and bright;
  He thanked Christ in Trinity,
    For Sir Gawain, that gentle Knight.

King Arthur's table was supposed to have been made round for the same
reason that John o' Groat's was made octagonal--to avoid jealousy
amongst his followers.


We visited the cathedral, which had suffered much in the wars, but in
the fine east window some very old stained glass remained, while parts
of the building exhibit the massive columns and circular arches typical
of the Norman architect. Here, in the presence of King Edward I and his
Parliament, Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, was excommunicated by
the Papal Legate for the murder of the Red Comyn in the Church of the
Minorite Friars in Dumfries. Here, too, Sir Walter Scott was married to
Charlotte Carpenter in the presence of Jane Nicholson and John Bird on
December 29th, 1797. Sir Walter was touring in the Lake District in July
of that year, and while staying at Gilsland Wells he first saw a
fascinating and elegant young lady, the daughter of Jean Charpentier of
Lyons, then under the charge of the Rev. John Bird, a Minor Canon of
Carlisle Cathedral. She was described, possibly by Sir Walter himself,
as being rich in personal attractions, with a form fashioned as light as
a fairy's, a complexion of the clearest and finest Italian brown, and a
profusion of silken tresses as black as the raven's wing. A humorous
savant wrote the following critique on this description of the beauty of
Sir Walter's fiancée:

   It is just possible the rascal had been reading some of the old Welsh
   stories collected in the twelfth century and known as the Mabinogion
   stories. In one Oliven is described so--

   "More yellow was her head than the yellow of the broom, and her skin
   was whiter than the foam of the wave, and fairer were her hands and
   her fingers than the blossoms of the wood anemone amidst the sprays
   of the meadow fountain. The eye of the trained hawk, the glance of
   the three-mewed falcon was not brighter than hers. Her bosom was more
   snowed than the heart of the white swan; her cheek was redder than
   the reddest roses."


Or again, both of the love-stricken swains may have dipped, into the
_Arabian Nights_, where imagination and picture painting runs riot.

There was no doubt that Scott fell deeply in love with her, so much so
that a friend whom he visited in 1797 wrote that "Scott was 'sair'
beside himself about Miss Carpenter and that they toasted her twenty
times over and raved about her until one o'clock in the morning." Sir
Walter seemed to have acted in his courtship on the old north-country
adage, "Happy is the wooing that is not long a-doing," for he was
married to her three months afterwards. The whole details are carefully
preserved in local tradition. The River Irthing runs through Gilsland,
and at the foot of the cliffs, which rise go feet above the river, were
the Sulphur Wells. Near these, on the bank of the river, was a large
stone named the "Popping Stone," where it was said that Sir Walter Scott
"popped the question," and all who can get a piece of this stone, which,
by the way, is of a very hard nature, and place it under the pillow at
night, will dream of their future partners. The hotel people tell a good
story of a gentleman, an entire stranger to the district, who went in
company with a lady who knew the neighbourhood to see the famous stone.
After walking for some distance they were passing a stone, when the
gentleman asked, "Is this the popping stone?" "No," answered his fair
companion, "but any large stone will do."

Near the stone there was a bush called the "Kissing Bush," where Sir
Walter was said to have sealed the sweet compact when the temperature
was only "two in the shade."

  Oh happy love! where Love like this is found!
    Oh heartfelt raptures! Bliss beyond compare!
  I've paced much this weary mortal round,
    If Heaven a draught of Heavenly pleasure spare,
  One cordial in this melancholy vale,
    'Tis when a youthful loving modest pair
  In other's arms breathe out the tender tale
    Beneath the "Kissing Bush" that scents the evening gale.

[Illustration: CARLISLE CASTLE]

John Wesley visited Carlisle and preached there on several occasions.
Rabbie Burns, too, after the publication of the first edition of his
poems, visited it in 1786, patronising the "Malt Shovel Inn," where, as
he wrote, "he made a night of it."

We paid a hurried visit to the castle on the summit of a sharp aclivity
overlooking the River Eden, in whose dungeons many brave men have been
incarcerated, where we saw a dripping-or dropping-stone worn smooth, it
was said, by the tongues of thirsty prisoners to whom water was denied.
The dropping was incessant, and we were told a story which seems the
refinement of cruelty, in which the water was allowed to drop on a
prisoner's head until it killed him. From the castle mound we could see
the country for a long distance, and there must have been a good view of
the Roman wall in ancient times, as the little church of Stanwix we had
passed before crossing the River Eden was built on the site of a Roman
station on Hadrian's Wall, which there crossed the river on low arches.
The wall was intended to form the boundary between England and Scotland,
and extended for seventy miles, from Bowness-on-the-Solway to
Wallsend-on-the-Tyne, thus crossing the kingdom at its narrowest part.

We left Carlisle at a speed of four miles per hour, and within the hour
we had our first near view of the Cumberland Hills, Scawfell being the
most conspicuous. We decided to go to Maryport, however, as we heard
that a great number of Roman altars had recently been discovered there.
We were now once more in England, with its old-fashioned villages, and
at eleven miles from Carlisle we reached Wigton, whose streets and
footpaths were paved with boulders and cobble-stones; here we stayed for
refreshments. A further eight-miles' walk, some portion of it in the
dark, brought us to Aspatria, but in the interval we had passed Brayton
Hall, the residence of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., M.P., the leader of
the Legislative Temperance Movement for the abolition of the Liquor
Traffic, and who, at a later date, was said to be the wittiest member of
the House of Commons. As Chairman of the United Kingdom Alliance, that
held its annual gatherings in the great Free Trade Hall in Manchester, a
building capable of seating 5,000 persons, so great was his popularity
that the immense building, including the large platform, was packed with
people long before the proceedings were timed to begin, there being left
only sufficient space for the chairman and the speakers. The interval
before the arrival of these gentlemen was whiled away by the audience in
singing well-known hymns and songs, and on one occasion, when Sankey and
Moody's hymns had become popular, just as the people were singing
vociferously the second line of the verse--

  See the mighty host advancing,
    Satan leading on!

[Illustration: CARLISLE CASTLE]

Sir Wilfrid appeared on the platform followed by the speakers. His ready
wit seized the humour of the situation, and it is said that he was so
deeply affected by this amusing incident that it took him a whole week
to recover! As a speaker he never failed to secure the attention and
respect of his audience, and even of those in it who did not altogether
agree with his principles. As an advocate of the total suppression of
the Liquor Traffic, on every occasion his peroration was listened to
with almost breathless attention, and concluded in an earnest and
impressive manner which left a never-to-be-forgotten impression upon
those who heard it, the almost magic spell by which he had held the vast
audience being suddenly broken, as if by an electric shock, into
thunders of applause when he recited his favourite verse. We can hear
his voice still repeating the lines:

  Slowly moves the march of ages,
    Slowly grows the forest king,
  Slowly to perfection cometh
    Every great and glorious thing!

It was 8 p.m. as we entered Aspatria, where we found lodgings for the
night at Isaac Tomlinson's. We expected Aspatria, from its name, to have
had some connection with the Romans, but it appeared to have been so
called after Aspatrick, or Gospatrick, the first Lord of Allerdale, and
the church was dedicated to St. Kentigern. The Beacon Hill near the town
was explored in 1799, and a vault discovered containing the skeleton of
a gigantic warrior seven feet long, who had been buried with his sword,
dagger, gold bracelet, horse's bit, and other accoutrements dating from
the sixth century.

We had passed a small village near our road named Bromfield, which was
said to possess strong claims to have been the site of the Battle of
Brunanburch, fought in the year 937, when Anlaf, King of Dublin, formed
a huge confederacy with the King of the Scots, the King of Strathclyde,
and Owen, King of Cumbria, against Athelstan, King of England, by whom,
however, they were signally defeated; but we afterwards came to a place
a long way further south which also claimed to have been the site of
that famous battle.

According to the following record, however, our native county of Chester
appeared to have the strongest claim to that distinction:

   It is not actually certain where the Battle of Brunanburch was
   fought, but it is by all historians said to have taken place in the
   Wirral Peninsula about the site where Bromborough is now situated.
   The Battle took place in 937 A.D., and it was here that Athelstan
   defeated the united forces of Scotland, Cumberland, and the British
   and Danish Chiefs, which is recorded in the Saxon Chronicle in a
   great war song. The name given in the Chronicle is Brunesburgh, but
   at the time of the Conquest it was called Brunburgh.

   The fleet set sail from Dublin under the command of the Danish King
   Anlaf or Olaf to invade England. He had as his father-in-law,
   Constantine, King of the Scots, and many Welsh Chieftains supported
   him. They made good their landing but were completely routed by King
   Athelstan, Grandson of Alfred, as stated above.

It is more than probable that Anlaf sailing from Dublin would come over
to England by the usual route to the havens opposite, near the great
roadstead of the Dee estuary.

One must not forget that the sea has made great ravages upon this coast,
destroying much ground between Wallasey and West Kirby, though
compensating for it in some measure by depositing the material in the
estuary itself in the shape of banks of mud and sand. Nor must one
overlook the existence of the old forest of Wirral, which stretched, as
the old saying ran--

  From Blacon Point to Hilbre
    Squirrels in search of food
  Might then jump straight from tree to tree.
    So thick the forest stood!

Chester was held by the king, for the warlike daughter of Alfred,
Ethelfleda, had rebuilt it as a fort after it had been lying in waste
for generations, and had established another at Runcofan, or Runcorn. It
was natural, therefore, for Anlaf to avoid the waters protected by
Athelstan's fleet and seek a landing perhaps at the old Roman
landing-place of Dove Point, near Hoylake, or in the inlet now carved
into the Timber Float at Birkenhead. Norse pirates had made a settlement
here beforehand, as the place names, Kirby, Calby, Greasby, and
Thorstaston, seem to indicate.

Bromborough would be just the spot for a strategist like Athelstan to
meet the invader, trying to force a way between the forest and the
marshes about Port Sunlight. This old port at Dove Point has been washed
away, though many wonderful relics of Roman and earlier times have been
found there, and are safely housed in the Chester Museum. Once again it
was used for the embarking of the army under William III, when he sailed
for Ireland to meet the late king, James II, in battle.

When Chester began to lose its trade through the silting up of its
harbour, about the reigns of the Lancastrian kings, it became necessary
to sail from lower down the estuary, Parkgate being in the best position
and possessing a quay, while Dawpool was also frequently used. But a
good port was necessary, because Ireland was frequently in rebellion,
and troops were usually passed over the channel from this region.

Parkgate was most prosperous in the eighteenth century, but the
construction of the great Irish road through Llangollen to Holyhead, and
of a good coach road from Warrington to Liverpool, and the later
development of railways caused its decline, until in our time it was
only known for its shrimps and as the headquarters of a small coast
fleet of fishing-boats.

It was to Dawport, or Darport, that Dean Swift usually sailed from
Dublin at the beginning of the eighteenth century for his frequent
visits to his brother wits, Addison and Steele. It was strange how many
common sayings of to-day were his in origin such as, "There is none so
blind as they that won't see," and, "A penny for your thoughts." Like
many witty people, he must needs have his little joke. He was made Dean
of St. Patrick's, Dublin, in 1713, and was accustomed to preach there
each Sunday afternoon, and was said to have preached on the same subject
on sixteen consecutive occasions. On making his seventeenth appearance
he asked the congregation if they knew what he was going to preach
about. Most of them answered "Yes," while others replied "No." "Some of
you say Yes," said the Dean, "and some of you say No. Those who know,
tell those who don't know," and he immediately pronounced the
benediction and left the pulpit!

At Chester he was accustomed to stay at the "Yacht Inn" in Watergate
Street, the old street of Roman origin, which led westwards to the river
beneath the River Gate. A dean is a dean, and his dignity must be
preserved in a Cathedral city. Of a Dean of Chester of the early
nineteenth century it is recounted that he would never go to service at
the Cathedral except in stately dignity, within his stage coach with
postillions and outriders, and would never even take his wife with him
inside. Dean Swift probably announced his arrival to his brother of
Chester as one king announces his approach to another king. But the
story goes that a great cathedral function was on and no one came to
welcome the great man. Perhaps there was a little excuse, for most
likely they had suffered from his tongue. But, however much they might
have suffered, they would have hurried to see him had they foreseen his
revenge. And perhaps a poor dinner had contributed to the acidity of his
mind when he scratched on one of the windows the following verse:

  Rotten without and mouldering within.
  This place and its clergy are all near akin!

It is a far cry from the battle of Brunanburch to Dean Swift, but the
thought of Anlaf took us back to Ireland, and Ireland and Chester were
closely connected in trade for many centuries.

So it was with thoughts of our homeland that we retired for the night
after adding another long day's walk to our tour.

(_Distance walked thirty-two and a half miles_.)

_Saturday, October 14th._

The long, straggling street of Aspatria was lit up with gas as we passed
along it in the early morning on the road towards Maryport, and we
marched through a level and rather uninteresting country, staying for
slight boot repairs at a village on our way. We found Maryport to be
quite a modern looking seaport town, with some collieries in the
neighbourhood. We were told that the place had taken its name from Mary
Queen of Scots; but we found this was not correct, as the name was given
to it about the year 1756, after Mary the wife of Humphrey Senhouse, the
Lord of the Manor at that period, the first house there apart from the
old posting-house, having been built in the year 1748. For centuries
there had been a small fishing-village at the mouth of the river, which
in the time of Edward I was named Ellenfoot, while the river itself was
named the Alne, now corrupted into Ellen. Maryport was of some
importance in the time of the Romans, and their camp, about five
acres in extent, still overlooked the sea. It was probably founded by
Agricola about A.D. 79, and in A.D. 120 was the station of the Roman
Fleet under Marcus Menaeius Agrippa, Admiral of the Roman Fleet in
British Waters, and a personal friend of Hadrian. The Roman name of the
station was probably Glanoventa, though other names have been suggested.
The North-east Gateway was more distinct than other portions of the
camp, the ruts made by the chariot wheels of the Romans being still
visible inside the threshold. The Roman village in those days covered
the four fields on the north-east side of the camp, and since the
seventeenth century about forty Roman altars had been found, seventeen
of them having been discovered in 1870, the year before our visit. They
had been carefully buried about 300 yards east of the camp, and were
discovered through a plough striking against one of them. Among them
were altars to Jupiter, Mars, Virtue, Vulcan, Neptune, Belatucadrus,
Eternal Rome, Gods and Goddesses, Victory, and to the Genius of the
Place Fortune, Rome. In addition there were twelve small or household
altars, querns, Roman millstones, cup and ring stones, a large,
so-called, serpent stone, and several sepulchral slabs, sculptures, etc.
There were also large quantities of Samian and other pottery, and
articles in glass, bronze, lead, and iron, with about 140 coins, many of
these remains being unique. This wonderful discovery proved that the
Romans were resident here right up to the end of their occupation of
Britain, as the coins bore the names of thirty-two Roman Emperors. The
altars themselves were buried where they were found probably before A.D.
200. It is well known that their soldiers were drafted from many other
nations, and there is distinct evidence that amongst others the first
cohort of Spaniards appeared to have been prominent, while the Legionary
Stones were of the Second and Twentieth Legions, the latter being
stationed for a long time at Chester and moved to the north of England
in the latter half of the fourth century.

[Illustration: ALTAR STONES. "Roman remains found at Maryport, and
dating probably about or before A.D. 200."]

[Illustration: ALTAR STONES. "Among them were altars to Jupiter, Mars,
Vulcan, household altars, and legionary stones."]

[Illustration: THE SERPENT STONE.]

The Roman ships carried stores here from Deva, their station on the
Dee, now known as Chester, for the use of the builders of Hadrian's
Wall, so that Maryport ought to be a happy hunting-ground for
antiquaries. After the departure of the Romans, Maryport must have been
left to decay for over a thousand years, and it seemed even now to be a
place that very few tourists visited. Netherhall, where most of the
antiquities were carefully stored, was originally a Peel Tower, and up
to the year 1528 was the home of the Eaglesfields and the reputed
birthplace of Robert Eaglesfield, the founder of Queen's College,
Oxford; it was now in possession of the Senhouse family. There was also
the Mote Hill, overlooking the river and surrounded by a deep ditch,
under the protection of which the Roman galleys anchored.

A romantic legend of the period of the Roman occupation still clings to
the neighbourhood, called the Legend of the Golden Coffin:

   The daughter of one of the Roman officers was loved by a young
   warrior from the other side of the Solway. Their trysting-place was
   discovered by the girl's father, who had a number of soldiers with
   him, and in spite of the entreaties of the girl, her lover was
   killed. With his death the maiden had no desire to live; night after
   night she made her way to the fatal spot, where she was eventually
   found, having died of a broken heart. The father prepared a wonderful
   funeral for her. Her body was arranged in silken garments, and then
   placed in a golden coffin and buried in a deep grave just outside the
   camp, where her spirit was still supposed to haunt the place at

On the sea coast a sunken forest existed, while the shore was covered
with granite boulders of many sizes and shapes, and large numbers of
similar stones were ploughed up in the fields, all apparently ice-borne,
and having been carried mostly from Criffel on the Scottish coast, and
the following legend was told here to explain their presence on the
English side of the Solway.

There once lived a giant on Criffel which was on the opposite coast of
the Solway Firth, while another giant lived on Skiddaw, one of the
highest mountains in Cumberland. For a time they lived in peace and
quietness, but an occasion came when they quarrelled. Then they took up
stones and hurled them at each other; but many of them fell short, and
hence they are now widely scattered.


We now returned towards the hills and followed what was once a Roman
road through a level country to Cockermouth, passing on our way through
the colliery village of Dearham, a name meaning the "home of wild
animals"; but we saw nothing wilder than a few colliers. The church
here was built in 1130, while the tower was built in the fourteenth
century for defence against the Scotch marauders. There were many old
stones and crosses in the churchyard. Cockermouth, as its name implies,
is situated at the mouth of the River Cocker, which here joins its
larger neighbour the River Derwent, and has been called the Western Gate
of the Lake District. Here also were Roman, Saxon, and Norman remains.
The castle, standing in a strong position between the two rivers, was
rebuilt in the reign of Edward I, and in Edward II's time his haughty
favourite, Piers Gaveston, resided in it for a short period. It was held
for the king during the Civil War, but was left in ruins after an attack
by the Parliamentarians in 1648. The Gateway Tower displayed many coats
of arms, and there was the usual dungeon, or subterranean chamber, while
the habitable portion of the castle formed the residence of Lord
Leconfield. The poet, William Wordsworth, was born at Cockermouth on
April 7th, 1770, about a hundred years before we visited it, and one of
his itinerary poems of 1833 was an address from the Spirit of
Cockermouth Castle:

  Thou look'st upon me, and dost fondly think,
  Poet! that, stricken as both are by years,
  We, differing once so much, are now compeers,
  Prepared, when each has stood his time, to sink
  Into the dust. Erewhile a sterner link
  United us; when thou in boyish play,
  Entered my dungeon, did'st become a prey
  To soul-appalling darkness. Not a blink
  Of light was there; and thus did I, thy Tutor,
  Make thy young thoughts acquainted with the grave;
  While thou wert chasing the winged butterfly
  Through my green courts; or climbing, a bold suitor,
  Up to the flowers whose golden progeny
  Still round my shattered brow in beauty wave.


Mary Queen of Scots stayed at Cockermouth on the night of May 17th,
1568--after the defeat of her army at Langside--at the house of Henry
Fletcher, a merchant, who gave her thirteen ells of rich crimson velvet
to make a robe she badly needed.

[Illustration: PORTINSCALE.]

The weather turned out wet in the afternoon, so we stayed for tea at one
of the inns in the town, and noted with curiosity that the number of the
inhabitants in Cockermouth was 7,700 at one census, and exactly the same
number at the next, which followed ten years afterwards. The new moon
was now due, and had brought with it a change in the weather, our long
spell of fine weather having given place to rain. We did not altogether
agree with our agricultural friends in Cheshire that it was the moon
that changed the weather, but it would be difficult to persuade the
farmers there to the contrary, since the changes in the weather almost
invariably came with the phases in the moon; so, without venturing to
say that the moon changed the weather or that the weather changed the
moon, we will hazard the opinion that the same influences might
simultaneously affect both, and the knowledge that we were approaching
the most rainy district in all England warned us to prepare for the
worst. The scenery improved as we journeyed towards Keswick, the "City
of the Lakes," but not the weather, which continued dull and rainy,
until by the time we reached the British stronghold known as Peel Wyke
it was nearly dark. Here we reached Bassenthwaite Lake, four miles long
and one mile broad, and had it not been for the rain and the darkness we
might have had a good view across the lake of Skiddaw Mountain, 3,054
feet above sea-level and towards the right, and of Helvellyn, a still
higher mountain, rising above Derwent Water, immediately in front of us.
We had seen both of these peaks in the distance, but as the rain came on
their summits became enveloped in the clouds. We walked about three
miles along the edge of Bassenthwaite Lake, passing the villages of
Thornthwaite and Braithwaite, where lead and zinc were mined. On
arriving at Portinscale we crossed the bridge over the River Derwent
which connects that lake (Derwent Water) with Bassenthwaite Lake through
which it flows, and thence, past Cockermouth, to the sea at Workington.
Soon after leaving Portinscale we arrived at Keswick, where we were
comfortably housed until Monday morning at the Skiddaw Hotel, formerly a
licensed house, but since converted into a first-class temperance house
by Miss Lawson, the sister of Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Bart., M.P.

(_Distance walked twenty-eight miles_.)

_Sunday, October 15th._

Rain had fallen heavily during the night, but the weather cleared up a
little as we wended our way to morning service at Crosthwaite Church,
dedicated to St. Kentigern, a Bishop of Glasgow, in the sixth century,
and doing duty, we supposed, as the parish church of Keswick. The font
there dated from the year 1390, and bore the arms of Edward III, with
inscriptions on each of its eight sides which we could not decipher. In
the chancel stood an alabaster tomb and effigy of Sir John Radcliffe and
his wife, ancestors of the Earl of Derwentwater. The church also
contained a monument to Southey the poet, erected at a cost of £1,100,
and bearing the following epitaph written by the poet Wordsworth:

  The vales and hills whose beauty hither drew
  The poet's steps, and fixed him here, on you
  His eyes have closed! And ye, lov'd books, no more
  Shall Southey feed upon your precious lore,
  To works that ne'er shall forfeit their renown.
  Adding immortal labours of his own--
  Whether he traced historic truth, with zeal
  For the State's guidance, and the Church's weal
  Or fancy, disciplined by studious art,
  Inform'd his pen, or wisdom of the heart.
  Or judgements sanctioned in the Patriot's mind
  By reverence for the rights of all mankind.
  Wide were his aims, yet in no human breast
  Could private feelings meet for holier rest.
  His joys, his griefs, have vanished like a cloud
  From Skiddaw's top; but he to heaven was vowed.
  Through his industrious life, and Christian faith
  Calmed in his soul the fear of change and death.

We attended the same church in the afternoon, and both the sermons were
preached by the curate, his texts being Deut. vi. 5 in the morning and
Hebrews iv. 3 in the afternoon. We were surprised to see such large
congregations on a wet day, but concluded that the people were so
accustomed to rain in that part of the country that they looked upon it
as a matter of course. The people of Keswick evidently had other views
as regards church-going than is expressed in the following lines by an
author whose name we do not remember:

  No pelting rain can make us stay
  When we have tickets for the play;
  But let one drop the side-walk smirch.
  And it's too wet to go to church.

At the morning service we sat in a pew in the rear of the church, and at
one point in the service when it was usual in that part of the country
for the congregation to sit down, one gentleman only remained standing.
We could scarcely believe our own eyes when we recognised in this
solitary figure the commanding form of Colonel Greenall of the
Warrington Volunteers, a gentleman whom we know full well, for his
brother was the rector of Grappenhall, our native village, where the
Colonel himself formerly resided.

He was a great stickler for a due recognition of that pleasing but
old-fashioned custom now fallen out of use, of the boys giving the
rector, the squire, or any other prominent member of their families a
respectful recognition when meeting them in the village or on their
walks abroad. On one occasion the boys had forgotten their usual
obeisance when meeting some relatives of the Colonel. He was highly
indignant at this sin of omission, and took the earliest opportunity to
bring the matter forcibly before his Sunday-school class, of which my
brother was a member. The Colonel spoke long and feelingly to the boys
on the subject of ordering themselves lowly and reverently before all
their "betters," including governors, teachers, spiritual pastors and
masters, and to all those who were put in authority over them, and wound
up his peroration with these words, which my brother never forgot, "And
now, boys, whenever you meet ME, or any of MY FAMILY, mind you always
touch your HATS!"


We did not stop to speak to the Colonel, as he was at the other end of
the church and passed out through another door, but we were recognised
by one of his men, who told us the Colonel had only just removed to that
neighbourhood. He had liked his summer's experiences there, but did not
know how he would go on in the winter. The Colonel and his man were the
only persons we saw on the whole of our journey that we knew.

To return to our boyish experiences and to the Colonel, the subject of
his Sunday-school lesson was taken from the Summary of the Ten
Commandments in the Church of England Prayer Book, where they were
divided into two parts, the first four relating to our duty to God, and
the remaining six to our duty towards our neighbour. It was surprising
how these questions and answers learned in the days of our youth dwelt
in our memories, and being Sunday, we each wrote them down from memory
with the same result, and we again record them for the benefit of any of
our friends who wish to "read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest."

"_Question_.--What is thy duty towards God?

"_Answer_.--My duty towards God, is to believe in Him, to fear Him, and
to love Him with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, and
with all my strength; to worship Him, to give Him thanks, to put my
whole trust in Him, to call upon Him, to honour His holy Name and His
Word, and to serve Him truly all the days of my life.

"_Question_.--What is thy duty towards thy Neighbour?

"_Answer_.--My duty towards my Neighbour, is to love him as myself, and
to do unto all men, as I would they should do unto me: To love, honour,
and succour my father and mother: To honour and obey the Queen, and all
that are put in authority under her: To submit myself to all my
governors, teachers, spiritual pastors and masters: To order myself
lowly and reverently to all my betters: To hurt no body by word nor
deed: To be true and just in all my dealing: To bear no malice nor
hatred in my heart: To keep my hands from picking and stealing, and my
tongue from evil-speaking, lying, and slandering: To keep my body in
temperance, soberness, and chastity: Not to covet nor desire other men's
goods; but to learn and labour truly to get mine own living, and to do
my duty in that state of life, unto which it shall please God to call

The word "duty" in the last paragraph of the explanation of one's duty
to one's neighbour must have been in the thoughts of both Nelson and his
men at the Battle of Trafalgar when he signalled, "England expects that
every man this day will do his duty." Although objections may be raised
to clauses in the summary, we always thought that our country could be
none the worse, but all the better, if every one learned and tried to
act up to the principles contained in these summaries of the Ten

In the evening we attended St. John's Church, where the Vicar officiated
and preached from Isaiah lxvii. 7 to a large congregation, and after the
service we returned to our hotel.

Keswick was a great resort of tourists and holiday people, and we were
not without company at the hotel, from whom we obtained plenty of advice
concerning our route on the morrow. We were strongly recommended to see
the Druidical Circle and to climb Skiddaw, whose summit was over 3,000
feet above sea-level, from which we should have a view scarcely
surpassed in the whole of Europe, and a scene that would baffle the
attempts of ordinary men to describe, having taxed even the powers of
Southey and Wordsworth. These recommendations and others were all
qualified with the words "if fine." But, oh that little word "if"--so
small that we scarcely notice it, yet how much does it portend! At any
rate we could not arrive at a satisfactory decision that night, owing to
the unfavourable state of the weather.



_Monday, October 16th._

The morning was showery, but we were obliged to continue our walk, so we
left Keswick with the intention of visiting the Falls of Lodore, the
large Bowder Stone, and the Yew Trees in Borrowdale, and afterwards
crossing over the fells to visit the graves of the poets at Grasmere. We
had been recommended to ascend the Castle Rigg, quite near the town, in
order to see the fine views from there, which included Bassenthwaite
Lake and Derwent Water. The poet Gray, who died in 1771, was so much
impressed by the retrospect, and with what he had seen from the top
where once the castle stood, that he declared he had "a good mind to go
back again." Unfortunately we had to forgo even that ascent, as the rain
descended in almost torrential showers. So we journeyed on in the rain
alongside the pretty lake of Derwent Water, which is about three miles
long and about a mile and a half broad, the water being so clear, we
were informed, that a small stone could be seen even if five or six
yards below the surface. It was certainly a lovely lake, and, with its
nicely wooded islands dotting its surface, recalled memories of Loch
Lomond. The first of these islands, about six acres in extent, was named
the Vicar's or Derwent Island, on which a family mansion had been
erected. On Lord's Island, which was quite near the side, were the ruins
of an old summer-house built by the Ratcliffe family with the stones
from their ruined castle on Castlerigg. The third island, which was in
the centre of the lake, also had a summer-house that had been built
there by the late Sir Wilfrid Lawson, composed of unhewn stone and
covered with moss to make it look ancient. This was known as St.
Herbert's Island, after a holy hermit who lived there in the sixth
century, the ruins of whose hermitage could still be traced. It was said
that so great and perfect was the love of this saintly hermit for his
friend St. Cuthbert of Holy Island, whose shrine was ultimately settled
at Durham, that he used to pray that he might expire the moment the
breath of life quitted the body of his friend, so that their souls might
wing their flight to heaven in company.

Although not so large as Lake Windermere, Derwent Water was considered
the most beautiful of the lakes because of these lovely islands on its
surface and the grand hills that encircled it. This lake of unsurpassed
beauty was associated both in name and reality with the unfortunate Earl
of Derwentwater, who suffered death for the part he took in the Jacobite
rising in 1715, and to whom Lord's Island belonged. He was virtually
compelled by his countess to join the rising, for when she saw his
reluctance to do so, she angrily threw her fan at his feet, and
commanded him take that and hand her his sword. The Earl gravely picked
it up, returned it to her, and, drawing his sword, cried, "God save King
James!" The Jacobites were supporters of James II, who was supplanted by
William III, Prince of Orange, in 1689, James then retreating to
Ireland, where he was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. The
rising in which the Earl of Derwentwater took part in the year 1715 was
in support of the son of James II, James Edward, whose adherents were
defeated at Preston in November of the same year, the unfortunate Earl,
with many others, being taken prisoner. The son of this James Edward was
the "Bonnie Prince Charlie" so beloved of the Scots, who landed to claim
the English Crown in 1745, and was defeated at the Battle of Culloden in
1746, where the Jacobite movement found its grave. Much sympathy was
felt at the time for the young Earl of Derwentwater, and there was a
tradition in the family that in times of great peril a supernatural
figure appeared to warn them of approaching fate. It is said that when
his lordship was wandering over the hills, a figure approached clothed
in the robe and hood of grey which the supernatural figure always wore,
gave him a crucifix, which was to render him proof against bullet and
sword, and then immediately disappeared. The Earl joined the insurgents,
who were defeated by the Royal troops at Preston, and he, with other
leaders, was taken to London, placed in the Tower, and condemned to
death for treason. His wife, taking the family jewels with her, implored
King George I, on her knees, for mercy; and Sir Robert Walpole declared
in the House of Commons that he had been offered £60,000 if he would
obtain Lord Derwentwater's pardon; but all efforts were in vain, for he
died by the axe on Tower Hill, February 24th, 1716, and his estates were
forfeited to the Government.

[Illustration: FALLS OF LODORE.]

We enjoyed our walk along Derwentwater in spite of the weather, but as
we approached Lodore, and heard the noise of the waters, we realised
that we had scored one great advantage from the continued rain, for we
could not have seen the falls to better advantage, as they fully carried
out the description of Southey, written when he was Poet Laureate of
England, in the following jingling rhyme:

  "How does the water come down at Lodore?"
  My little boy asked me thus, once on a time,
  Moreover, he task'd me to tell him in rhyme;
  Anon at the word there first came one daughter.
  And then came another to second and third
  The request of their brother, and hear how the water
  Comes down at Lodore, with its rush and its roar,
  As many a time they had seen it before.
  So I told them in rhyme, for of rhymes I had store.
  And 'twas my vocation that thus I should sing.
  Because I was laureate to them and the king.

Visitors to the Lake District, who might chance to find fine weather
there, would be disappointed if they expected the falls to be equal to
the poet's description, since heavy rains are essential to produce all
the results described in his poem. But seen as we saw them, a torrential
flood of water rushing and roaring, the different streams of which they
were composed dashing into each other over the perpendicular cliffs on
every side, they presented a sight of grandeur and magnificence never to
be forgotten, while the trees around and above seemed to look on the
turmoil beneath them as if powerless, except to lend enchantment to the
impressive scene.

  And dashing and flashing and splashing and clashing--
  And so never ending, but always descending,
  Sounds and motions for ever are blending.
  All at once and all o'er, with a mighty uproar--
  And this way the water comes down at Lodore!

The water rolled in great volumes down the crags, the spray rising in
clouds, and no doubt we saw the falls at their best despite the absence
of the sun. Near Lodore, and about 150 yards from the shore of
Derwentwater, was a floating island which at regular intervals of a few
years rises from the bottom exposing sometimes nearly an acre in extent,
and at others only a few perches. This island was composed of a mass of
decayed weeds and earthy matter, nearly six feet in thickness, covered
with vegetation, and full of air bubbles, which, it was supposed,
penetrated the whole mass and caused it to rise to the surface.

[Illustration: HEAD OF DERWENTWATER. "So we journeyed on in the rain
alongside the pretty lake of Derwentwater; ... with its nicely wooded
islands dotting its surface it recalled memories of Loch Lomond."]

By this time we had become quite accustomed to being out in the rain and
getting wet to the skin, but the temperature was gradually falling, and
we had to be more careful lest we should catch cold. It was very
provoking that we had to pass through the Lake District without seeing
it, but from the occasional glimpses we got between the showers we
certainly thought we were passing through the prettiest country in all
our travels. In Scotland the mountains were higher and the lakes, or
lochs, much larger, but the profiles of the hills here, at least of
those we saw, were prettier. About two miles from the Falls of Lodore we
arrived at the famous Bowder Stone. We had passed many crags and through
bewitching scenery, but we were absolutely astonished at the size of
this great stone, which Wordsworth has described as being like a
stranded ship:

  Upon a semicirque of turf-clad ground,
  A mass of rock, resembling, as it lay
  Right at the foot of that moist precipice,
  A stranded ship with keel upturned, that rests
  Careless of winds and waves.

[Illustration: THE BOWDER STONE.]

The most modest estimate of the weight of the Bowder Stone was 1,771
tons, and we measured it as being 21 yards long and 12 yards high. This
immense mass of rock had evidently fallen from the hills above. We
climbed up the great stone by means of a ladder or flight of wooden
steps erected against it to enable visitors to reach the top. But the
strangest thing about it was the narrow base on which the stone rested,
consisting merely of a few narrow ledges of rock. We were told that
fifty horses could shelter under it, and that we could shake hands with
each other under the bottom of the stone, and although we could not test
the accuracy of the statement with regard to the number of horses it
could shelter, we certainly shook hands underneath it. To do this we had
to lie down, and it was not without a feeling of danger that we did so,
with so many hundreds of tons of rock above our heads, and the thought
that if the rock had given way a few inches we should have been reduced
to a mangled mass of blood and bones. Our friendly greeting was not of
long duration, and we were pleased when the ceremony was over. There is
a legend that in ancient times the natives of Borrowdale endeavoured to
wall in the cuckoo so that they might have perpetual spring, but the
story relates that in this they were not entirely successful, for the
cuckoo just managed to get over the wall. We now continued our journey
to find the famous Yew Trees of Borrowdale, which Wordsworth describes
in one of his pastorates as "those fraternal four of Borrowdale":

                 But worthier still of note
  Are those fraternal four of Borrowdale,
  Joined in one solemn and capacious grove;
  Huge trunks! and each particular trunk a growth
  Of intertwisted fibres serpentine
  Up-coiling, and inveterately convolved;
  Nor uniformed with Phantasy, and looks
  That threaten the profane; a pillared shade,
  From whose grassless floor of red-brown hue,
  By sheddings from the pining umbrage tinged
  Perennially--beneath whose sable roof
  Of boughs, as if for festal purpose decked
  With unrejoicing berries--ghostly shapes
  May meet at noontide; Fear and trembling Hope,
  Silence and Foresight; Death the Skeleton,
  And Time the Shadow; there to celebrate,
  As in a natural temple scattered o'er
  With altars undisturbed of mossy stone,
  United worship; or in mute repose
  To lie, and listen to the mountain flood
  Murmuring from Glaramara's inmost caves.


It was a lonely place where the four yew trees stood, though not far
from the old black lead works which at one time produced the finest
plumbago for lead pencils in the world. As the rain was falling heavily,
we lit a fire under the largest of the four trees, which measured about
twenty-one feet in circumference at four feet from the ground, and
sheltered under its venerable shade for about an hour, watching a
much-swollen streamlet as it rolled down the side of a mountain.

Near the yew trees there was a stream which we had to cross, as our next
stage was over the fells to Grasmere; but when we came to its swollen
waters, which we supposed came from "Glaramara's inmost Caves," they
were not "murmuring" as Wordsworth described them, but coming with a
rush and a roar, and to our dismay we found the bridge broken down and
portions of it lying in the bed of the torrent. We thought of a stanza
in a long-forgotten ballad:

  London Bridge is broken down!
  Derry derry down, derry derry down!

Luckily we found a footbridge lower down the stream. It was now
necessary to inquire our way at one of the isolated farms in the
neighbourhood of Borrowdale, where the people knew very little of what
was going on in the world outside their own immediate environs. We heard
a story relating to the middle of the eighteenth century, when in the
absence of roads goods had to be carried on horseback. A rustic, who had
been sent for a bag of lime, the properties of which were unknown in
remote places, placed the bag on the back of his horse, and while he was
returning up the hills the rain came on, soaking the bag so that the
lime began to swell and smoke. The youth thought that it was on fire,
so, jumping off his horse, he filled his hat with water from the stream
and threw it on the bag. This only made matters worse, for the lime
began smoking more than ever; so he lifted it from the horse's back and
placed it in the water at the edge of the stream, where, in addition to
smoking, it began to boil and to make a hissing sound, which so
frightened the young man that he rode home in terror, feeling sure that
it was the Devil who had sneaked inside the bag!

We made our way to a farmhouse which we could see in the distance, but
the farmer advised us not to attempt to cross the fells, as it was misty
and not likely to clear up that day. So we turned back, and in about two
miles met a countryman, who told us we could get to Grasmere over what
he called the "Green Nip," a mountain whose base he pointed out to us.
We returned towards the hills, but we had anything but an easy walk, for
we could find no proper road, and walked on for hours in a "go as you
please" manner. Our whereabouts we did not know, since we could only see
a few yards before us. We walked a long way up hill, and finally landed
in some very boggy places, and when the shades of evening began to come
on we became a little alarmed, and decided to follow the running water,
as we had done on a very much worse occasion in the north of Scotland.
Presently we heard the rippling of a small stream, which we followed,
though with some difficulty, as it sometimes disappeared into the rocks,
until just at nightfall we came to a gate at the foot of the fells, and
through the open door of a cottage beheld the blaze of a tire burning
brightly inside. We climbed over the gate, and saw standing in the
garden a man who stared so hard at us, and with such a look of
astonishment, that we could not have helped speaking to him in any
case, even had he not been the first human being we had seen for many
hours. When we told him where we had come from, he said we might think
ourselves lucky in coming safely over the bogs on such a misty day, and
told us a story of a gentleman from Bradford who had sunk so deeply in
one of the bogs that only with the greatest difficulty had he been

He told us it was his custom each evening to come out of his cottage for
a short time before retiring to rest, and that about a month before our
visit he had been out one night as usual after his neighbours had gone
to bed, and, standing at his cottage door, he thought he heard a faint
cry. He listened again: yes, he could distinctly hear a cry for help. He
woke up his neighbours, and they and his son, going in the direction
from which the cries came, found a gentleman fast in the rocks. He had
been on a visit to Grasmere, and had gone out for an afternoon's walk on
the fells, when the mist came on and he lost his way. As night fell he
tried to get between some rocks, when he slipped into a crevice and
jammed himself fast between them--fortunately for himself as it
afterwards proved, for when the rescuing party arrived, they found him
in such a dangerous position that, if he had succeeded in getting
through the rocks the way he intended, he would inevitably have fallen
down the precipice and been killed.

After hearing these stories, we felt very thankful we were safely off
the fells. Without knowing it, we had passed the scene of the Battle of
Dunmail Raise, where Dunmail, the last King of Cumbria, an old British
kingdom, was said to have been killed in 945 fighting against Edmund,
King of England.

The place we had stumbled upon after reaching the foot of the fells was
Wythburn, at the head of Thirlmere Lake, quite near Amboth Hall, with
its strange legends and associations. The mansion was said to be haunted
by supernatural visitors, midnight illuminations, and a nocturnal
marriage with a murdered bride. The most remarkable feature of the
story, however, was that of the two skulls from Calgarth Hall, near
Windermere, which came and joined in these orgies at Amboth Hall. These
skulls formerly occupied a niche in Calgarth Hall, from which it was
found impossible to dislodge them. They were said to have been buried,
burned, ground to powder, dispersed by the wind, sunk in a well, and
thrown into the lake, but all to no purpose, for they invariably
appeared again in their favourite niche until some one thought of
walling them up, which proved effectual, and there they still remain.

The rain had now ceased, and the moon, only three days old, was already
visible and helped to light us on our four-mile walk to Grasmere. On our
way we overtook a gentleman visitor, to whom we related our adventure,
and who kindly offered us a drink from his flask. We did not drink
anything stronger than tea or coffee, so we could not accept the whisky,
but we were glad to accept his guidance to the best inn at Grasmere,
where we soon relieved the cravings of our pedestrian appetites, which,
as might be imagined, had grown strongly upon us.

(_Distance walked twenty-two miles_.)

_Tuesday, October 17th._

GRASMERE. Our first duty in the morning was to call at the post office
for our letters from home, and then to fortify ourselves with a good
breakfast; our next was to see the graves of the poets in the
picturesque and quiet churchyard. We expected to find some massive
monuments, but found only plain stone flags marking their quiet
resting-places, particularly that of Wordsworth, which was inscribed:


The grave of Hartley Coleridge, his great friend, who was buried in
1849, was also there. There are few who do not know his wonderful poem,
"The Ancient Mariner," said to have been based on an old manuscript
story of a sailor preserved in the Bristol Library. Strange to say, not
far from his grave was that of Sir John Richardson, a physician and
arctic explorer, who brought home the relics of Sir John Franklin's
ill-fated and final voyage to the Arctic regions to discover the
North-West Passage. This brought to our minds all the details of that
sorrowful story which had been repeatedly told to us in our early
childhood, and was, to our youthful minds, quite as weird as that of
"The Ancient Mariner."

[Illustration: GRASMERE CHURCH.]

Sir John Franklin was born in 1786. Intended by his parents for the
Church, but bent on going to sea, he joined the Royal Navy when he was
fourteen years of age, and served as a midshipman on the _Bellerophon_
at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, afterwards taking part in Captain
Flinders' voyage of discovery along the coast of Australia. His first
voyage to the Arctic Regions was in 1818, and after a long and eventful
career he was created Governor of Van Diemen's Land in 1837, whither
criminals convicted of grave offences involving transportation for life
were sent from England, where he did much for the improvement and
well-being of the colony.

On May 19th, 1845, he left England with the two ships _Erebus_ and
_Terror_, having on board 28 officers and 111 men--in all 134 souls--on
a voyage to the Arctic Regions in the hope of discovering the North-West
Passage. They reached Stromness, in the Orkneys, on July 1st, and were
afterwards seen and spoken to in the North Sea by the whaler _Prince of
Wales_, belonging to Hull. After that all was blank.

Lady Franklin did not expect to receive any early news from her husband,
but when two years passed away without her hearing from him, she became
anxious, and offered a large reward for any tidings of him. In 1848 old
explorers went out to search for him, but without result. Still
believing he was alive, she sent out other expeditions, and one was even
dispatched from America. All England was roused, and the sympathy of the
entire nation was extended to Lady Franklin.

Nine long years passed away, but still no news, until intelligence
arrived that an Eskimo had been found wearing on his head a gold
cap-band which he said he had picked up where "the dead white men were."
Lady Franklin then made a final effort, and on July 1st, 1857, Captain
McClintock sailed from England in the _Fox_. In course of time the
matter was cleared up. It was proved that the whole of the expedition
had perished, Sir John Franklin having died on June 11th, 1847. Many
relics were found and brought back to England.

[Illustration: DOVE COTTAGE.]

Lady Franklin, who died in 1875, was still alive at the time we passed
through Grasmere. One of her last acts was to erect a marble monument to
Sir John Franklin in Westminster Abbey, and it was her great wish to
write the epitaph herself, but as she died before this was accomplished,
it was written by Alfred Tennyson, a nephew of Sir John by marriage, and
read as follows:

  Not here! the white North hath thy bones, and thou
    Heroic Sailor Soul!
  Art passing on thy happier voyage now
    Towards no earthly pole.

Dean Stanley added a note to the effect that the monument was "Erected
by his widow, who, after long waiting and sending many in search of him,
herself departed to seek and to find him in the realms of light, 18th
July, 1875, aged eighty-three years."

But to return to Grasmere. Wordsworth lived there from 1803 to 1809 at
the Dove Cottage, of which, in the first canto of "The Waggoner," he

  For at the bottom of the brow
  Where once the "Dove and Olive-Bough"
  Offered a greeting of good ale
  To all who entered Grasmere Vale;
  And called on him who must depart
  To leave it with a jovial heart;
  There, where the "Dove and Olive-Bough"
  Once hung, a poet harbours now,
  A simple water-drinking Bard.

When Wordsworth moved to Rydal Mount, this cottage, which had formerly
been a public-house, was taken by that master of English prose, Thomas
de Quincey, author of the _Confessions of an English Opium Eater_.

[Illustration: RYDAL MOUNT.]


Wordsworth had the habit of reciting his poetry aloud as he went along
the road, and on that account the inhabitants thought he was not quite
sane. When Hartley Coleridge, his great friend, asked an old man who was
breaking stones on the road if he had any news, he answered, "Why, nowte
varry partic'lar; only awd Wordsworth's brokken lowse ageean!" (had
another fit of madness). On another occasion, a lady visitor asked a
woman in the village whether Wordsworth made himself agreeable among
them. "Well," she said, "he sometimes goes booin' his pottery about
t'rooads an' t'fields an' tak's na nooatish o' neabody, but at udder
times he'll say 'Good morning, Dolly,' as sensible as owder you or me."

The annual sports held at Grasmere were of more than local interest, and
the Rush-bearing was still kept up, but not quite in the manner
prevalent in earlier centuries. When heating apparatus was unknown in
churches, the rushes were gathered, loaded in a cart, and taken to the
church, where they were placed on the floor and in the pews to keep the
feet of the worshippers warm while they were in the church, being
removed and replenished each year when the rush-bearing festival came
round again. One of our earliest recollections was sitting amongst the
rushes on the floor of a pew in the ancient country church at Lymm in

[Illustration: WORDSWORTH'S GRAVE.]

An item in the Church Book at Grasmere, dating from the seventeenth
century, recorded the cost of "Ye ale bestowed on ye Rush Bearers,"
while in 1830 gingerbread appeared to have been substituted or added as
a luxury to "ye ale."

We passed alongside the pretty lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water amid
beautiful scenery. Mrs. Hemans, in her sonnet, "A remembrance of
Grasmere," wrote:

  O vale and lake, within your mountain urn,
  Smiling so tranquilly, and set so deep!
  Oft doth your dreamy loveliness return.
  Colouring the tender shadows of my sleep.
  Your shores in melting lustre, seem to float
  On golden clouds from spirit-lands, remote
  Isles of the blest:--and in our memory keep
  Their place with holiest harmonies. Fair scene
  Most loved by Evening and her dewy star!
  Oh! ne'er may man, with touch unhallow'd, jar
  The perfect music of the charm serene:
  Still, still unchanged, may _one_ sweet region wear
  Smiles that subdue the soul to love, and tears, and prayer!

On our way to Ambleside we passed Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's residence
until his death in 1850 in the eightieth year of his age. Mrs. Hemans
has described it as "a lovely cottage-like building, almost hidden by a
profusion of roses and ivy." Ambleside was a great centre for tourists
and others, being situated at the head of the fine Lake of Windermere,
to which its admirers were ambitious enough to apply Sir Walter Scott's
lines on Loch Katrine:

  In all her length far winding lay
  With promontory, creek, and bay,
  And islands that impurpled bright
  Floated amid the livelier light.
  And mountains that like Giants stand
  To sentinel enchanted land.

There was a Roman camp which we proposed visiting, and possibly
Helvellyn, but we were compelled for a time to seek refuge in one of the
hotels from the rain. There we met a gentleman, a resident in the
locality, who was what we might describe as a religious enthusiast, for
he had a very exalted opinion of the Vicar of Ambleside, whom he
described as a "Christian man"--a term obviously making distinctions
among vicars with which we heartily agreed. There must have been an
atmosphere of poetry in the Lake District affecting both visitors and
natives, for in a small valley, half a mile from a lonely chapel, stood
the only inn, bearing the strange sign of "The Mortal Man" on which some
native poet, but not Wordsworth, had written:

  O Mortal Man, who liv'st on bread,
  What is't that makes thy nose so red?--
  Thou silly ass, that looks so pale.
  It is with drinking Burkett's ale.


Immediately behind Ambleside there was a fearfully steep road leading up
to the head of Kirkstone Pass, where at an altitude of quite 1,400 feet
stood the "Travellers' Rest Inn." In our time walking was the only means
of crossing the pass, but now visitors are conveyed up this hill in
coaches, but as the gradient is so steep in some parts, they are
invariably asked to walk, so as to relieve the horses a little, a fact
which found expression in the Visitors' Book at the "Travellers' Rest"
in the following lines:

  He surely is an arrant ass
  Who pays to ride up Kirkstone Pass,
  For he will find, in spite of talking,
  He'll have to walk and pay for walking.

Three parts of Windermere is in Lancashire, and it is the largest and
perhaps the deepest water in the Lake District, being ten and a half
miles long by water, and thirteen miles by road along its shores; the
water is at no point more than two miles broad. It is said to maintain
the same level at the upper end whether it rains or not, and is so clear
that in some places the fish can plainly be seen swimming far beneath
its surface. The islands are clustered together at its narrowest part,
by far the largest being Belle Isle, a finely wooded island with a
mansion in the centre, and a noted stronghold of the Royalists during
the Civil War, at which time it was in the possession of the ancient
Westmorland family of Phillipson. We did not walk alongside Windermere,
but passed by the head of the lake to the old-world village of
Hawkshead, and called at the quaint old-fashioned inn known by the
familiar sign of the "Red Lion." While tea was being prepared we
surveyed the village, and on a stone in the churchyard we found the
following epitaph:

  This stone can boast as good a wife
  As ever lived a married life,
  And from her marriage to her grave
  She was never known to mis-behave.
  The tongue which others seldom guide,
  Was never heard to blame or chide;
  From every folly always free
  She was what others ought to be.


We had a long talk with the mistress of the inn, who told us that
Wordsworth was educated at the Grammar School in the village, and we
were surprised to hear from her that the Rev. Richard Greenall, whom we
had often heard officiate when he was curate of our native village of
Grappenhall, was now the vicar of Hawkshead. We had quite as exalted an
opinion of him as the gentleman we met at Ambleside had of his vicar.
He was a clergyman who not only read the prayers, but prayed them at the
same time:

  I often say my prayers,
  But do I ever pray?

and it was a pleasure to listen to the modulations of his voice as he
recited the Lord's Prayer, and especially when repeating that fine
supplication to the Almighty, beginning with the words "Almighty and
most merciful Father." At that time it was not the custom to recite,
read, or sing the prayers in one continual whine on one note (say G
sharp) when offering up supplications to the Almighty--a note which if
adopted by a boy at school would have ensured for him a severe caning,
or by a beggar at your door a hasty and forcible departure. Nor were the
Lessons read in a monotone, which destroys all sense of their full
meaning being imparted to the listeners--but this was in the "good old

[Illustration: CONISTON.]

We had to listen to another version of the story of the two Calgarth
skulls, from which it appeared that the Phillipsons wanted a piece of
land that belonged to Dorothy, the wife of Kraster Cook, who refused to
sell it, although asked repeatedly to do so. Myles Phillipson swore he
would have that land "be they alive or dead." After a quiet interval he
invited Kraster and his wife Dorothy to a feast, and afterwards accused
them of stealing a silver cup. This they strongly denied, but the cup
was found in their house, where it had been purposely hidden by the
squire's orders. Stealing was at that time a capital offence, and as
Phillipson was the magistrate he sentenced them both to death. In the
court-room Dorothy arose, and, glaring at the magistrate, said loudly,
"Guard thyself, Myles Phillipson. Thou thinkest thou hast managed
grandly; but that tiny lump of land is the dearest a Phillipson has ever
bought or stolen; for you will never prosper, neither your breed:
whatever scheme you undertake will wither in your hand; the side you
take will always lose; the time shall come when no Phillipson will own
one inch of land; and while Calgarth walls shall stand, we'll haunt it
night and day--never will ye be rid of us." They were both executed and
their property appropriated, but ever afterwards the Phillipsons had two
skulls for their guests. They were found at Christmas at the head of a
stairway; they were buried in a distant region, but they turned up in
the old house again; they were brazed to dust and cast to the wind; they
were several years sunk in the lake; but the Phillipsons never could get
rid of them. Meanwhile old Dorothy's prophecy came true, and the family
of Phillipson came to poverty and eventually disappeared.

We left Hawkshead by a road leading to Ulverston, for we had decided to
visit Furness Abbey. Had the weather been fine and clear, we should have
had some splendid views, since we had Windermere on one side and
Coniston Water on the other; but the showers continued, and we could not
even see the "Coniston Old Man," although he raised his head to the
height of 2,577 feet above sea-level. We were, in fact, passing through
the district of Seathwaite, where the rainfall is very much heavier than
in any other district in England. We consoled ourselves, however, with
the thought that we could not expect to see fine lakes in a land where
there was no rainfall, and after walking a considerable distance in the
darkness, two weary and rain-soddened pedestrians took refuge for the
remainder of the night in the well-appointed Temperance Hotel at

(_Distance walked twenty-four and a half miles_.)

_Wednesday, October 18th._

Ulverston has been described as the "Key to the Lake District," and
Swartmoor, which adjoined the town, took its name from a German--Colonel
Martin Swart---to whom the Duchess of Burgundy in 1486 gave the command
of about 2,000 Flemish troops sent to support the pretended title of
Lambert Simnel to the Crown of England. He landed in Ireland, where a
great number of the Irish joined him, and then, crossing over to
England, landed in Furness and marshalled his troops on the moor which
still bears his name, and where he was joined by many other
conspirators. They encountered the forces of King Henry VII near
Newark-on-Trent in June 1487, and after a stubborn fight were defeated,
4,000 men, with all their commanders, being killed.

Ulverston is also associated with George Fox, the founder of the Society
of Friends. He was born in 1624, at Drayton-on-the-Clay, in
Leicestershire, and in 1650 was imprisoned at Derby for speaking
"publickly" in a church after Divine Service, and bidding the
congregation to "_tremble at the Word of God_." This expression was
turned into one of ridicule, and caused the Society of Friends all over
the kingdom to be known as "Quakers." Fox preached throughout the
country, and even visited America. When he came to Ulverston, he
preached at Swartmoor Hall, where he converted Judge Fell and his wife,
after which meetings at the Hall were held regularly. The judge died in
1658, and in 1669, eleven years after her husband's death, Mrs. Fell,
who suffered much on account of her religion, married George Fox, who in
1688 built the Meeting-house at Ulverston. He died two years
afterwards, aged sixty-seven years, at White Hart Court, London, and
was buried in Banhill Fields.

Leaving our bags at the hotel, we walked to Furness Abbey, which,
according to an old record, was founded by King Stephen in 1127 in the
"Vale of the Deadly Nightshade." It was one of the first to surrender to
King Henry VIII at the dissolution of the monasteries, and the Deed of
Surrender, dated April 9th, 1537, was still in existence, by which the
abbey and all its belongings were assigned to the King by the Abbot,
Roger Pile, who in exchange for his high position agreed to accept the
living of Dalton, one of his own benefices, valued at that time at £40
per year. The Common Seal of the abbey was attached to the document, and
represented the Virgin Mary standing in the centre of the circle with
the Infant in her left arm and a globe in her right hand. She stood
between two shields of arms, which were suspended by bundles of
nightshade, and on each of which were represented the three Lions of
England, each shield being supported from the bottom by a monk in his
full dress and cowl. In the foreground in front of each monk was a plant
of the deadly nightshade, and over his head a sprig of the same, while
in the lower part was the figure of a wivern--_i.e._ a viper or dragon
with a serpent-like tail--this being the device of Thomas Plantagenet,
the second Earl of Lancaster, who was highly esteemed by the monks. We
did not notice any nightshade plant either in or near the ruins of the
abbey, but it was referred to in Stell's description of Becan-Gill as

   _Hæc vallis unuit olim sibi nomen ab herba Bekan, qua virtuit dulcis
   nune, tune sed acerbe; unde Domus nomen Bekangs-Gille claruit._

[Illustration: FURNESS ABBEY]

Although my brother could repeat the first two rules in the Latin
Grammar with their examples, one of which he said meant "The way to
good manners is never too late," he would not attempt the English
translation of these Latin words.

We were the only visitors then at the abbey, no doubt owing to the bad
state of the weather, and we were surprised at the extent and
magnificence of the ruins and the ponderous walls and archways, with
their fine ornamentations, impressive reminders of their past greatness.
In order to get a better view we mounted the adjoining hill, from which
we could see a portion of the rising town of Barrow-in-Furness. We
returned by the footpath alongside the railway, and entered into
conversation with a man who was standing on the line. He informed us
that he was the ganger, or foreman, over the plate-layers on the
railway, and that at one time he had lived in Manchester. He also said
he had joined the Good Templars, who were making headway in
Barrow-in-Furness, where he now resided.

Just before reaching the main road we were somewhat startled to see a
railway train quite near the abbey ruins, and the thought of home, sweet
home, accentuated by the rainy weather, came so strongly upon us that we
asked ourselves the question, "Shall we give in and go home!" We were
only the length of one county away, and about to make a long detour to
avoid going near, yet here was the train waiting that would convey us
thither. What a temptation! But for the circumstance that we had left
our bags at Ulverston our story might have ended here.

Some of the streams over which we passed on our way were quite red in
colour, and the puddles on the muddy roads were just like dark red
paint, indicating the presence of iron ore. We saw several miners, who
told us that they got the ore (known as haematite, or iron oxide) at a
depth of from 90 to 100 yards, working by candle-light, and that they
received about 2s. 6d. per ton as the product of their labour. The ore,
it seemed, filled up large cavities in the mountain limestone. It was
about one o'clock by the time we reached Ulverston again, and we were
quite ready for the good lunch which had been prepared for us.


Leaving Ulverston, we passed the old parish church and entered a
picturesque footpath quite appropriately named the Lover's Walk and
covered with fine trees, through which we had glimpses of Morecambe Bay;
but the lovers had been either driven away by the rain or we were too
early in the day for them to take their walks abroad. We mounted the
Hoad Hill to inspect a lofty monument which had been erected on the top
in the year 1850, in memory of Sir John Barrow. Sir John, the founder of
the great works at Barrow-in-Furness (afterwards Vickers, Sons & Maxim),
the noise of which we had heard in the distance, was a native of the
district, having been born in a small cottage near Ulverston in 1764. He
travelled in China and South Africa, and in 1804 became Secretary to the
Admiralty, a position he held for forty years, during which he took part
in fitting out Lord Nelson's fleet for the Battle of Trafalgar. He also
assisted in promoting the expedition to the Arctic Regions which was
commanded by Sir John Franklin. We were informed that his favourite
saying was: "A man's riches consist not so much in his possessions as in
the fewness of his wants"--a saying we were glad to adopt for ourselves.

We passed through the entrance to the monument, but could see no one
about. On a desk in the entrance-room lay a Visitors' Book, in which we
wrote our names, and then ascended to the top of the monument by a
rather dangerous staircase of over a hundred steps. As the well of the
tower was open from top to bottom the ascent and descent were very risky
for nervous people, and we felt thankful when we reached the foot of the
staircase safely, though disappointed because the weather had prevented
our enjoying the splendid view from the top that we had anticipated. As
we were leaving the monument we met an old man who had charge of it,
carrying some large mushrooms, which he told us he had seen from the top
of the monument, and very fine ones they were too.


But we are forgetting to mention that we had passed through
Dalton--formerly the capital of Furness--where George Romney, the
celebrated painter, was born in 1734. West, the inventor of the key
bugle, the forerunner of the modern cornet, was also a native of
Dalton-in-Furness. As the days were rapidly becoming shorter and the
gloomy weather made them appear shorter still, it was growing quite dark
when we called for tea at a village inn, the sign on which informed us
that it was "Clarke's Arms," and where we were very quickly served in
the parlour. During our tea a tall, haggard-looking man, whose hands
were trembling and whose eyes were bloodshot, entered the room, and
asked us to have a glass each with him at his expense, saying, "I'm
drunken Jim Topping as 'as had aw that heap o' money left him." He
pressed us very hard again and again to have the drink, but we showed
him the tea we were drinking, and we felt relieved when the landlord
came in and persuaded him to go into the other room, where we soon heard
an uproarious company helping "Jim" to spend his "heap o' money" and to
hasten him into eternity. The landlord afterwards informed us that
"Drunken Jim" was a stonemason by trade, and that a relation of his had
just died, leaving him £80,000, as well as some property.


It was dark when we left the inn, and about a mile farther, on the
Kendal road, we saw, apparently crossing the road, a large number of
glowworms, which, owing to the darkness of the night, showed to the best
advantage. So numerous were they that we had great difficulty in getting
over them, for we did not wish to crush any under our feet. We had never
seen more than two or three together before, so it was quite a novel
sight for us to find so many in one place. Presently we arrived at the
entrance to a small village, where our attention was arrested by a great
noise in a building a little distance from the road. The sound of
juvenile voices predominated, and as my brother was a great lover of
children, and especially of girls, as illustrated by a remark he was
partial to--"Girls and flowers are the nicest things that heaven sends
us"--we must needs stop and see what was going on. Climbing up some
steps and passing under some trees, we found, as we had surmised, the
village school. After looking through the windows we entered the
schoolroom, whereupon the noise immediately ceased. We ascertained that
it was the village choir awaiting the arrival of the schoolmistress to
teach them the hymns to be sung in the church on the following Sunday.
My brother insisted that he had come to teach the choir that night, and
went at once to the harmonium, which was unfortunately locked. He said
he would no doubt be able to go on without it, and, having arranged the
choir in order, was just about to commence operations when who should
come in but the schoolmistress herself, causing us to beat a rather
hasty retreat. We groped our way under the trees again and down the
steps, and were quite surprised when suddenly we found ourselves close
to a comfortable inn where we could be accommodated for the night. After
supper we retired to rest, wondering whether we were to pass the night
in Lancashire or Westmorland, for we had no idea where we were, and,
strange to say, we forgot to ask the name of the place when we left in
the morning.

(_Distance walked nineteen miles_.)

_Thursday, October 19th._

We left the inn at eight o'clock in the morning, but the weather still
continued very rainy, and we had often to seek shelter on our way owing
to the heavy showers. Presently we came to a huge heap of charcoal, and
were about to shelter near it when we were told that it was part of the
gunpowder works in the rear, so we hurried away as fast as we could
walk, for we did not relish the possibility of being blown into millions
of atoms. When we reached what we thought was a fairly safe distance, we
took refuge in an outbuilding belonging to a small establishment for
smelting iron, and here we were joined by another wayfarer, sheltering
like ourselves from the rain, which was coming down in torrents. He told
us about the stonemason who had recently had the fortune left to him,
but he said the amount mentioned in the newspaper was £40,000 and not
£80,000, as we had been informed. He wished the money had been left to
him, as he thought he could have put it to better use, for he had been
an abstainer from intoxicating drinks for twelve years, whereas the man
with the fortune, who at the moment was drinking in a beerhouse close
by, had no appetite for eating and would soon drink himself to death.
What the fate of poor "Jim Topping" was we never knew, but we could not
help feeling sorry for him, as he seemed to us one of those good-natured
fellows who are nobody's enemy but their own. The man told us that Jim
was a heavy drinker before he had the fortune left him. He surmised that
the place we had stopped at last night was Haverthwaite in Lancashire.
We saw a book of poems written in the Cumberland dialect, and copied the
first and last verses of one that was about a Robin Redbreast:


  Come into mey cabin, reed Robin!
    Threyce welcome, blithe warbler, to me!
  Noo Siddaw hes thrown a wheyte cap on,
    Agean I'll gie shelter to thee!
  Come, freely hop into mey pantry;
    Partake o' mey puir holsome fare;
  Tho' seldom I bwoast of a dainty.
    Yet meyne, man or burd sal aye share.

         *       *       *       *       *

  O whoar is thy sweetheart, reed Robin?
    Gae bring her frae hoosetop or tree:
  I'll bid her be true to sweet Robin,
    For fause was a fav'rite to me.
  You'll share iv'ry crumb i' mey cabin,
    We'll sing the weyld winter away--
  I winna deceive ye, puir burdies!
    Let mortals use me as they may.

On leaving our shelter, we passed a large mill, apparently deserted, and
soon afterwards reached Newby Bridge, where we crossed the River Leven,
which was rapidly conveying the surplus water from Windermere towards
the sea. Near this was a large hotel, built to accommodate stage-coach
traffic, but rendered unnecessary since the railway had been cut, and
consequently now untenanted. We had already crossed the bridge at the
head of Lake Windermere, and now had reached the bridge at the other
end. An old book, published in 1821, gave us the following interesting
information about the lake:

   It was at one time thought to be unfathomable, but on the third and
   fourth of June, 1772, when the water was six feet below its greatest
   known height, and three feet above the lowest ebb, a trial was made
   to ascertain by soundings the depth and form of the lake. Its
   greatest depth was found to be near Ecclesrigg Crag--201 feet. The
   bottom of the lake in the middle stream is a smooth rock; in many
   places the sides are perpendicular, and in some places they continue
   so for a mile without interruption. It abounds with fish, and the
   Rivers Brathay and Rothay feed the lake at the upper end, and in the
   breeding-season the trout ascend the Rothay, and the char the Brathay
   only; but in the winter, when these fish are in season, they come
   into the shallows, where they are fished for in the night, at which
   time they are the more easily driven into the nets.

We now turned along an old coach road which crossed the hills over
Cartmel Fell to Kendal, and appeared to be very little used. Our road
climbed steadily for about two miles, when suddenly there came a bright
interval between the showers, and we had a magnificent view of a portion
of Lake Windermere, with a steamboat leaving the landing-stage near
Newby Bridge. We stood, as it were, riveted to the spot; but another
shower coming on, the view vanished like a dream, though it lasted
sufficiently long to bring us encouragement and to cheer us upon our wet
and lonely way. The showers seemed as full of water as ever they could
hold, and sheltering-places were by no means plentiful. Sometimes
sheltering behind trees and sometimes in farm buildings, we proceeded
but slowly, and about eight miles from Kendal we halted for lunch at a
small inn, where we found cover for so long a time that, after walking
about three miles from that town, we called at another inn for tea. It
was astonishing how well we were received and provided for at these
small inns in the country. Every attention was given to us, a fire
lighted to dry our coats, and the best food the place could provide was
brought on to the table. We were shown into the parlour, and the best
cups and saucers were brought out from the corner cupboards.

The temperance movement appeared to be permeating the most unlikely
places, and we were astonished to find the crockery here painted with
temperance signs and mottoes, including a temperance star, and the
words "Be them faithful unto death." This seemed all the more remarkable
when we saw that the sign on the inn was the "Punch Bowl." The rain had
apparently been gradually clearing off, while we were at tea, but it
came on again soon after we left the comfortable shelter of the inn, so
we again took refuge--this time in the house of a tollgate, where we had
a long talk with the keeper. He pointed out a road quite near us which
had been made so that vehicles could get past the toll-bar on their way
to and from Kendal without going through the gates and paying toll. This
had been constructed by a landowner for the use of himself and his
tenants. As a retort the toll people had erected a stump at each side of
the entrance, apparently with the object of placing a chain across the
road, and had also erected a wooden hut to shelter a special toll-keeper
who only attended on Kendal market days. Some mischievous persons,
however, had overturned the hut, and we did not envy the man who on a
day like this had to attend here to collect tolls without any shelter to
protect him from the elements. Tollgates and turnpikes were ancient
institutions on the British roads, and in many places were in the hands
of Turnpike Trusts, who often rented the tolls to outsiders and applied
the rent chiefly to the repair of the roads. A fixed charge was made on
cattle and vehicles passing through the gates, and the vehicles were
charged according to the number of animals and wheels attached to them,
a painted table of tolls being affixed to the tollhouse. The gates were
kept closed, and were only opened when vehicles and cattle arrived, and
after payment of the charges. There was no charge made to pedestrians,
for whom a small gate or turnstile was provided at the side nearest the
tollhouse. The contractors who rented the tolls had to depend for their
profit or loss upon the total amount of the tolls collected minus the
amount of rent paid and toll-keepers' wages. Towards the close of the
Trusts the railways had made such inroads upon the traffic passing by
road that it was estimated that the cost of collection of tolls amounted
to 50 per cent. of the total sum collected.

The tollgate-keeper informed us that Dick Turpin, the highwayman, never
paid any tolls, for no collector dare ask him for payment, and if the
gate was closed, "Black Bess," his favourite mare, jumped over it.

He had a lot to tell us about Furness Abbey. He knew that it had been
built by King Stephen, and he said that not far from it there was a park
called Oxen Park, where the king kept his oxen, and that he had also a
Stirk Park.

He asked us if we had seen the small and very old church of Cartmel
Fell, and when we told him we had not, he said that travellers who did
not know its whereabouts often missed seeing it, for, although not far
from the road, it was hidden from view by a bank or small mound, and
there was a legend that some traveller, saint, or hermit who slept on
the bank dreamed that he must build a church between two rivers running
in opposite directions. He travelled all the world over, but could not
find any place where the rivers ran in opposite directions, so he came
back disappointed, only to find the rivers were quite near the place he
started from. The church was of remote antiquity, and was dedicated to
St. Anthony, the patron saint of wild boars and of wild beasts
generally; but who built the church, and where the rivers were to be
found, did not transpire.

We had carried our mackintoshes all the way from John o' Groat's, and
they had done us good service; but the time had now arrived when they
had become comparatively useless, so, after thanking the keeper of the
tollhouse for allowing us to shelter there, we left them with him as
relics of the past. The great objection to these waterproofs was that
though they prevented the moisture coming inwards, they also prevented
it going outwards, and the heat and perspiration generated by the
exertion of walking soon caused us to be as wet as if we had worn no
protection at all. Of course we always avoided standing in a cold wind
or sitting in a cold room, and latterly we had preferred getting wet
through to wearing them.

We arrived in Kendal in good time, and stayed at the temperance hotel.
In the town we purchased two strong but rather rustic-looking umbrellas,
without tassels or gold or silver handles--for umbrellas in the rainy
region of the "North Countrie" were wanted for use and not for ornament.
We found them quite an agreeable change from the overalls. Of course we
held them up skilfully, and as we thought almost scientifically, when
walking in the rain, and it was astonishing how well they protected us
when holding them towards the same side and angle as the falling rain.
Many people we met were holding them straight up, and looking quite
happy, reminding us of the ostrich when hunted and hard pressed, hiding
its head in the sand and imagining that its body was covered also! The
draper who sold us the umbrellas told us that Professor Kirk, whom we
had heard in Edinburgh, was to deliver an address in the evening on the
Good Templar Movement, so we decided to attend. The Professor, a good
speaker, informed us that there were between five and six hundred
members of the Order in Kendal. Mr. Edward Dawson of Lancaster also
addressed the meeting, and told us there were about three hundred
members in Lancaster, while the Professor estimated the number in
Scotland at between fifty and sixty thousand. It was quite a new
movement, which had its origin apparently in America, and was becoming
the prevailing subject of conversation in the country we travelled

[Illustration: KENDAL CASTLE.]

Kendal was an ancient place, having been made a market town by licence
from Richard Coeur de Lion. Philippa, the Queen of Edward III, wisely
invited some Flemings to settle there and establish the manufacture of
woollen cloth, which they did. Robin Hood and his "merrie men" were
said to have been clothed in Kendal Green, a kind of leafy green which
made the wearers of it scarcely distinguishable from the foliage and
vegetation of the forests which in Robin Hood's time covered the greater
part of the country. Lincoln Green was an older cloth of pure English

Robin Hood was the outlawed Earl of Huntingdon, and Shakespeare makes
Falstaff say--

    All the woods
  Are full of outlaws that in Kendal Green
  Followed the outlawed Earl of Huntingdon.

Catherine Parr was born at Kendal, and an old writer, noting that she
was the last Queen of Henry VIII, added, "a lady who had the good
fortune to descend to the grave with her head on, in all probability
merely by outliving her tyrant." This beautiful and highly accomplished
woman had already been married twice, and after the King's death took a
fourth husband. She narrowly escaped being burnt, for the King had
already signed her death-warrant and delivered it to the Lord
Chancellor, who dropped it by accident, and the person who found it
carried it to the Queen herself. She was actually in conversation with
the King when the Lord Chancellor came to take her to the Tower, for
which the King called him a knave and a fool, bidding him "Avaunt from
my presence." The Queen interceded for the Chancellor; but the King
said, "Ah, poor soul, thou little knowest what _he_ came about; of my
word, sweetheart, he has been to thee a very knave."

[Illustration: KENDAL CHURCH.]

Kendal possessed a fine old church, in one of the aisles of which was
suspended a helmet said to have belonged to Major Phillipson, whose
family was haunted by the two skulls, and who was nicknamed by
Cromwell's men "Robert the Devil" because of his reckless and daring
deeds. The Phillipsons were great Royalists, and Colonel Briggs of
Kendal, who was an active commander in the Parliamentary Army, hearing
that the major was on a visit to his brother, whose castle was on the
Belle Isle in Lake Windermere, resolved to besiege him there; but
although the siege continued for eight months, it proved ineffectual.
When the war was over, Major Phillipson resolved to be avenged, and he
and some of his men rode over to Kendal one Sunday morning expecting to
find Colonel Briggs in the church, and either to kill him or take him
prisoner there. Major Phillipson rode into the church on horseback, but
the colonel was not there. The congregation, much surprised and annoyed
at this intrusion, surrounded the major, and, cutting the girths,
unhorsed him. On seeing this, the major's party made a furious attack on
the assailants, and the major killed with his own hand the man who had
seized him, and, placing the ungirthed saddle on his horse, vaulted into
it and rode through the streets of Kendal calling upon his men to follow
him, which they did, and the whole party escaped to their safe resort in
the Lake of Windermere.

This incident furnished Sir Walter Scott with materials for a similar
adventure in "Rokeby," canto vi.:

  All eyes upon the gateway hung.
  When through the Gothic arch there sprung
  A horseman arm'd, at headlong speed--
  Sable his cloak, his plume, his steed.
  Fire from the flinty floor was spurn'd.
  The vaults unwonted clang return'd!--
  One instant's glance around he threw,
  From saddle-bow his pistol drew.
  Grimly determined was his look!
  His charger with the spurs he strook--
  All scatter'd backward as he came,
  For all knew Bertram Risingham!
  Three bounds that noble courser gave;
  The first has reach'd the central nave,
  The second clear'd the chancel wide.
  The third--he was at Wycliffe's side.

         *       *       *       *       *

  While yet the smoke the deed conceals,
  Bertram his ready charger wheels;
  But flounder'd on the pavement-floor
  The steed, and down the rider bore,
  And, bursting in the headlong sway.
  The faithless saddle-girths gave way.
  'Twas while he toil'd him to be freed.
  And with the rein to raise the steed.
  That from amazement's iron trance
  All Wycliffe's soldiers waked at once.

(_Distance walked fifteen miles_.)

_Friday, October 20th._

We left Kendal before breakfast, as we were becoming anxious about
maintaining our average of twenty-five miles per day, for we had only
walked nineteen miles on Wednesday and fifteen miles yesterday, and we
had written to our friends some days before saying that we hoped to
reach York Minster in time for the services there on Sunday.


In the meantime we had decided to visit Fountains Abbey, so, crossing
the River Kent, we walked nine miles along a hilly road over the fells,
which were about 800 feet above sea-level. We stopped at a place called
Old Town for breakfast, for which our walk through the sharp clear air
on the fells had given us an amazing appetite. We then walked quickly
down the remaining three miles to Kirkby Lonsdale, passing on our way
the beautiful grounds and residence of the Earl of Bective. At the
entrance to the town we came to the school, and as the master happened
to be standing at the door, we took the opportunity of asking him some
particulars about Kirkby Lonsdale and our farther way to Fountains
Abbey. He was a native of Scotland, and gave us some useful and reliable
information, being greatly interested in the object of our journey. We
found Kirkby Lonsdale to be quite a nice old-fashioned town with a
church dedicated to St. Mary--a sign, we thought, of its antiquity; the
interior had been recently restored by the Earl of Bective at a cost of
about £11,000. An old board hanging up in the church related to one of
the porches, on which was painted a crest and shield with the date 1668,
and the following words in old English letters:

  This porch by y' Banes first builded was,
    (Of Heighholme Hall they weare,)
  And after sould to Christopher Wood
  By William Banes thereof last heyre.
  And is repayred as you do see
  And sett in order good
  By the true owner nowe thereof
  The foresaid Christopher Wood.

There was also painted in the belfry a rhyming list of the "ringers'

  If to ring ye do come here,
  You must ring well with hand and ear;
  Keep stroke and time and go not out,
  Or else you'll forfeit without doubt.
  He that a bell doth overthrow
  Must pay a groat before he go;
  He that rings with his hat on,
  Must pay his groat and so begone.

  He that rings with spur on heel,
  The same penalty he must feel.
  If an oath you chance to hear,
  You forfeit each two quarts of beer.
  These lines are old, they are not new.
  Therefore the ringers must have their due.

   _N.B._--Any ringer entering a peal of six pays his shilling.

The first two lines greatly interested my brother, whose quick ear could
distinguish defects when they occurred in the ringing of church bells,
and he often remarked that no ringer should be appointed unless he had a
good ear for music.

There were one or two old-fashioned inns in the town, which looked very
quaint, and Kirkby Old Hall did duty for one of them, being referred to
by the rhymester "Honest" or "Drunken Barnaby" in his Latin Itinerary of
his "Travels in the North":

  I came to Lonsdale, where I staid
  At Hall, into a tavern made.
  Neat gates, white walls--nought was sparing,
  Pots brimful--no thought of caring;
  They eat, drink, laugh; are still mirth-making,
  Nought they see that's worth care-taking.

The men of the North were always warlike, and when in the year 1688, in
the time of James II, a rumour was circulated that a large French Army
had landed on the coast of Yorkshire, a great number of men assembled on
the outskirts of the town and were waiting there ready for the call to
arms, when news came that it was a false alarm. Of course this event had
to be recorded by the local poet, who wrote:

  In eighty-eight, was Kirby feight.
    When nivver a man was slain;
  They ate the'r mey't, an' drank the'r drink,
    An' sae com' merrily heame again.

We were sorry we could not stay longer in the neighbourhood of Kirkby
Lonsdale, as the scenery in both directions along the valley of the
River Lune was very beautiful. As we crossed the bridge over it we
noticed an old stone inscribed:

  Fear God
  Honer the
  King 1633,

and some other words which we could not decipher. The bridge was rather
narrow, and at some unknown period had replaced a ford, which was at all
times difficult to cross, and often dangerous, and at flood-times quite
impassable, as the river here ran between rocks and across great
boulders; it was, however, the only ready access to the country beyond
for people living in Kirkby Lonsdale. One morning the inhabitants awoke
to find a bridge had been built across this dangerous ford during the
night, and since no one knew who had built it, its erection was
attributed to his Satanic Majesty, and it was ever afterwards known as
the Devil's Bridge.

The bridge was very narrow, and, although consisting of three arches,
one wide and the others narrow, and being 180 feet long, it was less
than twelve feet wide, and had been likened to Burns' Auld Brig o' Ayr,

  With your poor narrow footpath of a street.
  Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet.

The country people had a tradition that it was built in windy weather by
the Devil, who, having only one apron full of stones, and the breaking
of one of his apron-strings causing him to lose some of them as he flew
over Casterton Fell, he had only enough left to build a narrow bridge.


Another legend states that "Once upon a time there lived a queer old
woman whose cow and pony pastured across the river and had to cross it
on their way to and from home. The old woman was known as a great cheat.
One dark and wet night she heard her cow bellow, and knew that she was
safely across the ford; but as the pony only whined, she thought that he
was being carried away by the flood. She began to cry, when suddenly the
Devil appeared, and agreed to put up a bridge that night on conditions
named in the legend:

  "To raise a bridge I will agree.
  That in the morning you shall see.
  But mine for aye the first must be
     That passes over.
  So by these means you'll soon be able
  To bring the pony to his stable.
     The cow her clover."

  In vain were sighs and wailings vented,
  As she at last appeared contented.
  It was a bargain--she consented--
     For she was Yorkshire.
  Now home she goes in mighty glee.
  Old Satan, too, well pleased he
     Went to his work, sir.

He worked hard all night, and early in the morning the bridge was made,
as the old woman knew by the terrible noise. He called to the old woman
to come over, but she brought her little mangy dog, and, taking a bun
out of her pocket, threw it over the bridge. The dog ran over after it.

  "Now--crafty sir, the bargain was
  That you should have what first did pass
  Across the bridge--so now--alas!
      The dog's your right."
  The cheater--cheated--struck with shame.
  Squinted and grinned: then, in a flame
      He vanished quite.


On reflection we came to the conclusion that whenever and however it was
built, the bridge was of a type not uncommon in Cheshire, and often
called Roman bridges, but erected in all probability in mediæval times,
when only width enough was required for the passing of one horse--in
other words, when most roads were nothing but bridlepaths. We were glad
of the assistance afforded by the bridge for the rushing waters of the
River Lune were swollen by the heavy rains, and our progress in that
direction would have been sadly delayed had we arrived there in the time
of the ancient ford. We now passed the boundaries of Lancashire and
Westmorland and entered the county of York, the largest in England. A
large sale of cattle was taking place that day at a farm near the
bridge, and for some miles we met buyers on their way to the sale, each
of whom gave us the friendly greeting customary in the hilly districts
of that hospitable county. Seven miles from Kirkby Lonsdale we stopped
at Ingleton for some dinner, and just looked inside the church to see
the fine old Norman font standing on small pillars and finely sculptured
with scenes relating chiefly to the childhood of our Saviour. Joseph
with his carpenter's tools and the Virgin Mary seated with the infant
Saviour on her knees, the Eastern Magi bringing their offerings, Herod
giving orders for the destruction of the young children, Rachel weeping,
and others--all damaged in the course of centuries, though still giving
one an idea of the great beauty of the font when originally placed in
position. We heard about the many waterfalls to be seen--perhaps as many
as could be visited in the course of a whole week; but we had seen--and
suffered--so much water and so many waterfalls, that for the time being
they formed no attraction. Still we resolved to see more of this
interesting neighbourhood on a future occasion.

Passing through Clapham, said to be one of the finest villages in
England, and where there was a cave supposed to run about half a mile
underground, we came to some fine limestone cliffs to the left of our
road, which were nearly white as we approached nearer to the town of
Settle, situated at the foot of Giggleswick Scar, alongside which our
road passed. We visited the Ebbing and Flowing Well, where the much-worn
stones around it proclaimed the fact that for many ages pilgrims had
visited its shrine; but how "Nevison's Nick," a famous highwayman, could
have ridden his horse up the face of the rock leading up to it--even
with the aid of his magic bridle--was more than we could understand.
Another legend stated that a nymph pursued by a satyr was so afraid that
he would overtake her that she prayed to the gods to change her into a
spring. Her prayer was granted, and the ebbs and flows in the water were
supposed to represent the panting of the nymph in her flight.


We turned aside to visit Giggleswick village, with its old cross, which
seemed to be nearly complete, and we found the old church very
interesting. It contained some ancient monuments, one of which
represented Sir Richard Temple, born 1425, knighted at the Battle of
Wakefield, 1460, attainted for treason 1461, pardoned by King Edward IV,
and died 1488, the head of his charger being buried with him. There was
also the tomb of Samuel Watson, the "old Quaker," who interrupted the
service in the church in 1659, when the people "brok his head upon ye
seates." Then there was the famous Grammar School, a very old foundation
dating back to early in the sixteenth century. We were delighted with
our visit to Giggleswick, and, crossing the old bridge over the River
Ribble, here but a small stream, we entered the town of Settle and
called for tea at Thistlethwaite's Tea and Coffee Rooms. There were
several small factories in the neighbourhood. We noticed that a concert
had recently been held in the town in aid of a fund for presenting a
lifeboat to the National Society, one having already been given by this
town for use on the stormy coasts of the Island of Anglesey.


Leaving Settle by the Skipton road, we had gone about a mile when we met
two men who informed us we were going a long way round either for Ripon
or York. They said an ancient road crossed the hills towards York, and
that after we had climbed the hill at the back of the town we should see
the road running straight for fourteen miles. This sounded all right,
and as the new moon was now shining brightly, for it was striking six
o'clock as we left the town, we did not fear being lost amongst the
hills, although they rose to a considerable height. Changing our course,
we climbed up a very steep road and crossed the moors, passing a small
waterfall; but whether we were on or off the ancient road we had no
means of ascertaining, for we neither saw nor met any one on the way,
nor did we see any house until we reached the ancient-looking village of
Kirby Malham. Here we got such very voluminous directions as to the way
to Malham that neither of us could remember them beyond the first turn,
but we reached that village at about ten o'clock. We asked the solitary
inhabitant who had not retired to rest where we could find lodgings for
the night. He pointed out a house at the end of the "brig" with the word
"Temperance" on it in large characters, which we could see easily as the
moon had not yet disappeared, and told us it belonged to the village
smith, who accommodated visitors. All was in darkness inside the house,
but we knocked at the door with our heavy sticks, and this soon brought
the smith to one of the upper windows. In reply to our question, "Can we
get a bed for the night?" he replied in the Yorkshire dialect, "Our
folks are all in bed, but I'll see what they say." Then he closed the
window, and all was quiet except the water, which was running fast under
the "brig," and which we found afterwards was the River Aire, as yet
only a small stream. We waited and waited for what seemed to us a very
long time, and were just beginning to think the smith had fallen asleep
again, when we heard the door being unbolted, and a young man appeared
with a light in his hand, bidding us "Come in," which we were mighty
glad to do, and to find ourselves installed in a small but very
comfortable room. "You will want some supper," he said; and we assured
him it was quite true, for we had not had anything to eat or drink since
we left Settle, and, moreover, we had walked thirty-five miles that day,
through fairly hilly country. In a short time he reappeared with a quart
of milk and an enormous apple pie, which we soon put out of sight; but
was milk ever so sweet or apple pie ever so good! Forty-five years have
passed away since then, but the memory still remains; and the sweet
sleep that followed--the rest of the weary--what of that?

(_Distance walked thirty-five miles_.)

_Saturday, October 21st._

One great advantage of staying the night in the country was that we were
sure of getting an early breakfast, for the inns had often farms
attached to them, and the proprietors and their servants were up early
to attend to their cattle. This custom of early rising also affected the
business of the blacksmiths, for the farmers' horses requiring attention
to their shoes were always sent down early to the village smithy in
order that they could be attended to in time to turn out to their work
on the roads or in the fields at their usual hour. Accordingly we were
roused from our sound slumber quite early in the morning, and were glad
to take advantage of this to walk as far as possible in daylight, for
the autumn was fast coming to a close. Sometimes we started on our walk
before breakfast, when we had a reasonable prospect of obtaining it
within the compass of a two-hours' journey, but Malham was a secluded
village, with no main road passing through it, and it was surrounded by
moors on every side.

There were several objects of interest in Malham which we were told were
well worth seeing: Malham Cove, Janet's Foss or Gennetth's Cave, and
Gordale Scar. The first of these we resolved to see before breakfast.
We therefore walked along a path which practically followed the course
of the stream that passed under the brig, and after a fine walk of about
three-quarters of a mile through the grass patches, occasionally
relieved by bushes and trees, we reached the famous cove. Here our
farther way was barred by an amphitheatre of precipitous limestone rocks
of a light grey colour, rising perpendicularly to the height of about
200 feet, which formed the cove itself. From the base of these rocks,
along a horizontal bedding plane and at one particular spot, issued the
stream along which we had walked, forming the source of the River Aire,
which flows through Skipton and on to Leeds, the curious feature about
it being that there was no visible aperture in the rocks, neither arch
nor hole, from which it could come. The water appeared to gain volume
from the loose stones under our feet, and as we had not seen a sight
like this in all our travels, we were much surprised to find it forming
itself immediately into a fair-sized brook. We gazed upwards to the top
of the rocks, which were apparently unprotected, and wondered what the
fate would be of the lost traveller who unconsciously walked over them,
as there seemed nothing except a few small bushes, in one place only, to
break his fall. We heard afterwards of a sorrowful accident that had
happened there. It related to a young boy who one day, taking his little
brother with him for company, went to look for birds' nests. On reaching
the cove they rambled to the top of the cliff, where the elder boy saw a
bird's nest, to which he went while his little brother waited for him at
a distance, watching him taking the eggs. All at once he saw him stoop
down to gather some flowers to bring to him, and then disappear. He
waited some time expecting his brother to return, but as he did not
come back the little fellow decided to go home. On the way he gathered
some flowers, which he gleefully showed to his father, who asked him
where he had got them, and where his brother was. The child said he had
gone to sleep, and he had tried to waken him but couldn't; and when he
told the full story, the father became greatly alarmed, and, taking his
child with him, went to the foot of the cliffs, where he found his son
lying dead where he had fallen, with the flowers still clasped in his

[Illustration: MALHAM COVE.]

We were afterwards told that above the cliff and a few miles up a valley
a great stream could be seen disappearing quietly down into the rock. It
was this stream presumably which lost itself in a subterranean channel,
to reappear at the foot of Malham Cove.

After breakfast we again resumed our journey, and went to inspect
Janet's Cave or Foss--for our host told us that it was no use coming to
see a pretty place like Malham without viewing all the sights we could
while we were there. We walked up a lovely little glen, where it was
said a fairy once resided, and which if it had been placed elsewhere
would certainly have been described as the Fairy Glen; but whether or
not Janet was the name of the fairy we did not ascertain. In it we came
to a pretty little waterfall dropping down from one step to another, the
stream running from it being as clear as crystal. The rocks were lined
with mosses, which had become as fleecy-looking as wool, as they were
almost petrified by the continual dropping of the spray from the
lime-impregnated water that fell down the rocks. There were quite a
variety of mosses and ferns, but the chief of the climbing plants was
what Dickens described "as the rare old plant, the ivy green," which not
only clung to the rocks, but had overshadowed them by climbing up the
trees above. To see the small dark cave it was necessary to cross the
stream in front of the waterfall, and here stepping-stones had been
provided for that purpose, but, owing to the unusual depth of water,
these were covered rather deeply, with the result that all the available
spaces in our boots were filled with water. This was, of course, nothing
unusual to us, as we had become quite accustomed to wet feet, and we now
looked upon it as an ordinary incident of travel. The cave was said to
have been the resort of goblins, and when we wondered where they were
now, my brother mildly suggested that we might have seen them if we had
possessed a mirror. We had seen a list of the names of the different
mosses to be found in the Malham district, but, as these were all in
Latin, instead of committing them to memory, we contented ourselves with
counting the names of over forty different varieties besides hepaties,
lichens, ferns, and many flowers:

  Hie away, hie away,
  Over bank and over brae,
  Where the copsewood is the greenest,
  Where the fountains glisten sheenest.
  Where the lady-fern grows strongest,
  Where the morning dew lies longest,
  Where the blackcock sweetest sips it.
  Where the fairy latest trips it;

  Hie to haunts right seldom seen,
  Lovely, lonesome, cool and green;
  Over bank and over brae
  Hie away, hie away!

So we now "hied away" to find Gordale Scar, calling at a farmhouse to
inquire the way, for we knew we must cross some land belonging to the
farm before we could reach the Scar. We explained to the farmer the
object of our journey and that we wished afterwards to cross the moors.
After directing us how to reach the Scar, he said there was no necessity
for us to return to Malham if we could climb up the side of the
waterfall at the Scar, since we should find the road leading from Malham
a short distance from the top. He wished us good luck on our journey,
and, following his instructions, we soon reached Gordale Scar. It was
interesting to note the difference in the names applied to the same
objects of nature in the different parts of the country we passed
through, and here we found a scar meant a rock, a beck a brook, and a
tarn, from a Celtic word meaning a tear, a small lake. Gordale Scar was
a much more formidable place than we had expected to find, as the rocks
were about five yards higher than those at Malham Cove, and it is almost
as difficult to describe them as to climb to the top!

[Illustration: GORDALE SCAR.]

Gordale Beck has its rise near Malham Tarn, about 1,500 feet above
sea-level; and, after running across the moor for about three miles,
gathering strength in its progress, it reaches the top of this cliff,
and, passing over it, has formed in the course of ages quite a
considerable passage, widening as it approaches the valley below, where
it emerges through a chasm between two rocks which rise to a great
height. It was from this point we had to begin our climb, and few people
could pass underneath these overhanging rocks without a sense of danger.
The track at this end had evidently been well patronised by visitors,
but the last of these had departed with the month of September, and as
it was now late in October we had the Scar all to ourselves. It was,
therefore, a lonely climb, and a very difficult one as we approached the
top, for the volume of water was necessarily much greater after the
heavy autumnal rainfall than when the visitors were there in the summer;
and as we had to pass quite near the falls, the wind blew the spray in
some places over our path. It seemed very strange to see white foaming
water high above our heads. There was some vegetation in places; here
and there a small yew tree, which reminded us of churchyards and the
dark plumes on funeral coaches; but there were also many varieties of
ferns in the fissures in the rocks. When we neared the top, encumbered
as we were with umbrellas, walking-sticks, and bags, we had to assist
each other from one elevation to another, one climbing up first and the
other handing the luggage to him, and we were very pleased when we
emerged on the moors above.

[Illustration: KILNSEY CRAGS.]

Here we found the beck running deeply and swiftly along a channel which
appeared to have been hewn out expressly for it, but on closer
inspection we found it quite a natural formation. We have been told
since by an unsentimental geologist that the structure is not difficult
to understand. As in the case of the Malham Cove stream, this one passed
into the rock and gradually ate out a hollow, while ultimately escaping
from the cliff as in the cove; but the roof of the cave collapsed,
forming the great chasm and revealing the stream as it leaped down from
one level to another. Looking about us on the top we saw lonely moors
without a house or a tree in sight, and walked across them until we came
to a very rough road--possibly the track which we expected to find
leading from Malham. Malham Tarn was not in sight, but we had learned
that the water was about a mile in length and the only things to be seen
there were two kinds of fish--perch and trout---which often quarrelled
and decimated each other. The weather was dull, and we had encountered
several showers on our way, passing between the Parson's Pulpit to the
left, rising quite 1,700 feet, and the Druid's Altar to our right; but
we afterwards learned that it was a poor specimen, and that there were
much finer ones in existence, while the Parson's Pulpit was described as
"a place for the gods, where a man, with a knowledge of nature and a
lover of the same, might find it vantage ground to speak or lecture on
the wonders of God and nature."

We were pleased to get off the moors before further showers came on, and
before we reached Kilnsey, where this portion of the moors terminated
abruptly in the Kilnsey Crags, we passed by a curious place called
Dowker Bottom Cave, where some antiquarian discoveries had been made
about fifteen years before our visit, excavations several feet below the
lime-charged floor of the cave having revealed the fact that it had been
used by cave-dwellers both before and after the time of the Romans:
there were also distinct traces of ancient burials.

The monks of Furness Abbey formerly owned about 6,000 acres of land in
this neighbourhood, and a small vale here still bore the name of
Fountains Dell; but the Scotch raiders often came down and robbed the
monks of their fat sheep and cattle. The valley now named Littondale was
formerly known as Amerdale, and was immortalised as such by Wordsworth
in his "White Doe of Rylstone":

  Unwooed, yet unforbidden.
    The White Doe followed up the vale,
  Up to another cottage, hidden
    In the deep fork of Amerdale.

The road passes almost under Kilnsey Crag, but though it seemed so near,
some visitors who were throwing stones at it did not succeed in hitting
it. We were a little more successful ourselves, but failed to hit the
face of the rock itself, reminding us of our efforts to dislodge rooks
near their nests on the tops of tall trees: they simply watched the
stones rising upwards, knowing that their force would be spent before
either reaching their nests or themselves. On arriving at Kilnsey, we
called at the inn for refreshments, and were told that the ancient
building we saw was Kilnsey Old Hall, where, if we had come earlier in
the year, before the hay was put in the building, we could have seen
some beautiful fresco-work over the inside of the barn doors!

After lunch we had a very nice walk alongside the River Wharfe to a
rather pretty place named Grassington, where an ancient market had been
held since 1282, but was now discontinued. We should have been pleased
to stay a while here had time permitted, but we were anxious to reach
Pateley Bridge, where we intended making our stay for the week-end. We
now journeyed along a hilly road with moors on each side of us as far as
Greenhow Hill mines, worked by the Romans, and there our road reached
its highest elevation at 1,320 feet above sea-level--the village church
as regarded situation claiming to be the highest in Yorkshire. We had
heard of a wonderful cave that we should find quite near our road, and
we were on the look-out for the entrance, which we expected would be a
black arch somewhere at the side of the road, but were surprised to find
it was only a hole in the surface of a field. On inquiry we heard the
cave was kept locked up, and that we must apply for admission to the
landlord of the inn some distance farther along the road. We found the
landlord busy, as it was Saturday afternoon; but when we told him we
were walking from John o' Groat's to Land's End and wanted to see all
the sights we could on our way, he consented at once to go with us and
conduct us through the cave. We had to take off our coats, and were
provided with white jackets, or slops, and a lighted candle each. We
followed our guide down some steps that had been made, into what were to
us unknown regions.

We went along narrow passages and through large rooms for about two
hundred yards, part of the distance being under the road we had just
walked over. We had never been in a cave like this before. The
stalactites which hung from the roof of the cavern, and which at first
we thought were long icicles, were formed by the rain-water as it slowly
filtered through the limestone rock above, all that could not be
retained by the stalactite dropping from the end of it to the floor
beneath. Here it gradually formed small pyramids, or stalagmites, which
slowly rose to meet their counterparts, the stalactites, above, so that
one descended while the other ascended. How long a period elapsed before
these strange things were formed our guide could not tell us, but it
must have been very considerable, for the drops came down so slowly. It
was this slow dropping that made it necessary for us to wear the white
jackets, and now and then a drop fell upon our headgear and on the
"slops." Still we felt sure it would have taken hundreds of years before
we should have been transformed into either stalactites or stalagmites.
In some of the places we saw they had long since met each other, and in
the course of ages had formed themselves into all kinds of queer shapes.
In one room, which our guide told us was the "church," we saw the
"organ" and the "gallery," and in another the likeness of a "bishop,"
and in another place we saw an almost exact representation of the four
fingers of a man's hand suspended from the roof of the cave. Some of the
subterranean passages were so low that we could scarcely creep through
them, and we wondered what would become of us if the roof had given way
before we could return. Many other images were pointed out to us, and we
imagined we saw fantastic and other ghostly shapes for ourselves.

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO THE CAVE.]

We were careful to keep our candles alight as we followed our guide on
the return journey, and kept as close together as we could. It was
nearly dark when we reached the entrance of the cavern again, and our
impression was that we had been in another world. Farther south we
explored another and a larger cave, but the vandals had been there and
broken off many of the "'tites," which here were quite perfect. We had
not felt hungry while we were in the cave, but these well-known pangs
came on us in force immediately we reached the open air, and we were
glad to accept the landlord's offer to provide for our inward
requirements, and followed him home to the inn for tea. The landlord had
told the company at the inn about our long walk, and as walking was more
in vogue in those days than at later periods, we became objects of
interest at once, and all were anxious to form our acquaintance.

[Illustration: STUMP CROSS CAVES The Four Fingers. The "'tites" and

We learned that what we had noted as the Greenhow Cave was known by the
less euphonius name of the "Stump Cross Cavern." It appeared that in
ancient times a number of crosses were erected to mark the limits of the
great Forest of Knaresborough, a royal forest as far back as the twelfth
century, strictly preserved for the benefit of the reigning monarch. It
abounded with deer, wild boars, and other beasts of the chase, and was
so densely wooded that the Knaresborough people were ordered to clear a
passage through it for the wool-carriers from Newcastle to Leeds. Now we
could scarcely see a tree for miles, yet as recently as the year 1775
the forest covered 100,000 acres and embraced twenty-four townships.
Before the Reformation, the boundary cross on the Greenhow side was
known as the Craven Cross, for Craven was one of the ancient counties
merged in what is called the West Riding. The Reformers objected to
crosses, and knocked it off its pedestal, so that only the stump
remained. Thus it gradually became known as the Stump Cross, and from
its proximity the cavern when discovered was christened the Stump Cross
Cavern. We were informed that the lead mines at Greenhow were the oldest
in England, and perhaps in the world, and it was locally supposed that
the lead used in the building of Solomon's Temple was brought from here.
Two bars of lead that had been made in the time of the Romans had been
found on the moors, and one of these was now to be seen at Ripley Castle
in Yorkshire, while the other was in the British Museum.

Eugene Aram, whose story we heard for the first time in the inn, was
born at a village a few miles from Greenhow. The weather had been
showery during the afternoon, but we had missed one of the showers,
which came on while we were in the cavern. It was now fine, and the moon
shone brightly as we descended the steep hill leading to Pateley Bridge.
We had crossed the River Dibb after leaving Grassington, and now, before
crossing the River Nidd at Pateley Bridge, we stayed at the "George
Inn," an old hostelry dating from the year 1664.

(_Distance walked twenty-one and a half miles_.)

_Sunday, October 22nd._

We spent a fairly quiet day at Pateley Bridge, where there was not a
great deal to see. What there was we must have seen, as we made good use
of the intervals between the three religious services we attended in
exploring the town and its immediate neighbourhood. We had evidently not
taken refuge in one of the inns described by Daniel Defoe, for we were
some little distance from the parish church, which stood on a rather
steep hill on the opposite bank of the river. Near the church were the
ruins of an older edifice, an ancient description running, "The old
Chappel of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Pateley Brigg in Nidderdale." We
climbed the hill, and on our way came to an old well on which was
inscribed the following translation by Dryden from the Latin of Ovid [43
B.C.-A.D. 18]:

  Ill Habits gather by unseen degrees,
  As Brooks run rivers--Rivers run to Seas.

and then followed the words:

  The way to church.

We did not go there "by unseen degrees," but still we hoped our good
habits might gather in like proportion. We went to the parish church
both morning and evening, and explored the graveyards, but though
gravestones were numerous enough we did not find any epitaph worthy of
record--though one of the stones recorded the death in July 1755 of the
four sons of Robert and Margaret Fryer, who were born at one birth and
died aged one week.

In the afternoon we went to the Congregational Chapel, and afterwards
were shown through a very old Wesleyan Chapel, built in 1776, and still
containing the old seats, with the ancient pulpit from which John Wesley
had preached on several occasions.

It was curious to observe how anxious the compilers of the histories of
the various places at which we stayed were to find a remote beginning,
and how apologetic they were that they could not start even earlier.
Those of Pateley Bridge were no exception to the rule. The Roman
Occupation might perhaps have been considered a reasonable foundation,
but they were careful to record that the Brigantes were supposed to have
overrun this district long before the Romans, since several stone
implements had been found in the neighbourhood. One of the Roman pigs of
lead found hereabouts, impressed with the name of the Emperor
"Domitian," bore also the word "Brig," which was supposed to be a
contraction of Brigantes. A number of Roman coins had also been
discovered, but none of them of a later date than the Emperor Hadrian,
A.D. 139, the oldest being one of Nero, A.D. 54-68.


Previous to the fourteenth century the River Nidd was crossed by means
of a paved ford, and this might originally have been paved by the
Romans, who probably had a ford across the river where Pateley Bridge
now stands for the safe conveyance of the bars of lead from the Greenhow
mines, to which the town owed its importance, down to the beginning of
the nineteenth century. But though it could boast a Saturday market
dating from the time of Edward II, it was now considered a quiet and
somewhat sleepy town.

The valley along which the River Nidd runs from its source in the moors,
about ten miles away, was known as Nidderdale. In the church book at
Middlesmoor, about six miles distant, were two entries connected with
two hamlets on the banks of the Nidd near Pateley Bridge which fix the
dates of the christening and marriage of that clever murderer, Eugene
Aram. We place them on record here:

   RAMSGILL.--Eugenious Aram, son of Peter Aram, bap. ye 2nd of October,
   1704. LOFTUS.--Eugenius Aram and Anna Spence, married May 4th, after
   banns thrice pub. 1731.

We retired to rest early. Our last week's walk was below the average,
and we hoped by a good beginning to make up the mileage during the
coming week, a hope not to be fulfilled, as after events proved.



_Monday, October 23rd._

We left Pateley Bridge at seven o'clock in the morning, and after
walking about two miles on the Ripley Road, turned off to the left along
a by-lane to find the wonderful Brimham rocks, of which we had been
told. We heard thrashing going on at a farm, which set us wondering
whether we were on the same road along which Chantrey the famous
sculptor walked when visiting these same rocks. His visit probably would
not have been known had not the friend who accompanied him kept a diary
in which he recorded the following incident.

They were walking towards the rocks when they, like ourselves, heard the
sound of thrashing in a barn, which started an argument between them on
their relative abilities in the handling of the flail. As they could not
settle the matter by words, they resolved to do so by blows; so they
made their way to the farm and requested the farmer to allow them to try
their hand at thrashing corn, and to judge which of them shaped the
better. The farmer readily consented, and accompanied them to the barn,
where, stopping the two men who were at work, he placed Chantrey and his
friend in their proper places. They stripped for the fight, each taking
a flail, while the farmer and his men watched the duel with smiling
faces. It soon became evident that Chantrey was the better of the two.
The unequal contest was stopped, much to the chagrin of the keeper of
the diary, by the judge giving his verdict in favour of the great
sculptor. This happened about seventy years before our visit, but even
now the old-fashioned method of thrashing corn had not yet been ousted
by steam machinery, and the sound of the flails as they were swung down
upon the barn floors was still one of the commonest and noisiest that,
during the late autumn and winter months, met our ears in country

When the time came for the corn to be thrashed, the sheaves were placed
on the barn floor with their heads all in the same direction, the
binders which held them together loosened, and the corn spread out. Two
men were generally employed in this occupation, one standing opposite
the other, and the corn was separated from the straw and chaff by
knocking the heads with sticks. These sticks, or flails, were divided
into two parts, the longer of which was about the size of a
broom-handle, but made of a much stronger kind of wood, while the other,
which was about half its length, was fastened to the top by a hinge made
of strong leather, so that the flail was formed into the shape of a
whip, except that the lash would not bend, and was as thick as the
handle. The staff was held with both hands, one to guide and the other
to strike, and as the thrashers were both practically aiming at the same
place, it was necessary, in order to prevent their flails colliding,
that one lash should be up in the air at the same moment that the other
was down on the floor, so that it required some practice in order to
become a proficient thrasher. The flails descended on the barn floors
with the regularity of the ticking of a clock, or the rhythmic and
measured footsteps of a man walking in a pair of clogs at a quickstep
speed over the hard surface of a cobbled road. We knew that this
mediæval method of thrashing corn would be doomed in the future, and
that the old-fashioned flail would become a thing of the past, only to
be found in some museum as a relic of antiquity, so we recorded this
description of Chantrey's contest with the happy memories of the days
when we ourselves went a-thrashing corn a long time ago!


What Chantrey thought of those marvellous rocks at Brimham was not
recorded, but, as they covered quite fifty acres of land, his friend,
like ourselves, would find it impossible to give any lengthy description
of them, and might, like the auctioneers, dismiss them with the
well-known phrase, "too numerous to mention."

To our great advantage we were the only visitors at the rocks, and for
that reason enjoyed the uninterrupted services of the official guide, an
elderly man whose heart was in his work, and a born poet withal.

[Illustration: THE DANCING-BEAR ROCK.]

The first thing we had to do was to purchase his book of poems, which,
as a matter of course, was full of poetical descriptions of the
wonderful rocks he had to show us--and thoroughly and conscientiously
he did his duty. As we came to each rock, whether we had to stand below
or above it, he poured out his poetry with a rapidity that quite
bewildered and astonished us. He could not, of course, tell us whether
the rocks had been worn into their strange forms by the action of the
sea washing against them at some remote period, or whether they had been
shaped in the course of ages by the action of the wind and rain; but we
have appealed to our geological friend, who states, in that emphatic way
which scientific people adopt, that these irregular crags are made of
millstone grit, and that the fantastic shapes are due to long exposure
to weather and the unequal hardness of the rock. Our guide accompanied
us first to the top of a great rock, which he called Mount Pisgah, from
which we could see on one side a wilderness of bare moors and mountains,
and on the other a fertile valley, interspersed with towns and villages
as far as the eye could reach. Here the guide told my brother that he
could imagine himself to be like Moses of old, who from Pisgah's lofty
height viewed the Promised Land of Canaan on one side, and the
wilderness on the other! But we were more interested in the astonishing
number of rocks around us than in the distant view, and when our guide
described them as the "finest freak of nature of the rock kind in
England," we thoroughly endorsed his remarks. We had left our luggage at
the caretaker's house, which had been built near the centre of this
great mass of stones in the year 1792, by Lord Grantley, to whom the
property belonged, from the front door of which, we were told, could be
seen, on a clear day, York Minster, a distance of twenty-eight miles as
the crow flies. As may be imagined, it was no small task for the guide
to take us over fifty acres of ground and to recite verses about every
object of interest he showed us, some of them from his book and some
from memory. But as we were without our burdens we could follow him
quickly, while he was able to take us at once to the exact position
where the different shapes could be seen to the best advantage. How long
it would have taken that gentleman we met near Loch Lomond in Scotland
who tried to show us "the cobbler and his wife," on the top of Ben
Arthur, from a point from which it could not be seen, we could not
guess, but it was astonishing how soon we got through the work, and were
again on our way to find "fresh fields and pastures new."

[Illustration: THE HIGH ROCK.]

We saw the "Bulls of Nineveh," the "Tortoise," the "Gorilla," and the
"Druids' Temple"--also the "Druids' Reading-desk," the "Druids' Oven,"
and the "Druid's Head." Then there was the "Idol," where a great stone,
said to weigh over two hundred tons, was firmly balanced on a base
measuring only two feet by ten inches. There was the usual Lovers' Leap,
and quite a number of rocking stones, some of which, although they were
many tons in weight, could easily be rocked with one hand. The largest
stone of all was estimated to weigh over one hundred tons, though it was
only discovered to be movable in the year 1786. The "Cannon Rock" was
thirty feet long, and, as it was perforated with holes, was supposed to
have been used as an oracle by the Ancients, a question asked down a
hole at one end being answered by the gods through the priest or
priestess hidden from view at the other. The different recesses, our
guide informed us, were used as lovers' seats and wishing stones. The
"Frog and the Porpoise," the "Oyster Rock," the "Porpoise's Head," the
"Sphinx," the "Elephant and Yoke of Oxen," and the "Hippopotamus's Head"
were all clearly defined. The "Dancing Bear" was a splendidly shaped
specimen, and then there was a "Boat Rock," with bow and stern complete.
But on the "Mount Delectable," as our guide called it, there was a very
romantic courting and kissing chair, which, although there was only room
for one person to sit in it at a time, he assured us was, in summer
time, the best patronised seat in the lot.

We remunerated him handsomely, for he had worked hard and, as "England
expects," he had done his duty. He directed us to go along a by-lane
through Sawley or Sawley Moor, as being the nearest way to reach
Fountains Abbey: but of course we lost our way as usual. The Brimham
Rocks were about 1,000 feet above sea-level, and from them we could see
Harrogate, which was, even then, a fashionable and rising inland
watering-place. Our guide, when he showed us its position in the
distance, did not venture to make any poetry about it, so we quote a
verse written by another poet about the visitors who went there:

  Some go for the sake of the waters--
    Well, they are the old-fashioned elves--
  And some to dispose of their daughters,
    And some to dispose of themselves.

But there must be many visitors who go there to search in its bracing
air for the health they have lost during many years of toil and anxiety,
and to whom the words of an unknown poet would more aptly apply:

  We squander Health in search of Wealth,
    We scheme, and toil, and save;
  Then squander Wealth in search of Health,
    And only find a Grave.
  We live! and boast of what we own!
  We die! and only get a STONE!


[Illustration: FOUNTAINS ABBEY. "How grand the fine old ruin appeared,
calmly reposing in the peaceful valley below."]

[Illustration: THE CLOISTERS, FOUNTAINS ABBEY. "Many great warriors were
buried beneath the peaceful shade of Fountains Abbey."]

[Illustration: THE NAVE]

Fortunately we happened to meet with a gentleman who was going part of
the way towards Fountains Abbey, and him we accompanied for some
distance. He told us that the abbey was the most perfect ruin in
England, and when we parted he gave us clear instructions about the way
to reach it. We were walking on, keeping a sharp look out for the abbey
through the openings in the trees that partially covered our way, when
suddenly we became conscious of looking at a picture without realising
what it was, for our thoughts and attention had been fixed upon the
horizon on the opposite hill, where for some undefined reason we
expected the abbey to appear. Lo and behold, there was the abbey in the
valley below, which we might have seen sooner had we been looking down
instead of up. The effect of the view coming so suddenly was quite
electrical, and after our first exclamation of surprise we stood there
silently gazing upon the beautiful scene before us; and how grand the
fine old ruin appeared calmly reposing in the beautiful valley below! It
was impossible to forget the picture! Why we had expected to find the
abbey in the position of a city set upon a hill which could not be
hid we could not imagine, for we knew that the abbeys in the olden times
had to be hidden from view as far as possible as one means of protecting
them from warlike marauders who had no sympathy either with the learned
monks or their wonderful books. Further they required a stream of water
near them for fish and other purposes, and a kaleyard or level patch of
ground for the growth of vegetables, as well as a forest--using the word
in the Roman sense, to mean stretches of woodland divided by open
spaces--to supply them with logs and with deer for venison, for there
was no doubt that, as time went on, the monks, to use a modern phrase,
"did themselves well." All these conditions existed near the magnificent
position on which the great abbey had been built. The river which ran
alongside was named the Skell, a name probably derived from the Norse
word _Keld_, signifying a spring or fountain, and hence the name
Fountains, for the place was noted for its springs and wells, as--

  From the streams and springs which Nature here contrives,
  The name of Fountains this sweet place derives.

[Illustration: THE GREAT TOWER]

The history of the abbey stated that it was founded by thirteen monks
who, wishing to lead a holier and a stricter life than then prevailed in
that monastery, seceded from the Cistercian Abbey of St. Mary's at York.
With the Archbishop's sanction they retired to this desolate spot to
imitate the sanctity and discipline of the Cistercians in the Abbey of
Rieval. They had no house to shelter them, but in the depth of the
valley there grew a great elm tree, amongst the branches of which they
twisted straw, thus forming a roof beneath which they might dwell. When
the winter came on, they left the shelter of the elm and came under that
of seven yew-trees of extraordinary size. With the waters of the River
Skell they quenched their thirst, the Archbishop occasionally sent them
bread, and when spring came they built a wooden chapel. Others joined
them, but their accession increased their privations, and they often had
no food except leaves of trees and wild herbs. Even now these herbs and
wild flowers of the monks grew here and there amongst the old ruins.
Rosemary, lavender, hyssop, rue, silver and bronze lichens, pale rosy
feather pink, a rare flower, yellow mullein, bee and fly orchis, and
even the deadly nightshade, which was once so common at Furness Abbey.
One day their provisions consisted of only two and a half loaves of
bread, and a stranger passing by asked for a morsel. "Give him a loaf,"
said the Abbot; "the Lord will provide,"--and so they did. Marvellous to
relate, says the chronicle, immediately afterwards a cart appeared
bringing a present of food from Sir Eustace Fitz-John, the lord of the
neighbouring castle of Knaresborough, until then an unfriendly personage
to the monks.

[Illustration: "Beneath whose peaceful shades great warriors rest."]

Before long the monks prospered: Hugh, the Dean of York, left them his
fortune, and in 1203 they began to build the abbey. Other helpers came
forward, and in course of time Fountains became one of the richest
monasteries in Yorkshire. The seven yew trees were long remembered as
the "Seven Sisters," but only one of them now remains. Many great
warriors were buried beneath the peaceful shade of Fountains Abbey, and
many members of the Percy family, including Lord Henry de Percy, who,
after deeds of daring and valour on many a hard-fought field as he
followed the banner of King Edward I all through the wilds of Scotland,
prayed that his body might find a resting-place within the walls of
Fountains Abbey. Lands were given to the abbey, until there were 60,000
acres attached to it and enclosed in a ring fence. One of the monks from
Fountains went to live as a hermit in a secluded spot adjoining the
River Nidd, a short distance from Knaresborough, where he became known
as St. Robert the Hermit. He lived in a cave hewn out of the rock on one
side of the river, where the banks were precipitous and covered with
trees. One day the lord of the forest was hunting, and saw smoke rising
above the trees. On making inquiries, he was told it came from the cave
of St. Robert. His lordship was angry, and, as he did not know who the
hermit was, ordered him to be sent away and his dwelling destroyed.
These orders were in process of being carried out, and the front part of
the cave, which was only a small one, had in fact been broken down, when
his lordship heard what a good man St. Robert the Hermit was. He ordered
him to be reinstated, and his cave reformed, and he gave him some land.
When the saint died, the monks of Fountains Abbey--anxious, like most of
their order, to possess the remains of any saint likely to be popular
among the religious-minded--came for his body, so that they might bury
it in their own monastery, and would have taken it away had not a number
of armed men arrived from Knaresborough Castle. So St. Robert was buried
in the church at Knaresborough.


St. Robert the Hermit was born in 1160, and died in 1218, so that he
lived and died in the days of the Crusades to the Holy Land. Although
his name was still kept in remembrance, his Cave and Chapel had long
been deserted and overgrown with bushes and weeds, while the overhanging
trees hid it completely from view. But after a lapse of hundreds of
years St. Robert's Cave was destined to come into greater prominence
than ever, because of the sensational discovery of the remains of the
victim of Eugene Aram, which was accidentally brought to light after
long years, when the crime had been almost forgotten and the murderer
had vanished from the scene of his awful deed.

The tragedy enacted in St. Robert's Cave has been immortalised in poetry
and in story: by Lord Lytton in his story of "Eugene Aram" and by Tom
Hood in "The Dream of Eugene Aram." Aram was a man of considerable
attainments, for he knew Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and other languages, and
was also a good mathematician as well as an antiquarian. He settled in
Knaresborough in the year 1734, and among his acquaintances were one
Daniel Clark and another, John Houseman, and these three were often
together until suddenly Daniel Clark disappeared. No one knew what had
become of him, and no intelligence could be obtained from his two
companions. Aram shortly afterwards left the town, and it was noticed
that Houseman never left his home after dark, so they were suspected of
being connected in some way with the disappearance of Clark. It
afterwards transpired that Aram had induced Clark to give a great
supper, and to invite all the principal people in the town, borrowing
all the silver vessels he could from them, on the pretence that he was
short. The plot was to pretend that robbers had got in the house and
stolen the silver. Clark fell in with this plot, and gave the supper,
borrowing all the silver he could. After all was over, they were to meet
at Clark's house, put the silver in a sack, and proceed to St. Robert's
Cave, which at that time was in ruins, where the treasure was to be
hidden until matters had quieted down, after which they would sell it
and divide the money; Clark was to take a spade and a pick, while the
other two carried the bag in turns. Clark began to dig the trench within
the secluded and bush-covered cave which proved to be his own grave, and
when he had nearly finished the trench, Aram came behind and with one of
the tools gave him a tremendous blow on the head which killed him
instantly, and the two men buried him there.


Clark's disappearance caused a great sensation, every one thinking he
had run away with the borrowed silver. Years passed away, and the matter
was considered as a thing of the past and forgotten, until it was again
brought to recollection by some workmen, who had been digging on the
opposite side of the river to St. Robert's Cave, finding a skeleton of
some person buried there. As the intelligence was spread about
Knaresborough, the people at once came to the conclusion that the
skeleton was that of Daniel Clark, who had disappeared fourteen years
before. Although Aram had left the neighbourhood soon after Clark
disappeared, and no one knew where he had gone, Houseman was still in
the town, and when the news of the finding of the skeleton reached him,
he was drinking in one of the public-houses, and, being partly drunk,
his only remark was, "It's no more Dan Clark's skeleton than it's mine."
Immediately he was accused of being concerned in the disappearance of
Clark, and ultimately confessed that Aram had killed Clark, and that
together they had buried his dead body in St. Robert's Cave. Search was
made there, and Clark's bones were found. One day a traveller came to
the town who said he had seen Aram at Lynn in Norfolk, where he had a
school. Officers were at once sent there to apprehend Aram, and the same

  Two stern-faced men set out from Lynn,
    Through the cold and heavy mist;
  And Eugene Aram walked between
    With gyves upon his wrist.

Aram was brought up for trial, and made a fine speech in defending
himself; but it was of no avail, for Houseman turned "King's Evidence"
against him, telling all he knew on condition that he himself was
pardoned. The verdict was "Guilty," and Aram was hanged at York in the
year 1759.

[Illustration: ST. ROBERTS CHAPEL.]

Fountains Abbey in its prime must have been one of the noblest and
stateliest sanctuaries in the kingdom. The great tower was 167 feet
high, and the nave about 400 feet long, while the cloisters--still
almost complete, for we walked under their superb arches several times
from one end to the other--were marvellous to see. One of the wells at
Fountains Abbey was named Robin Hood's Well, for in the time of that
famous outlaw the approach to the Abbey was defended by a very powerful
and brave monk who kept quite a number of dogs, on which account he was
named the Cur-tail Friar. Robin Hood and Little John were trying their
skill and strength in archery on the deer in the forest when, in the
words of the old ballad:

  Little John killed a Hart of Greece
    Five hundred feet him fro,

and Robin was so proud of his friend that he said he would ride a
hundred miles to find such another, a remark--

  That caused Will Shadlocke to laugh.
    He laughed full heartily;
  There lives a curtail fryer in Fountains Abbey
    Will beate bothe him and thee.

  The curtell fryer, in Fountains Abbey,
    Well can a strong bow draw;
  He will beate you and your yeomen.
    Set them all in a row.


So Robin, taking up his weapons and putting on his armour, went to seek
the friar, and found him near the River Skell which skirted the abbey.
Robin arranged with the friar that as a trial of strength they should
carry each other across the river. After this had been accomplished
successfully Robin asked to be carried over a second time. But the friar
only carried him part way and then threw him into the deepest part of
the river, or, in the words of the ballad:

  And coming to the middle streame
    There he threw Robin in;
  "And chuse thee, chuse thee, fine fellow,
    Whether thou wilt sink or swim."

Robin evidently did not care to sink, so he swam to a willow bush and,
gaining dry land, took one of his best arrows and shot at the friar. The
arrow glanced off the monk's steel armour, and he invited Robin to shoot
on, which he did, but with no greater success. Then they took their
swords and "fought with might and maine":

  From ten o' th' clock that very day
    Till four i' th' afternoon.
  Then Robin came to his knee
    Of the fryer to beg a boone.

  "A boone, a boone, thou curtail fryer,
    I beg it on my knee;
  Give me leave to set my horn to my mouth
    And to blow blastes three."

The friar consented contemptuously, for he had got the better of the
fight; so Robin blew his "blastes three," and presently fifty of his
yeomen made their appearance. It was now the friar's turn to ask a

  "A boone, a boone," said the curtail fryer,
    "The like I gave to thee:
  Give me leave to set my fist to my mouth
    And to whute whues three."

and as Robin readily agreed to this, he sounded his "whues three," and

  Halfe a hundred good band-dogs
    Came running o'er the lee.

  "Here's for every man a dog
    And I myself for thee."
  "Nay, by my faith," said Robin Hood,
    "Fryer, that may not be."

  Two dogs at once to Robin Hood did goe.
    The one behinde, the other before;
  Robin Hood's mantle of Lincoln greene
    Offe from his backe they tore.

  And whether his men shot east or west.
    Or they shot north or south,
  The curtail dogs, so taught they were,
    They kept the arrows in their mouth.

  "Take up the dogs," said Little John;
    "Fryer, at my bidding be."
  "Whose man art thou," said the curtail fryer,
    "Come here to prate to me!"

  "I'm Little John, Robin Hood's man.
    Fryer, I will not lie.
  If thou tak'st not up thy dogs,
    I'll take them up for thee."

  Little John had a bowe in his hands.
    He shot with mighte and maine;
  Soon half a score of the fryer's dogs
    Lay dead upon the plaine.

  "Hold thy hand, good fellow," said the curtail fryer.
    "Thy master and I will agree,
  And we will have new order ta'en
    With all the haste may be."

Then Robin Hood said to the friar:

  "If thou wilt forsake fair Fountains Dale
    And Fountains Abbey free,
  Every Sunday throughout the yeare
    A noble shall be thy fee.

  "And every holiday throughout the yeare
    Changed shall thy garment be
  If thou wilt go to fair Nottinghame
    And there remaine with me."

  This curtail fryer had kept Fountains Dale
    Seven long years and more;
  There was neither knight, lord or earle
    Could make him yield before.

According to tradition, the friar accepted Robin's offer and became the
famous Friar Tuck of the outlaw's company of Merrie Men whom in
_Ivanhoe_ Scott describes as exchanging blows in a trial of strength
with Richard Coeur de Lion. It was said that when Robin Hood died, his
bow and arrows were hung up in Fountains Abbey, where they remained for

We procured some refreshments near the abbey, and then walked on to
Ripon, through the fine park and grounds of Studley Royal, belonging to
the Marquis of Ripon, and we esteemed it a great privilege to be allowed
to do so. The fine trees and gardens and the beautiful waters, with some
lovely swans floating on them, their white plumage lit up with the rays
of the sun, which that day shone out in all its glory, formed such a
contrast to the dull and deserted moors, that we thought the people of
Ripon, like ourselves, ought to be thankful that they were allowed to
have access to these beautiful grounds.

The town of Ripon, like many others in the north of England, had
suffered much in the time of the wars, and had had an eventful history,
for after being burnt by the Danes it was restored by Alfred the Great
in the year 860, only to be destroyed once more by William the Conqueror
in his ruthless march through the northern counties. A survival of
Alfred's wise government still existed in the "Wake-man," whose duty it
was to blow a horn at nine o'clock each night as a warning against
thieves. If a robbery occurred during the night, the inhabitants were
taxed with the amount stolen. A horn was still blown, three blasts being
given at nine o'clock at the Market Cross and three immediately
afterwards at the Mayor's door by the official horn-blower, during which
performances the seventh bell in the cathedral was tolled. The ancient
motto of the town was:


In 1680 the silver badges that adorned the horn were stolen by thieves,
but they had long since been replaced, and the horn was now quite a
grand affair, the gold chain purchased for it in 1859 costing £250.

The town was again burnt by Robert Bruce in 1319, when the north of
England was being devastated after the disastrous Battle of Bannockburn;
but it soon revived in importance, and in 1405 Henry IV and his court
retired thither to escape the plague which at that time was raging in

In the time of the Civil War Charles I was brought to Ripon by his
captors, and lodged for two nights in a house where he was sumptuously
entertained, and was so well pleased with the way he had been treated
that his ghost was said to have visited the house after his death. The
good old lady who lived there in those troubled times was the very
essence of loyalty and was a great admirer of the murdered monarch. In
spite of Cromwell she kept a well-furnished wine-cellar, where bottles
were continually being found emptied of their contents and turned upside
down. But when she examined her servants about this strange phenomenon,
she was always told that whenever the ghost of King Charles appeared,
the rats twisted their tails round the corks of the bottles and
extracted them as cleverly as the lady's experienced butler could have
done himself, and that they presented their generous contents in
brimming goblets to the parched lips of His Majesty, who had been so
cruelly murdered. This reply was always considered satisfactory and no
further investigation was made! "Let me suffer loss," said the old lady,
"rather than be thought a rebel and add to the calamities of a murdered
king! King Charles is quite welcome!"

[Illustration: RIPON MINSTER.]

Eugene Aram, we were informed, spent some years of his life in Ripon at
a house in Bond-Gate.

St. Wilfrid was the patron saint of Ripon, where he was born. Legend
states that at his birth a strange supernatural light shone over the
house, and when he died, those who were in the death chamber claimed
that they could hear the rustling of the angels' wings who had come to
bear his spirit away. As we saw some figures relating to him in the
cathedral we presumed that he must have been its patron saint. We found
afterwards it was dedicated to St. Peter and St. Wilfrid. St. Wilfrid
was an enthusiast in support of the Church control of Rome. One
sympathises with the poor king, who had to decide between the claims of
Rome and the Celtic Church, whether priests should have their hair cut
this way or that, and if the date of Easter should be decided by the
moon or by some other way. He seems to have been a simple-minded fellow,
and his decision was very practical. "I am told that Christ gave Peter
the keys of heaven to keep, and none can get in without his permission.
Is that so?" to which Wilfrid quickly answered "Yes." "Has your saint
any power like that?" he asked Oswin, who could but say "No." "Then,"
said the king, "I vote for the side with the greater power," and decided
in favour of Wilfrid. Like other cathedrals, Ripon had suffered much in
the wars, but there were many ancient things still to be seen there.
Near the font was a tomb covered with a slab of grey marble, on which
were carved the figures of a man and a huge lion, both standing amongst
some small trees. It was supposed to have covered the body of an Irish
prince who died at Ripon on his way home from the Holy War, in
Palestine, and who brought back with him a lion that followed him about
just like a dog. In the cathedral yard there was an epitaph to a

  Here lies poor but honest Bryan Tunstall. He was a most expert angler
  until Death, envious of his merit, threw out his line, and landed him
                            21st day of April, 1790.


We left Ripon by the Boroughbridge road, and when about a mile from the
town we met one of the dignitaries of the cathedral, who from his dress
might have been anything from an archdeacon upwards. We asked him if he
could tell us of any objects of interest on our farther way. He told us
of Aldborough, with its Roman remains and the Devil's Arrows, of which
we had never heard before; and he questioned us about our long tramp,
the idea of which quite delighted him. We told him that we had thrown
our mackintoshes away, and why we had done so, and had bought umbrellas
instead; and he said, "You are now standing before a man who would give
fifty pounds if he had never worn a mackintosh, for they have given me
the rheumatism!"

The church at Kirkby Hill had just been restored. We saw an epitaph in
the churchyard similar to one which we found in a graveyard later on,
farther south:

  Whence I came it matters not.
  To whom related or by whom begot;
  A heap of dust is all that remains of me,
  'Tis all I am, and all the proud shall be.

[Illustration: THE DEVIL'S ARROWS.]

We soon reached the famous Boroughbridge, one of the most historical
places in all England, the borough meaning Aldborough, the ISUER of the
Brigantes and the ISURIUM of the Romans. Here we crossed the bridge
spanning the Yorkshire River Ouse, which almost adjoined Aldborough, and
were directed for lodgings to the house of a widowed lady quite near the
church. It was nearly dark then, the moon, though almost at the full
that night, not having yet risen. We decided to wait until after a
substantial meal before visiting the Devil's Arrows a short distance
away. There were only three of them left--two in a field on one side of
the road, and one in a field opposite. The stones were standing upright,
and were, owing to their immense size, easily found. We had inspected
the two, and were just jumping over the gate to cross the narrow lane to
see the other in the next field, when we startled a man who was
returning, not quite sober, from the fair at Boroughbridge. As we had
our sticks in our hands, he evidently thought we were robbers and meant
mischief, for he begged us not to molest him, saying he had only
threepence in his pocket, to which we were welcome. We were highly
amused, and the man was very pleased when he found he could keep the
coppers, "to pay," as he said, "for another pint." The stones, weighing
about 36 tons each, were 20 to 30 feet high, and as no one knew who
placed them there, their origin was ascribed to the Devil; hence their
name, "the Devil's Arrows." Possibly, as supposed in other similar
cases, he had shot them out of his bow from some great hill far away,
and they had stuck in the earth here. There was fairly authentic
evidence that twelve was the original number, and the bulk of opinion
favoured an origin concerned with the worship of the sun, one of the
earliest forms known. Others, however, ascribe them to the Romans, who
erected boundary stones, of which several are known, on the hills
farther south. We returned to our lodgings, but not to sleep, for our
sleeping apartment was within a few feet of the church clock, on the
side of a very low steeple. As we were obliged to keep our window open
for fresh air, we could hear every vibration of the pendulum, and the
sound of the ponderous bell kept us awake until after it struck the hour
of twelve. Then, worn out with fatigue, we heard nothing more until we
awoke early in the morning.


(_Distance walked twenty miles_.)

_Tuesday, October 24th._

The history of Aldborough, the old _burh_ or fortified Saxon settlement,
in spite of its Saxon name, could clearly be traced back to the time of
the Brigantes, the ancient Britons, who inhabited the territory between
the Tweed and the Humber. A Celtic city existed there long before
Romulus and Remus founded the city of Rome, and it was at this city of
ISUER, between the small River Tut and its larger neighbour the Yore,
that their queen resided. Her name, in Gaelic, was Cathair-ys-maen-ddu
("Queen of stones black"), rather a long name even for a queen, and
meaning in English the Queen of the City of the Black Stones, the
remaining three, out of the original twelve, being those, now known as
the Devil's Arrows, which we had seen the preceding night.


The Romans, however, when they invaded Britain, called her Cartismunda,
her city ISURIUM, and the Brigantes' country they named Brigantia. But
as the Brigantes made a determined resistance, their invasion of this
part of England, begun in A.D. 47, was not completed until A.D. 70.

Queen Cartismunda was related to the King of Siluria, which then
embraced the counties of Hereford and Monmouth, besides part of South
Wales. He was one of the greatest of the British chieftains, named
Caradoc by the Britons and Caractacus by the Romans. He fought for the
independence of Britain, and held the armies of the most famous Roman
generals at bay for a period of about nine years. But eventually, in
A.D. 50, he was defeated by the Roman general Ostorius Scapula, in the
hilly region near Church Stretton, in Shropshire, not far from a hill
still known as Caer Caradoc, his wife and daughters being taken
prisoners in the cave known as Caradoc's Cave. He himself escaped to the
Isle of Mona, afterwards named Anglesey, with the object of rallying the
British tribes there.

It so happened that some connection existed between Queen Cartismunda
and the Romans who had defeated Caradoc, and after that event Ostorius
Scapula turned his army towards the north, where he soon reached the
border of Brigantia.

As soon as the queen, of whose morals even the Britons held no high
opinion, heard of his arrival, she and her daughters hastened to meet
the conqueror to make terms. If beauty had any influence in the
settlement, she seems to have had everything in her favour, as, if we
are to believe the description of one of the Romans, who began his
letter with the words "Brigantes faemina dulce," the Brigantes ladies
must have been very sweet and beautiful.

A most objectional part of the bargain was that Caractacus should be
delivered up to the Roman general. So the queen sent some relatives to
Mona to invite him to come and see her at Isuer, and, dreaming nothing
of treachery, he came; but as soon as he crossed the border into the
queen's country he was seized, bound and handed over to Ostorius, who
sent him to Rome, together with his already captured wife and daughters.

On arrival at Rome Caractacus was imprisoned with some of his countrymen
and in course of time brought before the Emperor Claudius. The brave and
fearless speech he made before the Emperor on that occasion is one of
the most famous recorded in history, and has been immortalised both in
prose and poetry.

  "Now I have spoken, do thy will;
    Be life or death my lot.
  Since Britain's throne no more I fill,
    To me it matters not.
  My fame is clear; but on my fate
  Thy glory or thy shame must wait."

  He ceased: from all around upsprung
    A murmur of applause;
  For well had truth and freedom's tongue
    Maintained their holy cause.
  The conqueror was the captive then--
  He bade the slave be free again.

Tradition states that one of his companions in the prison in Rome was
St. Paul, who converted him to the Christian faith, with two of his
fellow-countrymen, Linus and Claudia, who are mentioned in St. Paul's
second Epistle to Timothy (iv. 21).

Descendants of Caradoc are still to be traced in England in the family
of Craddock, whose shield to this day is emblazoned with the words:
"Betrayed! Not conquered."

We awoke quite early in the morning--a fact which we attributed to the
church clock, although we could not remember hearing it strike. My
brother started the theory that we might have been wakened by some
supernatural being coming through the open window, from the greensward
beneath, where "lay the bones of the dead." Aldborough church was
dedicated to St. Andrew, and the register dated from the year
1538--practically from the time when registers came into being. It
contained a curious record of a little girl, a veritable "Nobody's
child," who, as a foundling, was brought to the church and baptized in
1573 as "Elizabeth Nobody, of Nobody."


Oliver Cromwell, about whom we were to hear so much in our further
travels, was here described in the church book as "an impious
Arch-Rebel," but this we afterwards found was open to doubt. He fought
one of his great battles quite near Aldborough, and afterwards besieged
Knaresborough Castle, about eight miles away. He lodged at an
old-fashioned house in that town. In those days fireplaces in bedrooms
were not very common, and even where they existed were seldom used, as
the beds were warmed with flat-bottomed circular pans of copper or
brass, called "warming-pans," in which were placed red-hot cinders of
peat, wood, or coal. A long, round wooden handle, like a broomstick, was
attached to the pan, by means of which it was passed repeatedly up and
down the bed, under the bedclothes, until they became quite warm, both
above and below. As this service was performed just before the people
retired to rest, they found a warm bed waiting for them instead of a
cold one. But of course this was in the "good old times." Afterwards,
when people became more civilised (!), they got into bed between linen
sheets that were icy cold, and after warming them with the heat of their
bodies, if they chanced to move an inch or two during the night they
were either awakened, or dreamed about icebergs or of being lost in the

The young daughter of the house where Oliver Cromwell lodged at
Knaresborough had the task of warming Oliver's bed for him, and in after
years when she had grown up she wrote a letter in which she said: "When
Cromwell came to lodge at our house I was then but a young girl, and
having heard so much talk about the man, I looked at him with wonder.
Being ordered to take a pan of coals and 'aire' his bed, I could not
forbear peeping over my shoulders to see this extraordinary man, who was
seated at the far side of the room untying his garters. Having aired the
bed I went out, and shutting the door after me, I peeped through the
keyhole, when I saw him rise from his seat, advance to the bed, and fall
on his knees, in which attitude I left him for some time. When returning
I found him still at prayer---and this was his custom every night as
long as he stayed at our house--I concluded he must be a good man, and
this opinion I always maintained, though I heard him blamed and
exceedingly abused."

Aldborough was walled round in the time of the Romans, and portions of
the walls were still to be seen. So many Roman relics had been found
here that Aldborough had earned the title of the Yorkshire Pompeii. So
interested were we in its antiquities that we felt very thankful to the
clerical dignitary at Ripon for having advised us to be sure to visit
this ancient borough.


We now wended our way to one of the village inns, where we had been told
to ask permission from the landlord to see the Roman tessellated
pavement in his back garden. We were conducted to a building, which had
been roofed over to cover it. Our attendant unlocked the door, and after
the sawdust which covered the floor had been carefully brushed aside,
there was revealed to our gaze a beautifully executed floor, in which
the colours of the small tiles were as bright as if they had been
recently put there. We could scarcely realise that the work we were
looking at was well-nigh two thousand years old: it looked more like the
work of yesterday. It had been accidentally discovered by a man who was
digging in the garden, at about two feet below the surface of the soil;
it was supposed to have formed the floor of a dwelling belonging to some
highly placed Roman officer. We were speculating about the depth of soil
and the difference in levels between the Roman Period and the present,
but we found afterwards that the preservation of this beautiful work,
and of others, was due not to any natural accumulations during the
intervening centuries, but to the fact that the devastating Danes had
burnt the town of Aldborough, along with many others, in the year 870,
and the increased depth of the soil was due to the decomposition of the
burnt ruins and debris. When we noted any event or object dating from
1771, we described it as "one hundred years before our visit," but here
we had an event to record that had happened one thousand years before.
Neither the attendant nor the landlord would accept any remuneration for
their services, and to our cordial thanks replied, "You are quite
welcome." We now went to see the cottage museum, which was well filled
with Roman relics of all kinds, arranged in such fashion as would have
done credit to a very much larger collection. The Roman remains stored
here were described as "one of the most comprehensive collections of
Roman relics in England," and included ornaments and articles in glass,
iron, and bronze. There was also much pottery and tiles; also coins,
images, and all kinds of useful and ornamental articles of the time of
the Roman Occupation in Britain. Besides self-coloured tiles, there were
some that were ornamented, one representing the "Capitoli Wolf," a
strange-looking, long-legged animal, with its face inclined towards the
spectator, while between its fore and hind legs could be seen in the
distance the figures of Romulus and Remus, the founders of the city of
Rome, who, tradition states, were suckled in their infancy by a wolf.

But my brother reminded me that none of these things were fit to eat,
and that our breakfast would now be ready, so away we sped to our
lodgings to get our breakfast and to pay our bill, and bid good-bye to
our landlady, who was a worthy, willing old soul. Just across the river,
about a mile away, was the site of the "White Battle," fought on October
12th, 1319--one of the strangest and most unequal battles ever fought.
It occurred after the English had been defeated at Bannockburn, and when
the Scots were devastating the North of England. The Scots had burnt and
plundered Boroughbridge in 1318 under Sir James Douglas, commonly known,
on account perhaps of his cruelty, as the "Black Douglas." Even the
children were afraid when his name was mentioned, for when they were
naughty they were frightened with the threat that if they were not good
the Black Douglas would be coming; even the very small children were
familiar with his name, for a nursery song or lullaby of that period

  Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye,
  Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye,
  The Black Douglas shall not get ye.

Just before the "White Battle" the English Queen Isabel, wife of Edward
II, had taken up her abode with a small retinue in the country near
York, when an effort was made by the Scots to capture her; they nearly
succeeded, for she only just managed to get inside the walls of York
when the Scots appeared and demanded admittance. This was refused by the
aged Archbishop Melton, who had the bulwarks manned and the
fortifications repaired and defended. The Scots were enraged, as York
was strongly fortified, and they shouted all manner of epithets to the
people behind the walls; one of them actually rode up to the Micklegate
Bar and accused the queen of all manner of immoralities, challenging any
man to come forth and clear her fame. The Archbishop in a stirring
appeal called upon every man and youth to attack the invaders. His
eloquence was irresistible, and although there were not more than fifty
trained soldiers in the city, they attacked the Scots, who retreated.
The Archbishop's army was utterly unskilled in the arts of war, and
carried all kinds of weapons, many of them obsolete. The Bishop of Ely,
Lord High Chancellor of England, rode alongside the Archbishop, and
behind them rode the Lord Mayor, followed by a multitude of clergy in
white surplices, with monks, canons, friars, and other ecclesiastics,
all fully dressed in the uniform of their offices. But only one result
was possible, for they were opposed to 16,000 of Robert Bruce's
best-trained soldiers. Meantime the Scots did not know the character of
the foe before whom they were retreating, but, crossing the River Swale
near the point where it meets the Yore, they set fire to a number of
haystacks, with the result that the smoke blew into the faces of the
Archbishop and his followers, as the wind was blowing in their
direction. They, however, pressed bravely forward, but the Scots
attacked them both in front and rear, and in less than an hour four
thousand men and youths, their white robes stained with blood, were
lying dead on the field of battle, while many were drowned in the river.
The sight of so many surpliced clergy struck terror into the heart of
the Earl of Murray and his men, who, instead of pursuing farther the
retreating army, amongst whom were the aged Archbishop and his
prelates--the Lord Mayor had been killed--retired northwards.

Through the long hours of that night women, children, and sweethearts
gazed anxiously from the walls of York, watching and waiting for those
who would never return, and for many a long year seats were vacant in
the sacred buildings of York. Thus ended the "Battle of the White," so
named from the great number of surpliced clergy who took part therein.
The old Archbishop escaped death, and one of the aged monks wrote that--

   The triumphal standard of the Archbishop also was saved by the
   cross-bearer, who, mounted on a swift horse, plunged across the
   river, and leaving his horse, hid the standard in a dense thicket,
   and escaped in the twilight. The pike was of silver, and on the top
   was fixed the gilded image of our Lord Jesus Christ. Near where it
   was hidden a poor man was also hiding, and he twisted some bands of
   hay round it, and kept it in his cottage, and then returned it to the

About this time England was like a house divided against itself, for the
barons had revolted against King Edward II. A battle was again fought at
Boroughbridge on June 22nd, 1322, between the rebel army led by the
Earls of Lancaster and Hereford, and the King's forces who were pursuing
them. They were obliged to retreat over the bridge, which at that time
was built of wood; but when they reached it, they found another part of
the King's army of whose presence they were unaware, so they had to
fight for the possession of the bridge. During the fight a Welshman,
armed with a long spear, and who was hidden somewhere beneath the
bridge, contrived to thrust his spear through an opening in the timbers
right into the bowels of Humphrey de Bohun, the Earl of Hereford, who
fell forward mortally wounded. Thus died one of the most renowned
warriors in England. The Earl of Lancaster made a final effort to cross
the bridge, but his troops gave way and fled, the Earl taking refuge in
the old chapel of Boroughbridge, from which he was dragged, stripped of
his armour, and taken to York. Thence he was conveyed to his own castle
at Pontefract, and lowered into a deep dungeon, into which, we were
told, when we visited that castle later, he had himself lowered others,
and soon afterwards he was condemned to death by the revengeful Edward,
who had not forgotten the Earl's share in the death of his favourite,
Piers Gaveston. Mounted on a miserable-looking horse, amidst the gibes
and insults of the populace, he was led to the block, and thus died
another of England's famous warriors.


Needless to relate, we had decided to visit York Minster as our next
great object of interest after Fountains Abbey, and by accident rather
than design we had in our journey to and from York to pass over two
battle-fields of first importance as decisive factors in the history of
England--viz., Marston Moor and Towton Field. Marston Moor lay along our
direct road from Aldborough to York, a distance of about sixteen miles.
Here the first decisive battle was fought between the forces of King
Charles I and those of the Parliament. His victory at Marston Moor gave
Cromwell great prestige and his party an improved status in all future
operations in the Civil War. Nearly all the other battles whose sites we
had visited had been fought for reasons such as the crushing of a
rebellion of ambitious and discontented nobles, or perhaps to repel a
provoked invasion, and often for a mere change of rulers. Men had fought
and shed their blood for persons from whom they could receive no
benefit, and for objects in which they had no interest, and the country
had been convulsed and torn to pieces for the gratification of the
privileged few. But in the Battle of Marston Moor a great principle was
involved which depended en the issue. It was here that King and People
contended--the one for unlimited and absolute power, and the other for
justice and liberty. The iron grasp and liberty-crushing rule of the
Tudors was succeeded by the disgraceful and degrading reign of the
Stuarts. The Divine Right of Kings was preached everywhere, while in
Charles I's corrupt and servile Court the worst crimes on earth were
practised. Charles had inherited from his father his presumptuous
notions of prerogative and Divine Right, and was bent upon being an
absolute and uncontrolled sovereign. He had married Henrietta, the
daughter of the King of France, who, though possessed of great wit and
beauty, was of a haughty spirit, and influenced Charles to favour the
Roman Catholic Church as against the Puritans, then very numerous in
Britain, who "through the Bishop's courts were fined, whipt, pilloried,
and imprisoned, so that death was almost better than life."

[Illustration: JOHN HAMPDEN.]

A crisis had to come, and either one man must yield or a whole nation
must submit to slavery. The tax named "Ship Money," originally levied in
the eleventh century to provide ships for the Navy, was reintroduced by
Charles in 1634 in a very burdensome form, and the crisis came which
resulted in the Civil War, when Hampden, who resided in the
neighbourhood of the Chiltern Hills, one of the five members of
Parliament impeached by Charles, refused to pay the tax on the ground
that it was illegal, not having been sanctioned by Parliament. He lost
his case, but the nation was aroused and determined to vindicate its
power. Hampden was killed in a small preliminary engagement in the early
stages of the war. The King was supported by the bulk of the nobility,
proud of their ancient lineage and equipments of martial pomp, and by
their tenants and friends; while the strength of the Parliamentary Army
lay in the town population and the middle classes and independent
yeomanry: prerogative and despotic power on the one hand, and liberty
and privilege on the other. The Royal Standard was raised at Nottingham
and the din of arms rang through the kingdom. The fortress of Hull had
been twice besieged and bravely defended, and the drawn Battle of
Edgehill had been fought. In the early part of 1644 both parties began
the war in earnest. A Scottish army had been raised, but its advance had
been hindered by the Marquis of Newcastle, the King's commander in the
north. In order to direct the attention of Newcastle elsewhere, Lord
Fernando Fairfax and Sir Thomas his son, who had been commissioned by
Parliament to raise forces, attacked Bellasis, the King's Yorkshire
Commander, and Governor of York, who was at Selby with 2,000 men, and
defeated them with great loss, capturing Bellasis himself, many of his
men, and all his ordnance. Newcastle, dismayed by the news, hastened to
York and entered the city, leaving the Scots free to join Fairfax at
Netherby, their united forces numbering 16,000 foot and 4,000 horse.
These partially blockaded York, but Newcastle had a strong force and was
an experienced commander, and with a bridge across the River Ouse, and a
strong body of horse, he could operate on both sides of the stream; so
Crawford, Lindsey, and Fairfax sent messengers to the Earl of
Manchester, who was in Lincolnshire, inviting him to join them. He
brought with him 6,000 foot and 3,000 horse, of the last of which Oliver
Cromwell was lieutenant-general. Even then they could not invest the
city completely; but Newcastle was beginning to lose men and horses, and
a scarcity of provisions prevailed, so he wrote to the King that he must
surrender unless the city could be relieved. Charles then wrote to
Prince Rupert, and said that to lose York would be equivalent to losing
his crown, and ordered him to go to the relief of York forthwith.

[Illustration: PRINCE RUPERT.]

Rupert, the son of Frederick V, Elector of Bavaria, and a nephew of
Charles I, was one of the most dashing cavalry officers in Europe. He
lost no time in carrying out his commission, and in a few days Newcastle
received a letter saying that he was stabling his horses that same night
at Knaresborough, and that he would be at York the following day,
Rupert's own horse being stabled that same night in the church at
Boroughbridge. The news was received with great rejoicings by the
besieged garrison and the people in York, but spread dismay amongst the
besiegers, who thought York was about to capitulate. To stay in their
present position was to court disaster, so they raised the siege and
encamped on Hessey Moor, about six miles away, in a position which
commanded the road along which Rupert was expected to travel. But by
exercise of great military skill he crossed the river at an unexpected
point and entered York on the opposite side. The Prince, as may be
imagined, was received with great rejoicings; bells were rung, bonfires
lighted, and guns fired, and the citizens went wild with triumphant
excitement. Difficulties arose, however, between Newcastle, who was a
thoughtful and experienced commander, and Rupert, who, having relieved
the city, wanted to fight the enemy at once. As he scornfully refused
advice, Newcastle retired, and went with the army as a volunteer only,
Meantime there were dissensions among the Parliamentary generals, who
were divided in their opinions--the English wishing to fight, and the
Scots wishing to retreat. They were all on their way to Tadcaster, in
search of a stronger position, when suddenly the vanguard of Rupert
reached the rearguard of the other army at the village of Long Marston.
This division of the retreating army included their best soldiers, and
was commanded by Leslie and two other brave men, Sir Thomas Fairfax and
Oliver Cromwell. Their rearguard halted, and, seeing the plain covered
with pursuers, they sent word to the generals who had gone on in front,
asking them to return and take possession of the dry land of the Moor,
which was higher than that occupied by the Royalist army. Oliver
Cromwell had already risen in the opinion of the army by his conduct in
Lincolnshire, and he was dreaded by the Royalists, for he had already
shown his ability to command. Stalwart and clumsy in frame, he had an
iron constitution, and was a bold and good rider and a perfect master of
the broadsword then in use. He had also a deep knowledge of human
nature, and selected his troopers almost entirely from the sons of
respectable farmers and yeomen, filled with physical daring and
religious convictions, while his own religious enthusiasm, and his
superiority in all military virtues, gave him unbounded power as a

  What heroes from the woodland sprung
    When through the fresh awakened land
  The thrilling cry of freedom rung.
  And to the work of warfare strung
    The Yeoman's iron hand.

The generals who had gone on in front now returned with their men to the
assistance of their rearguard, and the whole army was brought into
position on the high ground in the middle of the day, July 2nd, 1644.
The position was a good one, sloping down gradually towards the enemy.
The Royalist army numbered about 23,500 men, and that of the Parliament
slightly more. It must have been a wonderful sight to see these 50,000
of the best and bravest men the kingdom could produce, ready to wound
and kill each other. The war-cry of the Royalists was "God and the
King," and that of the others was "God with us"--both sides believing
they were fighting for the cause of religion. There were curses on one
side and prayers on the other, each captain of the Parliament prayed at
the head of his company and each soldier carried a Bible bearing the
title "The Souldier's Pocket Bible, issued for use in the Commonwealth
Army in 1643." It only consisted of fifteen pages of special passages
that referred particularly to the soldier's life and temptations.
Cromwell stood on the highest point of the field--the exact position,
locally know as "Cromwell's Gap," was pointed out to us--but at the time
of the great battle it was covered with a clump of trees, of which now
only a few remained. The battle, once begun, raged with the greatest
fury; but Cromwell and his "Ironsides" (a name given to them because of
their iron resolution) were irresistible, and swept through the enemy
like an avalanche; nothing could withstand them--and the weight of their
onset bore down all before it. Their spirit could not be subdued or
wearied, for verily they believed they were fighting the battles of the
Lord, and that death was only a passport to a crown of glory.
Newcastle's "White Coats," a regiment of thoroughly trained soldiers
from the borders of Cheshire and Wales, who would not retreat, were
almost annihilated, and Prince Rupert himself only escaped through the
superior speed of his horse, and retired into Lancashire with the
remains of his army, while Newcastle and about eighty others fled to
Scarborough, and sailed to Antwerp, leaving Sir Thomas Glemham, the
Governor of York, to defend that city. But as most of his artillery had
been lost at Marston Moor, and the victors continued the siege, he was
soon obliged to surrender. He made a very favourable agreement with the
generals of the Parliamentarian forces, by the terms of which,
consisting of thirteen clauses, they undertook to protect the property
and persons of all in the city, not plunder or deface any churches or
other buildings, and to give a safe conduct to officers and men--who
were to march out with what were practically the honours of war--as far
as Skipton.

The agreement having been signed by both parties on July 16th, 1644, Sir
Thomas Glemham, with his officers and men, marched out of the city of
York with their arms, and "with drums beating, colours flying, match
lighted, bullet in mouth, bag and baggage," made for Skipton, where they
arrived safely. The Battle of Marston Moor was a shock to the Royalist
cause from which it never recovered.

[Illustration: YORK MINSTER.]

From Marston Moor we continued along the valley of the River Ouse until
we arrived at the city of York, which Cromwell entered a fortnight after
the battle; but we did not meet with any resistance as we passed through
one of its ancient gateways, or "bars." We were very much impressed with
the immense size and grandeur of the great Minster, with its three
towers rising over two hundred feet in height. We were too late to see
the whole of the interior of this splendid old building, but gazed with
a feeling of wonder and awe on one of the largest stained-glass windows
in the world, about seventy feet high, and probably also the oldest, as
it dated back about five hundred years. The different scenes depicted in
the beautiful colours of the ancient glass panels represented every
important Biblical event from the Creation downwards. We were surprised
to find the window so perfect, as the stained-glass windows we had seen
elsewhere had been badly damaged. But the verger explained that when the
Minster was surrendered to the army of the Commonwealth in the Civil
War, it was on condition that the interior should not be damaged nor any
of the stained glass broken. We could not explore the city further that
afternoon, as the weather again became very bad, so we retreated to our
inn, and as our sorely-tried shoes required soling and heeling, we
arranged with the "boots" of the inn to induce a shoemaker friend of his
in the city to work at them during the night and return them thoroughly
repaired to the hotel by six o'clock the following morning. During the
interval we wrote our letters and read some history, but our room was
soon invaded by customers of the inn, who were brought in one by one to
see the strange characters who had walked all the way from John o'
Groat's and were on their way to the Land's End, so much so that we
began to wonder if it would end in our being exhibited in some show in
the ancient market-place, which we had already seen and greatly admired,
approached as it was then by so many narrow streets and avenues lined
with overhanging houses of great antiquity. We were, however, very
pleased with the interest shown both in ourselves and the object of our
walk, and one elderly gentleman seemed inclined to claim some sort of
relationship with us, on the strength of his having a daughter who was a
schoolmistress at Rainford village, in Lancashire. He was quite a jovial
old man, and typical of "a real old English gentleman, one of the olden
time." He told us he was a Wesleyan local preacher, but had developed a
weakness for "a pipe of tobacco and a good glass of ale." He said that
when Dick Turpin rode from London to York, his famous horse, "Black
Bess," fell down dead when within sight of the towers of the Minster,
but the exact spot he had not been able to ascertain, as the towers
could be seen from so long a distance. York, he said, was an older city
than London, the See of York being even older than that of Canterbury,
and a Lord Mayor existed at York long before there was one in London. He
described the grand old Minster as one of the "Wonders of the World." He
was very intelligent, and we enjoyed his company immensely.

[Illustration: YORK MINSTER.]

[Illustration: MICKLEGATE BAR, YORK.]

[Illustration: STONE GATE, YORK.]

York was the "Caer Ebranc" of the Brigantes, where Septimus Severus, the
Roman Emperor, died in A.D. 211, and another Emperor, Constantius, in
306. The latter's son, who was born at York, was there proclaimed
Emperor on the death of his father, to become better known afterwards as
Constantine the Great. In A.D. 521 King Arthur was said to have spent
Christmas at York in company with his courtiers and the famous Knights
of the Round Table; but Geoffrey of Monmouth, who recorded this, was
said to have a lively imagination in the way of dates and perhaps of
persons as well. It is, however, certain that William the Conqueror
built a castle there in 1068, and Robert de Clifford a large tower.

(_Distance walked sixteen miles_.)

_Wednesday, October 25th._

The boots awoke us early in the morning, only to say that he had sent a
messenger unsuccessfully into the town for our shoes; all the
consolation he got was that as soon as they were finished, his friend
the shoemaker would send them down to the hotel. It was quite an hour
after the time specified when they arrived, but still early enough to
admit of our walking before breakfast round the city walls, which we
found did not encircle the town as completely as those of our county
town of Chester. Where practicable we explored them, and saw many
ancient buildings, including Clifford's Tower and the beautiful ruins of
St. Mary's Abbey. We also paid a second visit to the ancient
market-place, with its quaint and picturesque surroundings, before
returning to our inn, where we did ample justice to the good breakfast
awaiting our arrival.

[Illustration: MONK BAR, YORK.]

We left the City of York by the same arched gateway through which we had
entered on the previous day, and, after walking for about a mile on the
Roman road leading to Tadcaster, the CALCARIA of the Romans and our next
stage, we arrived at the racecourse, which now appeared on our left.
Here we entered into conversation with one of the officials, who
happened to be standing there, and he pointed out the place where in
former years culprits were hanged. From what he told us we gathered that
the people of York had a quick and simple way of disposing of their
criminals, for when a man was sentenced to be hanged, he was taken to
the prison, and after a short interval was placed in a cart, to which a
horse was attached, and taken straightway to the gallows. Here a rope
was suspended, with a noose, or running knot, at the end, which was
placed round the culprit's neck, and after other preliminaries the
hangman saw to it that the man's hands were securely handcuffed and the
noose carefully adjusted. At a given signal from him the cart was drawn
from under the man's feet, leaving him swinging and struggling for
breath in the air, where he remained till life was extinct. The judge
when passing the death-sentence always forewarned the prisoner what
would happen to him, and that he would be taken from there to the
prison, and thence to the place of execution, "where you will be hanged
by the neck until you are dead, dead, dead." Why he repeated the last
word over and over again we could not explain. It was spoken very
solemnly, and after the first time he used it there was a pause, and
after the second, a longer pause, and then came the third in an almost
sepulchral tone of voice, while a death-like silence pervaded the court,
each word sounding like an echo of the one before it:
dead!--dead!!--dead!!! Perhaps, like the Trinity, it gave a sense of

[Illustration: ST. MARY'S ABBEY, YORK.]

The executions in those days were public, and many people attended them
as they would a fair or the races; and when held outside the towns, as
at York, a riotous mob had it in its power either to lynch or rescue the
prisoner. But hangings were afterwards arranged to take place on a
scaffold outside the prison wall, to which the prisoner could walk from
the inside of the prison. The only one we ever went to see was outside
the county gaol, but the character of the crowd of sightseers convinced
us we were in the wrong company, and we went away without seeing the
culprit hanged! There must have been a great crowd of people on the York
racecourse when Eugene Aram was hanged, for the groans and yells of
execration filled his ears from the time he left the prison until he
reached the gallows and the cart was drawn from under him, adding to the
agony of the moment and the remorse he had felt ever since the foul
crime for which he suffered. As we stood there we thought what an awful
thing it must be to be hanged on the gallows.[Footnote: In later years
we were quite horrified to receive a letter from a gentleman in
Yorkshire who lived in the neighbouring of Knaresborough in which he
wrote: "I always feel convinced in my own mind that Eugene Aram was
innocent. Note these beautiful lines he wrote the night before his

  "Come, pleasing rest! eternal slumber fall,
  Seal mine, that once must seal the eyes of all;
  Calm and composed, my soul her journey takes,
  No _guilt_ that _troubles_, and no _heart_ that _aches_!
  Adieu, thou sun! all bright like her arise;
  Adieu, fair friends! and all that's good and wise.

"I could give you," he added, "the most recent thoughts and opinions
about the tragedy, and they prove beyond doubt his innocence!"]

But, like other dismal thoughts, we got rid of it as soon as possible by
thinking how thankful we should be that, instead of being hanged, we
were walking through the level country towards Tadcaster, a Roman
station in the time of Agricola.

From some cause or other we were not in our usual good spirits that day,
which we accounted for by the depression arising from the dull autumnal
weather and the awful histories of the wars he had been reading the
previous night. But we afterwards attributed it to a presentiment of
evil, for we were very unfortunate during the remainder of the week.
Perhaps it is as well so; the human race would suffer much in
anticipation, did not the Almighty hide futurity from His creatures.


Just before reaching Tadcaster we crossed the River Wharfe, which we had
seen higher up the country, much nearer its source. Here we turned to
the left to visit Pontefract, for the sole reason, for aught we knew,
that we had heard that liquorice was manufactured there, an article that
we had often swallowed in our early youth, without concerning ourselves
where or how that mysterious product was made. It was quite a change to
find ourselves walking through a level country and on a level road, and
presently we crossed the River Cock, a small tributary of the Wharfe,
close by the finely wooded park of Grimstone, where Grim the Viking, or
Sea Pirate, settled in distant ages, and gave his name to the place; he
was also known as "the man with the helmet." We then came to the small
hamlet of Towton, where on the lonely heath was fought the Battle of
Towton Field, one of the most bloody battles recorded in English
history. This great and decisive battle was fought in the Wars of the
Roses, between the rival Houses of York and Lancaster, for the
possession of the English Crown--a rivalry which began in the reign of
Henry VI and terminated with the death of Richard III at the Battle of
Bosworth Field. It has been computed that during the thirty years these
wars lasted, 100,000 of the gentry and common people, 200 nobles, and 12
princes of the Royal Blood were killed, all this carnage taking place
under the emblems of love and purity, for the emblem or badge of the
House of Lancaster was the red rose, and that of York the white. The
rivalry between the two Houses only came to an end when Henry VII, the
Lancastrian, married the Princess Elizabeth, the daughter of Edward IV,
the Yorkist. The Battle of Towton, like many others both before and
since, was fought on a Sunday, which happened to be Palm Sunday in the
year 1461, and the historian relates that on that day the "heavens were
overcast, and a strong March wind brought with it a blinding snowstorm,
right against the faces of the Lancastrians as they advanced to meet the
Yorkists, who quickly took advantage of the storm to send many furious
showers of arrows from their strong bows right into the faces of the
Lancastrians, causing fearful havoc amongst them at the very outset of
the battle. These arrows came as it were from an unknown foe, and when
the Lancastrians shot their arrows away, they could not see that they
were falling short of the enemy, who kept advancing and retreating, and
who actually shot at the Lancastrians with their own arrows, which had
fallen harmlessly on the ground in front of the Yorkists. When the
Lancastrians had nearly emptied their quivers, their leaders hurried
their men forward to fight the enemy, and, discarding their bows, they
continued the battle with sword, pike, battle-axe, and bill. Thus for
nearly the whole of that Sabbath day the battle raged, the huge
struggling mass of humanity fighting like demons, and many times during
that fatal day did the fortune of war waver in the balance: sometimes
the White Rose trembling and then the Red, while men fought each other
as if they were contending for the Gate of Paradise! For ten hours, with
uncertain result, the conflict raged, which Shakespeare compared to "the
tide of a mighty sea contending with a strong opposing wind," but the
arrival of 5,000 fresh men on the side of the Yorkists turned the scale
against the Lancastrians, who began to retreat, slowly at first, but
afterwards in a disorderly flight. The Lancastrians had never
anticipated a retreat, and had not provided for it, for they felt as
sure of victory as the great Duke of Wellington at Waterloo, who, when
he was asked by a military expert what provision he had made for retreat
in the event of losing the battle, simply answered, "None!" The
Lancastrians were obliged to cross the small River Cock in their
retreat, and it seemed almost impossible to us that a small stream like
that could have been the cause of the loss of thousands upon thousands
of the finest and bravest soldiers in England. But so it happened. There
was only one small bridge over the stream, which was swollen and ran
swiftly in flood. This bridge was soon broken down with the rush of men
and horses trying to cross it, and although an active man to-day could
easily jump over the stream, it was a death-trap for men weighted with
heavy armour and wearied with exertion, the land for a considerable
distance on each side the river being very boggy. As those in front sank
in the bog, those from behind walked over them, and as row after row
disappeared, their bodies formed the road for others to walk over. The
carnage was terrible, for King Edward had ordered that no quarter must
be given and no prisoners taken. It was estimated that 28,000 of the
Lancastrians were slaughtered in this battle and in the pursuit which
followed, and that 37,776 men in all were killed on that dreadful day.

In some parts of Yorkshire the wild roses were very beautiful, ranging
in colour from pure white to the deepest red, almost every shade being
represented; the variation in colour was attributed to the difference in
the soil or strata in which they grew. But over this battle-field and
the enormous pits in which the dead were buried there grew after the
battle a dwarf variety of wild rose which it was said would not grow
elsewhere, and which the country people thought emblematical of the
warriors who had fallen there, as the white petals were slightly tinged
with red, while the older leaves of the bushes were of a dull bloody
hue; but pilgrims carried many of the plants away before our time, and
the cultivation of the heath had destroyed most of the remainder. In the
great Battle of Towton Field many noblemen had perished, but they
appeared to have been buried with the rank and file in the big pits dug
out for the burial of the dead, as only a very few could be traced in
the local churchyards. The Earl of Westmorland, however, had been buried
in Saxton church and Lord Dacres in Saxton churchyard, where his remains
rested under a great stone slab, 7 feet long, 4-1/2 feet wide, and 7
inches thick, the Latin inscription on which, in old English characters,
was rapidly fading away:


The local poet, in giving an account of the battle, has written:--

  The Lord Dacres
  Was slain at Nor acres,

for his lordship had been killed in a field known as the North Acres. He
had removed his gorget, a piece of armour which protected the throat,
for the purpose, it was supposed, of getting a drink to quench his
thirst, when he was struck in the throat by a bolt, or headless arrow,
shot from a cross-bow by a boy who was hiding in a bur-tree or elder
bush. The boy-archer must have been a good shot to hit a warrior clothed
from head to foot in armour in the only vulnerable point exposed, but in
those days boys were trained to shoot with bows and arrows from the
early age of six years, their weapons, being increased in size and
strength as they grew older; their education was not considered complete
until they could use that terrible weapon known as the English long-bow,
and hit the smallest object with their arrows. Lord Dacres was buried in
an upright position, and his horse was buried with him; for many years
the horse's jaw-bone and teeth were preserved at the vicarage, One of
his lordship's ancestors, who died fighting on Flodden Field, had been
buried in a fine tomb in Lanercrost Abbey.

Lord Clifford was another brave but cruel warrior who was killed in a
similar way. He had removed his helmet from some unexplained
cause--possibly to relieve the pressure on his head--when a random arrow
pierced his throat; but his death was to many a cause of rejoicing, for
owing to his cruel deeds at the Battle of Wakenfield, he had earned the
sobriquet of "the Butcher." While that battle was raging, the Duke of
York's son, the Earl of Rutland, a youth only seventeen years of age,
described as "a fair gentleman and maiden-like person," was brought by
his tutor, a priest, from the battle-field to shelter in the town. Here
he was perceived by Clifford, who asked who he was. The boy, too much
afraid to speak, fell on his knees imploring for mercy, "both by holding
up his hands and making dolorous countenance, for his speech was gone
from fear." "Save him," said the tutor, "for he is a prince's son and,
peradventure, might do you good hereafter." With that word Clifford
marked him, and said, "By God's blood thy father slew mine, and so will
I thee, and all thy kin," and, saying this, he struck the Earl to the
heart with his dagger, and bade the tutor bear word to his mother and
brothers what he had said and done. Not content with this, when he came
to the body of the Duke, the child's father, he caused the head to be
cut off and a paper crown to be placed on it; then, fixing it on a pole,
he presented it to the Queen, saying, "Madame, your war is done--here is
your King's ransom." The head was placed over the gates of York by the
side of that of the Earl of Salisbury, whom Queen Margaret had ordered
to be beheaded.

For some little time we had been walking through what was known as the
"Kingdom of Elmet," but whether this was associated with the helmet of
Grim we were unable to ascertain, though we shrewdly suspected it was an
old Celtic word. We arrived at the village of Sherburn-in-Elmet, an
important place in ancient times, where once stood the palace of
Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred the Great, the first ruler of all
England, who was crowned King of England in the year 925. In celebration
of his great victory over the combined army of the Danes and Scots at
Brunnanburgh, King Athelstan presented his palace here, along with other
portions of the Kingdom of Elmet, to the See of York, and it remained
the Archbishop of York's Palace for over three hundred years. But when
the See of York was removed to Cawick, a more convenient centre, the
Sherburn Palace was pulled down, and at the time of our visit only the
site and a portion of the moat remained. We were much interested in the
church, as the historian related that "within the walls now existing the
voices of the last Saxon archbishop and the first Norman archbishop have
sounded, and in the old church of Sherburn has been witnessed the
consummation of the highest ambition of chivalric enterprise, and all
the pomp attending the great victory of Athelstan at Brunnanburgh."

Here in the time of Edward II, in 1321, "a secret conclave was held,
attended by the Archbishop, the Bishops of Durham and Carlisle, and
Abbots from far and near, the Earls of Lancaster and Hereford, and many
Barons, Baronets, and Knights. To this assembly Sir John de Bek, a
belted Knight, read out the Articles which Lancaster and his adherents
intended to insist upon." But what interested us most in the church was
the "Janus Cross" The Romans dedicated the month of January to Janus,
who was always pictured with two faces, as January could look back to
the past year and forwards towards the present. The Janus Cross here had
a curious history; it had been found in the ruins of an ancient chapel
in the churchyard dedicated to the "Honour of St. Mary and the Holy
Angels." One of the two churchwardens thought it would do to adorn the
walls of his residence, but another parishioner thought it would do to
adorn his own, and the dispute was settled by some local Solomon, who
suggested that they should cut it in two and each take one half. So it
was sawn vertically in two parts, one half being awarded to each. In
course of time the parts were again united and restored to the church.


Arriving at Ferry Bridge, we crossed the River Aire, which we had seen
at its source, but which here claimed to have become one of the most
useful rivers in Yorkshire, for its waters were valuable for navigation
and for the manufacturing towns near which they passed.

My foot, which had pained me ever since leaving York, so that I had been
limping for some time, now became so painful that I could scarcely walk
at all. Still, we were obliged to reach Pontefract in order to procure
lodgings for the night, so my brother relieved me of all my luggage
excepting the stick, in order that I might hobble along to that town. It
was with great difficulty that I climbed up the hill to the inn, which
was in the upper part of the town, and there I was painfully relieved by
the removal of my boot, and found that my ankle was seriously swollen
and inflamed. It might, of course, have arisen through over-exertion,
but we came to the conclusion that it was caused through the repair of
my boots at York. Before arriving there the heels were badly worn down
at one side, and as I had been practically walking on the sides of my
feet, the sudden reversion to the flat or natural position had brought
on the disaster that very nearly prevented us from continuing our walk.
We applied all the remedies that both our hostess and ourselves could
think of, but our slumbers that night were much disturbed, and not
nearly so continuous as usual.

(_Distance walked twenty-three and a half miles_.)

_Thursday, October 26th._


The great object of interest at Pontefract was the castle, the ruins of
which were very extensive. Standing on the only hill we encountered in
our walk of the previous day, it was formerly one of the largest and
strongest castles in England, and had been associated with many stirring
historical events. It was here that King Richard II was murdered in the
year 1399, and the remains of the dismal chamber where this tragedy took
place still existed. During the Wars of the Roses, when in 1461 Queen
Margaret appeared in the north of Yorkshire with an army of 60,000 men,
the newly appointed King, Edward IV, sent the first portion of his army
to meet her in charge of his most influential supporter, the Earl of
Warwick, the "King Maker." The King followed him to Pontefract with the
remainder of his army, and the old castle must have witnessed a
wonderful sight when that army, to the number of 40,660 men, was
marshalled in the plains below.

But it was in the Civil War that this castle attained its greatest
recorded notoriety, for it was besieged three times by the forces of the
Parliament. Sir Thomas Fairfax was in charge of the first siege, and
took possession of the town in 1644, driving the garrison into the
castle. He had a narrow escape from death on that occasion, as a
cannon-ball passed between him and Colonel Forbes so close that the wind
caused by its passage knocked both of them down to the ground, Forbes
losing the sight of one of his eyes. The castle was strongly defended,
but just as one of the towers collapsed, a shot from the castle struck a
match, and the spark, falling into Fairfax's powder stores, caused a
tremendous explosion which killed twenty-seven of his men. In January
1645 Forbes sent a drum to the castle to beat a parley, but the
Governor, Colonel Lowther, and his brave garrison said they would go on
with the defence to the last extremity. The besiegers then began to lay
mines, but these were met by counter-mines driven by the garrison, who
now began to suffer from want of food. At this critical moment a
Royalist force of 2,000 horse arrived under Sir Marmaduke Langdale, who
had made a forced march from Oxford to relieve the garrison. He drove
off the besiegers, first to Ferry Bridge, and afterwards to Sherburn and
Tadcaster, inflicting severe loss, and so the garrison was revictualled.
The Parliamentary forces, however, soon made their appearance again, and
on March 21st, 1645, the second siege began. They again took possession
of the town, and after four months of incessant cannonading the garrison
capitulated and the castle was garrisoned by the other side.

The war continued in other parts of the country, and towards the end of
it a conspiracy was formed by the Royalists to recover possession of the
castle, which through the treachery of a Colonel Maurice was successful.
Many of the garrison at that time lived outside the walls of the castle,
and Maurice persuaded the Governor, Cotterel, to order them to move
their homes inside, to which he assented, issuing an order in the
country for beds to be provided on a certain day. Taking advantage of
this, Maurice and another conspirator dressed themselves as country
gentlemen, with swords by their sides, and with nine others, disguised
as constables, made their appearance at the castle entrance early in the
morning, so as to appear like a convoy guarding the safe passage of the
goods. The Governor, who kept the keys, was still in bed, and the
soldier on guard at the inside of the gates, who was in league with
Maurice, went to inform him the beds had arrived. He handed over the
keys, and, not suspecting treachery, remained in bed with his sword at
his side as usual. The remainder of the conspirators then drew their
swords, and the garrison, on condition that their lives should be
spared, surrendered, and were put into one of the prison dungeons. The
conspirators then went to the room of the Governor, who, hearing a
noise, jumped out of bed and defended himself, but was soon wounded,
disarmed, and placed in the dungeon along with the rest, while the
Royalists took possession of the castle. This happened in June 1648.

The dungeons in the castle, which were still to be seen, were of the
most awful description, for, sunk deep down into the solid rock, it was
scarcely necessary to write over them--

  Abandon Hope, all ye who enter here.

There was one dungeon under the Round Tower, which was reached by
passing down some winding steps, into which no ray of light ever
entered, as dark and dismal a place as could be imagined. Here Earl
Rivers and his fellow peers were incarcerated, praying for their
execution to end their misery. There was also a cellar for the storage
of food and drink, sunk some forty or fifty feet in the solid rock, and
capable of holding two or three hundred men, and this too was used as a
dungeon by the Royalists. Here the prisoners taken by the Royalist army
were confined, and many of their names appeared cut in the walls of
solid rock. The history of these places, if it could be written, would
form a chapter of horrors of the most dreadful character, as in olden
times prisoners were often forgotten by their captors, and left in the
dungeons to perish.

It was not without a tinge of satisfaction that we heard that the Earl
of Lancaster, to whom the castle belonged, was himself placed in one of
these dungeons after the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322, and after
being imprisoned there a short time, where he had so often imprisoned
others, was led out to execution.

The third siege of Pontefract Castle happened in the autumn of 1648, for
after the Parliamentarians had gained the upper hand, the castles that
still held out against them were besieged and taken, but the turn of
Pontefract Castle came last of all. Oliver Cromwell himself undertook to
superintend the operations, and General Lambert, one of the ablest of
Cromwell's generals, born at Kirkby Malham, a Yorkshire village through
which we had passed some days before, was appointed Commander-in-Chief
of the forces. He arrived before the castle on December 4th, 1648, but
such was the strength of the position that though he had a large number
of soldiers and a great service of artillery, it was not until March
25th, 1649, when scarcely one hundred men were left to defend the walls,
that the garrison capitulated. Meantime the tremendous effect of the
artillery brought to bear against them had shattered the walls, and
finally Parliament ordered the castle to be dismantled. With the
surrender of this castle the Civil War came to an end, but not before
King Charles I had been beheaded.


Last year, before we began our walk from London to Lancashire, we
visited Whitehall and saw the window in the Banqueting-hall through
which, on January 30th, 1649, about two months before Pontefract Castle
surrendered, he passed on his way to the scaffold outside.

In its prime Pontefract Castle was an immense and magnificent
fortification, and from its ruins we had a fine view on all sides of the
country it had dominated for about six hundred years.

We were now journeying towards the more populous parts of the country,
and the greater the mileage of our walk, the greater became the interest
taken both in us and our adventures. Several persons interviewed us in
our hotel at Pontefract, and much sympathy was extended towards myself,
as my foot was still very painful in spite of the remedies which had
been applied to it; but we decided not to give in, my brother kindly
consenting to carry all the luggage, for we were very anxious not to
jeopardise our twenty-five miles' daily average beyond recovery. My boot
was eased and thoroughly oiled; if liquorice could have done it any
good, we could have applied it in addition to the other remedies, as we
had bought some both for our own use and for our friends to eat when we
reached home. All we had learned about it was that it was made from the
root of a plant containing a sweet juice, and that the Greek name of it
was _glykyr-rhiza_, from _glykys_, sweet, and _rhiza_, root. After
making a note of this formidable word, I did not expect my brother to
eat any more liquorice; but his special aversion was not Greek, but
Latin, as he said both his mind and body had been associated with that
language through the medium of the cane of his schoolmaster, who
believed in the famous couplet:

  'Tis Education forms the common mind.
  And with the cane we drive it in behind!

He was always suspicious of the Latin words attached to plants, and
especially when quoted by gardeners, which I attributed to jealousy of
their superior knowledge of that language; but it appeared that it was
founded on incidents that occurred many years ago.

He was acquainted with two young gardeners who were learning their
business by working under the head gardener at a hall in Cheshire, the
owner of which was proud of his greenhouses and hothouses as well as of
the grounds outside. As a matter of course everything appeared up to
date, and his establishment became one of the show-places in the
neighbourhood. The gardener, an elderly man, was quite a character. He
was an Irishman and an Orangeman as well, and had naturally what was
known in those parts as "the gift of the gab." The squire's wife was
also proud of her plants, and amongst the visitors to the gardens were
many ladies, who often asked the gardener the name of a plant that was
strange to them. As no doubt he considered it _infra dig._ to say he did
not know, and being an Irishman, he was never at a loss when asked,
"What do you call this plant?" he would reply, "Oh, that, mum, is the
Hibertia Canadensus, mum!" and a further inquiry would be answered in a
similar manner--"That, mum, is the Catanansus Rulia, mum!" and again the
lady would thank him and walk on apparently quite pleased and happy,
probably forgetting the name of the plant before she had gone through
the gardens. The young men were often at work in the houses while the
visitors were going through, and of course they were too deeply engaged
in their work either to see the visitors or to hear all the conversation
that was going on, but they told my brother that they could always tell
when the gardener did not know the real name of a plant by his
invariably using these two names on such occasions, regardless of the
family or species of the plant in question.

Pomfret was the local abbreviation of Pontefract, the name of the town,
and "Pomfret Liquorice" claimed not only to be a sweetmeat, but a throat
remedy as well, and was considered beneficial to the consumer. The
sample we purchased was the only sweet we had on our journey, for in
those days men and women did not eat sweets so much as in later times,
they being considered the special delicacies of the children. The sight
of a man or woman eating a sweet would have caused roars of ridicule.
Nor were there any shops devoted solely to the sale of sweets in the
country; they were sold by grocers to the children, though in nothing
like the variety and quantity that appeared in later years. The most
common sweet in those days was known as "treacle toffy," which was sold
in long sticks wrapped from end to end in white paper, to protect the
children's fingers when eating it, in spite of which it was no unusual
sight to see both hands and faces covered with treacle marks, and thus
arose the name of "treacle chops," as applied to boys whose cheeks were
smeared with treacle. There was also toffy that was sold by weight, of
which Everton toffee was the chief favourite. My brother could remember
a little visitor, a cousin of ours, who could not speak very plainly,
and who always called a cup a "tup," being sent to the village shop for
a pound of coffee, and his delight when he returned laden with a pound
of toffy, which was of course well-nigh devoured before the mistake was
found out!

By this day we were ready for anything except walking as we crawled out
of the town to find our way to Doncaster, and our speed, as might be
imagined, was not excessive; for, including stoppages, which were
necessarily numerous, we only averaged one mile per hour! There was a
great bazaar being held in Pontefract that day, to be opened by Lord
Houghton, and we met several carriages on their way to it. After we had
walked some distance, we were told--for we stopped to talk to nearly
every one we met--that we were now passing through Barnsdale Forest. We
could not see many trees, even though this was formerly the abode of
Robin Hood and Little John, as well as Will Scarlett.

It was in this forest that Robin, hearing of the approach of the Bishop
of Hereford, ordered his men to kill a good fat deer, and to make a
repast of it by the side of the highway on which the Bishop was
travelling. Robin dressed himself and six of his men in the garb of
shepherds, and they took their stand by the fire at which the venison
was being roasted. When the Bishop came up, with his retinue, he asked
the men why they had killed the King's deer, and said he should let the
King know about it, and would take them with him to see the King.

  "Oh pardon, oh pardon," said bold Robin Hood,
    "Oh pardon, I thee pray.
  For it becomes not your Lordship's coat
    To take so many lives away."

  "No pardon, no pardon," said the Bishop,
    "No pardon I thee owe;
  Therefore make haste and come along with me,
    For before the King ye shall go."

Then Robin pulled his bugle horn from beneath his coat and blew a long
blast, and threescore and ten of his followers quickly appeared--

  All making obeysance to Robin Hood,
    'Twas a comely sight to see;
  "What is the matter, master?" said Little John,
    "That you blow so heartily?"

Robin replied that the Bishop of Hereford refused all pardon for slaying
the deer, and had said they must at once accompany him to the King.
Little John then suggested that they should cut off the Bishop's head
and throw him in a grave; but the Bishop craved pardon of the outlaw for
his interference, and declared that had he known who was on the road,
"he would have gone some other way."

  "No pardon, no pardon," said bold Robin Hood,
    "No pardon I thee owe;
  Therefore make haste and come along with me,
    For to merry Barnsdale you shall go."

So thither they led the Bishop, and made him sup with them right merrily
and royally.

  "Call in a reckoning," said the Bishop,
    "For methinks it grows wondrous high;"
  "Lend me your purse, master," said Little John,
    "And I'll tell you by and bye!"

  Little John took the Bishop's cloak
    And spread it upon the ground.
  And out of the Bishop's portmanteau
    He told three hundred pound.

  "Here's money enough, master," said Little John,
    "And a comely sight to see;
  It makes me in charity with the Bishop,
    Though he heartily loveth not me."

  Robin took the Bishop by the hand,
    And he caused the music to play;
  And he made the Bishop to dance in his boots.
    And glad he could get away!

[Illustration: DONCASTER RACECOURSE. "We had walked for five days over
the broad acres of Yorkshire and had seen many fine horses, for
horse-breeding was a leading feature of that big county, and horses a
frequent subject of conversation."]

We heard all sorts of stories from the roadmen, some of which might not
be true; but in any case about seven miles from Doncaster we reached
Robin Hood's Well, at the side of the road. It was quite a substantial
structure, built of soft limestone, and arched over, with a seat
inside--on which doubtless many a weary wayfarer had rested before us.
The interior was nearly covered with inscriptions, one dated 1720 and
some farther back than that. We had a drink of water from the well, but
afterwards, when sitting on the seat, saw at the bottom of the well a
great black toad, which we had not noticed when drinking the water. The
sight of it gave us a slight attack of the horrors, for we had a
particular dread of toads. We saw at the side of the road a large house
which was formerly an inn rejoicing in the sign of "Robin Hood and
Little John," one of the oldest inns between York and London. We called
at a cottage for tea, and here we heard for the first time of the
Yorkshireman's coat-of-arms, which the lady of the house told us every
Yorkshireman was entitled to place on his carriage free of tax! It
consisted of a flea, and a fly, a flitch of bacon, and a magpie, which
we thought was a curious combination. The meaning, however, was
forthcoming, and we give the following interpretation as given to us:

  A flea will bite! and so will a Yorkshireman;
  A fly will drink out of anybody's cup! and so will a Yorkshireman;
  A magpie will chatter! and so will a Yorkshireman:
  And a flitch of bacon looks best when it's hung! and so does a

We fancied a Lancashire man must have written that ditty.

[Illustration: ROBIN HOOD'S WELL.]

The moon was shining brightly as we left the cottage, and a man we met,
when he saw me limping so badly, stopped us to inquire what was the
matter. He was returning from Doncaster, and cheered us up by pointing
to the moon, saying we should have the "parish lantern" to light us on
our way. This appeared to remind him of his parish church, where a
harvest thanksgiving had just been held, with a collection on behalf of
the hospital and infirmary. He and seven of his fellow servants had
given a shilling each, but, although there were "a lot of gentry" at the
service, the total amount of the collection was only one pound odd. The
minister had told them he could scarcely for shame carry it in, as it
was miserably small for an opulent parish like that!

We arrived at Doncaster at 8.30 p.m., and stayed at the temperance hotel
in West Laith Street. The landlord seemed rather reluctant about letting
us in, but he told us afterwards he thought we were "racing characters,"
which greatly amused us since we had never attended a race-meeting in
our lives!

(_Distance walked fourteen miles_.)

_Friday, October 27th._

Our host at Doncaster took a great interest in us, and, in spite of my
sprained ankle, we had a good laugh at breakfast-time at his mistaking
us for "racing characters." My brother related to him his experiences on
the only two occasions he ever rode on the back of a horse unassisted.
The first of these was when, as quite a young boy, he went to visit his
uncle who resided near Preston in Lancashire, and who thought it a
favourable opportunity to teach him to ride. He was therefore placed on
the back of a quiet horse, a groom riding behind him on another horse,
with orders not to go beyond a walking pace; but when they came near the
barracks, and were riding on the grass at the side of the road, a
detachment of soldiers came marching out through the entrance, headed by
their military band, which struck up a quickstep just before meeting the
horses. My brother's horse suddenly reared up on its hind legs, and
threw him off its back on to the grass below, or, as he explained it,
while the horse reared up he reared down! He was more frightened than
hurt, but the groom could not persuade him to ride on the horse's back
any farther, so he had to lead the horses home again, a distance of two
miles, while my brother walked on the footpath.

It was years before he attempted to ride on horseback again, but this
time he was mounted upon an old horse white with age, and very quiet,
which preferred walking to running; this second attempt also ended
disastrously. It was a very hot day, and he had ridden some miles into
the country when he came to a large pit, on the opposite side of the
road to a farmhouse, when, without any warning, and almost before my
brother realised what was happening, the horse walked straight into this
pit, and, in bending its head to drink at the water, snatched the bridle
out of his hands. He had narrowly escaped drowning on several occasions,
and was terrified at the thought of falling into the water, so,
clutching hold of the horse's mane with both hands, he yelled out with
all his might for help--which only served to make the horse move into a
deeper part of the pit, as if to have a bathe as well as a drink. His
cries attracted the attention of some Irish labourers who were at work
in a field, and they ran to his assistance. One of them plunged into the
water, which reached half way up his body, and, taking hold of my
brother, carried him to the road and then returned for the horse. He was
rewarded handsomely for his services, for my brother verily believed he
had saved him from being drowned. He was much more afraid of the water
than of the horse, which was, perhaps, the reason why he had never
learned to swim, but he never attempted to ride on horseback again. On
the wall in front of the farmhouse an old-fashioned sundial was
extended, on the face of which were the words:

  Time that is past will never return,

and on the opposite corner were the Latin words _Tempus fugit_ (Time
flies). My brother seemed to have been greatly impressed by these
proverbs, and thought of them as he led the white horse on his
three-mile walk towards home; they seemed engraven upon his memory, for
he often quoted them on our journey.


My ankle seemed to be a shade easier, and, after the usual remedies had
again been applied, we started on another miserable walk, or limp, for
we only walked twelve miles in twelve hours, following the advice of our
host to take it easy, and give the ankle time to recover. We rested many
times on the road, stopped to talk to many people, got to know all about
the country we were passing through, read papers and books, called for
refreshments oftener than we needed them, wrote letters to our friends,
and made copious entries in our diaries---in fact did everything except
walk. The country was very populous, and we attracted almost universal
sympathy: myself for my misfortune, and my brother for having to carry
all the luggage.

Doncaster takes its name from the River Don, on which it is situated,
and it was the only town in England, after London and York, that
possessed a "Mansion House." We had walked for five days over the broad
acres of Yorkshire and had seen many fine horses, for horse-breeding, we
found, was a leading feature in that big county, and horses a frequent
subject of conversation. Doncaster was no exception to the rule, as the
Doncaster Races were famous all over England, and perhaps in other
countries beyond the seas. We were too late in the year for the great
St. Leger race, which was held in the month of September, and was always
patronised by Royalty. On that occasion almost every mansion in the
county was filled with visitors "invited down" for the races, and there
was no doubt that agricultural Yorkshire owed much of its prosperity to
the breeding of its fine horses. The racecourse was situated on a moor a
little way out of the town, the property of the Corporation, and it was
said that the profit made by the races was so great that the Doncaster
people paid no rates. This might of course be an exaggeration, but there
could be no doubt that the profit made by the Corporation out of the
moor on which the races were held would largely reduce the rates of the

Doncaster races owed their origin to a famous Arab horse named
Rasel-Fedawi (or the "Headstrong"), which was purchased from the Anazeh
tribe of Arabs by a Mr. Darley, an Englishman who at that time resided
at Aleppo, a Turkish trading centre in Northern Syria. This gentleman
sent the horse to his brother at Aldby Park in Yorkshire, and what are
now known as "thoroughbreds" have descended from him. His immediate
descendants have been credited with some wonderful performances, and the
"Flying Childers," a chestnut horse with a white nose and four white
legs, bred from a mare born in 1715, named "Betty Leedes," and owned by
Leonard Childers of Doncaster, was never beaten. All sorts of tales were
told of his wonderful performances: he was said to have covered 25 feet
at each bound, and to have run the round course at Newmarket, 3 miles 6
furlongs, in six minutes and forty seconds. After him came another
famous horse named "Eclipse" which could, it was said, run a mile a
minute. When he died in 1789 his heart was found to weigh 14 pounds,
which accounted for his wonderful speed and courage. Admiral Rous
records that in the year 1700 the English racehorse was fifteen hands
high, but after the Darley Arabian, the average height rose to over
sixteen hands. It was said that there were races at Doncaster in the
seventeenth century, but the great St. Leger was founded by General St.
Leger in 1778, and the grand stand was built in the following year. The
Yorkshire gentlemen and farmers were naturally all sportsmen, and were
credited with keeping "both good stables and good tables." The
invitation to "have a bite and a sup" was proverbial, especially in the
wold or moorland districts, where hospitality was said to be unbounded.

A learned man wrote on one occasion that "an honest walk is better than
a skilled physician. It stimulates heart, brain, and muscles alike,
sweeping cobwebs from the mind and heaviness from the heart." But this
was probably not intended to apply to a man with a sore foot, and it was
difficult to understand why the ankle failure had come so suddenly. We
could only attribute it to some defect in the mending of the boot at
York, but then came the mystery why the other ankle had not been
similarly affected. The day was beautifully fine, but the surroundings
became more smoky as we were passing through a mining and manufacturing
district, and it was very provoking that we could not walk through it
quickly. However, we had to make the best of it, imagining we were
treading where the saints had trod, or at any rate the Romans, for this
was one of their roads to the city of York upon which their legions must
have marched; but while we crossed the rivers over bridges, the Romans
crossed them by paved fords laid in the bed of the streams, traces of
which were still to be seen.

We made a long stay at Comsborough, and saw the scanty remains of the
castle, to which Oliver Cromwell had paid special attention, as, in the
words of the historian, "he blew the top off," which had never been
replaced. And yet it had a very long history, for at the beginning of
the fourth century it was the Burgh of Conan, Earl of Kent, who with
Maximian made an expedition to Armorica (now Brittany), where he was
eventually made king, which caused him to forsake his old Burgh in
England. Maximian was a nephew of King Coel, or Cole, the hero of the
nursery rhyme, of which there are many versions:

  Old King Cole was a jolly old soul,
    And a jolly old soul was he;
  He called for his ale, and he called for his beer,
    And he called for his fiddle-diddle-dee.


But he seemed to have been a jolly old sinner as well, for he formed the
brilliant idea of supplying his soldiers with British wives, and
arranged with his father-in-law, the Duke of Cornwall, to send him
several shiploads from the "old country," for British women were famous
for their beauty. His request was complied with, but a great storm came
on, and some of the ships foundered, while others were blown out of
their course, as far as Germany, where the women landed amongst savages,
and many of them committed suicide rather than pass into slavery. Who
has not heard of St. Ursula and her thousand British virgins, whose
bones were said to be enshrined at Cologne Cathedral, until a prying
medico reported that many of them were only dogs' bones--for which
heresy he was expelled the city as a dangerous malignant.

Troublesome times afterwards arose in England, and on the Yorkshire
side, Briton and Saxon, and Pict and Scot, were mixed up in endless
fights and struggles for existence. It was about this period that
Vortigern, the British King, invited Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon
Princes, to lend their assistance against the Picts and the Scots, which
they did for a time; and when Hengist asked for a residence in his
country, the King gave him Conan's Burgh, which was then vacant. Conan
was never again seen in England, but in 489 his great-grandson Aurelius
Ambrosius became King of the Britons. In the meantime the Saxons had so
increased in numbers that they determined to fight for the possession of
the country, and, headed by Hengist, who had turned traitor, fought a
great battle, in the course of which Eldol, Duke of Gloucester,
encountered Hengist in single combat, and, seizing him by the helmet,
dragged him into the British ranks shouting that God had given his side
the victory. The Saxons were dismayed, and fled in all directions, and
Hengist was imprisoned in his own fortress of Conisborough, where a
council of war was held to decide what should be his fate. Some were
against his being executed, but Eldol's brother Eldad, Bishop of
Gloucester, "a man of great wisdom and piety," compared him to King
Agag, whom the prophet "hewed to pieces," and so Hengist was led through
the postern gate of the castle to a neighbouring hill, and beheaded.
Here Aurelius commanded him to be buried and a heap of earth to be
raised over him, because "he was so good a knight." A lady generally
appeared in these old histories as the cause of the mischief, and it was
said that one reason why King Vortigern was so friendly with Hengist was
that Hengist had a very pretty daughter named Rowena, whom the King
greatly admired: a road in Conisborough still bears her name.

Aurelius then went to Wales, but found that Vortigern had shut himself
up in a castle into which Aurelius was unable to force an entrance, so
he burnt the castle and the King together; and in a wild place on the
rocky coast of Carnarvonshire, Vortigern's Valley can still be seen. Sir
Walter Scott, who was an adept in selecting old ruins for the materials
of his novels, has immortalised Conisborough in his novel of _Ivanhoe_
as the residence, about the year 1198, of the noble Athelstane or
Athelstone, who frightened his servants out of their wits by demanding
his supper when he was supposed to be dead.

Yorkshire feasts were famous, and corresponded to the "wakes" in
Lancashire and Cheshire. There was a record of a feast at Conisborough
on the "Morrow of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross," September 15th,
1320, in the "14th year of King Edward, son of King Edward," which was
carried out by Sir Ralph de Beeston, one of our Cheshire knights, and
Sir Simon de Baldiston (Stewards of the Earl of Lancaster), to which the
following verse applied:

  They ate as though for many a day
    They had not ate before.
  And eke as though they all should fear
    That they should eat no more.
  And when the decks were fairly cleared
    And not a remnant nigh,
  They drank as if their mighty thirst
    Would drain the ocean dry.

A curious old legend was attached to the town well in Wellgate, which
formerly supplied most of the inhabitants of Conisborough with water;
for once upon a time, when the town was suffering from a great drought,
and the people feared a water famine, they consulted an old man known by
the name of St. Francis, who was very wise and very holy. He told the
people to follow him singing psalms and hymns to the Willow Vale, on the
Low Road. There he cut a wand from a willow tree, and stuck it into the
ground, and forthwith a copious supply of water appeared which had
flowed steadily ever since. The wand had been so firmly and deeply
stuck into the ground by St. Francis that it took root and grew into a
large tree.

In 1863 there was a great flood in Sheffield, which did a lot of damage,
and amongst the debris that floated down the river was noticed a cradle
containing a little baby. It was rescued with some difficulty, and was
still alive when we passed through the town, being then eight years old.

[Illustration: ROCHE ABBEY.]

After leaving Conisborough we lost sight of the River Don, which runs
through Mexborough; but we came in touch with it again where it was
joined by the River Rother, at Rotherham. Here we crossed over it by the
bridge, in the centre of which stood the decayed Chapel of our Lady. On
our way we had passed to our right Sprotborough, where in 664 King
Wulfhere when out hunting came to a cave at the side of the river where
a hermit named St. Ceadde or St. Chad dwelt, the country at that time
being "among sheep and distant mountains which looked more like
lurking-places for robbers and dens of wild beasts than dwellings of
men." There were many objects of interest on each side of our road,
including, a few miles to the left, Roche Abbey, the seat of the Earl of
Scarborough, and to the right Wentworth House, one of the largest
private houses in England, and the seat of Earl Fitzwilliam, the owner
of the far-famed Wharncliffe Crags, which are skirted by the waters of
the River Don.

It was in Wharncliffe Forest that Friar Tuck, the jolly chaplain of
Robin Hood, had his abode; and below the crags, in the bed of the River
Don, there was a rock that appeared to be worn by the friction of some
cylindrical body coiled about it. This was supposed to be the famous
Dragon of Wantley, an old name for Wharncliffe. It was here that the
monster was attacked and slain by Guy, the famous Earl of Warwick. Near
the top of the crag, which was formerly a hunting-seat, stood a lodge
where an inscription on a stone in the floor of the back kitchen stated
that "Geoffrey de Wortley, Knight of the body to the Kings Richard III,
Henry VII, and Henry VIII, built this Lodge for his pleasure, so that he
might hear the red deer bray." In the lodge too was a most ponderous
boot said to have been worn by Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Marston
Moor. We stayed at Rotherham for the night.

(_Distance walked twelve miles_.)

_Saturday, October 28th._

The inn where we stayed the night had not been very satisfactory, as,
although the cooking was good, the upper apartments were below the
average. We took to the road again as early as possible, especially as a
decided improvement showed itself in the condition of my swollen foot,
and we were able to make a little better progress. For some days we had
been walking through a comparatively level country, but from the
appearance of the hills to our right as well as before us, we
anticipated a stiff climb. It was not until we approached Sheffield that
the tug of war began, and, strange to say, I found it easier to walk
uphill than on a level surface. Meantime we continued through a level
and busy country, and were in no danger of losing our way, for there
were many people to inquire of in case of necessity. At one time it had
been a wild and lonely place, known as Attercliffe Common, and we were
told that Dick Turpin had been gibbeted there. We had often heard of
Turpin, and knew that he was hanged, but did not remember where, so we
were anxious to see the exact spot where that famous "knight of the
road" ended his existence. We made inquiries from quite a number of
people, but could get no satisfactory information, until we met with an
elderly gentleman, who informed us that it was not Dick Turpin who was
gibbeted there, but a "gentleman" in the same profession, whose name was
Spence Broughton, the only trace of him now being a lane that bore his
name. As far as he knew, Dick Turpin had never been nearer Sheffield
than Maltby, a village five miles away, and that was on his ride from
London to York. He was hanged at Tyburn.

The hills we could see were those of the Pennine range, with which we
must have formed acquaintance unconsciously when farther north, as
although the high hills in the Lake District, through which we had
passed, were not included in the range, some of the others must have
been, since the Pennines were bounded on one side by Cumberland,
Westmorland, and Lancashire, and on the other by Northumberland, Durham,
and Yorkshire, attaining an elevation of 3,000 feet in the north and
2,000 feet in the south. The Pennines here were described to us as the
"backbone of England," for they were looked upon as being in the centre,
equidistant from the east and west coasts, and hereabouts thirty miles
in breadth. The district verging upon Sheffield was well known to the
Romans as producing the best iron in the world, the ore or iron-stones
being obtained in their time by digging up the earth, which was left in
great heaps after the iron-stones had been thrown out; many of these
excavations were still to be seen. In manufacturing the iron they took
advantage of the great forests around them to provide the fuel for
smelting the ore, for it was a great convenience to have the two
elements so near at hand, as it saved carriage from one to the other.
Forests still existed thereabouts in the time of Robin Hood, and were
well known to him and his band of "merrie men," while his jovial
chaplain, Friar Tuck, had his hermitage amongst their deep recesses.
Many woods round Sheffield still remained in the time of Mary Queen of
Scots, who passed some portion of her imprisonment at the old Manor
House, which was then a castellated mansion. Visitors were now conducted
up a narrow flight of stairs to a flat roof covered with lead, from
which that unfortunate Queen had looked out over the hills and forests,
and breathed the pure air as it passed over them. But now all appeared
to be fire and smoke, and the great works which belched them forth
seemed a strange and marvellous sight to us after walking so long
through such lonely districts.

[Illustration: THE SMOKE OF SHEFFIELD. "The district verging upon
Sheffield was well known to the Romans as producing the best iron in the

Sheffield has a world-wide reputation for its cutlery and for its other
productions in brass, iron, and steel, for the manufacture of which pure
water of a particular variety was essential. The town was well provided
in that respect, for no less than five rivers flowed towards Sheffield
from the Pennine range above. From the finest steel all sorts of things
were made, ranging from the smallest needle or steel pen up to the
largest-sized gun or armour-plate. It would no doubt have interested us
greatly to look through one of the works, but such as we passed were
labelled "No admittance except on business," which we interpreted to
mean that no strangers were allowed to enter, lest they might carry away
with them the secrets of the business, so we walked slowly onward in the
hope of reaching, before nightfall, our next great object of interest,
"The Great Cavern and Castle of Peveril of the Peak." Passing along the
Ecclesall Road, we saw, in nicely wooded enclosures, many of the houses
of manufacturers and merchants, who, like ourselves in after life, left
their men to sleep in the smoke while they themselves went to breathe
the purer air above, for Ecclesall was at a fair elevation above the
town. But one gentleman whom we saw assured us that, in spite of the
heavy clouds of smoke we had seen, the town was very healthy, and there
was more sunshine at Sheffield than in any other town in England.

Shortly afterwards we came to a finger-post where a road turned off
towards Norton and Beauchief Abbey. Norton was the village where the
sculptor Chantrey, of whom, and his works, we had heard so much, was
born, and the monument to his memory in the old church there was an
attraction to visitors. Chantrey was a man of whom it might safely be
said "his works do follow," for my brother, who always explored the wild
corners of the country when he had the opportunity, was once travelling
in Wales, and told a gentleman he met that he intended to stay the night
at the inn at the Devil's Bridge. This was not the Devil's Bridge we had
crossed so recently at Kirkby Lonsdale, but a much more picturesque one,
which to visit at that time involved a walk of about thirteen miles in
the mountainous region behind Aberystwyth.

"Have you ever seen that fine monument by Chantrey there?" asked the

"No," said my brother in astonishment, knowing the wild nature of the
country thereabouts.

"Well," he said, "mind you go and see it! Here is my card, and when you
have seen it, write me whether you have seen a finer monument in all
your life."

My brother found the monument in a small church about three miles from
the hotel in the hills above. He was very much astonished and deeply
impressed by the sculpture, acknowledging in his promised letter that it
was by far the finest he had seen. The origin of it was as follows:

The owner of the estate had an only child, a daughter, lovely, clever,
and accomplished, but slightly deformed in her back. When she was
twenty-one years old she was taken by her parents to London to have her
back straightened, but never recovered from the operation. The statuary
represented the daughter lying on a couch, her father standing at the
head looking down into the eyes of his dying daughter, while her mother
is kneeling at the foot in an attitude of prayer. The daughter's
instruments of music and painting, with her books, appear under the
couch, while every small detail, from the embroidery on the couch to the
creases in the pillow, are beautifully sculptured.

This great work of art cost £6,000, and was exhibited in London for some
time before it was placed in the small church of Hafod. It was said to
have made Chantrey's fortune.


Beauchief Abbey, we were informed, was built by the murderers of Thomas
a Becket in expiation of their sin, but only a few fragments of the
buildings now remained. We halted for rest and refreshments at the "Fox
House Inn," which stood at a junction of roads and was formerly the
hunting-box of the Duke of Rutland.

We had by this time left the county of York and penetrated about four
miles into Derbyshire, a county we may safely describe as being peculiar
to itself, for limestone abounded in the greater part of its area. Even
the roads were made with it, and the glare of their white surfaces under
a brilliant sun, together with the accumulation of a white dust which
rose with the wind, or the dangerous slippery mud which formed on them
after rain or snow or frost, were all alike disagreeable to wayfarers.
But in later times, if the worthy writer who ventured into that county
on one occasion, had placed his fashionable length on the limy road when
in a more favourable condition than that of wet limy mud, he might have
written Derbyshire up instead of writing it down, and describing it as
the county beginning with a "Big D."


The colour of the green fields which lined the roads contrasted finely
in the distance with the white surface of the roads, both fields and
roads alike were neatly fenced in with stone walls. We wondered many
times where all these stones could have come from, and at the immense
amount of labour involved in getting them there and placing them in
position. Their purpose in breaking the force of the wind was clear, for
the greater part of the county consisted of moors, some portions of
which were being cultivated, and although they were almost entirely
devoid of trees, there were plenty of trees to be seen in the valleys,
the Dales of Derbyshire being noted for their beauty. The River Derwent
ran along the valley opposite the inn, and on the other side was the
village of Eyam, which became famous in the time of the Great Plague of
London in 1665. It seemed almost impossible that a remote village like
that could be affected by a plague in London, but it so happened that a
parcel arrived by coach from London addressed to a tailor in Eyam, who
opened it with the result that he contracted the disease and died; in
the same month five others died also, making a total of six for
September, which was followed by 23 deaths in October, 7 in November,
and 9 in December. Then came a hard frost, and it was thought that the
germs would all be killed, but it broke out again in the following June
with 19 deaths, July 56, August 77, September 24, and October 14, and
then the plague died out--possibly because there were very few people
left. During all this time Eyam had been isolated from the rest of the
world, for if a villager tried to get away he was at once driven back,
and for any one to go there was almost certain death. The Earl of
Devonshire, who nobly remained at Chatsworth all the time, sent
provisions periodically to a certain point where no one was allowed to
pass either inwards or outwards. At this time even the coins of the
realm were considered to be infectious, and large stones hollowed out
like basins, which probably contained some disinfectant, were placed
between Eyam and the villages which traded with them. Meantime the
rector of Eyam, whose name was Mompesson, stood his ground like a true
hero, ministering to his parishioners; and, although his wife contracted
the disease and died, and though he referred to himself as "a dying
man," yet was he mercifully preserved; so too was the Rev. Thomas
Stanley, who had been ejected from the rectory after eighteen years'
service because he would not subscribe to the Corporation Act of 1661.
He stood by Mompesson and did his duty quite as nobly; and some years
afterwards, when some small-minded people appealed to the Duke of
Devonshire as Lord Lieutenant of the county to have Stanley removed, he
indignantly refused and rebuked the petitioners very strongly.

William and Mary Howitt wrote a long poem entitled "The Desolation of
Hyam," and described the village as--

  Among the verdant mountains of the Peak
  There lies a quiet hamlet, where the slope
  Of pleasant uplands wards the north winds bleak:
  Below, wild dells romantic pathways ope:
  Around, above it, spreads a shadowy cope
  Of forest trees: flower, foliage and clear rill
  Wave from the cliffs, or down ravines elope:
  It seems a place charmed from the power of ill
  By sainted words of old:--so lovely, lone and still.

William Wood wrote the _Plague Chronicle_, and on his gravestone was

  Men like visions are;
  Time all doth claim;
  He lives who dies and leaves
  A lasting name.

We had often read the wonderful epitaphs on the tombs of the nobility,
but we had been warned that in former times these were often written by
professional men who were well paid for their services, and the greater
the number of heavenly virtues attributed to the deceased, the greater
of course the fee; but those written by the poetical curate of Eyam were
beyond suspicion if we may judge from the couplet he wrote to be placed
on the gravestone of a parishioner:

  Since life is short and death is always nigh,
  On many years to come do not rely.

We were now passing through Little John's country, and we heard more
about him in this neighbourhood than of his master, Robin Hood, for
Little John's Well was not far away, and Hathersage, our next stage, was
where he was buried. We were very much interested in Robin Hood and
Little John, as my name was Robert, and my brother's name was John. He
always said that Little John was his greatest ancestor, for in the old
story-books his name appeared as John Nailer. But whether we could claim
much credit or no from the relationship was doubtful, as the stanza in
the old ballad ran:

  Robin Hood did little good
  And Little John did less.

In later times the name had been altered to Naylor, in order, we
supposed, to hide its humble though honourable origin; for there was no
doubt that it was a Nailer who fastened the boards on Noah's Ark, and
legend stated that when he came to nail the door on, he nailed it from
the inside!

The stanza, he explained, might have been written by the Bishop of
Hereford or one of Robin Hood's other clients, whom he and Little John
had relieved of his belongings; but the name Naylor was a common one in
South Yorkshire, and, although our branch of the family were natives of
South Lancashire, their characteristics showed they were of the same
stock, since, like Little John, they were credited with having good
appetites and with being able to eat and retain any kind of food and in
almost any quantity. On one occasion we happened to meet with a
gentleman named Taylor, and, after remarking there was only one letter
different between his name and ours, my brother said, "But we are much
the older family," and then named the Noah's Ark incident; when the
gentleman quietly remarked, "I can beat you." "Surely not," said my
brother. "Yes, I can," replied Mr. Taylor, "for my ancestor made the
tails for Adam's coat! He was a Tailer." My brother collapsed!

But the greatest blow he received in that direction was when he found a
much more modern story of "Robin Hood and Little John," which gave
Little John's real name as John Little, saying that his name was changed
to Little John because he was such a big man. My brother was greatly
annoyed at this until he discovered that this version was a
comparatively modern innovation, dating from the time of Sir Walter
Scott's _Talisman_, published in 1825, and inserted there because the
proper name would not have suited Sir Walter's rhyme:

  "This infant was called 'John Little,' quoth he;
    "Which name shall be changed anon.
  The words we'll transpose, so wherever he goes
    His name shall be called Little John."

On our way from the "Fox House Inn" to Hathersage we passed some
strange-looking rocks which were said to resemble the mouth of a huge
toad; but as we had not studied the anatomy of that strange creature,
and had no desire to do so, a casual glance as we walked along a down
gradient into Hathersage was sufficient. As we entered the village we
saw a party of men descending a road on our right, from whom we inquired
the way to Little John's grave, which they told us they had just been to
visit themselves. They directed us to go up the road that they had just
come down, and one of them advised us to call at the small inn which we
should find at the top of the hill, while another man shouted after us,
"Aye! and ther's a mon theere 'ats getten 'is gun!" We found the inn,
but did not ask to see the gun, being more interested at the time in
bows and arrows, so we called at the inn and ordered tea. It was only a
cottage inn, but the back of it served as a portion of the churchyard
wall, and the mistress told us that when Little John lay on his deathbed
in the room above our heads, he asked for his bow and arrow, and,
shooting through the window which we would see from the churchyard at
the back of the inn, desired his men to bury him on the spot where they
found his arrow.

[Illustration: THE TOAD'S MOUTH.]

We went to see the grave while our tea was being prepared, and found it
only a few yards from the inn, so presumably Little John was very weak
when he shot the arrow. The grave stood between two yew trees, with a
stone at the head and another at the foot, the distance between them
being ten feet.

The church was a very old one, dating from the early part of the
fourteenth century. It was said that a search for Little John's skeleton
had been made in 1784, when only a thigh-bone had been found; but as
this measured twenty-nine and a half inches, a very big man must have
been buried there.

On our right across the moor rose sharply what seemed to be a high,
continuous cliff, which we were told was the "edge" of one of the thick,
hard beds of millstone grit, and as we proceeded the edge seemed to be
gradually closing in upon us.

After tea we walked slowly on to Castleton, where we selected a clean
and respectable-looking private house to stay and rest over the
week-end, until Monday morning.

(_Distance walked twenty-two miles_.)

_Sunday, October 29th._

We were very comfortable in our apartments at Castleton, our host and
hostess and their worthy son paying us every possible attention. They
were members of the Wesleyan Church, and we arranged with the young man
that if he would go with us to the Parish Church in the morning, we
would go to the Wesleyan Chapel in the evening with him. So in the
morning we all went to church, where we had a good old-fashioned
service, and saw a monument to the memory of a former vicar, a Mr.
Bagshawe, who was Vicar of Castleton from 1723 to 1769; the epitaph on
it described him as--

   A man whose chief delight was in the service of his Master--a sound
   scholar--a tender and affectionate husband--a kind and indulgent
   parent--and a lover of peace and quietness, who is gone to that place
   where he now enjoys the due reward of his labours.

This Vicar had kept a diary, or journal, from which it appeared that he
began life in a good position, but lost his money in the "South Sea
Bubble," an idea floated in the year 1710 as a financial speculation to
clear off the National Debt, the Company contracting to redeem the whole
debt in twenty-six years on condition that they were granted a monopoly
of the South Sea Trade. This sounded all right, and a rush was made for
the shares, which soon ran up in value from £100 to £1,000, fabulous
profits being made. Sir Robert Walpole, who was then Chancellor of the
Exchequer, and afterwards Prime Minister for the long period of
twenty-two years, was strongly opposed to the South Sea Scheme, and
when, ten years later, he exposed it, the bubble burst and the whole
thing collapsed, thousands of people, including the worthy Vicar of
Castleton, being ruined.

[Illustration: CASTLETON CHURCH.]

It also appeared from the diary that, like the vicar Goldsmith
describes, he was "passing rich on forty pounds a year," for he never
received more than £40 per year for his services. The prices he paid for
goods for himself and his household in the year 1748 formed very
interesting reading, as it enabled us to compare the past with the

Bohea Tea was 8s. per pound; chickens, threepence each; tobacco, one
penny per ounce; a shoulder of mutton cost him fifteen-pence, while the
forequarter of a lamb was eighteen-pence, which was also the price of a
"Cod's Head from Sheffield."

He also recorded matters concerning his family. He had a son named Harry
whom he apprenticed to a tradesman in Leeds. On one occasion it appeared
that the Vicar's wife made up a parcel "of four tongues and four pots of
potted beef" as a present for Hal's master. One of the most pleasing
entries in the diary was that which showed that Harry had not forgotten
his mother, for one day a parcel arrived at the Vicarage from Leeds
which was found to contain "a blue China cotton gown," a present from
Hal to his mother.

  Who fed me from her gentle breast.
  And hush'd me in her arms to rest,
  And on my cheeks sweet kisses prest?
             My Mother.

  Who sat and watched my infant head
  When sleeping on my cradle bed.
  And tears of sweet affection shed?
             My Mother.

  Who ran to help me when I fell,
  And would some pretty story tell,
  Or kiss the place to make it well?
             My Mother.

  Who taught my infant lips to pray.
  And love God's holy Book and day.
  And walk in Wisdom's pleasant way?
             My Mother.

  And can I ever cease to be
  Affectionate and kind to thee,
  Who wast so very kind to me?
             My Mother.

  Ah! no, the thought I cannot bear,
  And if God please my life to spare,
  I hope I shall reward thy care.
             My Mother.

  When thou art feeble, old, and grey.
  My healthy arm shall be thy stay,
  And I will soothe thy pains away,
             My Mother.

After dinner we decided to visit the Castle of _Peveril of the Peak_,
and as the afternoon was very fine we were able to do so, under the
guidance of our friend. We were obliged to proceed slowly owing to my
partially disabled foot, and it took us a long time to reach the
castle, the road being very narrow and steep towards the top--in fact,
it was so difficult of approach that a handful of men could have
defeated hundreds of the enemy. We managed to reach the ruins, and there
we reposed on the grass to view the wild scenery around us and the
curious split in the limestone rocks through which led the path known as
the "Winnats," a shortened form of Wind Gates, owing to the force of the
wind at this spot. The castle was not a large one, and there were higher
elevations quite near; but deep chasms intervened, and somewhere beneath
us was the largest cave in England. While we were resting our friend
related the history of the castle, which had been built by William
Peverell in 1068, and rebuilt by Henry II in 1176-7 after he had
received here the submission of Malcolm, King of Scotland. Peverell was
a natural son of William the Conqueror, who had distinguished himself at
the Battle of Hastings, for which William had bestowed upon him many
manors in Derbyshire. What was known as the Peak of Derbyshire we found
was not one single rock, as we supposed, but a huge tableland with
rising heights here and there. Our friend, whose name was William, told
us a legend connected with the Peverell family. Pain Peverell, the Lord
of Whittington, in Shropshire, had two daughters, the elder of whom was
very beautiful, and had so many admirers that she could not decide which
of them to accept. So she consulted her father on the matter, who
advised her to accept only the "Bravest of the Brave," or the one who
could prove himself to excel all others in martial skill. Her father
therefore proclaimed a tournament, which was to take place, in the words
of an ancient writer, at "Peverell's Place in the Peke," inviting all
young men of noble birth to compete for the hand of the beautiful
"Mellet," whose dowry was to be Whittington Castle. The contest, as
might be supposed, was a severe one, and was won by a knight bearing a
maiden shield of silver with a peacock for his crest, who vanquished,
amongst others, a Knight of Burgundy and a Prince of Scotland. He proved
to be Fitzwarren, and the Castle of Whittington passed to him together
with his young bride.

[Illustration: CASTLETON ROCKS.]

Our friend was surprised when we told him we knew that castle and the
neighbourhood very well, and also a cottage there where Dick Whittington
was born, who afterwards became Sir Richard de Whittington, Lord Mayor
of London. We again discussed the question of the desirability of
returning home, as we were now much nearer than when at Furness Abbey,
where we had nearly succumbed to home-sickness before; but my brother
said he should continue the journey alone if I gave in, and as he kindly
consented again to carry all the luggage, I agreed to complete the
journey with him.


I walked down the hill supported by my brother on one side and our
friend on the other, and returned to the latter's home for tea, after
which our host showed us some remarkable spar stones--dog-tooth spar we
were told was their name--found in the lead mines, whose white crystals
glistened in the light, and I could see by the covetous look in my
brother's eyes that he was thinking of the rockeries at home. His look
was also seen by our worthy host, for he subsequently presented him with
the stones, which my brother afterwards declared were given to him as a
punishment for coveting his neighbour's goods. It was now time to fulfil
our engagement to accompany our friend to the Wesleyan Chapel and to go
through what proved one of the most extraordinary services we ever
attended. Our host and hostess went with us, but they sat in a pew,
while we three sat on a form. We remained for the "Prayer Meeting,"
which the minister announced would be held after the usual service. We
had read that the "Amens" of the early Christians could be heard at long
distances, but we never attended a meeting where the ejaculations were
so loud and fervent as they were here. Each man seemed to vie with his
neighbour as to which could shout the louder, and every one appeared to
be in great earnest. The exclamations were not always "Amens," for we
heard one man shout "Aye!" at exactly the same moment as another man
shouted "Now!" and if the Leader had not been possessed of a stentorian
voice he would not at times have been able to make himself heard. The
primitive custom of conducting prayer meetings was evidently kept up at
Castleton, as might perhaps have been expected in a place which before
the appearance of the railway was so remote and inaccessible, but it
was difficult to realise that "yes" and "no," or "aye" and "now," could
have the same meaning when ejaculated at the same moment. Still, it
might have been so in this case. Who knows!

In travelling through the country we had noticed that in the
neighbourhood of great mountains the religious element was more
pronounced than elsewhere, and the people's voices seemed stronger. At
the close of this second service, for which nearly the whole of the
congregation stayed, the conductor gave out one of Isaac Watts's
well-known hymns, and the congregation sang it with heart and voice that
almost made the rafters in the roof of the chapel vibrate as if even
they were joining in the praises of the Lord! These were the first two

  Jesus shall reign where'er the sun
  Doth his successive journeys run;
  His Kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
  Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

  People and realms of every tongue
  Dwell on His love with sweetest song,
  And infant voices shall proclaim
  Their early blessing on His Name.

We must say we joined as heartily as any of the others, for it was sung
to one of the good old Methodist tunes common to all the Churches in the
days of Wesley. As we walked back through the village we felt all the
better for having attended the full service, and later, when we watched
the nearly full moon rise in the clear night air above the hills, our
thoughts turned instinctively towards the Great Almighty, the Father and
Maker and Giver of All!


_Monday, October 30th._

[Illustration: PEVERIL CASTLE.]

The Scots as a nation are proverbial for their travelling propensities;
they are to be found not only in every part of the British Isles, but in
almost every known and unknown part of the wide world. It was a jocular
saying then in vogue that if ever the North Pole were discovered, a
Scotsman would be found there sitting on the top! Sir Walter Scott was
by no means behind his fellow countrymen in his love of travel, and like
his famous Moss-troopers, whose raids carried them far beyond the
Borders, even into foreign countries, he had not confined himself "to
his own--his Native Land." We were not surprised, therefore, wrhen we
heard of him in the lonely neighbourhood of the Peak of Derbyshire, or
that, although he had never been known to have visited the castle or its
immediate surroundings, he had written a novel entitled _Peveril of the
Peak_. This fact was looked upon as a good joke by his personal friends,
who gave him the title of the book as a nickname, and Sir Walter, when
writing to some of his most intimate friends, had been known to
subscribe himself in humorous vein as "Peveril of the Peak."


There were several objects of interest well worth seeing at Castleton
besides the great cavern; there was the famous Blue John Mine, that took
its name from the peculiar blue stone found therein, a kind of fibrous
fluor-spar usually blue to purple, though with occasional black and
yellow veins, of which ornaments were made and sold to visitors, and
from which the large blue stone was obtained that formed the magnificent
vase in Chatsworth House, the residence of the Duke of Devonshire, and
in other noble mansions which possess examples of the craft. In the mine
there were two caverns, one of them 100 feet and the other 150 feet
high, "which glittered with sparkling stalactites." Then there was the
Speedwell Mine, one of the curiosities of the Peak, discovered by miners
searching for ore, which they failed to find, although they laboured for
years at an enormous cost. In boring through the rock, however, they
came to a large natural cavern, now reached by descending about a
hundred steps to a canal below, on which was a boat for conveying
passengers to the other end of the canal, with only a small light or
torch at the bow to relieve the stygian darkness. Visitors were landed
on a platform to listen to a tremendous sound of rushing water being
precipitated somewhere in the fearful and impenetrable darkness, whose
obscurity and overpowering gloom could almost be felt. On the slope of
the Eldon Hill there was also a fearful chasm called the Eldon Hole,
where a falling stone was never heard to strike the bottom. This had
been visited in the time of Queen Elizabeth by the Earl of Leicester,
who caused an unfortunate native to be lowered into it to the full
length of a long rope; when the poor fellow was drawn up again he was
"stark mad," and died eight days afterwards.

We had to leave all these attractions to a later visit, since we had
come to Castleton to see the largest cavern of all, locally named the
"Devil's Hole," but by polite visitors the "Peak Cavern." The approach
to the cavern was very imposing and impressive, perpendicular rocks
rising on both sides to a great height, while Peveril Castle stood on
the top of the precipice before us like a sentinel guarding entrance to
the cavern, which was in the form of an immense Gothic arch 120 feet
high, 42 feet wide, and said to be large enough to contain the Parish
Church and all its belongings. This entrance, however, was being used as
a rope-walk, where, early as it was, the workers were already making
hempen ropes alongside the stream which flowed from the cavern, and the
strong smell of hemp which prevailed as we stood for a few minutes
watching the rope-makers was not at all unpleasant.


If it had been the entrance to Hades, to which it had been likened by a
learned visitor, we might have been confronted by Cerberus instead of
our guide, whom our friends had warned overnight that his attendance
would be required early this morning by distinguished visitors, who
would expect the cave to be lit up with coloured lights in honour of
their visit. The guide as he handed a light to each of us explained
apologetically that his stock of red lights had been exhausted during
the season, but he had brought a sufficient number of blue lights to
suit the occasion. We followed him into the largest division of the
cavern, which was 270 feet long and 150 feet high, the total length
being about half a mile. It contained many other rooms or caves, into
which he conducted us, the first being known as the Bell House, and here
the path we had been following suddenly came to an end at an arch about
five yards wide, where there was a stream called the River Styx, over
which he ferried us in a boat, landing us in a cave called the Hall of
Pluto, the Being who ruled over the Greek Hades, or Home of Departed
Spirits, guarded by a savage three-headed dog named Cerberus. The only
way of reaching the "Home," our guide told us, was by means of the ferry
on the River Styx, of which Charon had charge, and to ensure the spirit
having a safe passage to the Elysian Fields it was necessary that his
toll should be paid with a coin placed beforehand in the mouth or hand
of the departed. We did not, however, take the hint about the payment of
the toll until after our return journey, when we found ourselves again
at the mouth of the Great Cavern, a privilege perhaps not extended to
Pluto's ghostly visitors, nor did we see any of those mysterious or
mythological beings; perhaps the nearest approach to them was the figure
of our guide himself, as he held aloft the blue torch he had in his hand
when in the Hall of Pluto, for he presented the appearance of a man
afflicted with delirium tremens or one of those "blue devils" often seen
by victims of that dreadful disease. We also saw Roger Rain's House,
where it always rained, summer and winter, all the year round, and the
Robbers' Cave, with its five natural arches. But the strangest cave we
visited was that called the "Devil's Wine Cellar," an awful abyss where
the water rushed down a great hole and there disappeared. Her Most
Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, visited the cavern in 1832, and one of
the caves was named Victoria in memory of that event; we had the honour
of standing on the exact spot where she stood on that occasion.

Our visit to the cavern was quite a success, enhanced as it was by the
blue lights, so, having paid the guide for his services, we returned to
our lodgings to "pack up" preparatory to resuming our walk. The white
stones so kindly presented to my brother--of which he was very proud,
for they certainly were very fine specimens--seemed likely to prove a
white elephant to him. The difficulty now was how to carry them in
addition to all the other luggage. Hurrying into the town, he returned
in a few minutes with an enormous and strongly made red handkerchief
like those worn by the miners, and in this he tied the stones, which
were quite heavy and a burden in themselves. With these and all the
other luggage as well he presented a very strange appearance as he
toiled up the steep track through Cave Dale leading from the rear of the
town to the moors above. It was no small feat of endurance and strength,
for he carried his burdens until we arrived at Tamworth railway station
in Staffordshire, to which our next box of clothes had been ordered, a
distance of sixty-eight and a half miles by the way we walked. It was
with a feeling of real thankfulness for not having been killed with
kindness in the bestowal of these gifts that he deposited the stones in
that box. When they reached home they were looked upon as too valuable
to be placed on the rockeries and retained the sole possession of a
mantelshelf for many years. My ankle was still very weak, and it was as
much as I could do to carry the solitary walking-stick to assist me
forwards; but we were obliged to move on, as we were now quite fifty
miles behind our projected routine, and we knew there was some hard work
before us. When we reached the moors, which were about a thousand feet
above sea-level, the going was comparatively easy on the soft rich grass
which makes the cow's milk so rich, and we had some good views of the
hills. That named Mam Tor was one of the "Seven wonders of the Peak,"
and its neighbour, known as the Shivering Mountain, was quite a
curiosity, as the shale, of which it was composed, was constantly
breaking away and sliding down the mountain slope with a sound like that
of falling water. Bagshawe Cavern was near at hand, but we did not visit
it. It was so named because it had been found on land belonging to Sir
William Bagshawe, whose lady christened its chambers and grottos with
some very queer names. Across the moors we could see the town of
Tideswell, our next objective, standing like an oasis in the desert, for
there were no trees on the moors. We had planned that after leaving
there we would continue our way across the moors to Newhaven, and then
walk through Dove Dale to Ashbourne in the reverse direction to that
taken the year before on our walk from London to Lancashire. Before
reaching Tideswell we came to a point known as Lane Head, where six
lane-ends met, and which we supposed must have been an important
meeting-place when the moors, which surrounded it for miles, formed a
portion of the ancient Peak Forest. We passed other objects of interest,
including some ancient remains of lead mining in the form of curious
long tunnels like sewers on the ground level which radiated to a point
where on the furnaces heaps of timber were piled up and the lead ore was
smelted by the heat which was intensified by these draught-producing

[Illustration: TIDESWELL CHURCH.]

When Peak Forest was in its primeval glory, and the Kings of England
with their lords, earls, and nobles came to hunt there, many of the
leading families had dwellings in the forest, and we passed a relic of
these, a curious old mansion called Hazelbadge Hall, the ancient home of
the Vernons, who still claim by right as Forester to name the coroner
for West Derbyshire when the position falls vacant.

Tideswell was supposed to have taken its name from an ebbing and flowing
well whose water rose and fell like the tides in the sea, but which had
been choked up towards the end of the eighteenth century, and reopened
in the grounds of a mansion, so that the cup-shaped hollow could be seen
filling and emptying.

A market had existed at Tideswell since the year 1250, and one was
being held as we entered the town, and the "George Inn," where we called
for refreshments, was fairly well filled with visitors of one kind or

We left our luggage to the care of the ostler, and went to visit the
fine old church adjacent, where many ancient families lie buried; the
principal object of interest was the magnificent chancel, which has been
described as "one Gallery of Light and Beauty," the whole structure
being known as the Cathedral of the Peak. There was a fine monumental
brass, with features engraved on it which throw light on the Church
ritual of the day, to the memory of Bishop Pursglove, who was a native
of Tideswell and founder of the local Grammar School, who surrendered
his Priory of Gisburn to Henry VIII in 1540, but refused, in 1559, to
take the Oath of Supremacy. Sampson Meverill, Knight Constable of
England, also lies buried in the chancel, and by his epitaph on a marble
tomb, brought curiously enough from Sussex, he asks the reader "devoutly
of your charity" to say "a Pater Noster with an Ave for all Xtian
soules, and especially for the soule of him whose bones resten under
this stone." Meverill, with John Montagu, Earl of Shrewsbury, fought as
"a Captain of diverse worshipful places in France," serving under John,
Duke of Bedford, in the "Hundred Years' War," and after fighting in
eleven battles within the space of two years he won knighthood at the
duke's hands at St. Luce. In the churchyard was buried William Newton,
the Minstrel of the Peak, and Samuel Slack, who in the last quarter of
the eighteenth century was the most popular bass singer in England. When
quite young Slack competed with others for a position in a college choir
at Cambridge, and sang Purcell's famous air, "They that go down to the
sea in ships." When he had finished, the Precentor rose immediately and
said to the other candidates, "Gentlemen, I now leave it to you whether
any one will sing after what you have just heard!" No one rose, and so
Slack gained the position.

Soon afterwards Georgiana, Duchess of Sutherland, interested herself in
him, and had him placed under Spofforth, the chief singing master of the
day, under whose tuition he greatly improved, taking London by storm. He
was for many years the principal bass at all the great musical
festivals. So powerful was his voice, it is said, that on one occasion
when he was pursued by a bull he uttered a bellow which so terrified the
animal that it ran away, so young ladies who were afraid of these
animals always felt safe when accompanied by Mr. Slack. When singing
before King George III at Windsor Castle, he was told that His Majesty
had been pleased with his singing. Slack remarked in his Derbyshire
dialect, which he always remembered, "Oh, he was pleased, were he? I
thow't I could do't." Slack it was said made no effort to improve
himself either in speech or in manners, and therefore it was thought
that he preferred low society.

When he retired and returned to his native village he was delighted to
join the local "Catch and Glee Club," of which he soon became the ruling
spirit. It held its meetings at the "George Inn" where we had called for
refreshments, and we were shown an old print of the club representing
six singers in Hogarthian attitudes with glasses, jugs, and pipes, with
Slack and his friend Chadwick of Hayfield apparently singing heartily
from the same book Slack's favourite song, "Life's a Bumper fill'd by
Fate." Tideswell had always been a musical town; as far back as the year
1826 there was a "Tideswell Music Band," which consisted of six
clarionets, two flutes, three bassoons, one serpent, two trumpets, two
trombones, two French horns, one bugle, and one double drum--twenty
performers in all.

They had three practices weekly, and there were the usual fines for
those who came late, or missed a practice, for inattention to the
leader, or for a dirty instrument, the heaviest fine of all being for
intoxication. But long after this there was a Tideswell Brass Band which
became famous throughout the country, for the leader not only wrote the
score copies for his own band, but lithographed and sold them to other
bands all over the country.

[Illustration: "LIFE'S A BUMPER."]

We were particularly interested in all this, for my brother had for the
past eight years indulged in the luxury of a brass band himself. The
band consisted of about twenty members when in full strength, and as
instruments were dear in those days it was a most expensive luxury, and
what it had cost him in instruments, music, and uniforms no one ever
knew. He had often purchased "scores" from Metcalf, the leader of the
Tideswell Band, a fact that was rather a source of anxiety to me, as I
knew if he called to see Metcalf our expedition for that day would be at
an end, as they might have conversed with each other for hours. I could
not prevent him from relating at the "George" one of his early
reminiscences, which fairly "brought down the house," as there were some
musicians in the company.

His band had been formed in 1863, and consisted of about a dozen
performers. Christmas time was coming on, when the bandsmen resolved to
show off a little and at the same time collect some money from their
friends to spend in the New Year. They therefore decided that the band
should go out "busking" each evening during Christmas week. They had
only learned to play five tunes--two of them belonging to well-known
hymns, a third "God Save the Queen," while the remaining two were
quicksteps, one of which was not quite perfectly learned.

They were well received in the village, and almost every house had been
visited with the exception of the Hall, which was some distance away,
and had been left till the last probably owing to the fact that the
squire was not particularly noted for his liberality. If, however, he
had been at home that week, and had any sense of music, he would have
learned all their tunes off by heart, as the band must have been heard
clearly enough when playing at the farms surrounding the mansion.

To avoid a possibility of giving offence, however, it was decided to pay
him a visit; so the band assembled one evening in front of the mansion,
and the conductor led off with a Psalm tune, during which the Hall door
was opened by a servant. At this unexpected compliment expectations rose
high amongst the members of the band, and a second Psalm tune was
played, the full number of verses in the hymn being repeated. Then
followed a pause to give the squire a chance of distinguishing himself,
but as he failed to rise to the occasion it was decided to play a
quickstep. This was followed by a rather awkward pause, as there were
some high notes in the remaining quickstep which the soprano player said
he was sure he could not reach as he was getting "ramp'd" already. At
this moment, however, the situation was relieved by the appearance of a
female servant at the door.

The member of the band who had been deputed to collect all donations at
once went to the door, and all eyes were turned upon him when he came
back towards the lawn, every member on tip-toe of expectation. But he
had only returned to say that the squire's lady wished the band to play
a polka. This spread consternation throughout the band, and one of the
younger members went to the conductor saying, "A polka! A polka! I say,
Jim, what's that?" "Oh," replied the conductor, "number three played
quick!" Now number three was a quickstep named after Havelock the famous
English General in India, so "Havelock's March played quick" had to do
duty for a polka; but the only man who could play it quickly was the
conductor himself, who after the words, "Ready, chaps!" and the usual
signal "One-two-three," dashed off at an unusual speed, the performers
following as rapidly as they could, the Bombardon and the Double B, the
biggest instruments, finishing last with a most awful groan, after which
the conductor, who couldn't stop laughing when once he started, was
found rolling on the lawn in a kind of convulsion. It took them some
time to recover their equilibrium, during which the Hall door remained
open, and a portion of the band had already begun to move away in
despair, when they were called back by the old butler appearing at the
Hall door with a silver tray in his hand. The collector's services were
again requisitioned, and he returned with the magnificent sum of one
shilling! As most of the farmers had given five shillings and the
remainder half a crown, the squire's reputation for generosity had been
fully maintained. One verse of "God save the Queen," instead of the
usual three, was played by the way of acknowledgment, and so ended the
band's busking season in the year 1863.

We quite enjoyed our visit to Tideswell, and were rather loath to leave
the friendly company at the "George Inn," who were greatly interested in
our walk, several musical members watching our departure as the ostler
loaded my brother with the luggage.

Tideswell possessed a poet named Beebe Eyre, who in 1854 was awarded £50
out of the Queen's Royal Bounty, which probably inspired him to write:

  Tideswell! thou art my natal spot,
    And hence I love thee well;
  May prosperous days now be the lot
    Of all that in thee dwell!

The sentiments expressed by the poet coincided with our own. As we
departed from the town we observed a curiosity in the shape of a very
old and extremely dilapidated building, which we were informed could
neither be repaired, pulled down, nor sold because it belonged to some

On the moors outside the town there were some more curious remains of
the Romans and others skilled in mining, which we thought would greatly
interest antiquarians, as they displayed more methods of mining than at
other places we had visited. A stream had evidently disappointed them by
filtering through its bed of limestone, but this they had prevented by
forming a course of pebbles and cement, which ran right through
Tideswell, and served the double purpose of a water supply and a sewer.

We crossed the old "Rakes," or lines, where the Romans simply dug out
the ore and threw up the rubbish, which still remained in long lines.
Clever though they were, they only knew lead when it occurred in the
form known as galena, which looked like lead itself, and so they threw
out a more valuable ore, cerusite, or lead carbonate, and the heaps of
this valuable material were mined over a second time in comparatively
recent times. The miner of the Middle Ages made many soughs to drain
away the water from the mines, and we saw more of the tunnels that had
been made to draw air to the furnaces when wood was used for smelting
the lead.

The forest, like many others, had disappeared, and Anna Seward had
exactly described the country we were passing through when she wrote:

  The long lone tracks of Tideswell's native moor,
  Stretched on vast hills that far and near prevail.
  Bleak, stony, bare, monotonous, and pale.

The poet Newton had provided the town with a water supply by having
pipes laid at his own expense from the Well Head at the source of the
stream which flowed out of an old lead-mine. Lead in drinking-water has
an evil name for causing poisoning, but the Tideswell folk flourish on
it, since no one seems to think of dying before seventy, and a goodly
number live to over ninety.

They have some small industries, cotton manufacture having spread from
Lancashire into these remote districts. It is an old-fashioned place,
with houses mostly stuccoed with broken crystals and limestone from the
"Rakes" and containing curiously carved cupboard doors and posts torn
from churches ornamented in Jacobean style by the sacrilegious
Cromwellians, many of them having been erected just after the Great



We now journeyed along the mountain track until it descended sharply
into Miller's Dale; but before reaching this place we were interested in
the village of Formhill, where Brindley, the famous canal engineer, was
born in 1716. Brindley was employed by the great Duke of Bridgewater,
the pioneer of canal-making in England, to construct a canal from his
collieries at Worsley, in Lancashire, to Manchester, in order to cheapen
the cost of coal at that important manufacturing centre. It was an
extraordinary achievement, considering that Brindley was quite
uneducated and knew no mathematics, and up to the last remained
illiterate. Most of his problems were solved without writings or
drawings, and when anything difficult had to be considered, he would go
to bed and think it out there. At the Worsley end it involved tunnelling
to the seams of coal where the colliers were at work so that they could
load the coal directly into the boats. He constructed from ten to
thirteen miles of underground canals on two different levels, with an
ingeniously constructed connection between the two. After this he made
the great Bridgewater Canal, forty miles in length, from Manchester to
Runcorn, which obtained a fall of one foot per mile by following a
circuitous route without a lock or a tunnel in the whole of its course
until it reached its terminus at the River Mersey. In places where a
brook or a small valley had to be crossed the canal was carried on
artificially raised banks, and to provide against a burst in any of
these, which would have caused the water to run out of the canal, it was
narrowed at each end of the embankment so that only one boat could pass
through at a time, this narrow passage being known as a "stop place."
At the entrance to this a door was so placed at the bottom of the canal
that if any undue current should appear, such as would occur if the
embankment gave way, one end of it would rise into a socket prepared for
it in the stop-place, and so prevent any water leaving the canal except
that in the broken section, a remedy simple but ingenious. On arriving
at Runcorn the boats were lowered by a series of locks into the River
Mersey, a double service of locks being provided so that boats could
pass up and down at the same time and so avoid delay.

[Illustration: JAMES BRINDLEY.]

When the water was first turned into the canal, Brindley mysteriously
disappeared, and was nowhere to be found; but as the canal when full did
not burst its embankments, as he had feared, he soon reappeared and was
afterwards employed to construct even more difficult canals. He died in
1772, and was buried in Harriseahead Churchyard on the Cheshire border
of Staffordshire. It is computed that he engineered as many miles of
canals as there are days in the year.


It must have been a regular custom for the parsons in Derbyshire to keep
diaries in the eighteenth century, for the Vicar of Wormhill kept one,
like the Vicar of Castleton, both chancing to be members of the Bagshawe
family, a common name in that neighbourhood. He was a hard-working and
conscientious man, and made the following entry in it on February 3rd,

   _Sunday_.--Preached at Wormhill on the vanity of human pursuits and
   human pleasures, to a polite audience, an affecting sermon. Rode in
   the evening to Castleton, where I read three discourses by Secker. In
   the forest I was sorry to observe a party of boys playing at
   Football. I spoke to them but was laughed at, and on my departure one
   of the boys gave the football a wonderful kick--a proof this of the
   degeneracy of human nature!

On reaching Miller's Dale, a romantic deep hollow in the limestone, at
the bottom of which winds the fast-flowing Wye, my brother declared
that he felt more at home, as it happened to be the only place he had
seen since leaving John o' Groat's that he had previously visited, and
it reminded him of a rather amusing incident.


Our uncle, a civil engineer in London, had been over on a visit, and was
wearing a white top-hat, then becoming fashionable, and as my brother
thought that a similar hat would just suit the dark blue velveteen coat
he wore on Sundays, he soon appeared in the prevailing fashion. He was
walking from Ambergate to Buxton, and had reached Miller's Dale about
noon, just as the millers were leaving the flour mills for dinner. One
would have thought that the sight of a white hat would have delighted
the millers, but as these hats were rather dear, and beyond the
financial reach of the man in the street, they had become an object of
derision to those who could not afford to wear them, the music-hall
answer to the question "Who stole the donkey?" being at that time "The
man with the white hat!"

He had met one group of the millers coming up the hill and another lot
was following, when a man in the first group suddenly turned round and
shouted to a man in the second group, "I say, Jack, who stole the
donkey?" But Jack had not yet passed my brother, and, as he had still to
face him, he dared not give the customary answer, so, instead of
replying "The man with the white hat," he called out in the Derbyshire
dialect, with a broad grin on his face, "Th' feyther." A roar of
laughter both behind and in front, in which my brother heartily joined,
followed this repartee.

Probably some of the opprobrium attached to the white hat was because of
its having been an emblem of the Radicals. We had seen that worn by Sir
Walter Scott in his declining days, but we could not think of including
him in that extreme political party, though its origin dated back to
the time when he was still alive. Probably the emblem was only local,
for it originated at Preston in Lancashire, a place we knew well,
commonly called Proud Preston, no doubt by reason of its connection with
the noble family of Stanley, who had a mansion in the town. Preston was
often represented in Parliament by a Stanley, and was looked upon as a
Pocket Borough. In the turbulent times preceding the Abolition of the
Corn Laws a powerful opponent, in the person of Mr. Henry Hunt, a
demagogue politician, who had suffered imprisonment for advocating
Chartism, appeared at the Preston election of 1830 to oppose the
Honourable E.G. Stanley, afterwards Earl of Derby. He always appeared
wearing a white hat, and was an eloquent speaker, and for these reasons
earned the sobriquet of "Orator" Hunt and "Man with the White Hat." The
election contest was one of the most exciting events that ever occurred
in Preston, and as usual the children took their share in the
proceedings, those on Mr. Stanley's side parading the streets singing in
a popular air:

  Hey! Ho! Stanley for Ever! Stanley for Ever!
  Hey! Ho! Stanley for Ever Ho!
  Stanley, Stanley, Stanley, Ho!
  Stanley is my honey Ho!
  When he weds he will be rich,
  He will have a coach and six.

Then followed the chorus to the accompaniment of drums and triangles:

  Hey! Ho! Stanley for Ever, Ho!

In spite of this, however, and similar ditties, "Orator Hunt," by a
total vote of 3,730, became M.P. for Preston, and it was said that it
was through this incident that the Radicals adopted the White Hat as
their emblem.

Lord Derby was so annoyed at the result of the election that he closed
his house, which stood across the end of a quiet street, and placed a
line of posts across it, between which strong chains were hung, and on
which my brother could remember swinging when a boy.

One of our uncles was known as the "Preston Poet" at that time, and he
wrote a poem entitled "The Poor, God Bless 'Em!" the first verse

  Let sycophants bend their base knees in the court
    And servilely cringe round the gate,
  And barter their honour to earn the support
    Of the wealthy, the titled, the great;
  Their guilt piled possessions I loathe, while I scorn
    The knaves, the vile knaves who possess 'em;
  I love not to pamper oppression, but mourn
    For the poor, the robb'd poor--God bless 'em!

A striking contrast to the volubility of Mr. Hunt was Mr. Samuel
Horrocks, also M.P. for Preston, whose connection with the "Big Factory"
in Preston probably gained him the seat. He was said to have been the
"quiet Member," never known to make a speech in the House of Commons,
unless it was to ask some official to close a window. The main
thoroughfare in Preston was Fishergate, a wide street, where on one
Saturday night two men appeared walking up the middle of the street,
carrying large papers suspended over their arms and shouting at the top
of their voices.

"The Speech of Samuel Horrocks, Esquire, M.P., in the British House of
Commons! one penny," which they continued to repeat.

"Eh! owd Sammy's bin makkin' a speech," and a rush was made for the
papers. The streets were poorly lighted in those days, and the men did a
roaring business in the dark. One man, however, was so anxious to read
the speech that he could not wait until he got home, but went to a shop
window, where there was a light, but the paper was blank. Thinking they
had given him the wrong paper, he ran after the men and shouted,
pointing to the paper, "Hey, there's nowt on it." "Well," growled one of
the men, "_he said nowt_."

[Illustration: CHATSWORTH HOUSE.]

We now climbed up the opposite side of the dale, and continued on the
moorland road for a few miles, calling at the "Flagg Moor Inn" for tea.
By the time we had finished it was quite dark, and the landlady of the
inn did her best to persuade us to stay there for the night, telling us
that the road from there to Ashbourne was so lonely that it was possible
on a dark night to walk the whole distance of fourteen miles without
seeing a single person, and as it had been the Great Fair at Newhaven
that day, there might be some dangerous characters on the roads. When
she saw we were determined to proceed farther, she warned us that the
road did not pass through any village, and that there was only a
solitary house here and there, some of them being a little way from the
road. The road was quite straight, and had a stone wall on each side all
the way, so all we had got to do was to keep straight on, and to mind we
did not turn to the right or the left along any of the by-roads lest we
should get lost on the moors. It was not without some feeling of regret
that we bade the landlady "Good night" and started out from the
comfortable inn on a pitch-dark night. Fortunately the road was dry,
and, as there were no trees, the limestone of which it was composed
showed a white track easily discernible in the inky darkness which
surrounded it. As we got farther on our way we could see right in front
a great illumination in the mist or clouds above marking the glare from
the country fair at Newhaven, which was only four miles from the inn we
had just left. We met quite a number of people returning from the fair,
both on foot and in vehicles, and as they all appeared to be in good
spirits we received a friendly greeting from all who spoke to us.
Presently arriving at Newhaven itself, which consisted solely of one
large inn, we found the surrounding open space packed with a noisy and
jovial crowd of people, the number of whom absolutely astonished us, as
the country around appeared so desolate, and we wondered where they all
could have come from. Newhaven, which had been a very important place in
the coaching-days, was a big three-storeyed house with twenty-five
bedrooms and stabling for a hundred horses. It stood at a junction of
roads about 1,100 feet above sea-level in a most lonely place, and in
the zenith of its popularity there was seldom a bedroom empty, the house
being quite as gay as if it had been in London itself. It had been
specially built for the coach traffic by the then Duke of Devonshire,
whose mansion, Chatsworth House, was only a few miles distant. King
George IV stayed at Newhaven on one occasion, and was so pleased with
his entertainment that he granted to the inn a free and perpetual
licence of his own sovereign pleasure, so that no application for
renewal of licence at Brewster Sessions was ever afterwards required; a
fact which accounted in some measure for the noisy company congregated
therein, in defiance of the superintendent of police, who, with five or
six of his officers, was standing in front of the fair. Booths had been
erected by other publicans, but the police had ordered these to be
removed earlier in the day to prevent further disturbances.

We noticed they had quite a number of persons in custody, and when I saw
a policeman looking very critically at the miscellaneous assortment of
luggage my brother was carrying, I thought he was about to be added to
the number; but he was soon satisfied as to the honesty of his
intentions. The "New Haven" must have meant a new haven for passengers,
horses, and coaches when the old haven had been removed, as the word
seemed only to apply to the hotel, which, as it was ten miles both from
Buxton and Ashbourne, and also on the Roman road known as Via Gellia,
must have been built exactly to accommodate the ten-mile run of the
coaches either way. It quite enlivened us to see the old-fashioned
shows, the shooting-boxes, the exhibitions of monstrosities, with stalls
displaying all sorts of nuts, sweets, gingerbreads, and all the
paraphernalia that in those days comprised a country fair, and we should
have liked to stay at the inn and visit some of the shows which were
ranged in front of it and along the green patches of grass which lined
the Ashbourne road; but in the first place the inn was not available,
and in the second our twenty-five-mile average daily walk was too much
in arrears to admit of any further delay.


All the shows and stalls were doing a roaring trade, and the naphtha
lamps with which they were lighted flared weirdly into the inky darkness
above. Had we been so minded, we might have turned aside and found
quarters at an inn bearing the odd sign of "The Silent Woman" (a woman
with her head cut off and tucked under her arm, similar to one nearer
home called the "Headless Woman"--in the latter case, however, the tall
figure of the woman was shown standing upright, without any visible
support, while her head was calmly resting on the ground--the idea
seeming to be that a woman could not be silent so long as her head was
on her body), but we felt that Ashbourne must be reached that night,
which now seemed blacker than ever after leaving the glaring lights in
the Fair. Nor did we feel inclined to turn along any by-road on a dark
night like that, seeing that we had been partly lost on our way from
London the previous year, nearly at the same place, and on quite as dark
a night. On that memorable occasion we had entered Dovedale near Thorpe,
and visited the Lovers' Leap, Reynard's Cave, Tissington Spires, and
Dove Holes, but darkness came on, compelling us to leave the dale to
resume our walk the following morning. Eventually we saw a light in the
distance, where we found a cottage, the inmates of which kindly
conducted us with a lantern across a lonely place to the village of
Parwich, which in the Derbyshire dialect they pronounced "Porritch,"
reminding us of our supper.

[Illustration: TISSINGTON SPIRES.]


It was nearly closing-time when we were ushered into the taproom of the
village inn among some strange companions, and when the hour of closing
arrived we saw the head of the village policeman appear at the shutter
through which outside customers were served with beer. The landlord
asked him, "Will you have a pint?" Looking significantly at ourselves,
he replied, "No, thank you," but we noticed the "pint" was placed in the
aperture, and soon afterwards disappeared!

At Newhaven we ascertained that we were now quite near Hartington and
Dovedale. Hartington was a famous resort of fishermen and well known to
Isaak Walton, the "Father of Fishermen," and author of that famous book
_The Compleat Angler or the Contemplative Man's Recreation_, so full of
such cheerful piety and contentment, such sweet freshness and
simplicity, as to give the book a perennial charm. He was a great friend
of Charles Cotton of Beresford Hall, who built a fine fishing-house near
the famous Pike Pool on the River Dove, over the arched doorway of which
he placed a cipher stone formed with the combined initials of Walton and
himself, and inscribed with the words "Piscatoribus Sacrum." It was said
that when they came to fish in the fish pool early in the morning,
Cotton smoked tobacco for his breakfast!

  What spot more honoured than this beautiful place?
    Twice honoured truly. Here Charles Cotton sang,
    Hilarious, his whole-hearted songs, that rang
  With a true note, through town and country ways,
  While the Dove trout--in chorus--splashed their praise.
    Here Walton sate with Cotton in the shade
    And watched him dubb his flies, and doubtless made
  The time seem short, with gossip of old days.
  Their cyphers are enlaced above the door,
  And in each angler's heart, firm-set and sure.

  While rivers run, shall those two names endure,
  Walton and Cotton linked for evermore---
    And Piscatoribus Sacrum where more fit
    A motto for their wisdom worth and wit?

  Say, where shall the toiler find rest from his labours,
    And seek sweet repose from the overstrung will?
  Away from the worry and jar of his neighbours
    Where moor-tinted streamlets flow down from the hill.

  Then hurrah! jolly anglers, for burn and for river.
    The songs of the birds and the lowing of kine:
  The voice of the river shall soothe us for ever,
    Then here's to the toast, boys--"The rod and the line!"


We walked in the darkness for about six miles thinking all the time of
Dovedale, which we knew was running parallel with our road at about two
miles' distance. When we reached Tissington, about three miles from
Ashbourne, the night had become lighter, and there ought to have been a
considerable section of the moon visible if the sky had been clear. Here
we came to quite a considerable number of trees, but the village must
have been somewhere in the rear of them. Well-dressing was a custom
common in Derbyshire, and also on a much smaller scale in some of the
neighbouring counties; but this village of Tissington was specially
noted in this respect, for it contained five wells, all of which had to
be dressed. As the dressers of the different wells vied with each other
which should have the best show, the children and young people had a
busy time in collecting the flowers, plants, buds, and ferns necessary
to form the display. The festival was held on Holy Thursday, and was
preceded with a service in the church followed by one at each of the
wells, and if the weather was fine, hundreds of visitors assembled to
criticise the work at the different wells. The origin of well-dressing
is unknown, but it is certainly of remote antiquity, probably dating
back to pagan times. That at Tissington was supposed to have developed
at the time of the Black Plague in the fourteenth century, when,
although it decimated many villages in the neighbourhood, it missed
Tissington altogether--because, it was supposed, of the purity of the
waters. But the origin of well-dressing must have been of much greater
antiquity: the custom no doubt had its beginnings as an expression of
praise to God from whom all blessings flow. The old proverb, "We never
know the value of water till the well runs dry," is singularly
appropriate in the hilly districts of Derbyshire, where not only the
wells, but the rivers also have been known to dry up, and when the
spring comes and brings the flowers, what could be more natural than to
thank the Almighty who sends the rain and the water, without which they
could not grow.

[Illustration: TISSINGTON CHURCH.]

We were sorry to have missed our walk down Dove Dale, but it was all for
the best, as we should again have been caught in the dark there, and
perhaps I should have injured my foot again, as the path along the Dale
was difficult to negotiate even in the daylight. In any case we were
pleased when we reached Ashbourne, where we had no difficulty in finding
our hotel, for the signboard of the "Green Man" reached over our heads
from one side of the main street to the other.

(_Distance walked twenty-six and a half miles_.)

_Tuesday, October 31st._

The inn we stayed at was a famous one in the days of the stagecoaches,
and bore the double name "The Green Man and the Black's Head Royal
Hotel" on a sign which was probably unique, for it reached across the
full width of the street. A former landlord having bought another
coaching-house in the town known as the "Black's Head," transferred the
business to the "Green Man," when he incorporated the two signs. We were
now on the verge of Dr. Johnson's country, the learned compiler of the
great dictionary, who visited the "Green Man" in company with his
companion, James Boswell, whose _Life of Dr. Johnson_ is said to be the
finest biography ever written in the English language. They had a friend
at Ashbourne, a Dr. Taylor, whom they often visited, and on one occasion
when they were all sitting in his garden their conversation turned on
the subject of the future state of man. Johnson gave expression to his
views in the following words, "Sir, I do not imagine that all things
will be made clear to us immediately after death, but that the ways of
Providence will be explained to us very gradually."


Boswell stayed at the "Green Man" just before journeying with Dr.
Johnson to Scotland, and was greatly pleased by the manners of the
landlady, for he described her as a "mighty civil gentlewoman" who
curtseyed very low as she gave him an engraving of the sign of the
house, under which she had written a polite note asking for a
recommendation of the inn to his "extensive acquaintance, and her most
grateful thanks for his patronage and her sincerest prayers for his
happiness in time and in blessed eternity." The present landlady of the
hotel appeared to be a worthy successor to the lady who presided there
in the time of Boswell, for we found her equally civil and obliging,
and, needless to say, we did justice to a very good breakfast served up
in her best style.


The Old Hall of Ashbourne, situated at the higher end of the town, was a
fine old mansion, with a long history, dating from the Cockayne family,
who were in possession of lands here as early as the year 1372, and who
were followed by the Boothby family.

The young Pretender, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," who had many friends in
England, stayed a night at the Hall in 1745, and the oak door of the
room in which he slept was still preserved. He and his Highlanders never
got farther than Derby, when he had to beat a hurried retreat, pursued
by the Duke of Cumberland. Prince Charlie, to avoid the opposing army at
Stafford and Lichfield, turned aside along the Churnet valley, through
Leek, and so to Ashbourne. At Derby he called a Council of War, and
learned how the Royal forces were closing in upon him, so that
reluctantly a retreat was ordered. Then began a period of plundering and
rapine. The Highlanders spread over the country, but on their return
never crossed into Staffordshire, for, as the story goes, the old women
of the Woodlands of Needwood Forest undertook to find how things were
going, and crept down to the bridges of Sudbury and Scropton. As it
began to rain, they used their red flannel petticoats as cloaks, which
the Highlanders, spying, took to be the red uniforms of soldiers, and a
panic seized them--so much so, that some who had seized some
pig-puddings and were fastening them hot on a pole, according to a local
ditty, ran out through a back door, and, jumping from a heap of manure,
fell up to the neck in a cesspool. The pillage near Ashbourne was very
great, but they could not stay, for the Duke was already at Uttoxoter
with a small force.

[Illustration: ASHBOURNE CHURCH.]

George Canning, the great orator who was born in 1770 and died when he
was Prime Minister of England in 1827, often visited Ashbourne Old Hall.
In his time the town of Ashbourne was a flourishing one; it was said to
be the only town in England that benefited by the French prisoners of
war, as there were 200 officers, including three generals, quartered
there in 1804, and it was estimated that they spent nearly £30,000 in
Ashbourne. An omnibus was then running between Ashbourne and Derby,
which out of courtesy to the French was named a "diligence," the French
equivalent for stage-coach; but the Derby diligence was soon abbreviated
to the Derby "Dilly." The roads at that time were very rough,
macadamised surfaces being unknown, and a very steep hill leading into
the Ashbourne and Derby Road was called _bête noire_ by the French,
about which Canning, who was an occasional passenger, wrote the
following lines:

  So down the hill, romantic Ashbourne, glides
  The Derby Dilly, carrying three insides;
  One in each corner sits and lolls at ease,
  With folded arms, propt back and outstretched knees;
  While the pressed bodkin, pinched and squeezed to death,
  Sweats in the midmost place and scolds and pants for breath.

We were now at the end of the last spur of the Pennine Range of hills
and in the last town in Derbyshire. As if to own allegiance to its own
county, the spire of the parish church, which was 212 feet high, claimed
to be the "Pride of the Peak." In the thirteenth-century church beneath
it, dedicated to St. Oswald, there were many fine tombs of the former
owners of the Old Hall at Ashbourne, those belonging to the Cockayne
family being splendid examples of the sculptor's art. We noted that one
member of the family was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1404,
while another had been knighted by King Henry VII at the siege of
Tournay. The finest object in the church was the marble figure of a
little child as she appeared--

  Before Decay's effacing fingers
  Have swept the lines where beauty lingers,

which for simplicity, elegance, and childlike innocence of face was said
to be the most interesting and pathetic monument in England. It is
reputed to be the masterpiece of the English sculptor Thomas Banks,
whose work was almost entirely executed abroad, where he was better
known than in England. The inscriptions on it were in four different
languages, English, Italian, French, and Latin, that in English being:

  I was not in safety, neither had I rest, and the trouble came.

The dedication was inscribed:



   Born April 11th 1785, died March 13th 1791. She was in form and
   intellect most exquisite The unfortunate parents ventured their all
   in this Frail bark, And the wreck was Total.

The melancholy reference to their having ventured their all bore upon
the separation between the father and mother, which immediately followed
the child's death.

The description of the monument reads as follows:

   The figure of the child reclines on a pillowed mattress, her hands
   resting one upon the other near her head. She is simply attired in a
   frock, below which her naked feet are carelessly placed one over the
   other, the whole position suggesting that in the restlessness of pain
   she had just turned to find a cooler and easier place of rest.

[Illustration: PENELOPE.]

Her portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, her name appearing in
his "Book of Sitters" in July 1788, when she was just over three years
of age, and is one of the most famous child-pictures by that great
master. The picture shows Little Penelope in a white dress and a dark
belt, sitting on a stone sill, with trees in the background. Her
mittened hands are folded in her lap, and her eyes are demurely cast
down. She is wearing a high mob-cap, said to have belonged to Sir
Joshua's grandmother.

This picture was sold in 1859 to the Earl of Dudley for 1,100 guineas,
and afterwards exhibited at Burlington House, when it was bought by Mr.
David Thwaites for £20,060.

The model for the famous picture "Cherry Ripe," painted by Sir John
Everett-Millais, was Miss Talmage, who had appeared as Little Penelope
at a fancy-dress ball, and it was said in later years that if there had
been no Penelope Boothby by Sir Joshua Reynolds, there would have been
no "Cherry Ripe" by Sir John Everett-Millais.

Sir Francis Chantrey, the great sculptor, also visited Ashbourne Church.
His patron, Mrs. Robinson, when she gave him the order to execute that
exquisite work, the Sleeping Children, in Lichfield Cathedral, expressly
stipulated that he must see the figure of Penelope Boothby in Ashbourne
Church before he began her work. Accordingly Chantrey came down to the
church and completed his sketch afterwards at the "Green Man Inn,"
working at it until one o'clock the next morning, when he departed by
the London coach.

Ashbourne is one of the few places which kept up the football match on
Shrove Tuesday, a relic probably of the past, when the ball was a
creature or a human being, and life or death the object of the game. But
now the game was to play a stuffed case or the biggest part of it up and
down the stream, the Ecclesbourne, until the mill at either limit of the
town was reached.

The River Dove, of which it has been written the "Dove's flood is worth
a king's good," formed the boundary between Derbyshire and
Staffordshire, which we crossed by a bridge about two miles after
leaving Ashbourne. This bridge, we were told, was known as the Hanging
Bridge, because at one time people were hanged on the tree which stood
on the border between the two counties, and we might have fared badly if
our journey had been made in the good old times, when "tramps" were
severely treated. Across the river lay the village of Mayneld, where the
landlord of the inn was killed in a quarrel with Prince Charlie's men in
their retreat from Derby for resisting their demands, and higher up the
country a farmer had been killed because he declined to give up his
horse. They were not nearly so orderly as they retreated towards the
north, for they cleared both provisions and valuables from the country
on both sides of the roads. A cottage at Mayneld was pointed out to us
as having once upon a time been inhabited by Thomas, or Tom Moore,
Ireland's great poet, whose popularity was as great in England as in his
native country, and who died in 1852 at the age of seventy-three years.
The cottage was at that time surrounded by woods and fields, and no
doubt the sound of Ashbourne Church bells, as it floated in the air,
suggested to him one of his sweetest and saddest songs:

  Those evening bells! those evening bells,
  How many a tale their music tells
  Of youth and home and that sweet time
  When last I heard their soothing chime.

  Those joyous hours are passed away,
  And many a heart that then was gay
  Within the tomb now darkly dwells,
  And hears no more those evening bells.

  And so 'twill be when I am gone:
  The tuneful peal will still ring on:
  While other bards shall walk these dells
  And sing your praise, sweet evening bells.

We passed Calwick Abbey, once a religious house, but centuries ago
converted into a private mansion, which in the time of Handel
(1685-1759) was inhabited by the Granville family. Handel, although a
German, spent most of his time in England, and was often the guest of
the nobility. It was said that it was at Calwick Abbey that his greatest
oratorios were conceived, and that the organ on which he played was
still preserved. We ourselves had seen an organ in an Old Hall in
Cheshire on which he had played when a visitor there, and where was also
shown a score copy in his own handwriting. All that was mortal of Handel
was buried in Westminster Abbey, but his magnificent oratorios will
endure to the end of time.

On arrival at Ellastone we left our luggage at the substantially built
inn there while we went to visit Norbury Church, which was well worth
seeing, and as my foot had now greatly improved we were able to get over
the ground rather more quickly. Norbury was granted to the Fitzherberts
in 1125, and, strange as it may appear, the original deed was still in
the possession of that ancient family, whose chief residence was now at
Swynnerton at the opposite side of Staffordshire, where they succeeded
the Swynnerton family as owners of the estate. The black image of that
grim crusader Swynnerton of Swynnerton still remained in the old chapel
there, and as usual in ancient times, where the churches were built of
sandstone, they sharpened their arrows on the walls or porches of the
church, the holes made in sharpening them being plainly visible. Church
restorations have caused these holes to be filled with cement in many
places, like the bullet holes of the more recent period of the Civil
War, but holes in the exact shape of arrow heads were still to be seen
in the walls at Swynnerton, the different heights showing some of the
archers to have been very tall men. In spite of severe persecution at
the time of the Reformation this branch of the family of the
Fitzherberts adhered to the Roman Catholic Faith, Sir Thomas Fitzherbert
being one of the most prominent victims of the Elizabethan persecutions,
having passed no less than thirty years of his life in various prisons
in England.

Norbury church was not a large one, but the chancel was nearly as large
as the nave. It dated back to the middle of the fourteenth century, when
Henry of Kniveton was rector, who made the church famous by placing a
number of fine stained-glass windows in the chancel. The glass in these
windows was very chaste and beautiful, owing to the finely tinted soft
browns and greens, now probably mellowed by age, and said to rank
amongst the finest of their kind in England. The grand monuments to the
Fitzherberts were magnificently fine examples of the art and clothing of
the past ages, the two most gorgeous tombs being those of the tenth and
eleventh lords, in all the grandeur of plate armour, collars,
decorations, spurs, and swords; one had an angel and the other a monk to
hold his foot as he crossed into the unknown. The figures of their
families as sculptured below them were also very fine. Considering that
one of the lords had seventeen children and the other fifteen it was
scarcely to be wondered at that descendants of the great family still

Sir Nicholas, who died in 1473, occupied the first tomb, his son the
second, and his children were represented dressed in the different
costumes of their chosen professions, the first being in armour with a
cross, and the next as a lawyer with a scroll, while another was
represented as a monk with a book, but as the next had his head knocked
off it was impossible to decipher him; others seemed to have gone into
businesses of one kind or another.

The oldest monument in the church was a stone cross-legged effigy of a
warrior in armour, dating from about the year 1300; while the plainest
was the image of a female corpse in a shroud, on a gravestone, who was
named ... Elysebeth ...

  The which decessed the yeare that is goone,
  A thousand four hundred neynty and oone.

The church was dedicated to St. Barloke, probably one of the ancient
British Divines.

On returning to Ellastone we learned that the inn was associated with
"George Eliot," whose works we had heard of but had not read. We were
under the impression that the author was a man, and were therefore
surprised to find that "George Eliot" was only the _nom de plume_ of a
lady whose name was Marian Evans. Her grandfather was the village
wheelwright and blacksmith at Ellastone, and the prototype of "Adam
Bede" in her famous novel of that name.


It has been said that no one has ever drawn a landscape more graphically
than Marian Evans, and the names of places are so thinly veiled that if
we had read the book we could easily have traced the country covered by
"Adam Bede." Thus Staffordshire is described as Loamshire, Derbyshire as
Stoneyshire, and the Mountains of the Peak as the barren hills, while
Oakbourne stands for Ashbourne, Norbourne for Norbury, and Hayslope,
described so clearly in the second chapter of _Adam Bede_, is Ellastone,
the "Donnithorpe Arms" being the "Bromley Arms Hotel," where we stayed
for refreshments. It was there that a traveller is described in the
novel as riding up to the hotel, and the landlord telling him that there
was to be a "Methodis' Preaching" that evening on the village green, and
the traveller stayed to listen to the address of "Dinah Morris," who was
Elizabeth Evans, the mother of the authoress.

[Illustration: ALTON TOWERS.]

Wootton Hall, which stands immediately behind the village of Ellastone,
was at one time inhabited by Jean Jacques Rousseau, the great French
writer, who, when he was expelled from France, took the Hall for twelve
months in 1776, beginning to write there his _Confessions_, as well as
his _Letters on Botany_, at a spot known as the "Twenty oaks." It was
very bad weather for a part of the time, and snowed incessantly, with a
bitterly cold wind, but he wrote, "In spite of all, I would rather live
in the hole of one of the rabbits of this warren, than in the finest
rooms in London."

We now hurried across the country, along old country lanes and over
fields, to visit Alton Towers; but, as it was unfortunately closed on
that day, it was only by trespassing that we were able to see a part of
the grounds. We could see the fine conservatories, with their richly
gilded domes, and some portion of the ground and gardens, which were in
a deep dell. These were begun by Richard, Earl of Shrewsbury, in the
year 1814, who, after years of labour, and at enormous expense,
converted them from a wilderness into one of the most extraordinary
gardens in Europe, almost baffling description. There was a monument
either to himself or the gardener, on which were the words:

  He made the desert smile.

From the Uttoxeter Road we could see a Gothic bridge, with an embankment
leading up to it, and a huge imitation of Stonehenge, in which we were
much interested, that being one of the great objects of interest we
intended visiting when we reached Salisbury Plain. We were able to
obtain a small guide-book, but it only gave us the information that the
gardens consisted of a "labyrinth of terraces, walls, trellis-work,
arbours, vases, stairs, pavements, temples, pagodas, gates, parterres,
gravel and grass walks, ornamental buildings, bridges, porticos, seats,
caves, flower-baskets, waterfalls, rocks, cottages, trees, shrubs and
beds of flowers, ivied walls, moss houses, rock, shell, and root work,
old trunks of trees, etc., etc.," so, as it would occupy half a day to
see the gardens thoroughly, we decided to come again on some future
occasion. A Gothic temple stood on the summit of a natural rock, and
among other curiosities were a corkscrew fountain of very peculiar
character, and vases and statues almost without end.

We now followed the main road to the Staffordshire town of Uttoxeter,
passing the ruins of Croxden Abbey in the distance, where the heart of
King John had been buried, and where plenty of traces of the extreme
skill in agriculture possessed by the monks can be seen. One side of the
chapel still served as a cowshed, but perhaps the most interesting
features were the stone coffins in the orchard as originally placed,
with openings so small, that a boy of ten can hardly lie in one.

But we missed a sight which as good churchmen we were afterwards told we
ought to have remembered. October 31st was All-Hallows Eve, "when ghosts
do walk," and here we were in a place they revelled in--so much so that
they gave their name to it, Duninius' Dale. Here the curious sights
known as "Will-o'-the-Wisp" could be seen magnificently by those who
would venture a midnight visit. But we had forgotten the day.

[Illustration: CROXDEN ABBEY.]

We stopped for tea at Uttoxeter, and formed the opinion that it was a
clean but rather sleepy town. There was little to be seen in the church,
as it was used in the seventeenth century as a prison for Scottish
troops, "who did great damage." It must, however, have been a very
healthy town, if we might judge from the longevity of the notables who
were born there: Sir Thomas Degge, judge of Western Wales and a famous
antiquary, was born here in 1612, and died aged ninety-two; Thomas
Allen, a distinguished mathematician and philosopher, the founder of the
college at Dulwich and the local Grammar School as well, born 1542, died
aged ninety; Samuel Bentley, poet, born 1720, died aged eighty-three;
Admiral Alan Gardner, born at the Manor House in 1742, and who, for
distinguished services against the French, was raised to the Irish
Peerage as Baron Gardner of Uttoxeter, and was M.P. for Plymouth, died
aged sixty-seven; Mary Howitt, the well-known authoress, born 1799, also
lived to the age of eighty-nine. A fair record for a small country town!
John Wesley preached in the marketplace, in the centre of which was a
fountain erected to the memory of Dr. Samuel Johnson, the distinguished
lexicographer. His father, whose home was at Lichfield, was a bookseller
and had a bookstall in Uttoxeter Market, which he attended on market
days. The story is told that on one occasion, not feeling very well, he
asked his son, Samuel, to take his place, who from motives of pride
flatly refused to do so. From this illness the old man never recovered,
and many years afterwards, on the anniversary of that sorrowful day, Dr.
Samuel Johnson, then in the height of his fame, came to the very spot in
the market-place where this unpleasant incident occurred and did
penance, standing bareheaded for a full hour in a pitiless storm of wind
and rain, much to the surprise of the people who saw him.


We now bade good-bye to the River Dove, leaving it to carry its share of
the Pennine Range waters to the Trent, and walked up the hill leading
out of the town towards Abbots Bromley. We soon reached a lonely and
densely wooded country with Bagot's Wood to the left, containing trees
of enormous age and size, remnants of the original forest of Needwood,
while to the right was Chartley Park, embracing about a thousand acres
of land enclosed from the same forest by the Earl of Derby, about the
year 1248. In this park was still to be seen the famous herd of wild
cattle, whose ancestors were known to have been driven into the park
when it was enclosed. These animals resisted being handled by men, and
arranged themselves in a semi-circle on the approach of an intruder. The
cattle were perfectly white, excepting their extremities, their ears,
muzzles, and hoofs being black, and their long spreading horns were also
tipped with black. Chartley was granted by William Rufus to Hugh Lupus,
first Earl of Chester, whose descendant, Ranulph, a Crusader, on his
return from the Holy War, built Beeston Castle in Cheshire, with
protecting walls and towers, after the model of those at Constantinople.
He also built the Castle at Chartley about the same period, A.D. 1220,
remarkable as having been the last place of imprisonment for the
unfortunate Mary Queen of Scots, as she was taken from there in 1586 to
be executed at Fotheringhay.

[Illustration: THE "BANK INN," CHARTLEY.]

[Illustration: BEGGARS' OAK, BAGOTS WOOD. "We soon reached a lonely and
densely wooded country with Bagots Wood to the left, containing trees of
enormous size--remnants of the original forest of Needham."]

We were interested in these stories of Chartley Castle, for in our own
county cattle with almost the same characteristics were preserved in the
Parks of Lyme and Somerford, and probably possessed a similar history.
That Ranulph was well known can be assumed from the fact that Langland
in his _Piers Plowman_ in the fourteenth century says:

  I cannot perfitly my paternoster as the Priest it singeth.
  But I can rhymes of Robin Hood and Randall Erie of Chester.

Queer company, and yet it was an old story that Robin did find an asylum
at Chartley Castle.


We overtook an elderly man on the road returning home from his day's
toil on the Bagot estate, and he told us of an old oak tree of
tremendous size called the "Beggar's Oak"; but it was now too dark for
us to see it. The steward of the estate had marked it, together with
others, to be felled and sold; but though his lordship was very poor, he
would not have the big oak cut down. He said that both Dick Turpin and
Robin Hood had haunted these woods, and when he was a lad a good many
horses were stolen and hidden in lonely places amongst the thick bushes
to be sold afterwards in other parts of the country.

The "Beggar's Oak" was mentioned in the _History of Staffordshire_ in
1830, when its branches were measured by Dr. Darwen as spreading 48 feet
in every direction. There was also a larger oak mentioned with a trunk
21 feet 4-1/2 inches in circumference, but in a decayed condition. This
was named the Swilcar Lawn Oak, and stood on the Crown lands at
Marchington Woodlands, and in Bagot's wood were also the Squitch, King,
and Lord Bagot's Walking stick, all fine trees. There were also two
famous oaks at Mavesyn Ridware called "Gog and Magog," but only their
huge decayed trunks remained. Abbots Bromley had some curious
privileges, and some of the great games were kept up. Thus the heads of
the horses and reindeers for the "hobby horse" games were to be seen at
the church.


The owner of this region, Lord Bagot, could trace his ancestry back to
before the Conquest, for the Normans found one Bagod in possession. In
course of time, when the estate had become comparatively poor, we heard
that the noble owner had married the daughter of Mr. Bass, the rich
brewer of Burton, the first of the Peerage marriages with the families
of the new but rich.

We passed the Butter Cross and the old inn, reminiscent of stage-coach
days, as the church bell was tolling, probably the curfew, and long
after darkness had set in, for we were trying to reach Lichfield, we
came to the village of Handsacre, where at the "Crown Inn" we stayed the

(_Distance walked twenty-five miles_.)

_Wednesday, November 1st._

Although the "Crown" at Handsacre was only a small inn, we were very
comfortable, and the company assembled on the premises the previous
evening took a great interest in our travels. We had no difficulty in
getting an early breakfast, and a good one too, before leaving the inn
this morning, but we found we had missed seeing one or two interesting
places which we passed the previous night in the dark, and we had also
crossed the River Trent as it flowed towards the great brewery town of
Burton, only a few miles distant.



Daylight found us at the foot of the famous Cannock Chase. The Chase
covered about 30,000 acres of land, which had been purposely kept out of
cultivation in olden times in order to form a happy hunting-ground for
the Mercian Kings, who for 300 years ruled over that part of the
country. The best known of these kings was Offa, who in the year 757 had
either made or repaired the dyke that separated England from Wales,
beginning at Chepstow in Monmouthshire, and continuing across the
country into Flintshire. It was not a dyke filled with water, as for the
most part it passed over a very hilly country where water was not
available, but a deep trench sunk on the Welsh side, the soil being
thrown up on the English side, forming a bank about four yards high, of
which considerable portions were still visible, and known as "Offa's
Dyke." Cannock Chase, which covered the elevations to our right, was
still an ideal hunting-country, as its surface was hilly and
diversified, and a combination of moorland and forest, while the
mansions of the noblemen who patronised the "Hunt" surrounded it on all
sides, that named "Beau-Desert," the hall or hunting-box of the Marquis
of Anglesey, being quite near to our road.

We soon arrived at Lichfield, and on entering the town the three lofty
and ornamental spires of the cathedral, which from their smart
appearance were known as "The Three Ladies," immediately attracted our
attention. But for these, travellers entering Lichfield by this road
might easily have passed the cathedral without noticing it, as it stands
on low and rather swampy ground, where its fine proportions do not show
to advantage.

The Close of the cathedral, which partially surrounded it, was heavily
fortified in the time of the Civil War, causing the cathedral to be very
badly damaged, for it suffered no less than three different sieges by
the armies of the Parliament.

[Illustration: ST. CHAD'S WELL, LICHFIELD.]

The cathedral was dedicated to St. Chad, but whether he was the same St.
Chad whose cave was in the rocky bank of the River Don, and about whom
we had heard farther north, or not, we could not ascertain. He must have
been a water-loving saint, as a well in the town formed by a spring of
pure water was known as St. Chad's Well, in which the saint stood naked
while he prayed, upon a stone which had been preserved by building it
into the wall of the well. There was also in the cathedral at one time
the "Chapel of St. Chad's Head," but this had been almost destroyed
during the first siege of 1643. The ancient writings of the patron saint
in the early Welsh language had fortunately been preserved. Written on
parchment and ornamented with rude drawings of the Apostles and others,
they were known as St. Chad's Gospels, forming one of the most treasured
relics belonging to the cathedral, but, sad to relate, had been removed
by stealth, it was said, from the Cathedral of Llandaff.

The first siege began on March 2nd, 1643, which happened to be St.
Chad's Day, and it was recorded that during that siege "Lord Brooke who
was standing in the street was killed, being shot through the eye by
Dumb Dyott from the cathedral steeple." The cathedral was afterwards
used by Cromwell's men as a stable, and every ornament inside and
outside that they could reach was greatly damaged; but they appeared to
have tried to finish the cathedral off altogether, when in 1651 they
stripped the lead from the roof and then set the woodwork on fire. It
was afterwards repaired and rebuilt, but nearly all the ornaments on the
west front, which had been profusely decorated with the figures of
martyrs, apostles, priests, and kings, had been damaged or destroyed. At
the Restoration an effort was made to replace these in cement, but this
proved a failure, and the only perfect figure that remained then on the
west front was a rather clumsy one of Charles II, who had given a
hundred timber trees out of Needwood Forest to repair the buildings.
Many of the damaged figures were taken down in 1744, and some others
were removed later by the Dean, who was afraid they might fall on his
head as he went in and out of the cathedral.

[Illustration: "THE THREE LADIES"]

In those days chimney sweepers employed a boy to climb up the inside of
the chimneys and sweep the parts that could not be reached with their
brush from below, the method of screwing one stale to the end of another
and reaching the top in that way being then unknown. These boys were
often cruelly treated, and had even been known to be suffocated in the
chimney. The nature of their occupation rendered them very daring, and
for this reason the Dean employed one of them to remove the rest of the
damaged figures, a service which he satisfactorily performed at no small
risk both to himself and others.

There is a very fine view in the interior of the cathedral looking from
west to east, which extends to a distance of 370 feet, and of which Sir
Gilbert Scott, the great ecclesiastical architect, who was born in 1811,
has written, "I always hold this work to be almost absolute perfection
in design and detail"; another great authority said that when he saw it
his impressions were like those described by John Milton in his "Il

  Let my due feet never fail
  To walk the studious cloisters pale,
  And love the high embossed roof,
  With antique pillars massy proof,
  And storied windows richly dight,
  Casting a dim, religious light:
  There let the pealing organ blow,
  To the full-voiced quire below.
  In service high, and anthems clear,
  As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
  Dissolve me into ecstacies.
  And bring all heaven before mine eyes.

We had not much time to explore the interior, but were obliged to visit
the white marble effigy by the famous Chantrey of the "Sleeping
Children" of Prebendary Robinson. It was beautifully executed, but for
some reason we preferred that of little Penelope we had seen the day
before, possibly because these children appeared so much older and more
like young ladies compared with Penelope, who was really a child.
Another monument by Chantrey which impressed us more strongly than that
of the children was that of Bishop Ryder in a kneeling posture, which we
thought a very fine production. There was also a slab to the memory of
Admiral Parker, the last survivor of Nelson's captains, and some fine
stained-glass windows of the sixteenth century formerly belonging to the
Abbey of Herckrode, near Liège, which Sir Brooke Boothby, the father of
little Penelope, had bought in Belgium in 1803 and presented to the


The present bishop, Bishop Selwyn, seemed to be very much loved, as
everybody had a good word for him. One gentleman told us he was the
first bishop to reside at the palace, all former bishops having resided
at Eccleshall, a town twenty-six miles away. Before coming to Lichfield
he had been twenty-two years in New Zealand, being the first bishop of
that colony. He died seven years after our visit, and had a great
funeral, at which Mr. W.E. Gladstone, who described Selwyn as "a noble
man," was one of the pall-bearers. The poet Browning's words were often
applied to Bishop Selwyn:

  We that have loved him so, followed and honour'd him,
  Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
  Caught his clear accents, learnt his great language,
  Made him our pattern to live and to die.

There were several old houses in Lichfield of more than local interest,
one of which, called the Priest's House, was the birthplace in 1617 of
Elias Ashmole, Windsor Herald to King Charles II, and founder of the
Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. When we got into the town, or city, we found
that, although St. Chad was the patron saint of the cathedral, there was
also a patron saint of Lichfield itself, for it was Johnson here,
Johnson there, and Johnson everywhere, so we must needs go and see the
house where the great Doctor was born in 1709. We found it adjoining the
market-place, and in front of a monument on which were depicted three
scenes connected with his childhood: the first showing him mounted on
his father's back listening to Dr. Sacheverell, who was shown in the act
of preaching; the second showed him being carried to school between the
shoulders of two boys, another boy following closely behind, as if to
catch him in the event of a fall; while the third panel represents him
standing in the market-place at Uttoxeter, doing penance to propitiate
Heaven for the act of disobedience to his father that had happened fifty
years ago. When very young he was afflicted with scrofula, or king's
evil; so his mother took him in 1712, when he was only two and a half
years old, to London, where he was touched by Queen Anne, being the last
person so touched in England. The belief had prevailed from the time of
Edward the Confessor that scrofula could be cured by the royal touch,
and although the office remained in our Prayer Book till 1719, the
Jacobites considered that the power did not descend to King William and
Queen Anne because "Divine" hereditary right was not fully possessed by
them; which doubtless would be taken to account for the fact that
Johnson was not healed, for he was troubled with the disease as long as
he lived. When he was three years old he was carried by his father to
the cathedral to hear Dr. Sacheverell preach. This gentleman, who was a
Church of England minister and a great political preacher, was born in
1672. He was so extremely bitter against the dissenters and their Whig
supporters that he was impeached before the House of Lords, and
suspended for three years, while his sermon on "Perils of False
Brethren," which had had an enormous sale, was burnt by the common
hangman! It was said that young Johnson's conduct while listening to the
doctor's preaching on that occasion was quite exemplary.


Johnson was educated at the Lichfield Grammar School under Dr. Hunter,
who was a very severe schoolmaster, and must have been one of those who
"drove it in behind," for Johnson afterwards wrote: "My Master whipt me
very well. Without that I should have done nothing." Dr. Hunter boasted
that he never taught a boy anything; he whipped and they learned. It was
said, too, that when he flogged them he always said: "Boys, I do this to
save you from the gallows!" Johnson went to Oxford, and afterwards, in
1736, opened a school near Lichfield, advertising in the _Gentleman's
Magazine_ for young gentleman "to be boarded and taught the Latin and
Greek languages, by Samuel Johnson." He only got eight pupils, amongst
whom was David Garrick, who afterwards became the leading tragic actor
of his time. Johnson had for some time been at work on a tragedy called
_The Tragedy of Irene_, though whether this decided Garrick to become a
tragedy actor is not known; the play, however, did not succeed with the
play-going public in London, and had to be withdrawn. Neither did the
school succeed, and it had to be given up, Johnson, accompanied by David
Garrick, setting off to London, where it was said that he lived in a
garret on fourpence-halfpenny per day. Many years afterwards, when
Johnson was dining with a fashionable company, a remark was made
referring to an incident that occurred in a certain year, and Johnson
exclaimed: "That was the year when I came to London with
twopence-halfpenny in my pocket."

Garrick overheard the remark, and exclaimed: "Eh, what do you say? with
twopence-halfpenny in your pocket?"

"Why, yes; when I came with twopence-halfpenny in my pocket, and thou,
Davy, with three-halfpence in thine."

Poverty haunted Johnson all through life until 1762, when he was granted
a pension of £300 a year by King George III, on the recommendation of
Lord Bute, the Prime Minister, who, in making the offer, said: "It is
not given you for anything you are to do, but for what you have done."
In the meantime Johnson had brought out his great Dictionary, at which
he had worked for years in extreme poverty, and in the progress of which
he had asked Lord Chesterfield to become his patron, in the hope that he
would render him some financial assistance. When he went to see him,
however, he was kept waiting for over an hour, while his lordship amused
himself by conversing with some second-rate mortal named "Colley
Cibber," and when this man came out, and Johnson saw who it was for whom
he had been kept waiting, he hurriedly and indignantly took his
departure. When his Dictionary was nearly ready for publication and
likely to become a great success, his lordship wrote to Johnson offering
to become his patron; but it was now too late, and Johnson's reply was
characteristic of the man, as the following passages from his letter

   Seven years, my Lord, have now passed since I waited in your outward
   rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been
   pushing on with my work through Difficulties, of which it is useless
   to complain, and have brought it, at last, to the verge of
   publication, without one act of assistance, one word of
   encouragement, or one-smile of favour. Such treatment I did not
   expect, for I never had a Patron before. The notice you have been
   pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but
   it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till
   I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want
   it. I hope it is no cynical asperity not to confess obligations where
   no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public
   should consider me as owing that to a patron which Providence has
   enabled me to do for myself!


Johnson's name is often associated with London taverns, but it would be
wrong to assume on that account that he had bibulous tendencies, for
although he described Boswell, who wrote his splendid biography, as a
"clubable" man, and the tavern chair as the throne of human felicity, it
should be remembered that there were no gentlemen's clubs in London in
those days, hence groups of famous men met at the taverns. Johnson had
quite a host of friends, including Garrick, Burke, Goldsmith, Savage
(whose biography he wrote), Sheridan, and Sir Joshua Reynolds. When Sir
Joshua Reynolds and Johnson were dining at Mrs. Garrick's house in
London they were regaled with Uttoxeter ale, which had a "peculiar
appropriate value," but Johnson's beverage at the London taverns was
lemonade, or the juice of oranges, or tea, and it was his boast that
"with tea he amused the evenings, with tea solaced the midnight hour,
and with tea welcomed the morning." He was credited with drinking
enormous quantities of that beverage, the highest number of cups
recorded being twenty-five at one time, but the size of the cups were
very much smaller in those days.

Johnson, who died in 1784 at the age of seventy-five, was buried in
Westminster Abbey, and, mainly through the exertions of his friend Sir
Joshua Reynolds, a statue of him was erected in St. Paul's Cathedral.

Other eminent men besides Dr. Johnson received their education at
Lichfield Grammar School: Elias Ashmole, founder of the Ashmolean Museum
at Oxford, Joseph Addison the great essayist, whose father was Dean of
Lichfield, and David Garrick the actor, were all educated at the Grammar
School. There were five boys who had at one period attended the school
who afterwards became judges of the High Court: Lord Chief Justice
Willes, Lord Chief Justice Wilmot, Lord Chief Baron Parker, Mr. Justice
Noel, and Sir Richard Lloyd, Baron of the Exchequer.

Leaving Lichfield, we passed along the racecourse and walked as quickly
as we could to Tamworth, where at the railway station we found our box
awaiting us with a fresh change of clothing. In a few minutes we were
comfortably rigged out for our farther journey; the box, in which my
brother packed up the stones, was then reconsigned to our home address.
I was now strong enough to carry my own luggage, which seemed to fit
very awkwardly in its former position, but I soon got over that. There
was at Tamworth a fine old church dedicated to St. Editha which we did
not visit. We saw the bronze statue erected in 1852 to the memory of the
great Sir Robert Peel, Bart., who represented Tamworth in Parliament,
and was twice Prime Minister, and who brought in the famous Bill for the
Abolition of the Corn Laws. These Laws had been in operation from the
year 1436. But times had changed: the population had rapidly grown with
the development of industries, so that being limited to home production,
corn reached such a high price that people came to see that the laws
pressed hardly upon the poorer classes, hence they were ultimately
abolished altogether. The Bill was passed in 1846, Cobden, Bright, and
Villiers leading the agitation against them, and after the Corn Laws
were abolished a period of great prosperity prevailed in England.

[Illustration: SIR ROBERT PEEL. _From the portrait by Sir Thomas

Sir Robert Peel died from the effect of an accident sustained when
riding on horseback in Hyde Park, on June 25th, 1850; he fell from his
horse, dying three days afterwards, and was buried in his mausoleum, in
the Parish Church of Drayton Bassett, a village about two miles from

It was the day of the Municipal Elections as we passed through Tamworth,
but, as only one ward was being contested, there was an almost total
absence o f the excitement usual on such occasions.

[Illustration: TAMWORTH CASTLE.]

Tamworth Castle contains some walls that were built by the Saxons in a
herringbone pattern. There was a palace on the site of the castle in the
time of Ofta, which was the chief residence of the Kings of Mercia; but
William the Conqueror gave the castle and town of Tamworth and the Manor
of Scrivelsby in Lincolnshire to his dispensor, or royal steward, Robert
of Fontenaye-le-Marmion in Normandy, whose family were the hereditary
champions of the Dukes of Normandy:

  These Lincoln lands the Conqueror gave,
    That England's glove they might convey
  To Knight renowned amongst the brave--
    The Baron bold of Fontenaye.

[Illustration: THE "LADY" BRIDGE, TAMWORTH.]

Robert Marmion, therefore, was the first "King's Champion of England,"
an honour which remained in his family until the death of the eighth
Lord, Philip Marmion, in 1291. This man was one of the leading nobles at
the Court of Henry III, and the stubborn defender of Kenilworth Castle,
acting as King's Champion at the Coronation of Edward I on August 19th,
1274. The duty of the King's Champion on the day of Coronation was to
ride completely armed on a barbed horse into Westminster Hall, and there
to challenge to combat any who should gainsay the king's title. On the
death of Philip de Marmion the Castle of Tamworth passed by marriage to
the Trevilles, Sir Alexander Treville, as owner of the castle,
officiating; as Royal Champion at the Coronation of Edward III in 1327;
but at the Coronation of Richard II, in 1377, the right of the Treville
family to act as champion was disputed by Sir John Dymoke, to whom the
Manor of Scrivelsby had descended by marriage from another relative of
Phillip Marmion. It was decided that the office went with the Manor of
Scrivelsby, and the Dymokes had acted as King's Champion ever since,
their coat of arms bearing in Latin the motto, "I fight for the king."

As we passed over what is known as the Lady Bridge spanning the River
Tame, just where it joins the River Anker at the foot of the castle, we
saw a stone built in the bridge called the Marmion Stone, and remembered
Sir Walter Scott's "Tale of Flodden Field" and his famous lines:

  "Charge, Chester, charge! On, Stanley, on!"
  Were the last words of Marmion.

But we found other references in Sir Walter's "Marmion":

  Two pursuivants, whom tabards deck,
  With silver scutcheon round their neck
  And there, with herald pomp and state,
    They hail'd Lord Marmion:
  They hail'd him Lord of Fontenaye,
  Of Lutterward, and Scrivelsbaye,
    Of Tamworth tower and town.

and in the Fifth Canto in "Marmion," King James of Scotland is made to

  "Southward I march by break of day;
  And if within Tantallon strong.
  The good Lord Marmion tarries long,
  Perchance our meeting next may fall
  At Tamworth, in his castle-hall."--
  The haughty Marmion felt the taunt,
  And answer'd, grave, the royal vaunt:
  "Much honour'd were my humble home,
  If in its halls King James should come.

         *       *       *       *       *

  And many a banner will be torn,
  And many a knight to earth be borne,
  And many a sheaf of arrows spent.
  Ere Scotland's King shall cross the Trent."

Sir Walter described Marmion as having been killed in the battle
together with one of his peasants, and that as both bodies had been
stripped and were covered with wounds, they could not distinguish one
from the other, with the result that the peasant was brought and buried
at Lichfield instead of his lord.

  Short is my tale:--Fitz-Eustace' care
  A pierced and mangled body bare
  To moated Lichfield's lofty pile;
  And there, beneath the southern aisle,
  A tomb, with Gothic sculpture fair,
  Did long Lord Marmion's image bear,
  (Now vainly for its sight you look;
  'Twas levell'd when fanatic Brook
  The fair cathedral storm'd and took;
  But, thanks to Heaven, and good Saint Chad,
  A guerdon meet the spoiler had!)
  There erst was martial Marmion found,
  His feet upon a couchant hound,
    His hands to heaven upraised:
  And all around, on scutcheon rich,
  And tablet carved, and fretted niche,
    His arms and feats were blazed.
  And yet, though all was carved so fair,
  And priest for Marmion breathed the prayer,
  The last Lord Marmion lay not there.

[Illustration: MEREVALE ABBEY.]

[Illustration: "KING DICK'S WELL."]

The Marmion stone on the bridge has five unequal sides, and at one time
formed the base for a figure of the Virgin and the Child, which stood on
the bridge. The ancient family of Basset of Drayton, a village close by,
were in some way connected with this stone, for on one side appeared the
arms of the family, on another the monogram M.R. surmounted by a crown,
and on the two others the letters I.H.C. About two miles farther on we
entered the village of Fazeley, purposely to see a house where a
relative of ours had once resided, being curious to know what kind of a
place it was. Here we were only a short distance away from Drayton
Manor, at one time the residence of the great Sir Robert Peel. Having
gratified our curiosity, we recrossed the River Tame, passing along the
great Watling Street, the Roman Road which King Alfred used as a
boundary in dividing England with the Danes, towards Atherstone in
search of "fields and pastures new," and in a few miles reached the
grounds of Merevale Abbey, now in ruins, where Robert, Earl Ferrers, was
buried, long before coffins were used for burial purposes, in "a good ox
hide." Here we reached the town of Atherstone, where the staple
industry was the manufacture of hats, the Atherstone Company of
Hat-makers being incorporated by charters from James I and Charles II.
Many of the chiefs on the West Coast of Africa have been decorated with
gorgeous hats that have been made at Atherstone. When the Romans were
making their famous street and reached the spot where Atherstone now
stands, they came, according to local tradition, to a large stone that
was in their way, and in moving it they disturbed a nest of adders,
which flew at them. The stone was named Adders' Stone, which gradually
became corrupted to Athers' Stone, and hence the name of the town. The
Corporation of the Governors embodied this incident in their coat of
arms and on the Grammar School, which was endowed in 1573: a stone
showed the adders as springing upwards, and displaying the words,
"Adderstonien Sigil Scholæ." We called at the "Old Red Lion Inn," and,
going to explore the town while our refreshments were being prepared,
found our way to a church, once part of a monastery, where the old
fourteenth-century bell was still tolled. It was in the chancel of this
church that Henry, Earl of Richmond, partook of Holy Communion on the
eve of his great victory over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth
Field, by which he became King Henry VII. He had also spent a night at
the "Three Tuns Inn" preparing his plans for the fight, which occurred
two days later, August 22nd, 1485. There was on the site of the battle a
well named "King Dick's Well," which was covered with masonry in the
form of a pyramid, with an entrance on one of its four sides, and which
covered the spring where Richard, weary of fighting, had a refreshing
drink before the final charge that ended in his death. He, however, lost
the battle, and Henry of Richmond, who won it, was crowned King of
England at Stoke Golding Church, which was practically on the
battlefield, and is one of the finest specimens of decorated
architecture in England. But what an anxious and weary time these kings
must have had! not only they, but all others. When we considered how
many of them had been overthrown, assassinated, taken prisoners in war,
executed, slain in battle, forced to abdicate, tortured to death,
committed suicide, and gone mad, we came to the conclusion that
Shakespeare was right when he wrote, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a
crown." In his _King Richard II_ he makes the King say:

  "And nothing can we call our own but death,
  And that small model of the barren earth
  Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
  For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
  And tell sad stories of the death of Kings:
  How some have been deposed, some slain in war,
  Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed,
  Some poison'd by their wives, some sleeping kill'd;
  All murder'd."

One good result of the Battle of Bosworth Field was that it ended the
"Wars of the Roses," which had been a curse to England for thirty years.


Bull-baiting was one of the favourite sports of our forefathers, the
bull being usually fastened to an iron ring in the centre of a piece of
ground, while dogs were urged on to attack it, many of them being killed
in the fight. This space of land was known as the Bull-ring, a name
often found in the centre of large towns at the present day. We knew a
village in Shropshire where the original ring was still to be seen
embedded in the cobbled pavement between the church and the village inn.
But at Atherstone the bull had been fastened to a large stone, still to
be seen, but away from the road, which had now been diverted from its
original track.

The ancient whipping-post, along with the stocks, which had
accommodation for three persons, had found their last resting-place
inside the old market-hall. They must have been almost constantly
occupied and used in the good old times, as Atherstone was not only on
the great Watling Street, but it had a unique position on the other
roads of the country, as an old milestone near our hotel, where we found
our refreshments waiting our arrival, informed us that we were a hundred
miles from London, a hundred miles from Liverpool, and a hundred miles
from Lincoln, so that Atherstone could fairly claim to be one of the
central towns in England, though the distance to Lincoln had been


We continued walking along the Watling Street for a short distance,
until we reached the end of the town, and then we forked on to the right
towards Nuncaton; but in a very short distance we came to the village of
Mancetter, where there was a fine old church, apparently the Parish
Church of Atherstone. When the Romans were here they protected their
"Street" by means of forts, and one in a small chain of these was at
Mancetter, the Manduesdum of the Romans, their camp appearing in the
form of a square mound, with the "Street" passing through the centre.
Inside the church were quite a number of very old books, in one of which
we were shown a wood-cut representing the burning of Robert Glover and
Cornelius Bongley at Coventry in 1555. Glover was a gentleman who lived
at the Manor House here, and was one of the Mancetter Martyrs, the other
being Mrs. Lewis, a tenant of his who lived at the Manor House Farm. She
was burnt in 1557, two years later. A large tablet was placed in the
church to their memories, both of them having suffered for their
adherence to the Protestant Faith. The east-end window was a curiosity,
for it contained a large quantity of thirteenth-century stained glass
which had been brought here from Merevale Abbey. It was probably damaged
both there and in transit, as it seemed to have a somewhat rough
appearance; the verger informed us, when pointing out several defects
in the figures, that a local glazier had been employed to erect it who
did not understand such work, and though he had no doubt done his best,
he had made some awkward mistakes. Why David's sword appeared behind his
back the verger could not explain, so my brother suggested that either
the head or the body had been turned the wrong way about.


There were five bells in the church tower, the largest of which was, of
course, the tenor bell, weighing thirty-three hundredweight, and the
words that had been cast on it set us a-thinking:

  My soaring sound does warning give
  That a man on earth not only lives.

There were usually some strange records in these country churchyards,
and we generally found them in the older portions of the burial-grounds;
but we had very little time to look for them as the night was coming on,
so we secured the services of the verger, who pointed out in the new
part of the churchyard a stone recording the history of Charles Richard
Potter in the following words:

  Born--May 11, 1788.
  Married--May 11, 1812.
  Died--May 11, 1858.

So the eleventh day of May was a lucky or an unlucky day for Mr.
Potter--probably both; but one strange feature which we only thought of
afterwards was that he had lived exactly the allotted span of three
score years and ten. In the old part of the yard were the following

  The Earth's a City
  Full of crooked streets
  Death is ye market-place
  Where all must meet
  If life was merchandise
  That man could buy
  The rich would always live
  Ye poor must die.

In bygone times it was no unusual thing to find dead bodies on the road,
or oftener a short distance from it, where the owners had laid
themselves down to die; we ourselves remembered, in a lonely place, only
a field's breadth from the coach road to London, a pit at the side of
which years ago the corpse of a soldier had been found in the bushes.
Here, apparently, there had been a similar case, with the exception that
the man had been found by the side of the Watling Street instead of the
fields adjoining. No one in the district knew who the stranger was, but
as sufficient money had been found on him to pay the cost of the burial,
his corpse was placed in Mancetter Churchyard, and as his name was
unknown, some mysterious initials, of which no one now living knew the
meaning, appeared on the headstone.

  Here lieth interr'd the Body of

            H. I. M.

  What Ere we was or am
    it matters not
  to whom related,
  or by whom begot,
  We was, but am not.
  Ask no more of me
  'Tis all we are
  And all that you must be.

We now hurried on, but as every finger-post had been painted white to
receive the new letters, the old words beneath the paint were quite
illegible, and, the road being lonely, of course we got lost, so,
instead of arriving at Nuneaton, we found ourselves again at the Watling
Street, at a higher point than that where we had left it when leaving
Atherstone. Nearly opposite the lane end from which we now emerged there
was a public-house, set back from the road, where a sign, suspended from
a pole, swung alongside the Watling Street to attract the attention of
travellers to the inn, and here we called to inquire our way to
Nuneaton. The name of the house was the "Royal Red Gate Inn," the pole
we had seen on the Watling Street holding a wooden gate painted red. We
asked why the red gate was a royal one, and the landlady said it was
because Queen Adelaide once called there, but who Queen Adelaide was,
and when she called there, she did not know. When asked what she called
for, she replied, "I don't know, unless it was for a drink!" As we did
not know who Queen Adelaide was ourselves, we had to wait until we
reached Nuneaton, where we were informed that she was the wife of
William IV, and that in her retirement she lived at Sudbury Hall in
Derbyshire, so this would be on her coach road to and from London. The
lane at one end of the Red Gate went to Fenney Drayton, where George Fox
the Quaker was born, about whom we had heard farther north; but we had
to push on, and finally did reach Nuneaton for the night.

_(Distance walked twenty-seven miles_.)

_Thursday, November 2nd._

In our early days we used to be told there was only one man in
Manchester, which fact was true if we looked at the name; in the same
way we were told there was but one nun in Nuneaton, but the ruins of the
nunnery suggested that there must have been quite a number there in the
past ages. We had seen many monasteries in our travels, but only one
nunnery, and that was at York; so convent life did not seem to have been
very popular in the North country, the chorus of a young lady's song of
the period perhaps furnishing the reason why:

[Illustration: "GEORGE ELLIOT."]

  Then I won't be a Nun,
  And I shan't be a Nun;
  I'm so fond of pleasure
  That I _cannot_ be a Nun.

The nuns had of course disappeared and long since been forgotten, but
other women had risen to take their places in the minds and memories of
the people of Nuneaton, foremost amongst whom was Mary Ann Evans, who
was born about the year 1820 at the South Farm, Arbury, whither her
father, belonging to the Newdegate family, had removed from Derbyshire
to take charge of some property in Warwickshire. "George Eliot" has been
described as "the greatest woman writer in English literature," and as
many of her novels related mainly to persons and places between Nuneaton
and Coventry, that district had been named by the Nuneaton people "The
Country of George Eliot." _Scenes of Clerical Life_ was published in
1858, and _The Mill on the Floss_ in 1860, and although the characters
and places are more difficult to locate than those in _Adam Bede_, the
"Bull Hotel" at Nuneaton has been identified as the "Red Lion" in her
novel, where Mr. Dempster, over his third glass of brandy and water,
would overwhelm a disputant who had beaten him in argument, with some
such tirade as: "I don't care a straw, sir, either for you or your
encyclopædia; a farrago of false information picked up in a cargo of
waste paper. Will you tell me, sir, that I don't know the origin of
Presbyterianism? I, sir, a man known through the county; while you, sir,
are ignored by the very fleas that infest the miserable alley in which
you were bred!"


We left the "Newdegate Arms" at Nuneaton early in the morning, on our
way to Lutterworth, our next object of interest, and passed by the
village of Hartshill, where Michael Drayton was born in 1563. He was a
lyric poet of considerable fame and a friend of Shakespeare. His
greatest work, _Polyolbion_, a poetic description of different parts of
England, was published in 1613. He became Poet Laureate, and at his
death, in 1631, was buried in Westminster Abbey.

We again went astray owing to the finger-posts being without names, but
at length reached the Watling Street at cross-roads, where there was a
very old public-house called "The Three Pots," and here we turned to the
right along the Street. The road was very lonely, for there were very
few houses on the Street itself, the villages being a mile or two away
on either side, but we had not gone very far before we met a Church of
England clergyman, who told us he had just returned from India, and that
he would much have liked to form one of our company in the journey we
were taking. He was sorry he had not met us lower down the road so that
he could have detained us a short time to listen to some of our tales of
adventures, and he would have given us a glass of beer and some bread
and cheese; which he altered to milk and eggs when we told him we did
not drink beer. We explained to him that we should never be able to
complete our journey if we joined the company of the beer-drinkers at
the many taverns we passed, and lingered at, on our way. Our experience
was that we were expected to tell tales, and the farther we travelled
the more we should have had to tell. He quite saw the force of our
argument, and then he said: "I presume you are not married," and when we
told him we were not, he said, "I thought not, as you would never have
been allowed to engage in so long a journey," and added, "I am just
about to be married myself." We told him we were sorry he was about to
lose his liberty, and, wishing him much happiness, and again thanking
him for his proffered hospitality, we resumed our march.


In passing through country villages we often met the local clergyman or
doctor, of whom we invariably inquired concerning any objects of
interest to be seen. It was marvellous how many of them expressed a wish
to imitate our example. This, however, was only on fine days, for we
seldom met those gentlemen when the weather was bad, and we wondered
whether, if we had, they would still have expressed a wish to form one
of our company! Fine weather prevailed that day, and we soon arrived at
the High Cross which marked the Roman centre of England. It was at this
point that their most celebrated roads, the Fosse Way and the Watling
Street, crossed each other, running, we supposed, from north-east to
south-west and from north-west to south-east, to the extreme ends of the
kingdom in each direction. The Cross in the time of the Romans was made
of wood, being replaced or renewed in successive generations, until in
the middle of the seventeenth century it was utilised as a finger-post,
consisting of a long pole with four arms, to direct the way from "London
to West Chester," and from "York to Bristol." In 1712 an ornamental
stone cross was erected on the same spot by a number of gentlemen headed
by Basil, the fourth Earl of Denbigh, who had large estates in that
neighbourhood. The tableland on which it stood was 440 feet above the
sea-level, rivers running from it in every direction, and such was the
extent of the country visible from the Cross that with the aid of a
telescope fifty-six churches could be seen. This elevated position might
account for the Cross being struck by lightning in 1791 and partially
destroyed, but the inscriptions on the base, which had been left
standing, were still visible, although partially obscured by the
numerous names and initials of vandals, who have succeeded in closing
many interesting places to more civilised and sensible people. We could
perhaps go further and describe them as fools, for what will it matter
to posterity what their initials or names are; they only rouse the ire
of those who follow them and a feeling of disappointment that they had
not caught the offenders in their act of wanton mischief and been able
to administer some corporal punishment or other.

Years ago the benevolent owner of a fine estate situated near a town
decided to open his beautiful grounds to his poorer neighbours, but
before doing so he erected at the entrance gate two large wooden
tablets resembling the two tablets of the Ten Commandments formerly
fixed in churches but now rapidly disappearing, and on these he caused
his conditions and desires to be painted in poetry, four verses on each
tablet. They represent what most landowners desire but few obtain:


  No chief to enter at this gate
  To wander through this fine estate;
  The owner of this ancient Hall
  A kindly welcome bids to all:
  Yet hopes that no one will neglect
  The following wishes to respect.


  When in the meadows grown for hay.
  Keep to the Drive or right of way.
  Fright not the cattle on the lea
  Nor damage flower nor shrub nor tree;
  And let no vestiges be found
  Of paper, scattered o'er the ground.


  One more request will sure suffice:
  From carving any rude device
  Refrain! and oh let no one see
  Your name on post, or bridge or tree.
  Such were the act of fool, whose name
  We fear can ne'er descend to fame.


  Your olive-branches with you take,
  And let them here their pastime make.
  These scenes will ever seem more fair
  When children's voices fill the air:
  Or bring, as comrade in your stroll,
  Your Dog, if under due control.


  If, to the gentle art inclined,
  To throw a fly you have a mind.
  Send in your card and state your wish
  To be allowed to catch a fish:
  Or if the woodland to explore,
  Pray seek permission at the door.


  These boons are granted not quite free,
  Y'et for a very moderate fee;
  Nor fear but what it is ordained
  That all the money thus obtained
  Shall to the fund be handed down
  For aid to sick in yonder Town.


  The owner of this blest domain
  Himself to sojourn here is fain;
  And if by land or sea he roam
  Yet loveth best his native home,
  Which, for two centuries or near,
  His ancestors have held so dear.


  Admire well the graceful art
  Of Nature's hand in every part:
  Full well he knoweth how to prize
  This fair Terrestrial Paradise;
  And 'tis his wish sincere and true
  That others should enjoy it too.

But to return to the High Cross and the Watling Street. The description
on the Cross was in Latin, of which the following is a translation:

   The noblemen and gentry, ornaments of the counties of Warwickshire
   and Leicestershire at the instance of the Right Honourable Basil Earl
   of Denbigh, have caused this pillar to be erected in grateful as well
   as perpetual remembrance of peace at last restored by her Majesty
   Queen Anne. If, Traveller, you search for the footsteps of the
   ancient Romans you may here behold them. For here their most
   celebrated ways crossing one another extend to the utmost boundaries
   of Britain. Here the Bennones kept their quarters and at the distance
   of one mile from here Claudius, a certain commander of a Cohort,
   seems to have had a camp towards the Street, and towards the Fosse a

We were pleased to see that the remains of the Cross had been enclosed
in the garden of a house belonging to the Earl of Denbigh, a descendant
of the Earl who had been instrumental in building it, and it was now
comparatively safe from further defacement.

The Romans built stations along their roads, and near the High Cross
stood their military station Bennones, on the side of which many Roman
remains, including a Roman urn, had been discovered. It was of great
importance to them that any hostile movement amongst the turbulent
Britons should be reported immediately, so young men who were quick
runners were employed to convey intelligence from one station to
another; but this system was improved upon later by building on the side
of the road, in as prominent a position as possible, at intervals of
five or six miles, a house where forty horses were stabled so that news
or soldiers could, if required, be carried by relays of horses a
distance of a hundred miles along the road in the course of a single
day. We were now only about twelve miles from Leicester, and we had to
walk about six miles in that county in order to reach Lutterworth,
famous throughout England as the parish where the great Reformer John
Wiclif spent the last nineteen years of his life as rector. We passed
through a fine grazing and fox-hunting country on our way, and found
Lutterworth a rather pleasantly situated little town. Our first visit
was naturally to the church, and as we walked along the quiet street
leading up to it we saw a woman standing at her cottage door, to whom
we spoke concerning the great divine, asking incidentally how long it
was since he was rector there. She said she did not know exactly, but as
far as she could remember she thought it was about 146 years since he
died. On arriving at the church we found that it was about 487 years
since Wiclif departed, and we thought it strange that a lady who lived
almost under the shadow of the church steeple could have been so
ill-informed. The church had recently been restored, and a painting of
the Day of Doom, or Judgment, had been discovered over the arch of the
chancel under the whitewash or plaster, which we were told Oliver
Cromwell had ordered to be put on. At the top of this picture our
Saviour was represented as sitting on a rainbow with two angels on each
side, two of whom were blowing trumpets, and on the earth, which
appeared far down below, the graves were opening, and all sorts of
strange people, from the king down to the humblest peasant, were coming
out of their tombs, while the fire and smoke from others proclaimed the
doom of their occupants, and skulls and bones lay scattered about in all

[Illustration: JOHN WICLIF. _From the portrait in Lutterworth Church_]

It was not a very pleasant picture to look upon, so we adjourned to the
vestry, where we were shown a vestment worn by Wiclif in which some
holes had been cut either with knives or scissors. On inquiry we were
informed that the pieces cut out had been "taken away by visitors,"
which made us wonder why the vestment had not been taken better care of.
We were shown an old pulpit, and the chair in which Wiclif fell when he
was attacked by paralysis, and in which he was carried out of church to
die three days afterwards. We could not describe his life and work
better than by the inscription on the mural monument subscribed for in

   Sacred to the Memory of John Wiclif the earliest Champion of
   Ecclesiastical Reformation in England. He was born in Yorkshire in
   the year 1324, and in the year 1375 he was presented to the Rectory
   of Lutterworth. At Oxford he acquired not only the renown of a
   consummate Schoolman, but the far more glorious title of the
   Evangelical Doctor. His whole life was one perpetual struggle against
   the corruptions and encroachments of the Papal Court and the
   impostures of its devoted auxiliaries, the Mendicant Fraternities.
   His labours in the cause of Scriptural truths were crowned by one
   immortal achievement, his Translation of the Bible into the English
   tongue. This mighty work drew on him, indeed, the bitter hatred of
   all who were making merchandise of the popular credulity and
   ignorance, but he found abundant reward in the blessing of his
   countrymen of every rank and age, to whom he unfolded the words of
   Eternal Light. His mortal remains were interred near this spot, but
   they were not allowed to rest in peace. After a lapse of many years
   his bones were dragged from the grave and consigned to the flames;
   and his ashes were cast in the waters of the adjoining stream.

That he was a man of distinction may be taken for granted, as he was
master of that famous college at Oxford, Balliol College, where his
picture hangs in the dining-hall to-day.

When in Lichfield Cathedral, where we saw Chantrey's monument of Bishop
Ryder, we had omitted to ask for particulars about him, but here we were
told that he was appointed Rector of Lutterworth in 1801, and had been a
benefactor to the town. He was made Canon of Windsor in 1808, Dean of
Wells 1812, Bishop of Gloucester 1815, and finally became Bishop of
Lichfield and Coventry. He died at Hastings in 1836, and as Chantrey
himself died in 1841, his monument of Bishop Ryder, that had impressed
us so deeply, must have been one of his latest and best productions.


Lutterworth was the property of William the Conqueror in 1086, and it
was King Edward III who presented the living to Wiclif, who was not only
persecuted by the Pope, but also by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the
Bishop of London. On two occasions he had to appear before the Papal
Commission, and if he had not been the personal friend of John o' Gaunt,
Duke of Lancaster, the fourth son of the King Edward who had given him
the living, and probably the most powerful man in England next to the
king, he would inevitably have suffered martyrdom. He was equally
fortunate in the following reign, as John o' Gaunt was uncle to Richard
II, the reigning monarch, under whose protection he was spared to finish
his great work and to translate the Holy Bible so that it could be read
in the English language.

We went to see the bridge which crossed the small stream known as the
River Swift, for it was there that Wiclif's bones were burned and the
ashes thrown into the stream. The historian related that they did not
remain there, for the waters of the Swift conveyed them to the River
Avon, the River Avon to the River Severn, the Severn to the narrow seas,
and thence into the wide ocean, thus becoming emblematic of Wiclif's
doctrines, which in later years spread over the wide, wide world.

A well-known writer once humorously observed that the existence of a
gallows in any country was one of the signs of civilisation, but
although we did not see or hear of any gallows at Lutterworth, there
were other articles, named in the old books of the constables, which
might have had an equally civilising influence, especially if they had
been used as extensively as the stocks and whipping-post as recorded in
a list of vagrants who had been taken up and whipped by Constables
Cattell and Pope, from October 15th, 1657, to September 30th, 1658. The
records of the amounts paid for repairs to the various instruments of
torture, which included a lock-up cage for prisoners and a cuck, or
ducking-stool, in which the constables ducked scolding wives and other
women in a deep hole near the river bridge, led us to conclude that they
must have been extensively used.

A curious custom prevailed in Lutterworth in olden times. There were two
mills on the River Swift, and the people were compelled to grind all
their malt at one mill and all their corn at another, and to bake all
their bread in one oven; in those "days of bondage" a person durst not
buy a pound of flour from any other miller. These privileges were abused
by the millers to make high charges, and it was on record that a person
who ventured to bake a cake in his own oven was summoned, but discharged
on his begging pardon and paying expenses. This unsatisfactory state of
things continued until the year 1758, when a rebellion arose headed by a
local patriot named Bickley. This townsman roused his fellow-citizens to
resist, and built a malthouse of his own, his example being soon
followed by others, who defied the owner of the privileged mill, and
entered into a solemn bond to defend any action that might be brought
against them. The contest was one of the most interesting and remarkable
ever known in the district, and was decided at the Leicester Assizes in
July 1758, the verdict being in favour of the parishioners, with costs
to the amount of £300. One of the greatest curiosities to be seen in
Lutterworth was an old clock which was there in 1798, and still remained
in good working order; the description of it reads as follows:

   The case is of mahogany; and the face is oval, being nineteen inches
   by fifteen inches. The upper part exhibits a band of music,
   consisting of two violins, a violoncello, a German flute, three vocal
   performers, and a boy and girl; the lower part has the hour and
   minutes indicated by neat gilt hands; above the centre is a moment
   hand, which shows the true dead beat. On the right is a hand
   pointing to--chimes silent--all dormant--quarters silent--all active;
   to signify that the clock will perform as those words imply. On the
   left is a hand that points to the days of the week, and goes round in
   the course of seven days, and shifts the barrel to a fresh time at
   noon and midnight. The clock strikes the hour, the four quarters, and
   plays a tune three times over every three hours, either on the bells
   alone, the lyricord, or on both together. Three figures beat exact
   time to the music, and three seem to play on their instruments; and
   the boy and the girl both dance through the whole if permitted. But
   still, by a touch all are dormant, and by another touch all are in
   action again. The lyricord will play either low or loud. The machine
   goes eight days, either as a watch clock, quarter clock,
   quarter-chime-clock or as a quarter chime lyrical clock. It will go
   with any or all parts in action, or with any or all parts dormant. It
   has four chime barrels, and plays sixty-five tunes, many of them in
   two or three parts, on nineteen musical bells, and on the like number
   of double musical wires. A child may do everything necessary to show
   its varied and complicated action.


The maker was Mr. Deacon, a Baptist minister of Barton-in-the-Beans, who
began life as a farm boy when he was eleven years of age. A gentleman
happened to call on the farmer one evening and had some nuts given to
him, and as he could not crack them, one of the other servants said to
the boy, "Sam, bring the wooden nut-crackers you made!" When the boy
brought them, the visitor, after cracking a nut, examined them carefully
for some time, and was so struck with the ingenuity displayed in their
construction that he took the lad and apprenticed him to a clock-maker
in Leicester, where he became one of the cleverest workmen in the
kingdom, the most elaborate and curious piece of mechanism he made being
this wonderful clock.

We returned from Lutterworth by a different route, for we were now off
to see Peeping Tom at Coventry; but our experiments on the roads were
not altogether satisfactory, for we got lost in some by-roads where
there was no one to inquire from, and eventually reached the snug little
village of Monks Kirby. Here, according to the name of the village, we
should at one time have found a Danish settlement, and at another a
church belonging to the monks; but on this occasion we found a church
and a comfortable-looking inn opposite to it, where we called for an
early tea. This was quickly served and disposed of, and shortly
afterwards we reached, coming from the direction of the High Cross, the
Fosse, or Foss-way, one of the four great roads made by the Romans in
England, so named by them because there was a fosse, or ditch, on each
side of it. We walked along its narrow and straight surface until we
came to a road which crossed it, and here, about halfway between Rugby
and Coventry, we turned to the right, leaving the "fosse" to continue
its course across Dunsmore Heath, where in ancient times Guy, the famous
Earl of Warwick, slew the terrible Dun Cow of Dunsmore, "a monstrous
wyld and cruell beast." The village of Brinklow was now before us,
presenting a strange appearance as we walked towards it from the brook
below, for at the entrance stood a lofty mound formerly a Roman camp,
while behind it was a British tumulus. In the Civil War there was much
fighting all along the road from here to Coventry, and Cromwell's
soldiers had not left us much to look at in the church, as the windows
had all been "blown out" at that time, leaving only some small pieces of
stained glass. The church, however, was quite a curiosity, for it sloped
with the hill, and was many feet lower at the Tower end than at the
east. We walked along a rather steep inclined plane until we came to a
flight of four steps which landed us on the chancel floor, where another
inclined plane brought us up to the foot of the two steps leading to the
altar; we were told that there was only one other church built in such a
form "in all England." We were now well within the borders of the county
of Warwickshire, which, with the other two Midland Counties of
Worcestershire and Staffordshire, formerly contained more leading Roman
Catholic families than any other part of England, so we were not
surprised when we heard that we were passing through a country that had
been associated with the Gunpowder Plot, and that one incident connected
with it had occurred at Combe Abbey, which we would pass a mile or two
farther on our way. The originator of the Gunpowder Plot, Catesby, was
intimately connected with many of the leading families in these
counties, and was lineally descended from the Catesby of King Richard
III's time, whose fame had been handed down in the old rhyme:

  The Rat, the Cat, and Lovel the Dog
  Rule all England under the Hog.

the rat meaning Ratcliffe, the cat Catesby, and the hog King Richard,
whose cognisance was a boar. Robert Catesby, the descendant of the
"cat," was said to be one of the greatest bigots that ever lived; he was
the friend of Garnet, the Jesuit, and had been concerned in many plots
against Queen Elizabeth; when that queen died and King James, the son of
Mary Queen of Scots, ascended the throne, their expectations rose high,
for his mother had suffered so much from Queen Elizabeth that they
looked upon her as a martyr, and were sure that their form of religion
would now be restored. But great was their chagrin when they found that
James, probably owing to his early education under John Knox in
Scotland, was more ready to put the laws in force against the Papists
than to give them greater toleration.


Catesby and his friends resolved to try to depose James and to place the
Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I, afterwards the beautiful Queen
of Bohemia, whom her royal parents had placed under the care of the Earl
of Harrington, then the owner of Combe Abbey, about five miles from
Coventry, on the throne in his stead. The conspirators assembled at
Dunchurch, near Rugby, but held their meetings about six miles away, in
a room over the entrance to the old Manor House at Ashby St. Ledgers,
the home of Catesby, where it was proposed to settle matters by blowing
up the Houses of Parliament. These were to be opened on November 5th,
1605, when the King, Queen, and Prince of Wales, with the Lords and
Commons, would all be assembled. In those days the vaults, or cellars,
of the Parliament House were let to different merchants for the storage
of goods, and one of these immediately under the House of Lords was
engaged and filled with some innocent-looking barrels, in reality
containing gunpowder, which were covered by faggots of brushwood. All
preparations were now completed except to appoint one of their number to
apply the torch, an operation which would probably involve certain
death. In the meantime Catesby had become acquainted with Guy Fawkes, a
member of an old Yorkshire family, and almost as bigoted a Papist as
himself, who had joined the conspirators at Dunchurch, the house where
he lodged being still known as Guy Fawkes' House, and when the question
came up for decision, he at once volunteered his services, as he was a
soldier and a brave man. They were accepted, and Sir Everard Digby was
to stay at Dunchurch in order to be ready to seize the young Princess
Elizabeth while the others went to London. It so happened that one of
the conspirators had a friend, Lord Monteagle, whom he knew would be
sure to attend the opening of Parliament, and as he did not want him to
be killed he caused an anonymous letter to be written warning him not to
attend the opening of Parliament, "for though there be no appearance of
any stir, yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament,
and yet shall not see who hurts them." The letter was delivered to
Monteagle by a man in a long coat, who laid it on his table and
disappeared immediately. It was afterwards handed to King James, who,
after reading the last paragraph, repeated it aloud, "and yet they shall
not see who hurts them," and said to Cecil, "This smells gunpowder!"
Their suspicions were aroused, but they waited until midnight on
November 4th, and then sent soldiers well armed to search the vaults,
where they found a man with a long sword amongst the barrels. He fought
savagely, but was soon overpowered. When the conspirators found that
their plot had been discovered, and that Guy Fawkes was in custody,
instead of escaping to France as they might easily have done, they
hastened down to Dunchurch, "as if struck by infatuation," in the wild
hope of capturing the young Princess and raising a civil war in her
name; but by the time they reached Combe Abbey, the Earl of Harrington
had removed Elizabeth to Coventry, which at that time was one of the
most strongly fortified places in England. They now realised that their
game was up, and the gang dispersed to hide themselves; but when the
dreadful nature of the plot became known, it created such a profound
sensation of horror throughout the country, that every one joined in the
search for the conspirators, who in the end were all captured and
executed. Great rejoicings were held, bonfires lit, bells rung, and guns
fired in almost every village, and thereby the people were taught to--

  Remember, remember, the Fifth of November
  The Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot.

These celebrations have been continued on each fifth of November for
centuries, November 5th becoming known as "Bonfire Day." And in our Book
of Common Prayer there was a special service for the day which was only
removed in the time of Queen Victoria. Guy Fawkes was executed on
February 6th, 1606.

Fortunately for the Protestants the reign of the queen who was known by
them as the "Bloody Queen Mary" was of short duration, for they were
then subjected to very great cruelties; on the other hand there was no
doubt that during the much longer reign of Queen Elizabeth that
followed, the Papists also suffered greatly; still under James they were
now bound to suffer more in every way, short of death, for the great
mass of their fellow-countrymen had turned against them owing to the
murderous character of the Gunpowder Plot, so--

  On Bonfire Day, as Britons should,
  They heaped up sticks, and turf, and wood;
  And lighted Bonfires bright and hot,
  In memory of the Popish Plot!

We were ourselves greatly interested in November 5th, which was now due
to arrive in three days' time; not because some of our ancestors had
been adherents to the Roman Catholic Faith, nor because of the
massacres, for in that respect we thought one side was quite as bad as
the other; but because it happened to be my birthday, and some of our
earliest and happiest associations were connected with that day. I could
remember the time when a candle was placed in every available
window-pane at home on November 5th, and when I saw the glare of the big
bonfire outside and the pin-wheels, the rip-raps, and small fireworks,
and heard the church bells ringing merrily, and the sound of the guns
firing, I naturally thought as a child that all these tokens of
rejoicing were there because it was my birthday. Then the children from
the village came! first one small group and then another; these were the
"Soulers," or "Soul-Cakers," who ought to have appeared, according to
history, on All Souls' Day; they were generally satisfied with apples or
pears, or with coppers. The most mysterious visitor was the horse's
head, or hobby horse, which came without its body or legs, but could
make a noise just like the neighing of a horse, and could also open its
mouth so wide that a glass filled with beer could pass down its throat.
To complete the illusion we could hear its jaws, which were filled with
very large teeth, close together with a crack, and although the glass
was returned in some way or other, we never saw the beer again. The
horse's head was accompanied by a lot of men known as Mummers, dressed
in all sorts of queer clothes, who acted a short play, but the only
words I could remember were, "King George, King George, thou hast killed
my only son!" and at that point one of the actors fell on the grass as
if he were dead. But these were reveries of the past; when the spell
broke I found myself walking with my brother in the dark alongside the
grounds of Combe Abbey, the only lights we could see being some in the
park, which might have been those from the abbey itself. We were
expecting to come upon a private menagerie which was supposed to exist
somewhere in the park, and we had prepared ourselves for the roars of
the lions seeking their prey as they heard our footsteps on the road, or
for the horrid groans of other wild animals; but beyond a few minor
noises, which we could not recognise, all was quiet, and passing the
small village of Binley we soon arrived at Coventry, where we stayed for
the night at an ancient hostelry near the centre of the town.

St. George, the Patron Saint of England, who lived in the early part of
the fourth century, and was reckoned among the seven champions of
Christendom, was said to have been born in Coventry. In olden times a
chapel, named after him, existed here, in which King Edward IV, when he
kept St. George's Feast on St. George's Day, April 23rd, 1474, attended
service. Coventry was a much older town than we expected to find it,
and, like Lichfield, it was known as the city of the three spires; but
here they were on three different churches. We had many arguments on our
journey, both between ourselves and with others, as to why churches
should have towers in some places and spires in others. One gentleman
who had travelled extensively through Britain observed that towers were
more numerous along the sea coasts and on the borders of Wales and
Scotland, while spires were most in evidence in the low Midland plains
where trees abounded. In these districts it was important to have part
of the church standing out from the foliage, while on a hill or a bare
cliff a short tower was all that was needed. He actually knew more than
one case where the squires in recent times had a short spire placed on
the top of the church tower, like the extinguisher of an old
candlestick, because it was said they needed guide-posts by which to
find their way home from hunting!


In olden times, ere the enemy could approach the village, the cattle
were able to be driven in the church, while the men kept an easy
look-out from the tower, and the loopholes in it served as places where
arrows could be shot from safe cover. In some districts we passed
through we could easily distinguish the position of the villages by the
spires rising above the foliage, and very pretty they appeared, and at
times a rivalry seemed to have existed which should possess the loftiest
or most highly decorated spire, some of them being of exceptional
beauty. The parish churches were almost invariably placed on the highest
point in the villages, so that before there were any proper roads the
parishioners could find their way to church so long as they could see
the tower or spire, and to that position at the present day, it is
interesting to note, all roads still converge.

We had no idea that the story of Lady Godiva and Peeping Tom was so
ancient, but we found it dated back to the time of Leofric, Earl of
Mercia, who in 1043 founded an abbey here which was endowed by his wife,
the Lady Godiva. The earl, the owner of Coventry, levied very hard taxes
on the inhabitants, and treated their petitions for relief with scorn.
Lady Godiva, on the contrary, had moved amongst the people, and knew the
great privations they had suffered through having to pay these heavy
taxes, and had often pleaded with her husband on their behalf. At last
he promised her that he would repeal the taxes if she would ride naked
through the town, probably thinking his wife would not undertake such a
task. But she had seen so much suffering amongst the poor people that
she decided to go through the ordeal for their sakes, and the day was
fixed, when she would ride through the town. Orders were given by the
people that everybody should darken their windows and retire to the back
part of their houses until Lady Godiva had passed. All obeyed except one
man, "Tom the Tailor," afterwards nicknamed "Peeping Tom," who, as the
lady rode by on her palfrey, enveloped in her long tresses of hair,
which fell round her as a garment, looked down on her from his window,
and of him the historian related that "his eyes chopped out of his head
even as he looked." The ride ended, the taxes were repealed, and ever
afterwards the good Lady Godiva was enshrined in the hearts of the
people of Coventry. Many years later a beautiful stained-glass window
was placed in the Parish Church to commemorate this famous event, and
Leofric was portrayed thereon as presenting Godiva with a charter
bearing the words:

  I Luriche for love of thee
  Doe make Coventry toll free.

[Illustration: THOMAS PARR =_The Olde, Old, very Olde Man or Thomas Par,
the Sonne of John Parr of Winnington in the Parish of Alberbury. In the
County of Shropshire who was Borne in 1483 in The Raigne of King Edward
the 4th and is now living in The Strand, being aged 152 yeares and odd
Monethes 1635 He dyed November the 15th And is now buryed in Westminster

This story Tennyson has immortalised, and its memory is still
perpetuated in the pageants which are held from time to time in the
city. Coventry was described in 1642 by Jeremiah Wharton, an officer
under the Earl of Essex in the Parliamentary Army, as "a City environed
with a wall, co-equal with, if not exceeding, that of London, for
breadth and height, and with gates and battlements, and magnificent
churches and stately streets, and abundant fountains of water,
altogether a place very sweetly situated, and where there was no lack of
venison." The walls of Coventry, begun in the year 1355, were very
formidable, being six yards high and three yards thick, and having
thirty-two towers and twelve principal gates. They defied both Edward IV
and Charles I when with their armies they appeared before them and
demanded admission, but they were demolished after the Civil War by
order of Charles II, because the people of Coventry had refused
admission to his father, King Charles I. Coventry possessed a greater
number of archives than almost any other town in England, covering eight
centuries and numbering over eleven thousand. My brother was delighted
to find that one of them related to a very old man named Thomas Parr,
recording the fact that he passed through the town on his way to London
in 1635, at the age of 152 years. It reminded him of a family medicine
known as Old Parr's Pills, which at one time was highly prized; they had
been used by our grandfather, who died in his ninety-seventh year, and
he often wondered whether his longevity was in any way due to those
pills. They were supposed to have been made from the same kind of herbs
as old Parr was known to have used in his efforts to keep himself alive,
and during supper my brother talked about nothing else but that old man;
if he was an authority on anything, it was certainly on old Thomas Parr.
This man was born on the Montgomery border of Shropshire, where a tablet
to his memory in Great Wollaston Church bore the following inscription:

  The old, old, very old man


  was born at Wynn in the Township of Winnington
  within the Chapelry of Great Wollaston, and Parish of
  Alberbury, in the County of Salop, in the year of our
  Lord 1483. He lived in the reigns of 10 Kings and
  Queens of England, King Edward IV. and V. Richard III.
  Henry VII. VIII. Edward VI. Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth.
  King James I. King Charles I.
  He died the thirteenth and was buried at
  Westminster Abbey on the fifteenth November 1635
  Age 152 years and 9 months.

John Taylor, known as the Water Poet because he was a Thames waterman,
who was born in 1580, and died in 1656, was a contemporary of Parr, and
wrote a book in 1635, the same year that old Parr died, entitled _The
Olde, Olde, very Olde Man_, in which he described Thomas Parr as an
early riser, sober, and industrious:

  Though old age his face with wrinkles fill.
  He hath been handsome and is comely still;
  Well-faced, and though his Beard not oft corrected
  Yet neate it grows, not like a Beard neglected.

Earl Arundel told King Charles I about this very old man, and he
expressed a desire to see him; so the earl arranged to have him carried
to London. When the men reached old Parr's cottage, which is still
standing, they found an old man sitting under a tree, apparently quite
done. Feeling sure that he was the man they wanted, they roused him up,
and one said, "We have come for you to take you to the King!" The old
man looked up at the person who spoke to him, and replied, "Hey, mon!
it's not me ye want! it's me feyther!" "Your father!" they said, in
astonishment; "where is he?" "Oh, he's cuttin' th' hedges!" So they went
as directed, and found a still older man cutting away at a hedge in the
small field adjoining the cottage, and him they took, together with his
daughter, for whom the earl had provided a horse. Musicians also went
with him, and it was supposed that he was exhibited at the different
towns they called at on their way to London, and such was the crush to
see him in Coventry that the old man narrowly escaped being killed. When
he was taken into the presence of King Charles, the king said, "Well,
Parr, you've lived a long time," and Parr answered, "Yes I have, your
Majesty." "What do you consider the principal event in your long life?"
asked the king, to which Parr replied that he hardly knew, but mentioned
some offence which he had committed when he was a hundred years old, and
for which he had to do penance in Alberbury Church, with the young woman
sitting beside him barefooted, and dressed in white clothing! Whereupon
King Charles said, "Oh, fie, fie, Parr, telling us of your faults and
not your virtues!"

[Illustration: OLD PARR'S COTTAGE.]

Parr was fêted in London to such an extent that he died of surfeit, and
was buried in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, where his
tombstone still exists, and is inscribed:

  Thomas Parr of Y'E County of
  Sallop Borne in A'P 1483. He lived
  in Y'E Reignes of Ten Princes VIZ:--
  K. Edw. 4. K. Edw. 5. K. Rich. 3.
  K. Hen. 7. K. Hen. 8. K. Edw. 6.
  Q. Ma. Q. Eliz. K. Ja. & K. Charles
  Aged 152 Years
  & was buried Here
  Novemb. 15. 1635.

His portrait was painted by Van Dyck, who at that time was the Court
painter of King Charles I, and there were other oil paintings of him in
various places in England and abroad.

(_Distance walked thirty-one miles_.)

_Friday, November 3rd._


Our hotel was quite near the Coventry Parish Church dedicated to St.
Michael, which was said to be the largest parish church in England, so
we went out early this morning to visit it. We found it to be a very
fine church, and in it we saw some workmen erecting a beautiful
stained-glass window in which they had already placed the likeness of
two saints, one of whom was St. Ambrose. We wondered why they should be
putting such images in what we supposed to be the Reformed Church of
England. The men told us we should find a very fine stained-glass window
across the way in St. Mary's Hall, which had been erected in the time of
Henry VI, and was originally the work of John Thornton of Coventry, who
also had charge of the erection of the famous east window we had already
seen in York Minster. We only saw the exterior of the windows in St.
Mary's Hall, as we could not find any door that was open, so we hurried
away to form the acquaintance of "Peeping Tom," whose image we had come
so many miles to see. We found him high up on a corner of a street as if
looking down on the passers-by below. The building in which he appeared
was doing duty as a public-house, so we went in and saw the landlord, to
whom we explained the nature of our visit and journey, and he kindly
conducted us up the steps to the small room at the top of the house
where Peeping Tom was to be seen. He was a repulsive-looking image of
humanity, made of wood, without arms, and with a hideous face; how long
he had occupied his present position no one knew, but as we had seen
images of wood made hundreds of years ago, we were willing to suppose
that he was a relic of antiquity. Photography at the time of our visit
was only in its infancy, but small cards, 4 inches long by 2-1/2 inches
wide, with photographic views on them, were beginning to make their
appearance--picture postcards being then unknown. On our tour we
collected a number of these small cards, which were only to be found in
the more populous places. In our case we were able to get one at
Coventry of Peeping Tom, a facsimile of which we here produce. We did
not stay long in his company, for we looked upon him as an ugly and
disreputable character, but hurried back to our hotel for a good
breakfast before starting on our walk to the country of Shakespeare.


[Illustration: PEEPING TOM.]

The dull days of November were now upon us, which might account to some
extent for the sleepy appearance of the old town of Coventry; but it
appeared that underlying all this was a feeling of great depression
caused by the declining state of its two staple industries--watches and
silk. The manufacture of watches had been established here for many
years, for as early as 1727 the archives recorded that a watch-maker had
been appointed Mayor of Coventry, and for anything we knew the
manufacture of silk might have been quite as old an industry there; but
the competition of American and Swiss watches was making itself
seriously felt, and the Treaty with France which admitted French silks
into England, duty free, was still more disastrous, causing much
apprehension for the future prosperity of the "good old town."

We lost a little time before starting, as my brother had seen something
in a shop window that he wanted to buy, but having forgotten the exact
position of the shop, we had to search diligently until we found it. It
was quite an artistic bookmarker made of white silk, with ornamental
bordering in colours which blended sweetly, enclosing a scroll, or
unfolding banner, which only displayed one word at each fold:

   The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.

I never knew what became of that book-mark until years later, after he
was married, when I saw it in his family Bible, and then I could guess
where it had been in the interval. I noticed also that he began to
quicken his speed considerably, and to be inclined to walk farther each
day, his explanation being that we were obliged to make up for lost
time. I also noticed that he wrote more notes in his diary in shorthand,
his knowledge of which I envied. He said that before he started on the
journey he imagined he knew the history of England, but had now become
convinced that he had it all to learn, and he thought the best way to
learn it thoroughly was by walking from John o' Groat's to Land's End.


A story was once told of two commercial travellers who had travelled
extensively, and were asked to write down the prettiest road in all
England, and one of them wrote "from Kenilworth to Coventry" and the
other wrote "from Coventry to Kenilworth"! This was the road on which we
had now to walk to reach what was known as "Shakespeare's country."
There were many pretty roads in England, and although this road was very
fine, being wide and straight and passing through a richly wooded
country, we had seen many prettier roads as regarded scenery. We soon
arrived at the historical Castle of Kenilworth, which, judging from the
extent of its ruins and lofty towers, must at one time have been a
magnificent place. According to local history the castle was originally
built in the reign of Henry I, and at one time it was in the possession
of Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, who was born in 1206, and who
has been described as the "Father of English Parliaments." Henry
belonged to the Plantagenet family, the reigning house from Henry II in
1154 to Richard III, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in
1485. The strangest history in that family appeared to be that of
Eleanor Plantagenet, the daughter of Henry II, who caused her to be
married when only four years old to the great Earl of Pembroke, who was
then forty, and who took her as a bride to his home when she was only
fourteen years old, leaving her a widow at sixteen. She was thrown into
such an agony of grief that she took a solemn vow in the presence of the
Archbishop of Canterbury never to marry again, but to become a bride of
Christ. Seven years afterwards, however, she returned to the Court of
her brother, who was then Henry III, and, meeting Simon de Montfort,
Earl of Leicester, the king's favourite, one of the most handsome and
accomplished of courtiers, to whom he had given Kenilworth Castle, the
widowed countess forgot her vow, and though solemnly warned by the
Archbishop of the peril of breaking her oath, Montfort easily persuaded
Henry to give him his sister in marriage. The king knew that both the
Church and the barons would be violently opposed to the match, and that
they could only be married secretly; so on one cold January morning in
1238 they were married in the king's private chapel at Windsor; but the
secret soon became known to the priests and the peers, and almost
provoked a civil war. The Princess Eleanor was not happy, as her
husband, who had lost the favour of her brother the king, was ultimately
killed in the cause of freedom, along with her eldest son, at the Battle
of Evesham. He was the first to create a Parliament.


In the year 1206 a festival was held at Kenilworth, attended by one
hundred knights of distinction, and the same number of ladies, at which
silks were worn for the first time in England, and in 1327 Edward II was
there compelled to sign his abdication in favour of his son. Kenilworth
Castle probably attained the zenith of its prosperity in the time of
Queen Elizabeth, who in 1563 conferred it upon her favourite, Robert
Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who entertained her there with great
magnificence on four different occasions, 1566, 1568, 1572, and 1575.
But the former glory of Kenilworth Castle had departed, and we only saw
it in the deplorable condition in which it had been left by Cromwell's
soldiers. They had dismantled the lofty towers, drained the lake,
destroyed the park, and divided the land into farms, and we looked upon
the ruins of the towers, staircases, doorways, and dungeons with a
feeling of sorrow and dismay. We could distinguish the great hall, with
its chimney-pieces built in the walls; but even this was without either
floor or roof, and the rest appeared to us as an unintelligible mass of
decaying stonework. And yet, about half a century before we made our
appearance at the ruins, a visitor arrived who could see through them
almost at a glance, and restored them in imagination to their former
magnificence, as they appeared in the time of Queen Elizabeth. He has
described the preparations for the great feast given in her honour in
1575 by the Earl of Leicester, and resuscitated the chief actors in that
memorable and magnificent scene. He was described as "a tall gentleman
who leaned rather heavily on his walking-stick," and although little
notice was taken of him at the time, was none other than the great Sir
Walter Scott, whose novel _Kenilworth_ attracted to the neighbourhood
crowds of visitors who might never have heard of it otherwise.

We had begun to look upon Sir Walter in the light of an old
acquaintance, once formed never to be forgotten, and admired his
description of Kenilworth Castle:

   The outer wall of this splendid and gigantic structure inclosed seven
   acres, a part of which was occupied by extensive stables, and by a
   pleasure garden, with its trim arbours and parterres, and the rest
   formed a large base-court, or outer yard, of the noble Castle. The
   Lordly structure itself, which rose near the centre of this spacious
   enclosure was composed of a huge pile of magnificent castellated
   buildings, apparently of different ages, surrounding an inner court,
   and bearing in the names of each portion attached to the magnificent
   mass, and in the armorial bearings which were there blazoned, the
   emblems of mighty chiefs who had long passed away, and whose history,
   could Ambition have lent ear to it, might have read a lesson to the
   haughty favourite who had now acquired and was augmenting the fair
   domain. A large and massive Keep, which formed the Citadel of the
   Castle, was of uncertain, though great antiquity. It bore the name of
   Cæsar, perhaps from its resemblance to that in the Tower of London so
   called. The external wall of this Royal Castle was on the south and
   west sides adorned and defended by a Lake, partly artificial, across
   which Leicester had constructed a stately bridge, that Elizabeth
   might enter the Castle by a path hitherto untrodden. Beyond the Lake
   lay an extensive Chase, full of red deer, fallow deer, roes, and
   every species of game, and abounding with lofty trees, from amongst
   which the extended front and massive towers of the Castle were seen
   to rise in majesty and beauty.

The great feast provided by the Earl of Leicester in honour of the visit
of Queen Elizabeth to Kenilworth Castle in 1575 was of a degree of
magnificence rarely equalled either before or since, extending
continuously over the seventeen days of the queen's stay, beginning at
two o'clock, at which time the great clock at the castle was stopped and
stood at that hour until the Princess departed. The cost of these
ceremonies was enormous, the quantity of beer alone consumed being
recorded as 320 hogsheads.


Sir Walter describes the preparations for the feast and the
heterogeneous nature of the crowd of people who attended it. The
resources of the country for miles round were taxed to their utmost, for
not only the queen's purveyors, but the Earl of Leicester's household
officers had been scouring it in all directions to provide the necessary
viands and provisions. The services in this respect of all the leading
families had been requisitioned, and--

   They took this opportunity of ingratiating themselves by sending
   large quantities of provisions and delicacies of all kinds, with game
   in huge quantities, and whole tuns of the best liquors, foreign and
   domestic. Thus the high-roads were filled with droves of bullocks,
   sheep, calves and hogs, and choked with loaded wains, whose
   axle-trees creaked under their burdens of wine-casks and hogsheads of
   ale, and huge hampers of grocery goods, and slaughtered game, and
   salted provisions, and sacks of flour. Perpetual stoppages took place
   as these wains became entangled; and their rude drivers, swearing and
   brawling till their wild passions were fully raised, began to debate
   precedence with their wagon-whips and quarter-staves, which
   occasional riots were usually quieted by a purveyor, deputy-marshal's
   man, or some other person in authority breaking the heads of both
   parties. Here were, besides, players and mummers, jugglers and
   showmen, of every description, traversing in joyous bands the paths
   which led to the Palace of Princely Pleasure; for so the travelling
   minstrels had termed Kenilworth in the songs which already had come
   forth in anticipation of the revels, which were there expected. In
   the midst of this motley show, mendicants were exhibiting their real
   or pretended miseries, forming a strange though common contrast
   betwixt the vanities and the sorrows of human existence. All these
   floated along with the immense tide of population, whom mere
   curiosity had drawn together; and where the mechanic, in his leathern
   apron, elbowed the dink and dainty dame, his city mistress; where
   clowns with hobnailed shoes were treading on the kibes of
   substantial burghers and gentlemen of worship; and where Joan of the
   dairy, with robust pace and red sturdy arms, rowed her way onwards,
   amongst those prim and pretty moppets, whose sires were knights and
   squires. The throng and confusion was, however, of a gay and cheerful
   character. All came forth to see and to enjoy, and all laughed at the
   trifling inconveniences which at another time might have chafed their
   temper. Excepting the occasional brawls we have mentioned among that
   irritable race the Carmen, the mingled sounds which arose from the
   multitude were those of light-hearted mirth and tiptoe jollity. The
   musicians preluded on their instruments--the minstrels hummed their
   songs--the licensed jester whooped betwixt mirth and madness, as he
   brandished his bauble--the morrice-dancers jangled their bells--the
   rustics hallow'd and whistled--men laughed loud, and maidens giggled
   shrill; while many a broad jest flew like a shuttle-cock from one
   party to be caught in the air, and returned from the opposite side of
   the road by another, at which it was aimed.


The arrival of the Queen, who had journeyed from Warwick Castle, had
been somewhat delayed, and the Guards had some difficulty in keeping the
course clear until she appeared with the lords and ladies who
accompanied her. It was dark when she approached the Castle, and
immediately there arose from the multitude a shout of applause, so
tremendously vociferous that the country echoed for miles around. The
Guards, thickly stationed upon the road by which the Queen was to
advance, caught up the acclamation, which ran like wildfire to the
castle, and announced to all within that Queen Elizabeth had entered the
Royal Castle of Kenilworth. The whole music of the castle sounded at
once, and a round of artillery, with a salvo of small arms, was
discharged from the battlements; but the noise of drums and trumpets,
and even of the cannon themselves, was but faintly heard amidst the
roaring and reiterated welcome of the multitude. As the noise began to
abate, a broad glare of light was seen to appear from the gate of the
park, and, broadening and brightening as it came nearer, advance along
the open and fair avenue that led towards the Gallery Tower, lined on
either hand by the retainers of the Earl of Leicester. The word was
passed along the lines, "The Queen! The Queen! Silence, and stand fast!"
Onward came the cavalcade, illuminated by 200 thick waxen torches, in
the hands of as many horsemen, which cast a light like that of broad day
all around the procession, but especially on the principal group, of
which the Queen herself, arrayed in the most splendid manner, and
blazing with jewels, formed the central figure. She was mounted on a
milk-white horse, which, she reined with peculiar grace and dignity, and
in the whole of her stately and noble carriage you saw the daughter of a
hundred kings.

[Illustration: KENILWORTH CASTLE IN 1871.]

Leicester, who glittered like a golden image with jewels and cloth of
gold, rode on her Majesty's right hand, as well in quality as her Host
as of her Master of the Horse. The black steed which he mounted had not
a single white hair on his body, and was one of the most renowned
chargers in Europe, having been purchased by the earl at large expense
for this royal occasion. As the noble steed chafed at the slow speed of
the procession, and, arching his stately neck, champed on the silver
bits which restrained him, the foam flew from his mouth and speckled his
well-formed limbs as if with spots of snow. The rider well became the
high place which he held and the proud animal which he bestrode, for no
man in England, or perhaps in Europe, was more perfect than Dudley in
horsemanship and all other exercises belonging to his rank. He was
bareheaded, as were all the courtiers in the train, and the red
torchlight shone upon his long curled tresses of dark hair and on his
noble features, to the beauty of which even the severest criticism could
only object the lordly fault, as it may be termed, of a forehead
somewhat too high. On that proud evening he wore all the graceful
solicitude of a subject, to show himself sensible of the high honour
which the Queen was conferring on him, and all the pride and
satisfaction which became so glorious a moment. The train, male and
female, who attended immediately upon the Queen's person, were of course
of the bravest and the fairest--the highest born nobles and the wisest
councellors of that distinguished reign, and were followed by a crowd of
knights and gentlemen. It was now the part of the huge porter, a man of
immense size, to deliver an address and drop his club and resign his
keys to give open way to the Goddess of the Night and all her
magnificent train, but as he was so overwhelmed with confusion of
spirit--the contents of one immense black jack of double ale--Sir Walter
only records the substance of what the gigantic warder ought to have
said in his address:

  What stir, what turmoil, have we for the nones?
  Stand back, my masters, or beware your bones!
  Sirs, I'm a warder, and no man of straw,
  My voice keeps order, and my club gives law.
  Yet soft,--nay stay--what vision have we here?
  What dainty darling this--what peerless peer?
  What loveliest face, that loving ranks enfold.
  Like brightest diamond chased in purest gold?
  Dazzled and blind, mine office I forsake,
  My club, my Key, my knee, my homage take.
  Bright paragon, pass on in joy and bliss;--
  Beshrew the gate that opes not wide at such a sight as this!

Elizabeth received most graciously the homage of the herculean porter
and then passed through the guarded tower amidst the sounds of trumpets
and other instruments stationed on the tower and in various parts of the
castle, and dismounted near Mortimer's Tower, which was as light as day
as she walked across the long bridge built especially for her and lit
with torches on either side. She had no sooner stepped upon the bridge
than a new spectacle was provided, for as soon as the music gave signal
that she was so far advanced, a raft on the lake, disposed as to
resemble a small floating island, illuminated by a great variety of
torches, and surrounded by floating pageants formed to represent
sea-horses, on which sat Tritons, Nereids, and other fabulous deities of
the seas and rivers, made its appearance upon the lake, and, issuing
from behind a small heronry where it had been concealed, floated gently
towards the farther end of the bridge. On the islet appeared a beautiful
woman, clad in a watchet-coloured silken mantle, bound with a broad
girdle, inscribed with characters like the phylacteries of the Hebrews.
Her feet and arms were bare, but her wrists and ankles were adorned with
gold bracelets of uncommon size. Amidst her long silky black hair she
wore a crown or chaplet of artificial mistletoe, and bore in her hand a
rod of ebony tipped with silver. Two nymphs attended on her, dressed in
the same antique and mystical guise. The pageant was so well managed
that the Lady of the Floating Island, having performed her voyage with
much picturesque effect, landed at Mortimer's Tower with her two
attendants, just as Elizabeth presented herself before that outwork. The
stranger then in a well-penned speech announced herself as that famous
Lady of the Lake renowned in the stories of King Arthur, who had nursed
the youth of the redoubted Sir Lancelot, and whose beauty had proved too
powerful both for the wisdom and the spells of the mighty Merlin. Since
that period she had remained possessed of her crystal dominions, she
said, despite the various men of fame and might by whom Kenilworth had
been successively tenanted. The Saxons, the Danes, the Normans, the
Saintlowes, the Clintons, the Montforts, the Mortimers, the
Plantagenets, great though they were in arms and magnificence, had
never, she said, caused her to raise her head from the waters which hid
her crystal palace. But a greater than all these great names had now
appeared, and she came in homage and duty to welcome the peerless
Elizabeth to all sport which the castle and its environs, which lake or
land, could afford! The queen received the address with great courtesy
and the Lady of the Lake vanished, and Arion, who was amongst the
maritime deities, appeared upon his dolphin in her place. But amidst all
this pageantry Sir Walter throws a side-light on Mervyn's Tower, where
we see a prisoner, a pale, attenuated, half dead, yet still lovely lady,
Amy Robsart, the neglected wife of Leicester, incarcerated there while
her husband is flirting with the queen in the gay rooms above. Her
features are worn with agony and suspense as she looks through the
narrow window of her prison on the fireworks and coloured fires outside,
wondering perhaps whether these were emblems of her own miserable life,
"a single spark, which is instantaneously swallowed up by the
surrounding darkness--a precarious glow, which rises but for a brief
space into the air, that its fall may be lower."


Sir Walter Scott described Kenilworth as "a place to impress on the
musing visitor the transitory value of human possessions, and the
happiness of those who enjoy a humble lot in virtuous contentment," and
it was with some such thoughts as these in our own minds that we hurried
away across fields and along lovely by-lanes towards Leamington, our
object in going there by the way we did being to get a view of the great
mansion of Stoneleigh, the residence of Lord Leigh, who was also a
landowner in our native County of Chester. It seemed a very fine place
as we passed through the well-wooded park surrounding it, and presently
reached his lordship's village of Ashow, where the old church, standing
on a small knoll at the end of the village, looked down upon the River
Avon below, which was here only a small stream. The roofs of many of the
cottages were thatched with straw, and although more liable to be set on
fire than those covered with the red tiles so common in the County of
Warwick, they looked very picturesque and had the advantage of not being
affected so much by extremes of temperature, being warmer in winter and
cooler in summer for those who had the good fortune to live under them.
We noticed several alms houses in the village, and near the smithy had a
talk with an old man who was interested to know that we came from
Cheshire, as he knew his lordship had some property there. He told us
that when a former Lord Leigh had died, there was a dispute amongst the
Leigh family as to who was the next owner of the estate, and about fifty
men came up from Cheshire and took possession of the abbey; but as the
verdict went against them they had to go back again, and had to pay
dearly for their trespass. He did not know where the Leighs came from
originally, but thought "they might have come from Cheshire," so we told
him that the first time they were heard of in that county was when the
Devil brought a load of them in his cart from Lancashire. He crossed
the River Mersey, which divided the two counties, at a ford near
Warrington, and travelled along the Knutsford road, throwing one of them
out occasionally with his pikel, first on one side of the road and then
on the other, until he had only a few left at the bottom of his cart,
and as he did not think these worth taking any farther, he "keck'd" his
cart up and left them on the road, so there were persons named Lee,
Legh, or Leigh living on each side of that road to the present day. The
old man seemed pleased with our story and grinned considerably, and no
doubt it would be repeated in the village of Ashow after we had left,
and might probably reach the ears of his lordship himself.

Two of the Lees that the Devil left on the road when he upset his cart
took possession of the country on either side, which at that time was
covered with a dense forest, and selected large oak trees to mark their
boundaries, that remained long after the other trees had disappeared.
But in course of time it became necessary to make some other distinction
between the two estates, so it was arranged that one landlord should
spell his name Legh and the other Leigh, and that their tenants should
spell the name of the place High Legh in one case and High Leigh in the
other, so that when name-plates appeared on carts, each landlord was
able to tell to which estate they belonged. There were many antiquities
in the country associated with his Satanic Majesty, simply because their
origin was unknown, such as the Devil's Bridge over which we had passed
at Kirkby Lonsdale, and the Devil's Arrows at Aldborough, and it was
quite possible that the remote antiquity of the Legh family might
account for the legend connected with them. There were several facts
connected with the Cheshire estate of the Leghs which interested us, the
first being that my grandfather was formerly a tenant on the estate, and
the squire had in his possession the rent rolls for every year since
about 1289. A fact that might interest ladies who are on the lookout for
a Mr. Wright is, that out of a hundred tenants on that estate at the
present day, twenty-seven householders bear the name of Wright.


But the strangest incident connected with High Legh was the case of a
young man who came from Scotland to work in the squire's gardens there.
He had attended Warrington Market, and was returning over the river
bridge when he stopped to look at a placard announcing a missionary
meeting to be held in the town that night. He decided to stay, although
he had quite seven miles to walk on his way home, and was so impressed
by what he heard that he decided to become a missionary himself, and
became one of the most famous missionaries of the nineteenth century.
His name was Robert Moffat, and he laboured hard in South Africa, where
his son-in-law, David Livingstone, following his example, also became a
renowned explorer and missionary in the "Dark Continent."

  Accept me for Thy service, Lord,
  And train me for Thy will,
  For even I in fields so broad
  Some duties may fulfil;
  And I will ask for no reward
  Except to serve Thee still.

[Illustration: ROBERT MOFFAT.]

We soon arrived at Leamington, which was quite an aristocratic town, and
different from any other we had seen on our journey, for it consisted
chiefly of modern houses of a light stone colour, which contrasted
finely with the trees with which the houses were interspersed and
surrounded, and which must have appeared very beautiful in the spring

The chief object of interest there was the Spa, which although known to
travellers in the seventeenth century, had only come into prominence
during recent times, or since the local poets had sung its praises. In
the introduction to a curious book, published in 1809 by James Bissett,
who described himself as "Medallist to his Majesty King George the
Third, proprietor of the Picture Gallery, public, news-room, and the
museum at Leamington," there appeared the following lines:

  Nay! Foreigners of rank who this look o'er
  To try the Wells may quit their native shore;
  For when they learn the virtues of the Spaw
  Twice tens of thousands to the spot will draw,
  As when its wondrous powers are pointed out
  And men found cap'ring who have had the gout;
  When pallid cheeks regain their roseate blush
  And vigorous health expels the hectic flush
  When those once hypp'd cast the crutch away;
  Sure when the pride of British Spas they see
  They'll own the humble instrument in me!

The Spa, it appeared, had been patronised by royalty on several
occasions, and Queen Victoria in 1838 acceded to the request that the
inhabitants might henceforth style the town the "Royal Leamington Spa."
Benjamin Satchwell claimed to have discovered the principal well there
in 1784, and on his tombstone in the churchyard appeared the following:

              Hail the unassuming tomb
  Of him who told where health and beauty bloom,
  Of him whose lengthened life improving ran--
  A blameless, useful, venerable man.

We only stayed a short time here, and then walked quickly through a fine
country to the ancient town of Warwick, with Guy's Cliffe and Blacklow
Hill to our right, the monument on the hill being to Piers Gaveston,
Earl of Cornwall, the hated favourite of Edward II. Gaveston was
beheaded on the hill on July 1st, 1312, and the modern inscription

   In the hollow of this rock was beheaded, on the first day of July
   1312, by barons, lawless as himself, Piers Gaveston, Earl of
   Cornwall, the minion of a hateful King, in life and death a memorable
   instance of misrule.

[Illustration: GUY'S TOWER, WARWICK]

Gaveston surrendered to the insurgent barons at Scarborough, on
condition that his life should be spared; but he had offended the Earl
of Warwick by calling him the "Black Hound of Arden," and the earl
caused him to be conveyed to Warwick Castle. When brought before
Warwick there, the Earl muttered, "Now you shall feel the Hound's
teeth," and after a mock trial by torchlight he was led out of the
castle and beheaded on the hill. Every one of the barons concerned in
this rather diabolical action died by violence during the next few

[Illustration: WARWICK CASTLE FROM THE RIVER. "As we crossed the bridge
we had a splendid view of Warwick Castle ... the finest example of a
fortified castle in England ... the 'fairest monument of ancient and
chivalrous splendour yet uninjured by time.'"]

[Illustration: WARWICK CASTLE]

[Illustration: THE PORTCULLIS.]

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TOWERS.]

[Illustration: WARWICK CASTLE]

As we crossed the bridge leading over the River Avon we had a splendid
view of Warwick Castle, which had the reputation of being the finest
example of a fortified castle in England, Sir Walter Scott describing it
as "the fairest monument of ancient and chivalrous splendour which yet
remain uninjured by time." It could boast of a continuous history from
the time of Ethelfreda, the daughter of the Saxon King, Alfred the
Great, and its towers rose to a considerable height, Cæsar's tower
reaching an elevation of 174 feet. Here could be seen the famous and
exquisite Vase of Warwick, in white marble, of unknown age and of
fabulous value, said to have been found at the bottom of a lake near
Hadrian's Villa, at Tivoli, in Italy. There were an immense number of
curios in the castle, some of which were connected with that famous
character Guy, Earl of Warwick, including his shield, sword, and helmet,
and his kettle of bell-metal, twenty-six feet wide and capable of
holding 120 gallons of water. We had no time to visit the interior of
the castle, but it was interesting to read, in one of his letters, what
Dr. Adam Clark saw there in 1797: "I was almost absolutely a prey to
astonishment and rapture while I contemplated the painting of the wife
of Schneider by Rubens, such a speaking canvas I never beheld." He saw
the large Etruscan vases collected by Sir William Hamilton, some bronze
cups dug out of the ruins of Herculaneum, and the bed in which Queen
Anne slept and which, according to report, she wrought with her own
hands. In the Armoury he was permitted to fit on some of the armour, and
attempted also to wield the sword of Guy, Earl of Warwick, which weighed
seventy pounds. He also examined the rest of Guy's gigantic equipments,
not omitting his porridge-pot, which held no gallons and was filled
every time an Earl of Warwick came of age. This Guy was not the famous
King Maker, but the original Guy, who lived at a time when England was
covered with thick forests in which savage beasts, now unknown, roamed
at large, causing great havoc amongst the early settlers, both to their
persons and their cattle. Of gigantic stature, he was renowned for his
courage and prowess, and, being in love with the fair Felice at Warwick
Castle, for her sake he performed prodigious feats of valour, both at
home and abroad. Amongst other monsters which preyed upon and terrified
human beings he killed the wild and fierce Dun Cow which infested Dun's
Moor, a place we had passed by the previous day; and we were reminded of
his prowess when we saw the sign of the "Dun Cow" displayed on inns in
the country, including that on the hotel at Dunchurch. He went on a
pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he killed many Saracens, and when on
his return he landed at Portsmouth, King Athelstane, ignorant of his
name, asked him if he would become his champion in a contest on which
the fate of England depended. The king told him that the Danes had with
them a champion named Colbran, a gigantic Saracen, and that they had
offered to stake their fortunes on a duel between him and an English
champion, not yet found, on condition that if Colbran won, England must
be given up to Anlaf, King of Denmark, and Govelaph, King of Norway. Guy
undertook the fight willingly, and defeated and killed the gigantic
Saracen, after which he privately informed the king that he was the Earl
of Warwick. He secured the hand and affections of the fair Felice, but
when the thoughts of all the people he had killed began to haunt him, he
left her, giving himself up to a life of devotion and charity, while he
disappeared and led the life of a hermit. She thought he had gone into
foreign lands, and mourned his loss for many years; but he was quite
near the castle all the time, living beside the River Avon in a cave in
a rock, which is still called Guys Cliffe, and where he died. Huge bones
were found and kept in the castle, including one rib bone, which
measured nine inches in girth at its smallest part and was six and a
half feet long; but this was probably a bone belonging to one of the
great wild beasts slain by the redoubtable Guy. We were sorry we could
not explore the castle, but we wanted particularly to visit the
magnificent Beauchamp Chapel in St. Mary's Church at Warwick. We found
this one of those places almost impossible to describe, and could
endorse the opinion of others, that it was "an architectural gem of the
first water and one of the finest pieces of architectural work in the
kingdom." It occupied twenty-one years in building, and contains the
tomb of Richard Beauchamp, under whose will the chapel was begun in
1443; Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the haughty favourite of Queen
Elizabeth, was also entombed here. We had too much to do to-day to stay
very long in any place we visited, but we were interested in the remains
of a ducking-stool in the crypt of the church, although it was far from
being complete, the only perfect one of which we knew being that in the
Priory Church of Leominster, which reposed in a disused aisle of the
church, the property of the Corporation of that town. It was described
as "an engine of universal punishment for common scolds, and for
butchers, bakers, brewers, apothecaries, and all who give short measure,
or vended adulterated articles of food," and was last used in 1809, when
a scolding wife named Jenny Pipes was ducked in a deep place in one of
the small rivers which flowed through that town. The following lines,
printed on a large card, appeared hanging from one of the pillars in the
aisle near the stool:



  There stands, my friend, in yonder pool,
  An engine called a Ducking Stool;
  By legal power commanded down,
  The joy, and terror of the town.
  If jarring females kindle strife,
  Give language foul, or lug the coif:
  If noisy dames should once begin
  To drive the house with horrid din,
  Away! you cry, you'll grace the stool
  We'll teach you how your tongue to rule.
  Down in the deep the stool descends,
  But here, at first, we miss our ends,
  She mounts again, and rages more
  Than ever vixen did before.
  If so, my friend, pray let her take
  A second turn into the lake;
  And rather than your patience lose
  Thrice and again, repeat the dose,
  No brawling wives, no furious wenches
  No fire so hot, but water quenches.


The stool was exactly like a chair without legs, fastened on one end of
a long pole, in the centre of which was a framework with solid wooden
wheels. The culprit was fastened in the chair with her face towards the
men, who were at the other end of the pole, and who had to push and
guide the machine through the narrow streets of the town until they
reached the "deep hole," where the unfortunate woman had to be ducked
overhead in the river. Her feet were securely tied to the top of the
pole to prevent them from being hurt when passing through the town, and
to hinder her from using them to keep her head above the water. The poet
describes the "engine called a ducking-stool" as the "joy and terror of
the town," but the "joy" could only have been that of the men, women,
and children who could be spared to see the show, and knew the woman's
scolding propensities. If she continued scolding after the first "duck,"
down she went again, and again, until, as we imagined, half filled with
water, she was unable to scold further, and so the water triumphed in
the end:

  No brawling wives, no furious wenches
  No fire so hot, but water quenches.

The tower of St. Mary's Church was built on four lofty arches, one of
which formed the entrance to the church while the other three formed
entrances to the street, the footpath passing through two of them.


We passed alongside the ancient and picturesque half-timbered building
known as Lord Leicester's Hospital, which was one of the few buildings
in the town that escaped the fire in 1694. It had been built by Robert
Dudley, Earl of Leicester, the favourite of Queen Elizabeth and of
Kenilworth fame, to accommodate twelve poor men or brethren besides the
master, who, according to Dugdale the famous antiquary, "were to be
clothed in blew cloth, with a ragged staff embroydered on the left
sleeve," and not to go into the town without them. The hospital dated
from 1571, but what was formerly the banqueting-hall belonged to an
earlier p