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Title: Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland A.D. 1803
Author: Wordsworth, Dorothy, 1771-1855
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Recollections of a Tour Made in Scotland A.D. 1803" ***

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SCOTLAND A.D. 1803***

                                   OF A
                          TOUR MADE IN SCOTLAND
                                A.D. 1803

                                * * * * *

                          BY DOROTHY WORDSWORTH

                                * * * * *

                          Edited by J. C. Shairp


     DAY                                                          PAGE

          PREFACE                                                   ix

                             First Week.

      1.  Left Keswick—Grisdale—Mosedale—Hesket                      1
          Newmarket—Caldbeck Falls

      2.  Ross Castle—Carlisle—Hatfield—Longtown                     2

      3.  Solway Moss—Enter Scotland—Springfield—Gretna              3

      4.  Burns’s Grave                                              5

          Ellisland—Vale of Nith                                     7

          Brownhill                                                  8

          Poem to Burns’s Sons                                      10

      5.  Thornhill—Drumlanrig—River Nith                           11

          Turnpike House                                            12

          Sportsman                                                 13

          Vale of Menock                                            14

          Wanlockhead                                               15

          Leadhills                                                 18

          Miners                                                    19

          Hopetoun mansion                                          20

          Hostess                                                   20

      6.  Road to Crawfordjohn                                      22

          Douglas Mill                                              28

          Clyde—Lanerk                                              31

          Boniton Linn                                              33

                             Second Week.

      7.  Falls of the Clyde                                        35

          Cartland Crags                                            40

          Fall of Stonebyres—Trough of the Clyde                    43

          Hamilton                                                  44

      8.  Hamilton House                                            45

          Baroncleuch—Bothwell Castle                               48

          Glasgow                                                   52

      9.  Bleaching ground (Glasgow Green)                          53

          Road to Dumbarton                                         55

     10.  Rocks and Castle of Dumbarton                             58

          Vale of Leven                                             62

          Smollett’s Monument                                       63

          Loch Achray                                               64

          Luss                                                      67

     11.  Islands of Loch Lomond                                    71

          Road to Tarbet                                            75

          The Cobbler                                               78

          Tarbet                                                    79

     12.  Left Tarbet for the Trossachs                             81

          Rob Roy’s Caves                                           82

          Inversneyde Ferryhouse and Waterfall                      83

          Singular building                                         84

          Loch Ketterine                                            86

          Glengyle                                                  88

          Mr. Macfarlane’s                                          89

     13.  Breakfast at Glengyle                                     91

          Lairds of Glengyle—Rob Roy                                92

          Burying ground                                            94

          Ferryman’s Hut                                            95

          Trossachs                                                 96

          Loch Achray                                              101

          Return to Ferryman’s Hut                                 102

                             Third Week.

     14.  Left Loch Ketterine                                      106

          Garrison House—Highland Girls                            107

          Ferryhouse at Inversneyde                                108

          Poem to the Highland Girl                                113

          Return to Tarbet                                         115

     15.  Coleridge resolves to go home                            117

          Arrochar—Loch Long                                       118

          Parted with Coleridge                                    119

          Glen Croe—The Cobbler                                    121

          Glen Kinglas—Cairndow                                    123

     16.  Road to Inverary                                         124

          Inverary                                                 126

     17.  Vale of Arey                                             129

          Loch Awe                                                 134

          Kilchurn Castle                                          138

          Dalmally                                                 139

     18.  Loch Awe                                                 141

          Taynuilt                                                 143

          Bunawe—Loch Etive                                        144

          Tinkers                                                  149

     19.  Road by Loch Etive downwards                             152

          Dunstaffnage Castle                                      153

          Loch Crerar                                              156

          Strath of Appin—Portnacroish                             158

          Islands of Loch Linnhe                                   159

          Morven                                                   160

          Lord Tweeddale                                           161

          Strath of Duror                                          163

          Ballachulish                                             164

     20.  Road to Glen Coe up Loch Leven                           165

          Blacksmith’s house                                       166

          Glen Coe                                                 172

          Whisky hovel                                             174

          King’s House                                             175

                             Fourth Week.

     21.  Road to Inveroran                                        180

          Inveroran—Public-house                                   182

          Road to Tyndrum                                          183

          Tyndrum                                                  184

          Loch Dochart                                             185

     22.  Killin                                                   186

          Loch Tay                                                 188

          Kenmore                                                  189

     23.  Lord Breadalbane’s grounds                               193

          Vale of Tay—Aberfeldy—Falls of Moness                    194

          River Tummel—Vale of Tummel                              196

          Fascally—Blair                                           197

     24.  Duke of Athol’s gardens                                  198

          Falls of Bruar—Mountain-road to Loch Tummel              201

          Loch Tummel                                              203

          Rivers Tummel and Garry                                  204

          Fascally                                                 205

     25.  Pass of Killicrankie—Sonnet                              207

          Fall of Tummel                                           208

          Dunkeld                                                  209

          Fall of the Bran                                         210

     26.  Duke of Athol’s gardens                                  211

          Glen of the Bran—Rumbling Brig                           212

          Narrow Glen—Poem                                         213

          Crieff                                                   215

     27.  Strath Erne                                              215

          Lord Melville’s house—Loch Erne                          216

          Strath Eyer—Loch Lubnaig                                 217

          Bruce the Traveller—Pass of Leny—Callander               218

                             Fifth Week.

     28.  Road to the Trossachs—Loch Vennachar                     219

          Loch Achray—Trossachs—Road up Loch Ketterine             220

          Poem:  ‘Stepping Westward’                               221

          Boatman’s hut                                            222

     29.  Road to Loch Lomond                                      223

          Ferryhouse at Inversneyde                                223

          Walk up Loch Lomond                                      224

          Glenfalloch                                              226

          Glengyle                                                 228

          Rob Roy’s Grave—Poem                                     229

          Boatman’s Hut                                            233

     30.  Mountain-Road to Loch Voil                               235

          Poem, ‘The Solitary Reaper’                              237

          Strath Eyer                                              239

     31.  Loch Lubnaig                                             240

          Callander—Stirling—Falkirk                               241

     32.  Linlithgow—Road to Edinburgh                             242

     33.  Edinburgh                                                243

          Roslin                                                   245

     34.  Roslin—Hawthornden                                       246

          Road to Peebles                                          247

                             Sixth Week.

     35.  Peebles—Neidpath Castle—Sonnet                           248

          Tweed                                                    249

          Clovenford                                               251

          Poem on Yarrow                                           252

     36.  Melrose—Melrose Abbey                                    255

     37.  Dryburgh                                                 257

          Jedburgh—Old Woman                                       260

          Poem                                                     262

     38.  Vale of Jed—Ferniehurst                                  265

     39.  Jedburgh—The Assizes                                     267

          Vale of Teviot                                           268

          Hawick                                                   270

     40.  Vale of Teviot—Branxholm                                 270

          Moss Paul                                                271

          Langholm                                                 272

     41.  Road to Longtown                                         272

          River Esk—Carlisle                                       273

     42.  Arrival at home                                          274

          APPENDIX                                                 277

          NOTES                                                    309

          ITINERARY                                                317




To the Sons of Burns, after visiting the Grave of their            277

At the Grave of Burns, 1803                                        278

Thoughts suggested the day following, on the Banks of              281
Nith, near the Poet’s Residence

To a Highland Girl                                                 113

Address to Kilchurn Castle, upon Loch Awe                          285

Sonnet in the Pass of Killicrankie                                 207

Glen Almain; or the Narrow Glen                                    213

The Solitary Reaper                                                237

Stepping Westward                                                  221

Rob Roy’s Grave                                                    229

Sonnet composed at Neidpath Castle                                 248

Yarrow Unvisited                                                   252

The Matron of Jedborough and her Husband                           262

Fly, some kind Spirit, fly to Grasmere Vale!                       274

The Blind Highland Boy                                             286


The Brownie’s Cell                                                 298

Cora Linn, in sight of Wallace’s Tower                             283

Effusion, in the Pleasure-ground on the banks of the Bran,         294
near Dunkeld

Yarrow Visited                                                     301


Yarrow Re-visited                                                  304

On the Departure of Sir Walter Scott from Abbotsford, for          307

The Trossachs                                                      308


Those who have long known the poetry of Wordsworth will be no strangers
to the existence of this Journal of his sister, which is now for the
first time published entire.  They will have by heart those few wonderful
sentences from it which here and there stand at the head of the Poet’s
‘Memorials of a Tour in Scotland in 1803.’  Especially they will remember
that ‘Extract from the Journal of my Companion’ which preludes the
‘Address to Kilchurn Castle upon Loch Awe,’ and they may sometimes have
asked themselves whether the prose of the sister is not as truly poetic
and as memorable as her brother’s verse.  If they have read the Memoirs
of the Poet published by his nephew the Bishop of Lincoln, they will have
found there fuller extracts from the Journal, which quite maintain the
impression made by the first brief sentences.  All true Wordsworthians
then will welcome, I believe, the present publication.  They will find in
it not only new and illustrative light on those Scottish poems which they
have so long known, but a faithful commentary on the character of the
poet, his mode of life, and the manner of his poetry.  Those who from
close study of Wordsworth’s poetry know both the poet and his sister, and
what they were to each other, will need nothing more than the Journal
itself.  If it were likely to fall only into their hands, it might be
left without one word of comment or illustration.  But as it may reach
some who have never read Wordsworth, and others who having read do not
relish him, for the information of these something more must be said.
The Journal now published does not borrow all its worth from its bearing
on the great poet.  It has merit and value of its own, which may commend
it to some who have no heart for Wordsworth’s poetry.  For the writer of
it was in herself no common woman, and might have secured for herself an
independent reputation, had she not chosen rather that other part, to
forget and merge herself entirely in the work and reputation of her

                                * * * * *

DOROTHY WORDSWORTH was the only sister of the poet, a year and a half
younger, having been born on Christmas Day 1771.  The five children who
composed the family, four sons and one daughter, lost their mother in
1778, when William was eight, and Dorothy six years old.  The father died
five years afterwards, at the close of 1783, and the family home at
Cockermouth was broken up and the children scattered.  Before his
father’s death, William, in his ninth year, had gone with his elder
brother to school at Hawkshead, by the lake of Esthwaite, and after the
father died Dorothy was brought up by a cousin on her mother’s side, Miss
Threlkeld, afterwards Mrs. Rawson, who lived in Halifax.  During the
eight years which Wordsworth spent at school, or, at any rate, from the
time of his father’s death, he and his sister seem seldom, if ever, to
have met.

The first college vacation in the summer of 1788 brought him back to his
old school in the vale of Esthwaite, and either this or the next of his
undergraduate summers restored him to the society of his sister at
Penrith.  This meeting is thus described in the ‘Prelude:’—

   ‘In summer, making quest for works of art,
   Or scenes renowned for beauty, I explored
   That streamlet whose blue current works its way
   Between romantic Dovedale’s spiry rocks;
   Pried into Yorkshire dales, or hidden tracts
   Of my own native region, and was blest
   Between these sundry wanderings with a joy
   Above all joys, that seemed another morn
   Risen on mid-noon; blest with the presence, Friend!
   Of that sole sister, her who hath been long
   Dear to thee also, thy true friend and mine,
   Now, after separation desolate
   Restored to me—such absence that she seemed
   A gift then first bestowed.’

They then together wandered by the banks of Emont, among the woods of
Lowther, and ‘climbing the Border Beacon looked wistfully towards the dim
regions of Scotland.’  Then and there too Wordsworth first met that young
kinswoman who was his wife to be.

During the following summers the Poet was busy with walking tours in
Switzerland and North Italy, his residence in France, his absorption in
the French Revolution, which kept him some years longer apart from his
sister.  During those years Miss Wordsworth lived much with her uncle Dr.
Cookson, who was a canon of Windsor and a favourite with the Court, and
there met with people of more learning and refinement, but not of greater
worth, than those she had left in her northern home.

In the beginning of 1794 Wordsworth, returned from his wanderings, came
to visit his sister at Halifax, his head still in a whirl with
revolutionary fervours.  He was wandering about among his friends with no
certain dwelling-place, no fixed plan of life, his practical purposes and
his opinions, political, philosophical, and religious, all alike at sea.
But whatever else might remain unsettled, the bread-and-butter question,
as Coleridge calls it, could not.  The thought of orders, for which his
friends intended him, had been abandoned; law he abominated; writing for
the newspaper press seemed the only resource.  In this seething state of
mind he sought once more his sister’s calming society, and the two
travelled together on foot from Kendal to Grasmere, from Grasmere to
Keswick, ‘through the most delightful country that was ever seen.’

Towards the close of this year (1794) Wordsworth would probably have gone
to London to take up the trade of a writer for the newspapers.  From this
however he was held back for a time by the duty of nursing his friend
Raisley Calvert, who lay dying at Penrith.  Early in 1795 the young man
died, leaving to his friend, the young Poet, a legacy of £900.  The world
did not then hold Wordsworth for a poet, and had received with coldness
his first attempt, ‘Descriptive Sketches and an Evening Walk,’ published
two years before.  But the dying youth had seen further than the world,
and felt convinced that his friend, if he had leisure given him to put
forth his powers, would do something which would make the world his
debtor.  With this view he bequeathed him the small sum above named.  And
seldom has such a bequest borne ampler fruit.  ‘Upon the interest of the
£900, £400 being laid out in annuity, with £200 deducted from the
principal, and £100 a legacy to my sister, and £100 more which “The
Lyrical Ballads” have brought me, my sister and I have contrived to live
seven years, nearly eight.’  So wrote Wordsworth in 1805 to his friend
Sir George Beaumont.  Thus at this juncture of the Poet’s fate, when to
onlookers he must have seemed both outwardly and inwardly well-nigh
bankrupt, Raisley Calvert’s bequest came to supply his material needs,
and to his inward needs his sister became the best earthly minister.  For
his mind was ill at ease.  The high hopes awakened in him by the French
Revolution had been dashed, and his spirit, darkened and depressed, was
on the verge of despair.  He might have become such a man as he has
pictured in the character of ‘The Solitary.’  But a good Providence
brought his sister to his side and saved him.  She discerned his real
need and divined the remedy.  By her cheerful society, fine tact, and
vivid love for nature she turned him, depressed and bewildered, alike
from the abstract speculations and the contemporary politics in which he
had got immersed, and directed his thoughts towards truth of poetry, and
the face of nature, and the healing that for him lay in these.

               ‘Then it was
   That the beloved sister in whose sight
   Those days were passed—
   Maintained for me a saving intercourse
   With my true self; for though bedimmed and changed
   Much, as it seemed, I was no further changed
   Than as a clouded or a waning moon:
   She whispered still that brightness would return,
   She, in the midst of all, preserved me still
   A Poet, made me seek beneath that name,
   And that alone, my office upon earth.

By intercourse with her and wanderings together in delightful places of
his native country, he was gradually led back

   ‘To those sweet counsels between head and heart
   Whence genuine knowledge grew.’

The brother and sister, having thus cast in their lots together, settled
at Racedown Lodge in Dorsetshire in the autumn of 1795.  They had there a
pleasant house, with a good garden, and around them charming walks and a
delightful country looking out on the distant sea.  The place was very
retired, with little or no society, and the post only once a week.  But
of employment there was no lack.  The brother now settled steadily to
poetic work; the sister engaged in household duties and reading, and then
when work was over, there were endless walks and wanderings.  Long years
afterwards Miss Wordsworth spoke of Racedown as the place she looked back
to with most affection.  ‘It was,’ she said, ‘the first home I had.’

The poems which Wordsworth there composed were not among his best,—‘The
Borderers,’ ‘Guilt or Sorrow,’ and others.  He was yet only groping to
find his true subjects and his own proper manner.  But there was one
piece there composed which will stand comparison with any tale he ever
wrote.  It was ‘The Ruined Cottage,’ which, under the title of the ‘Story
of Margaret,’ he afterwards incorporated in the first Book of ‘The
Excursion.’  It was when they had been nearly two years at Racedown that
they received a guest who was destined to exercise more influence on the
self-contained Wordsworth than any other man ever did.  This was S. T.
Coleridge.  One can imagine how he would talk, interrupted only by their
mutually reading aloud their respective Tragedies, both of which are now
well-nigh forgotten, and by Wordsworth reading his ‘Ruined Cottage,’
which is not forgotten.  Miss Wordsworth describes S. T. C., as he then
was, in words that are well known.  And he describes her thus, in words
less known,—‘She is a woman indeed, in mind I mean, and in heart; for her
person is such that if you expected to see a pretty woman, you would
think her ordinary; if you expected to see an ordinary woman, you would
think her pretty, but her manners are simple, ardent, impressive.  In
every motion her innocent soul out-beams so brightly, that who saw her
would say, “Guilt was a thing impossible with her.”  Her information
various, her eye watchful in minutest observation of nature, and her
taste a perfect electrometer.’

The result of this meeting of the two poets was that the Wordsworths
shifted their abode from Racedown to Alfoxden, near Nether Stowey, in
Somersetshire, to be near Coleridge.  Alfoxden was a large furnished
mansion, which the brother and sister had to themselves.  ‘We are three
miles from Stowey, the then abode of Coleridge,’ writes the sister, ‘and
two miles from the sea.  Wherever we turn we have woods, smooth downs,
and valleys, with small brooks running down them, through green meadows,
hardly ever intersected with hedgerows, but scattered over with trees.
The hills that cradle these valleys are either covered with fern and
bilberries, or oak woods, which are cut for charcoal.  Walks extend for
miles over the hill-tops, the great beauty of which is their wild
simplicity—they are perfectly smooth, without rocks.’  It was in this
neighbourhood, as the two poets loitered in the silvan combs or walked
along the smooth Quantock hill-tops, looking seaward, with the ‘sole
sister,’ the companion of their walks, that they struck each from the
other his finest tones.  It was with both of them the heyday of poetic
creation.  In these walks it was that Coleridge, with slight hints from
Wordsworth, first chaunted the vision of the Ancient Mariner, and then
alone, ‘The rueful woes of Lady Christabel.’  This, too, was the birthday
of some of the finest of the Lyrical Ballads, of ‘We are seven,’ ‘Simon
Lee,’ ‘Expostulation and Reply,’ and ‘The Tables Turned,’ ‘It is the
first mild day in March,’ and ‘I heard a thousand blended notes.’
Coleridge never knew again such a season of poetic creation, and
Wordsworth’s tardier, if stronger, nature, received from contact with
Coleridge that quickening impulse which it needed, and which it retained
during all its most creative years.

But if Coleridge, with his occasional intercourse and wonderful talk, did
much for Wordsworth, his sister, by her continual companionship, did far
more.  After the great revulsion from the excesses of the French
Revolution, she was with him a continually sanative influence.  That
whole period, which ranged from 1795 till his settling at Grasmere at the
opening of the next century, and of which the residence at Racedown and
Alfoxden formed a large part, was the healing time of his spirit.  And in
that healing time she was the chief human minister.  Somewhere in the
‘Prelude’ he tells that in early youth there was a too great sternness of
spirit about him, a high but too severe moral ideal by which he judged
men and things, insensible to gentler and humbler influences.  He
compares his soul to a high, bare craig, without any crannies in which
flowers may lurk, untouched by the mellowing influences of sun and
shower.  His sister came with her softening influence, and sowed in it
the needed flowers, and touched it with mellowing colours:

   ‘She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,
   And humble cares and delicate fears,
   A heart, the fountain of sweet tears
   And love, and thought and joy.’

Elsewhere in the ‘Prelude’ he describes how at one time his soul had got
too much under the dominion of the eye, so that he kept comparing scene
with scene, instead of enjoying each for itself—craving new forms,
novelties of colour or proportion, and insensible to the spirit of each
place and the affections which each awakens.  In contrast with this
temporary mood of his own he turns to one of another temper:—

            ‘I knew a maid,
   A young enthusiast who escaped these bonds,
   Her eye was not the mistress of her heart,
   She welcomed what was given, and craved no more;
   Whate’er the scene presented to her view,
   That was the best, to that she was attuned
   By her benign simplicity of life.
   Birds in the bower, and lambs in the green field,
   Could they have known her, would have loved; methought
   Her very presence such a sweetness breathed,
   That flowers, and trees, and even the silent hills,
   And everything she looked on, should have had
   An intimation how she bore herself
   Towards them and to all creatures.  God delights
   In such a being; for her common thoughts
   Are piety, her life is gratitude.’

But it was not his sister the Poet speaks of here, but of his first
meeting with her who afterwards became his wife.

The results of the residence at Racedown, but especially at Alfoxden,
appeared in the shape of the first volume of the ‘Lyrical Ballads,’ which
were published in the autumn of 1798 by Mr. Cottle at Bristol.  This
small volume opens with Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancyent Marinere,’ and
is followed by Wordsworth’s short but exquisite poems of the Alfoxden
time, and is closed by the well-known lines on Tintern Abbey.  Wordsworth
reaches about the highest pitch of his inspiration in this latter poem,
which contains more rememberable lines than any other of his, of equal
length, save perhaps the Immortality Ode.  It was the result of a ramble
of four or five days made by him and his sister from Alfoxden in July
1798, and was composed under circumstances ‘most pleasant,’ he says, ‘for
me to remember.’  He began it upon leaving Tintern, after crossing the
Wye, and concluded it as he was entering Bristol in the evening.

Every one will recollect how, after its high reflections he turns at the
close to her, ‘his dearest Friend,’ ‘his dear, dear Friend,’ and speaks
of his delight to have her by his side, and of the former pleasures which
he read in ‘the shooting lights of her wild eyes,’ and then the almost
prophetic words with which he forebodes, too surely, that time when
‘solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief should be her portion.’

That September (1798) saw the break-up of the brief, bright companionship
near Nether Stowey.  Coleridge went with Wordsworth and his sister to
Germany, but soon parted from them and passed on alone to Göttingen,
there to study German, and lose himself in the labyrinth of German
metaphysics.  Wordsworth and Dorothy remained at Goslar, and, making no
acquaintances, spent the winter—said to have been the coldest of the
century—by the German stoves, Wordsworth writing more lyrical poems in
the same vein which had been opened so happily at Alfoxden.  There is in
these poems no tincture of their German surroundings; they deal entirely
with those which they had left on English ground.  Early in spring they
returned to England, to spend the summer with their friends the
Hutchinsons at Sockburn-upon-Tees.  There Dorothy remained, while in
September Wordsworth made with Coleridge the walking tour through the
lakes of Westmoreland and Cumberland, which issued in his choice of a
home at Grasmere for himself and his sister.

At the close of the year Wordsworth and his sister set off and walked,
driven forward by the cold, frosty winds blowing from behind, from
Wensleydale over Sedbergh’s naked heights and the high range that divides
the Yorkshire dales from the lake country.  On the shortest day of the
year (St. Thomas’s Day) they reached the small two-story cottage at the
Townend of Grasmere, which, for the next eight years, was to be the
poet’s home, immortalised by the work he did in it.  That cottage has
behind it a small orchard-plot or garden ground shelving upwards toward
the woody mountains above, and in front it looks across the peaceful lake
with its one green island, to the steeps of Silver-how on the farther
side.  Westward it looks on Helm Craig, and up the long folds of Easedale
towards the range that divides Easedale from Borrowdale.  In this cottage
they two lived on their income of a hundred pounds a year, Dorothy doing
all the household work, for they had then, it has been said, no servant.
Besides this, she had time to write out all his poems—for Wordsworth
himself could never bear the strain of transcribing—to read aloud to him
of an afternoon or evening—at one such reading by her of Milton’s Sonnets
it was that his soul took fire and rolled off his first sonnets—and to
accompany him on his endless walks.  Nor these alone—her eye and
imagination fed him, not only with subjects for his poetry, but even with
images and thoughts.  What we are told of the poem of the ‘Beggars’ might
be said of I know not how many more.  ‘The sister’s eye was ever on the
watch to provide for the poet’s pen.’  He had a most observant eye, and
she also for him; and his poems are sometimes little more than poetic
versions of her descriptions of the objects which she had seen; and which
he treated as seen by himself.  Look at the poem on the ‘Daffodils’ and
compare with it these words taken from the sister’s Journal.  ‘When we
were in the woods below Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close by
the water-side.  As we went along there were more and yet more; and at
last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw there were a long belt of
them along the shore.  I never saw daffodils so beautiful.  They grew
among the mossy stones about them.  Some rested their heads on the
stones, as on a pillow; the rest tossed, and reeled, and danced, and
seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind, they looked so gay and
glancing.’  It may also be noted that the Poet’s future wife contributed
to this poem these two best lines—

   ‘They flash upon that inward eye,
   Which is the bliss of solitude.’

Or take another description from Miss Wordsworth’s Journal of a
birch-tree, ‘the lady of the woods,’ which her brother has not
versified:—‘As we were going along we were stopped at once, at the
distance, perhaps, of fifty yards from our favourite birch-tree: it was
yielding to the gust of the wind, with all its tender twigs; the sun
shone upon it, and it glanced in the wind like a flying sunshiny shower.
It was a tree in shape, with stem and branches, but it was like a spirit
of water.’

The life which the Poet and his sister lived during the eight years at
the Townend of Grasmere stands out with a marked individuality which it
is delightful ever so often to recur to.  It was as unlike the lives of
most literary or other men, as the most original of his poems are unlike
the ordinary run of even good poetry.  Their outward life was exactly
like that of the dalesmen or ‘statesmen’—for so the native yeomen
proprietors are called—with whom they lived on the most friendly footing,
and among whom they found their chief society.  Outwardly their life was
so, but inwardly it was cheered by imaginative visitings to which these
were strangers.  Sheltered as they then were from the agitations of the
world, the severe frugality of the life they led ministered in more than
one way to feed that poetry which introduced a new element into English
thought.  It kept the mind cool, and the eye clear, to feel once more
that kinship between the outward world and the soul of man, to perceive
that impassioned expression in the countenance of all nature, which, if
felt by primeval men, ages of cultivation have long forgotten.  It also
made them wise to practise the same frugality in emotional enjoyment
which they exercised in household economy.  It has been well noted {0a}
that this is one of Wordsworth’s chief characteristics.  It is the
temptation of the poetic temperament to be prodigal of passion, to demand
a life always strung to the highest pitch of emotional excitement, to be
never content unless when passing from fervour to fervour.  No life can
long endure this strain.  This is specially seen in such poets as Byron
and Shelley, who speedily fell from the heights of passion to the depths
of languor and despondency.  The same quick using up of the power of
enjoyment produces the too common product of the _blasé_ man and the
cynic.  Wordsworth early perceived that all, even the richest, natures
have but a very limited capacity of uninterrupted enjoyment, and that
nothing is easier than to exhaust this capacity.  Hence he set himself to
husband it, to draw upon it sparingly, to employ it only on the purest,
most natural, and most enduring objects, and not to speedily dismiss or
throw them by and demand more, but to detain them till they had yielded
him their utmost.  From this in part it came that the commonest sights of
earth and sky—a fine spring day, a sunset, even a chance traveller met on
a moor, any ordinary sorrow of man’s life—yielded to him an amount of
imaginative interest inconceivable to more mundane spirits.  The simple
healthiness and strict frugality of his household life suited well, and
must have greatly assisted, that wholesome frugality of emotion which he

During those seven or eight Grasmere years, the spring of poetry which
burst forth at Alfoxden, and produced the first volume of ‘Lyrical
Ballads,’ flowed steadily on and found expression in other poems of like
quality and spirit,—‘Hartleap Well,’ ‘The Brothers,’ ‘Michael,’ which,
with others of the same order, written in Germany, appeared in the second
volume of ‘Lyrical Ballads.’  And after these two volumes had gone forth,
Grasmere still gave more of the same high order,—‘The Daffodils,’ ‘The
Leech-Gatherer,’ and above all the ‘Ode on Immortality.’  It was too the
conclusion of the ‘Prelude,’ and the beginning of the ‘Excursion.’  So
that it may be said that those Grasmere years, from 1800 to 1807, mark
the period when Wordsworth’s genius was in its zenith.  During all this
time, sister Dorothy was by his side, ministering to him, equally in body
and in mind—doing the part of household servant, and not less that of
prompter and inspirer of his highest songs.

But this life of theirs, retired and uneventful as it seems, was not
without its own incidents.  Such was the homecoming of their younger
sailor-brother John, who, in the first year of their residence at

   ‘Under their cottage roof, had gladly come
   From the wild sea a cherished visitant.’

He was, what his brother calls him, ‘a silent poet,’ and had the heart
and sense to feel the sterling quality of his brother’s poems, and to
foretell with perfect confidence their ultimate acceptance, at the time
when the critic wits who ruled the hour treated them with contempt.  The
two brothers were congenial spirits, and William’s poetry has many
affecting allusions to his brother John, whose intention it was, when his
last voyage was over, to settle in ‘Grasmere’s happy vale,’ and to devote
the surplus of his fortune to his brother’s use.  On his last voyage he
sailed as captain of the ‘Earl of Abergavenny’ East-Indiaman, at the
opening of February 1805; and on the 5th of that month, the ill-fated
ship struck on the Shambles of the Bill of Portland, and the captain and
most of the crew went down with her.  To the brother and sister this
became a permanent household sorrow.  But in time they found comfort in
that thought with which the Poet closes a remarkable letter on his
brother’s loss,—‘So good must be better; so high must be destined to be

Another lesser incident was a short tour to the Continent, in which, as
the brother and sister crossed Westminster Bridge, outside the Dover
coach, both witnessed that sunrise which remains fixed for ever in the
famous sonnet.  Another incident, and more important, was Wordsworth’s
marriage in October 1802, when he brought home his young wife, Mary
Hutchinson, his sister’s long-time friend, to their cottage at Townend.
This is she whom he has sung in the lines—‘She was a phantom of delight;’
of whom he said in plain prose, ‘She has a sweetness all but angelic,
simplicity the most entire, womanly self-respect and purity of heart
speaking through all her looks, acts, and movements.’  The advent of Mrs.
Wordsworth brought no change to Dorothy.  She still continued to fill to
her brother and his wife the same place which she had filled when her
brother was alone, sharing in all the household duties and family
interests, and still accompanying him in his rambles when Mrs. Wordsworth
was detained at home.  The year after the marriage, that is, in the
fourth year of the Grasmere residence, after the first son was born, the
brother and sister, accompanied by Coleridge, set out on that tour the
Journal of which is here published.  Portions of it have already appeared
in the ‘Memoirs’ of Wordsworth, but it is now for the first time given in
full, just as it came from the pen of Miss Wordsworth seventy years ago.
As I shall have to speak of it again, I may now pass on and note the few
facts that still remain to be told in illustration of the writer’s

In the years which followed the tour in Scotland, other children were
added to Wordsworth’s family, till the small cottage at the Townend could
no longer accommodate the household.  The second child was the poet’s
only daughter, whom after his sister he called Dorothy, generally known
as Dora, for, as he tells Lady Beaumont, he could not find it in his
heart to call her by another name.  This second Dora occupies in
Wordsworth’s later poetry the same place which the first Dorothy held in
his earlier.  Aunt Dorothy’s love, as it expanded to take in each
newcomer, did not lose any of its intensity towards her brother.  While
the uneasiness which the act of writing had always occasioned him was not
diminished, weakness of eyesight increased.  Then she had to write for
him, she read to him, she walked with him as of old, besides sharing in
all household cares.  In November 1806, Wordsworth removed with his
family to Coleorton, in Leicestershire, to spend the winter there in a
house of Sir George Beaumont’s; ‘Our own cottage,’ he writes, ‘being far
too small for our family to winter in, though we manage well enough in it
during the summer.’  In the spring of 1807, Wordsworth and his wife
visited London.  Dorothy, who was left with the children, wrote the poem
called ‘The Mother’s Return,’ as a welcome to Mrs. Wordsworth when she
came back.  This with two other poems, written by her for the children,
one on ‘The Wind,’ the other called ‘The Cottager to her Infant,’
afterwards appeared in an edition of her brother’s poems.

This seems the proper place to give the account of Miss Wordsworth, as
she appeared to De Quincey, when in 1807 he first made the acquaintance
of Wordsworth, just before the Poet and his family quitted their old home
in the cottage at Grasmere Townend.  After speaking of Mrs. Wordsworth,
he continues:—

‘Immediately behind her moved a lady, shorter, slighter, and perhaps, in
all other respects, as different from her in personal characteristics as
could have been wished for the most effective contrast.  “Her face was of
Egyptian brown;” rarely, in a woman of English birth, had I seen a more
determinate gipsy tan.  Her eyes were not soft as Mrs. Wordsworth’s, nor
were they fierce or bold; but they were wild and startling, and hurried
in their motion.  Her manner was warm, and even ardent; her sensibility
seemed constitutionally deep; and some subtle fire of impassioned
intellect apparently burned within her, which—being alternately pushed
forward into a conspicuous expression by the irresistible instincts of
her temperament, and then immediately checked in obedience to the decorum
of her sex and age and her maidenly condition—gave to her whole
demeanour, and to her conversation, an air of embarrassment, and even of
self-conflict, that was almost distressing to witness.  Even her very
utterance and enunciation often suffered in point of clearness and
steadiness, from the agitation of her excessive organic sensibility.  At
times the self-counteraction and self-baffling of her feelings caused her
even to stammer.  But the greatest deductions from Miss Wordsworth’s
attractions, and from the exceeding interest which surrounded her, in
right of her character, of her history, and of the relation which she
fulfilled towards her brother, were the glancing quickness of her
motions, and other circumstances in her deportment (such as her stooping
attitude when walking), which gave an ungraceful character to her
appearance when out of doors . . . .

‘Her knowledge of literature was irregular and thoroughly unsystematic.
She was content to be ignorant of many things; but what she knew, and had
really mastered, lay where it could not be disturbed—in the temple of her
own most fervid heart.’

It may not be amiss here to add from the same gossipy but graphic pen, a
description of the Townend home, and of the way of life there, which has
often before been quoted:—

‘A little semi-vestibule between two doors prefaced the entrance into
what might be considered the principal room of the cottage.  It was an
oblong square, not above eight and a half feet high, sixteen feet long,
and twelve broad, very prettily wainscoted from the floor to the ceiling
with dark polished oak, slightly embellished with carving.  One window
there was—a perfect and unpretending cottage window—with little diamond
panes, embowered at almost every season of the year with roses, and, in
the summer and autumn, with a profusion of jasmine and other fragrant
shrubs.  From the exuberant luxuriance of the vegetation around it, this
window, though tolerably large, did not furnish a very powerful light to
one who entered from the open air . . . .  I was ushered up a little
flight of stairs, fourteen in all, to a little drawing-room, or whatever
the reader chooses to call it.  Wordsworth himself has described the
fireplace of this room as his

    “Half kitchen, and half parlour fire.”

It was not fully seven feet six inches high, and in other respects pretty
nearly of the same dimensions as the rustic hall below.  There was,
however, in a small recess, a library of perhaps three hundred volumes,
which seemed to consecrate this room as the poet’s study and
composing-room, and such occasionally it was.

‘About four o’clock it might be when we arrived.  At that hour in
November the daylight soon declined, and in an hour and a half we were
all collected about the tea-table.

‘This with the Wordsworths, under the simple rustic system of habits
which they cherished then and for twenty years after, was the most
delightful meal of the day, just as dinner is in great cities, and for
the same reason, because it was prolonged into a meal of leisure and
conversation.  That night I found myself, about eleven at night, in a
pretty bedroom, about fourteen feet by twelve.  Much I feared that this
might turn out the best room in the house; and it illustrates the
hospitality of my new friends to mention that it was . . . .

‘Next morning Miss Wordsworth I found making breakfast in the little
sitting-room.  No one was there, no glittering breakfast service; a
kettle boiled upon the fire; and everything was in harmony with these
unpretending arrangements.

‘I rarely had seen so humble a _ménage_; and, contrasting the dignity of
the man with this honourable poverty, and this courageous avowal of it,
his utter absence of all effort to disguise the simple truth of the case,
I felt my admiration increased.

‘Throughout the day, which was rainy, the same style of modest
hospitality prevailed.  Wordsworth and his sister, myself being of the
party, walked out in spite of the rain, and made the circuit of the two
lakes, Grasmere and its dependency Rydal, a walk of about six miles.

‘On the third morning after my arrival in Grasmere, I found the whole
family, except the two children, prepared for the expedition across the
mountains.  I had heard of no horses, and took it for granted that we
were to walk; however, at the moment of starting, a cart, the common
farmer’s cart of the country, made its appearance, and the driver was a
bonny young woman of the vale.  Accordingly we were all carted along to
the little town or large village of Ambleside, three and a half miles
distant.  Our style of travelling occasioned no astonishment; on the
contrary, we met a smiling salutation wherever we appeared; Miss
Wordsworth being, as I observed, the person most familiarly known of our
party, and the one who took upon herself the whole expenses of the flying
colloquies exchanged with stragglers on the road.’

When the family had to leave this cottage home at Townend, they migrated
to Allan Bank in 1808, and there remained for three years.  In the spring
of 1811 they moved to the Parsonage of Grasmere, and thence, in the
spring of 1813, to Rydal Mount, their final abode.  Their sojourn in the
Parsonage was saddened by the loss of two children, who died within six
months of each other, and were laid side by side in the churchyard of
Grasmere.  The Parsonage looks right across the road on that
burial-place, and the continual sight of this was more than they could
bear.  They were glad therefore to withdraw from it, and to exchange the
vale of Grasmere, now filled for them with too mournful recollections,
for the sweet retirement of Rydal.

Through all these changes sister Dorothy went of course with them, and
shared the affliction of the bereaved parents, as she had formerly shared
their happiness.  In 1814, the year of the publication of the
‘Excursion,’ all of which Miss Wordsworth had transcribed, her brother
made another tour in Scotland, and this time Yarrow was not unvisited.
His wife and her sister went with him, but Dorothy, having stayed at home
probably to tend the children, did not form one of the party, a
circumstance which her brother always remembered with regret.

In the summer of 1820, however, she visited the Continent with her
brother and Mrs. Wordsworth, but of this tour no record remains.  Another
visit, the last but one, Wordsworth made to Scotland in 1831, accompanied
by his daughter Dora.  This time Yarrow was revisited in company with Sir
Walter Scott, just before his last going from Tweedside.  Wordsworth has
chronicled his parting with Scott in two affecting poems, which if any
reader does not know by heart, I would recommend him to read them in the
Appendix to this Journal. {0b}

But by the time this expedition was made, Dorothy was an invalid confined
to a sick-room.  In the year 1829 she was seized by a severe illness,
which so prostrated her, body and mind, that she never recovered from it.
The unceasing strain of years had at last worn out that buoyant frame and
fervid spirit.  She had given herself to one work, and that work was
done.  To some it may seem a commonplace one,—to live in and for her
brother, to do by him a sister’s duty.  With original powers which, had
she chosen to set up on her own account, might have won for her high
literary fame, she was content to forget herself, to merge all her gifts
and all her interests in those of her brother.  She thus made him other
and higher than he could have been had he stood alone, and enabled him to
render better service to the world than without her ministry he could
have done.  With this she was well content.  It is sad to think that when
the world at last knew him for what he was, the great original poet of
this century, she who had helped to make him so was almost past rejoicing
in it.  It is said that during those latter years he never spoke of her
without his voice being sensibly softened and saddened.  The return of
the day when they two first came to Grasmere was to him a solemn
anniversary.  But though so enfeebled, she still lived on, and survived
her brother by nearly five years.  Her death took place at Rydal Mount in
January 1855, at the age of eighty-three.  And now, beside her brother
and his wife and others of that household, she rests in the green
Grasmere churchyard, with the clear waters of Rotha murmuring by.

To return to the Journal.  As we read it, let us bear always in mind that
it was not meant for us, for the world, or ‘the general reader,’ but to
be listened to by a small family circle, gathered round the winter fire.
We should therefore remember that in reading it we are, as it were,
allowed, after seventy years, to overhear what was not primarily meant
for our ears at all.  This will account for a fulness and minuteness of
detail which to unsympathetic persons may perhaps appear tedious.  But
the writer was telling her story, not for unsympathetic persons, not for
‘general readers,’ much less for literary critics, but for ‘the household
hearts that were her own,’ on whose sympathy she could reckon, even down
to the minutest circumstances of this journey.  And so there is no
attempt at fine or sensational writing, as we now call it, no attempt at
that modern artifice which they call word-painting.  But there is the
most absolute sincerity, the most perfect fidelity to her own experience,
the most single-minded endeavour to set down precisely the things they
saw and heard and felt, just as they saw and felt and heard them, while
moving on their quiet way.  And hence perhaps the observant reader who
submits himself to the spirit that pervades this Journal may find in its
effortless narrative a truthfulness, a tenderness of observation, a
‘vivid exactness,’ a far-reaching and suggestive insight, for which he
might look in vain in more studied productions.

Another thing to note is the historic value that now attaches to this
Journal.  It marks the state of Scotland, and the feeling with which the
most finely gifted Englishmen came to it seventy years since, at a time
before the flood of English interest and ‘tourism’ had set in across the
Border.  The Wordsworths were of course not average English people.  They
came with an eye awake and trained for nature, and a heart in sympathy
with nature and with man in a degree not common either in that or in any
other age.  They were north-country English too, and between these and
the Lowland Scots there was less difference of fibre and of feeling than
there generally is between Cumbrians and Londoners.  All their lives they
had been wont to gaze across the Solway on the dimly-outlined mountains
of the Scottish Border.  This alone and their love of scenery and of
wandering were enough, apart from other inducement, to have lured them
northward.  But that tide of sentiment, which in our day has culminated
in our annual tourist inundation, was already setting in.  It had been
growing ever since ‘The Forty-five,’ when the sudden descent of the
Highland host on England, arrested only by the disastrous pause at Derby,
had frightened the Londoners from their propriety, and all but scared the
Second George beyond seas.  This terror in time subsided, but the
interest in the northern savages still survived, and was further
stimulated when, about fifteen years after, the portent of Macpherson’s
Ossian burst on the astonished world of literature.  Then about eleven
years later, in 1773, the burly and bigoted English Lexicographer
buttoned his great-coat up to the throat and set out on a Highland
sheltie from Inverness, on that wonderful ‘Tour to the Hebrides,’ by
which he determined to extinguish for ever Macpherson and his impudent
forgeries.  Such a tour seemed at that day as adventurous as would now be
a journey to the heart of Africa, and the stories which Johnson told of
the Hebrideans and their lives let in on his Cockney readers the
impression of a world as strange as any which Livingstone could now
report of.  Then, in 1786, came Burns, whose poetry, if it did not reach
the ordinary Englishman of the literary class, at least thrilled the
hearts of English poets.  That Wordsworth had felt his power we know,
for, independent as he stood, and little wont to acknowledge his
indebtedness to any, he yet confesses in one place that it was Burns who
first set him on the right track.  This series of surprises coming from
beyond the Tweed had drawn the eyes of Englishmen towards Scotland.
Especially two such voices—Ossian speaking from the heart of the
Highlands, Burns concentrating in his song the whole strength and the
weakness also of Lowland character—seemed to call across the Borders on
Wordsworth to come and look on their land.  And during all the first days
of that journey the thought of Burns and his untimely end, then so
recent, lay heavy on his heart.

Again, it were well, as we read, to remember the time when this Diary was
written.  It was before Scott was known as an original poet, before he
had given anything to the world save ‘The Border Minstrelsy.’  We are
accustomed to credit Scott with whatever enchantment invests Scotland in
the eyes of the English, and of foreigners.  And doubtless a large
portion of it is due to him, but perhaps not quite so much as we are apt
to fancy.  We commonly suppose that it was he who first discovered the
Trossachs and Loch Katrine, and revealed them to the world in ‘The Lady
of the Lake.’  Yet they must have had some earlier renown, enough to make
Wordsworth, travelling two years before the appearance even of Scott’s
‘Lay,’ turn aside to go in search of them.

To Dorothy Wordsworth and Coleridge this was the first time they had set
foot on Scottish ground.  Wordsworth himself seems to have crossed the
Border two years before this, though of that journey there is no record
remaining.  As they set forth from Keswick on that August morning one can
well believe that

    ‘Their exterior semblance did belie
    Their soul’s immensity.’

None of the three paid much regard to the outward man.  Coleridge,
perhaps, in soiled nankeen trousers, and with the blue and brass in which
he used to appear in Unitarian pulpits, buttoned round his growing
corpulency; Wordsworth in a suit of russet, not to say dingy, brown, with
a broad flapping straw hat to protect his weak eyesight.  And as for Miss
Wordsworth, we may well believe that in her dress she thought more of use
than of ornament.  These three, mounted on their outlandish Irish car,
with a horse, now gibbing and backing over a bank, now reduced to a walk,
with one of the poets leading him by the head, must have cut but a sorry
figure, and wakened many a smile and gibe in passers-by.  As they wound
their way up Nithsdale, one can well imagine how some Border lord or
laird, riding, or driving past in smart equipage, would look on them
askance, taking them for what Burns calls a ‘wheen gangrel bodies,’ or
for a set of Dominie Sampsons from the other side the Border, or for some
offshoot of the ‘Auld Licht’ Seceders.  Poor Coleridge, ill at ease, and
in the dumps all the way, stretched asleep on the car cushions, while the
other two were admiring the scenery, could not have added to their
hilarity.  And it must have been a relief to Wordsworth and his sister,
though the Journal hints it not, when he left them at Loch Lomond.  But
however grotesque their appearance may have been, they bore within them
that which made their journey rich in delight to themselves, not to say
to others.  They were then both in their prime, Wordsworth and his sister
being just past thirty.  They had the observant eye and the feeling heart
which money cannot buy.  No doubt to them, accustomed to the cleanness
and comfort of the farms and cottages of Westmoreland, those ‘homes of
ancient peace,’ with their warm stone porches and their shelter of
household sycamores, the dirt and discomfort of the inns and of the
humbler abodes they entered must have been repulsive enough.  Even the
gentlemen’s seats had to them an air of neglect and desolation, and the
new plantations of larch and fir with which they had then begun to be
surrounded, gave an impression of rawness, barrenness, and lack of
geniality.  Nor less in large towns, as in Glasgow, were they struck by
the dulness and dreariness in the aspect and demeanour of the dim ‘common
populations.’  They saw and felt these things as keenly as any could do.
But, unlike ordinary travellers, they were not scared or disgusted by
them.  They did not think that the first appearance was all.  They felt
and saw that there was more behind.  With lively interest they note the
healthy young women travelling barefoot, though well dressed, the
children without shoes or stockings, the barefoot boys, some with their
caps wreathed with wild-flowers, others who could read Virgil or Homer.
They pass, as friends, beneath the humble cottage roofs, look with
sympathy on the countenances of the inmates, partake, when bidden, of
their homely fare, enter feelingly into their pathetic human histories.
They came there not to criticise, but to know and feel.

Again, their intense love for their Westmoreland dales and meres did not
send them to look on those of Scotland with a sense of rivalry, but of
brotherhood.  They were altogether free from that vulgar habit of
comparing scene with scene which so poisons the eye to all true
perception of natural beauty,—as though the one great end were to
graduate all the various scenes of nature in the list of a competitive
examination.  Hence whatever new they met with, they were ready to
welcome and enjoy.  They could appreciate the long, bare, houseless,
treeless glens, not less than the well-wooded lakes.  And yet Miss
Wordsworth’s home-heartedness makes her long for some touches of home and
human habitation to break the long bleak solitudes she passed through.
The absolute desolation of the Moor of Rannoch, so stirring to some, was
evidently too much for her.

             ‘The loneliness
    Loaded her heart, the desert tired her eye.’

Again, throughout the Journal we see how to her eye man and nature
interact on each other.  That deep feeling, so strong in her brother’s
poetry, of the interest that man gives to nature, and still more the
dignity that nature gives to man, is not less strongly felt by her.  It
is man seen against a great background of nature and solitude that most
stirs her imagination.  The woman sitting sole by the margin of Daer
Water, or the old man alone in the corn-field, or the boy solitary on the
Moor of Crawfordjohn—these in her prose are pictures quite akin and equal
to many a one that occurs in her brother’s verse.  This sense of man with
‘grandeur circumfused,’ ‘the sanctity of nature given to man,’ is as
primary in her as in her brother.  I cannot believe that she merely
learnt it from him.  It must have been innate in both, derived by both
from one original source.

One is struck throughout by the absence of all effort at fine or
imaginative writing.  But this only makes more effective those natural
gleams that come unbidden.  After the dulness of Glasgow and the Vale of
Leven comes that wakening up to very ecstasy among the islands of Loch
Lomond,—that new world, magical, enchanting.  And then that plunge into
the heart of the Highlands, when they find themselves by the shores of
Loch Katrine, alone with the native people there,—the smell of the
peat-reek within, and the scent of the bog-myrtle without; those ‘gentle
ardours’ that awake, as they move along Lochawe-side and look into the
cove of Cruachan, or catch that Appin glen by Loch Linnhe, at the bright
sunset hour, enlivened by the haymaking people; or that new rapture they
drink in at the first glimpse, from Loch Etive shores, of the blue
Atlantic Isles.  And then what a fitting close to such a tour was that
meeting with Walter Scott; the two great poets of their time, both in the
morning of their power, and both still unknown, joining hands of
friendship which was to last for life!

But I have said more than enough.  Those who care for the things which
the Wordsworths cared for will find in this quiet narrative much to their
mind.  And they will find from it some new light shed on those delightful
poems, memorial of that tour, which remain as an undying track of glory
illuminating the path these two trod.  These poems are printed in the
Appendix, that those who know them well may read them once again, and
that those who do not know them, except by Guide-book extracts, may turn
to them, after reading the Journal, and try whether they cannot find in
them something which they never found elsewhere.

                                * * * * *

There is one entry, the last in the Journal, made as late as 1832, which
alludes to a fact which, but for this note, might have been left without
comment. {0c}  Throughout the whole tour no distinction seems to have
been made between Saturday and Sunday.  One would have thought that, if
nothing else, sympathy at least, which they did not lack, would have led
Wordsworth and his sister to turn aside and share the Sabbath worship of
the native people.  Even the tired jade might have put in his claim for
his Sabbath rest; not to mention the scandal which the sight of Sunday
travellers in lonely parts of Scotland must then have caused, and the
name they must many a time have earned for themselves, of
‘Sabbath-breakers.’  This last entry of 1832, however, marks a change,
which, if it came to Dorothy, came not less decidedly to her brother.
This change has been often remarked on, and has been stigmatised by ‘the
enlightened ones’ as ‘the reaction.’  They say that the earlier
nature-worship, which they call Pantheistic, speaks the true and genuine
man; the later and more consciously Christian mood they regard as the
product, not of deepened experience, but of timidity, or at least as the
sign of decreasing insight.  It is not so that I would interpret it.
Wordsworth and his sister, with their rare gift of soul and eye, saw
further into nature, and felt it more profoundly than common men can, and
had no doubt found there something which the gross world dreams not of.
They recovered thence a higher teaching, which men for ages had lost.
They learnt to think of God as being actually very near to them in all
they saw and heard; not as the mechanical Artificer, who makes a world
and then dwells aloof from it, but as

    ‘The Being that is in the clouds and air,
    That is in the green leaves among the groves.’

In nature, which to most eyes is but a dull lifeless mass, impelled by
dead mechanic movements, their finer spirits were aware of a breathing
life, a living Presence, distinct, yet not alien from, their own spirits,
and thence they drank life, and strength, and joy.  And not in nature
alone, but from their own hearts, from the deep places of their moral
nature, and from their minglings with their fellow-men, they could
oftentimes overhear

    ‘The still sad music of humanity,
    Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
    To chasten and subdue.’

And through this they learned to feel for themselves, and not
conventionally, the upholding presence of One on whom the soul’s ‘dark
foundations rest.’  Likely enough, in the prime of their strength they
may have imagined that these teachings coming from nature and from man
were in themselves enough.

But when sorrow and bereavement came, and with them the deepened sense of
sin and of utter need, they learned that in nature alone was nothing
which in the end they could abide by.  They had been true to the lights
they had, and they were led on to higher.  They were led to go beyond
nature and man for their ultimate support, and to overhear from that
higher region another, diviner ‘tone, into which all the strains of this
world’s music are ultimately to be resolved.’  The Poet, nor less his
sister, came at length to feel, what philosophers find so hard to
believe,—that The Being whom he had long known as near him in the
solitudes of nature, as close to the beatings of his own heart, was He
who had so loved him as to die for him.  True it is that this later and
more distinctly Christian experience is but faintly reflected in
Wordsworth’s poetry compared with the earlier naturalistic mood.  But
this is explained by the fact that before the later experience became
prominent, the early fervour of poetic creation had already passed.  Not
the less for this, however, was the poet’s later conviction a riper, more
advanced wisdom—not a retrogression.

                                                             J. C. SHAIRP.

CUILALUINN, _June_ 1874.


William and I parted from Mary on Sunday afternoon, August 14th, 1803;
and William, Coleridge, and I left Keswick on Monday morning, the 15th,
at twenty minutes after eleven o’clock.  The day was very hot; we walked
up the hills, and along all the rough road, which made our walking half
the day’s journey.  Travelled under the foot of Carrock, a mountain
covered with stones on the lower part; above, it is very rocky, but sheep
pasture there; we saw several where there seemed to be no grass to tempt
them.  Passed the foot of Grisdale and Mosedale, both pastoral valleys,
narrow, and soon terminating in the mountains—green, with scattered trees
and houses, and each a beautiful stream.  At Grisdale our horse backed
upon a steep bank where the road was not fenced, just above a pretty mill
at the foot of the valley; and we had a second threatening of a disaster
in crossing a narrow bridge between the two dales; but this was not the
fault of either man or horse.  Slept at Mr. Younghusband’s public-house,
Hesket Newmarket.  In the evening walked to Caldbeck Falls, a delicious
spot in which to breathe out a summer’s day—limestone rocks, hanging
trees, pools, and waterbreaks—caves and caldrons which have been honoured
with fairy names, and no doubt continue in the fancy of the neighbourhood
to resound with fairy revels.

                                * * * * *

_Tuesday_, _August_ 16_th_.—Passed Rose Castle upon the Caldew, an
ancient building of red stone with sloping gardens, an ivied gateway,
velvet lawns, old garden walls, trim flower-borders with stately and
luxuriant flowers.  We walked up to the house and stood some minutes
watching the swallows that flew about restlessly, and flung their shadows
upon the sunbright walls of the old building; the shadows glanced and
twinkled, interchanged and crossed each other, expanded and shrunk up,
appeared and disappeared every instant; as I observed to William and
Coleridge, seeming more like living things than the birds themselves.
Dined at Carlisle; the town in a bustle with the assizes; so many strange
faces known in former times and recognised, that it half seemed as if I
ought to know them all, and, together with the noise, the fine ladies,
etc., they put me into confusion.  This day Hatfield was condemned {2}  I
stood at the door of the gaoler’s house, where he was; William entered
the house, and Coleridge saw him; I fell into conversation with a debtor,
who told me in a dry way that he was ‘far over-learned,’ and another man
observed to William that we might learn from Hatfield’s fate ‘not to
meddle with pen and ink.’  We gave a shilling to my companion, whom we
found out to be a friend of the family, a fellow-sailor with my brother
John {3} ‘in Captain Wordsworth’s ship.’  Walked upon the city walls,
which are broken down in places and crumbling away, and most disgusting
from filth.  The city and neighbourhood of Carlisle disappointed me; the
banks of the river quite flat, and, though the holms are rich, there is
not much beauty in the vale from the want of trees—at least to the eye of
a person coming from England, and, I scarcely know how, but to me the
holms had not a natural look; there was something townish in their
appearance, a dulness in their strong deep green.  To Longtown—not very
interesting, except from the long views over the flat country; the road
rough, chiefly newly mended.  Reached Longtown after sunset, a town of
brick houses belonging chiefly to the Graham family.  Being in the form
of a cross and not long, it had been better called Crosstown.  There are
several shops, and it is not a very small place; but I could not meet
with a silver thimble, and bought a halfpenny brass one.  Slept at the
Graham’s Arms, a large inn.  Here, as everywhere else, the people seemed
utterly insensible of the enormity of Hatfield’s offences; the ostler
told William that he was quite a gentleman, paid every one genteelly,
etc. etc.  He and ‘Mary’ had walked together to Gretna Green; a heavy
rain came on when they were there; a returned chaise happened to pass,
and the driver would have taken them up; but ‘Mr. Hope’s’ carriage was to
be sent for; he did not choose to accept the chaise-driver’s offer.

                                * * * * *

_Wednesday_, _August_ 17_th_.—Left Longtown after breakfast.  About
half-a-mile from the town a guide-post and two roads, to Edinburgh and
Glasgow; we took the left-hand road, to Glasgow.  Here saw a specimen of
the luxuriance of the heath-plant, as it grows in Scotland; it was in the
enclosed plantations—perhaps sheltered by them.  These plantations
appeared to be not well grown for their age; the trees were stunted.
Afterwards the road, treeless, over a peat-moss common—the Solway Moss;
here and there an earth-built hut with its peat stack, a scanty growing
willow hedge round the kailgarth, perhaps the cow pasturing near,—a
little lass watching it,—the dreary waste cheered by the endless singing
of larks.

We enter Scotland by crossing the river Sark; on the Scotch side of the
bridge the ground is unenclosed pasturage; it was very green, and
scattered over with that yellow flowered plant which we call grunsel; the
hills heave and swell prettily enough; cattle feeding; a few corn fields
near the river.  At the top of the hill opposite is Springfield, a
village built by Sir William Maxwell—a dull uniformity in the houses, as
is usual when all built at one time, or belonging to one individual, each
just big enough for two people to live in, and in which a family, large
or small as it may happen, is crammed.  There the marriages are
performed.  Further on, though almost contiguous, is Gretna Green, upon a
hill and among trees.  This sounds well, but it is a dreary place; the
stone houses dirty and miserable, with broken windows.  There is a
pleasant view from the churchyard over Solway Firth to the Cumberland
mountains.  Dined at Annan.  On our left as we travelled along appeared
the Solway Firth and the mountains beyond, but the near country dreary.
Those houses by the roadside which are built of stone are comfortless and
dirty; but we peeped into a clay ‘biggin’ that was very ‘canny,’ and I
daresay will be as warm as a swallow’s nest in winter.  The town of Annan
made me think of France and Germany; many of the houses large and gloomy,
the size of them outrunning the comforts.  One thing which was like
Germany pleased me: the shopkeepers express their calling by some device
or painting; bread-bakers have biscuits, loaves, cakes painted on their
window-shutters; blacksmiths horses’ shoes, iron tools, etc. etc.; and so
on through all trades.

Reached Dumfries at about nine o’clock—market-day; met crowds of people
on the road, and every one had a smile for us and our car . . . .  The
inn was a large house, and tolerably comfortable; Mr. Rogers and his
sister, whom we had seen at our own cottage at Grasmere a few days
before, had arrived there that same afternoon on their way to the
Highlands; but we did not see them till the next morning, and only for
about a quarter of an hour.

                                * * * * *

_Thursday_, _August_ 18_th_.—Went to the churchyard where Burns is
buried.  A bookseller accompanied us.  He showed us the outside of
Burns’s house, where he had lived the last three years of his life, and
where he died.  It has a mean appearance, and is in a bye situation,
whitewashed; dirty about the doors, as almost all Scotch houses are;
flowering plants in the windows.

Went on to visit his grave.  He lies at a corner of the churchyard, and
his second son, Francis Wallace, beside him.  There is no stone to mark
the spot; {5} but a hundred guineas have been collected, to be expended
on some sort of monument.  ‘There,’ said the bookseller, pointing to a
pompous monument, ‘there lies Mr. Such-a-one’—I have forgotten his
name,—‘a remarkably clever man; he was an attorney, and hardly ever lost
a cause he undertook.  Burns made many a lampoon upon him, and there they
rest, as you see.’  We looked at the grave with melancholy and painful
reflections, repeating to each other his own verses:—

   ‘Is there a man whose judgment clear
   Can others teach the course to steer,
   Yet runs himself life’s mad career
            Wild as the wave?—
   Here let him pause, and through a tear
            Survey this grave.
   The Poor Inhabitant below
   Was quick to learn, and wise to know,
   And keenly felt the friendly glow
            And softer flame;
   But thoughtless follies laid him low,
            And stain’d his name.’

The churchyard is full of grave-stones and expensive monuments in all
sorts of fantastic shapes—obelisk-wise, pillar-wise, etc.  In speaking of
Gretna Green, I forgot to mention that we visited the churchyard.  The
church is like a huge house; indeed, so are all the churches, with a
steeple, not a square tower or spire,—a sort of thing more like a
glass-house chimney than a Church of England steeple; grave-stones in
abundance, few verses, yet there were some—no texts.  Over the graves of
married women the maiden name instead of that of the husband, ‘spouse’
instead of ‘wife,’ and the place of abode preceded by ‘in’ instead of
‘of.’  When our guide had left us, we turned again to Burns’s house.
Mrs. Burns was gone to spend some time by the sea-shore with her
children.  We spoke to the servant-maid at the door, who invited us
forward, and we sate down in the parlour.  The walls were coloured with a
blue wash; on one side of the fire was a mahogany desk, opposite to the
window a clock, and over the desk a print from the ‘Cotter’s Saturday
Night,’ which Burns mentions in one of his letters having received as a
present.  The house was cleanly and neat in the inside, the stairs of
stone, scoured white, the kitchen on the right side of the passage, the
parlour on the left.  In the room above the parlour the Poet died, and
his son after him in the same room.  The servant told us she had lived
five years with Mrs. Burns, who was now in great sorrow for the death of
‘Wallace.’  She said that Mrs. Burns’s youngest son was at Christ’s

We were glad to leave Dumfries, which is no agreeable place to them who
do not love the bustle of a town that seems to be rising up to wealth.
We could think of little else but poor Burns, and his moving about on
that unpoetic ground.  In our road to Brownhill, the next stage, we
passed Ellisland at a little distance on our right, his farmhouse.  We
might there have had more pleasure in looking round, if we had been
nearer to the spot; but there is no thought surviving in connexion with
Burns’s daily life that is not heart-depressing.  Travelled through the
vale of Nith, here little like a vale, it is so broad, with irregular
hills rising up on each side, in outline resembling the old-fashioned
valances of a bed.  There is a great deal of arable land; the corn ripe;
trees here and there—plantations, clumps, coppices, and a newness in
everything.  So much of the gorse and broom rooted out that you wonder
why it is not all gone, and yet there seems to be almost as much gorse
and broom as corn; and they grow one among another you know not how.
Crossed the Nith; the vale becomes narrow, and very pleasant; cornfields,
green hills, clay cottages; the river’s bed rocky, with woody banks.
Left the Nith about a mile and a half, and reached Brownhill, a lonely
inn, where we slept.  The view from the windows was pleasing, though some
travellers might have been disposed to quarrel with it for its general
nakedness; yet there was abundance of corn.  It is an open country—open,
yet all over hills.  At a little distance were many cottages among trees,
that looked very pretty.  Brownhill is about seven or eight miles from
Ellisland.  I fancied to myself, while I was sitting in the parlour, that
Burns might have caroused there, for most likely his rounds extended so
far, and this thought gave a melancholy interest to the smoky walls.  It
was as pretty a room as a thoroughly dirty one could be—a square parlour
painted green, but so covered over with smoke and dirt that it looked not
unlike green seen through black gauze.  There were three windows, looking
three ways, a buffet ornamented with tea-cups, a superfine largeish
looking-glass with gilt ornaments spreading far and wide, the glass
spotted with dirt, some ordinary alehouse pictures, and above the
chimney-piece a print in a much better style—as William guessed, taken
from a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds—of some lady of quality, in the
character of Euphrosyne.  ‘Ay,’ said the servant girl, seeing that we
looked at it, ‘there’s many travellers would give a deal for that, it’s
more admired than any in the house.’  We could not but smile; for the
rest were such as may be found in the basket of any Italian image and
picture hawker.

William and I walked out after dinner; Coleridge was not well, and slept
upon the carriage cushions.  We made our way to the cottages among the
little hills and knots of wood, and then saw what a delightful country
this part of Scotland might be made by planting forest trees.  The ground
all over heaves and swells like a sea; but for miles there are neither
trees nor hedgerows, only ‘mound’ fences and tracts; or slips of corn,
potatoes, clover—with hay between, and barren land; but near the cottages
many hills and hillocks covered with wood.  We passed some fine trees,
and paused under the shade of one close by an old mansion that seemed
from its neglected state to be inhabited by farmers.  But I must say that
many of the ‘gentlemen’s’ houses which we have passed in Scotland have an
air of neglect, and even of desolation.  It was a beech, in the full
glory of complete and perfect growth, very tall, with one thick stem
mounting to a considerable height, which was split into four ‘thighs,’ as
Coleridge afterwards called them, each in size a fine tree.  Passed
another mansion, now tenanted by a schoolmaster; many boys playing upon
the lawn.  I cannot take leave of the country which we passed through
to-day, without mentioning that we saw the Cumberland mountains within
half a mile of Ellisland, Burns’s house, the last view we had of them.
Drayton has prettily described the connexion which this neighbourhood has
with ours when he makes Skiddaw say—

               ‘Scurfell {9a} from the sky,
   That Anadale {9b} doth crown, with a most amorous eye,
   Salutes me every day, or at my pride looks grim,
   Oft threatning me with clouds, as I oft threatning him.’

These lines recurred to William’s memory, and we talked of Burns, and of
the prospect he must have had, perhaps from his own door, of Skiddaw and
his companions, indulging ourselves in the fancy that we might have been
personally known to each other, and he have looked upon those objects
with more pleasure for our sakes.  We talked of Coleridge’s children and
family, then at the foot of Skiddaw, and our own new-born John a few
miles behind it; while the grave of Burns’s son, which we had just seen
by the side of his father, and some stories heard at Dumfries respecting
the dangers his surviving children were exposed to, filled us with
melancholy concern, which had a kind of connexion with ourselves.  In
recollection of this, William long afterwards wrote the following Address
to the sons of the ill-fated poet:—

   Ye now are panting up life’s hill,
   ’Tis twilight time of good and ill,
   And more than common strength and skill
            Must ye display,
   If ye would give the better will
            Its lawful sway.

   Strong-bodied if ye be to bear
   Intemperance with less harm, beware,
   But if your Father’s wit ye share,
            Then, then indeed,
   Ye Sons of Burns, for watchful care
            There will be need.

   For honest men delight will take
   To shew you favour for his sake,
   Will flatter you, and Fool and Rake
            Your steps pursue,
   And of your Father’s name will make
            A snare for you.

   Let no mean hope your souls enslave,
   Be independent, generous, brave;
   Your Father such example gave,
            And such revere,
   But be admonished by his grave,
            And think and fear. {11}

                                * * * * *

_Friday_, _August_ 19_th_.—Open country for a considerable way.  Passed
through the village of Thornhill, built by the Duke of Queensberry; the
‘brother-houses’ so small that they might have been built to stamp a
character of insolent pride on his own huge mansion of Drumlanrigg, which
is full in view on the opposite side of the Nith.  This mansion is indeed
very large; but to us it appeared like a gathering together of little
things.  The roof is broken into a hundred pieces, cupolas, etc., in the
shape of casters, conjuror’s balls, cups, and the like.  The situation
would be noble if the woods had been left standing; but they have been
cut down not long ago, and the hills above and below the house are quite
bare.  About a mile and a half from Drumlanrigg is a turnpike gate at the
top of a hill.  We left our car with the man, and turned aside into a
field where we looked down upon the Nith, which runs far below in a deep
and rocky channel; the banks woody; the view pleasant down the river
towards Thornhill, an open country—corn fields, pastures, and scattered
trees.  Returned to the turnpike house, a cold spot upon a common, black
cattle feeding close to the door.  Our road led us down the hill to the
side of the Nith, and we travelled along its banks for some miles.  Here
were clay cottages perhaps every half or quarter of a mile.  The bed of
the stream rough with rocks; banks irregular, now woody, now bare; here a
patch of broom, there of corn, then of pasturage; and hills green or
heathy above.  We were to have given our horse meal and water at a
public-house in one of the hamlets we passed through, but missed the
house, for, as is common in Scotland, it was without a sign-board.
Travelled on, still beside the Nith, till we came to a turnpike house,
which stood rather high on the hill-side, and from the door we looked a
long way up and down the river.  The air coldish, the wind strong.

We asked the turnpike man to let us have some meal and water.  He had no
meal, but luckily we had part of a feed of corn brought from Keswick, and
he procured some hay at a neighbouring house.  In the meantime I went
into the house, where was an old man with a grey plaid over his
shoulders, reading a newspaper.  On the shelf lay a volume of the Scotch
Encyclopædia, a History of England, and some other books.  The old man
was a caller by the way.  The man of the house came back, and we began to
talk.  He was very intelligent; had travelled all over England, Scotland,
and Ireland as a gentleman’s servant, and now lived alone in that
lonesome place.  He said he was tired of his bargain, for he feared he
should lose by it.  And he had indeed a troublesome office, for
coal-carts without number were passing by, and the drivers seemed to do
their utmost to cheat him.  There is always something peculiar in the
house of a man living alone.  This was but half-furnished, yet nothing
seemed wanting for his comfort, though a female who had travelled half as
far would have needed fifty other things.  He had no other meat or drink
in the house but oat bread and cheese—the cheese was made with the
addition of seeds—and some skimmed milk.  He gave us of his bread and
cheese, and milk, which proved to be sour.

We had yet ten or eleven miles to travel, and no food with us.  William
lay under the wind in a corn-field below the house, being not well enough
to partake of the milk and bread.  Coleridge gave our host a pamphlet,
‘The Crisis of the Sugar Colonies;’ he was well acquainted with Burns’s
poems.  There was a politeness and a manly freedom in this man’s manners
which pleased me very much.  He told us that he had served a gentleman, a
captain in the army—he did not know who he was, for none of his relations
had ever come to see him, but he used to receive many letters—that he had
lived near Dumfries till they would let him stay no longer, he made such
havoc with the game; his whole delight from morning till night, and the
long year through, was in field sports; he would be on his feet the worst
days in winter, and wade through snow up to the middle after his game.
If he had company he was in tortures till they were gone; he would then
throw off his coat and put on an old jacket not worth half-a-crown.  He
drank his bottle of wine every day, and two if he had better sport than
usual.  Ladies sometimes came to stay with his wife, and he often carried
them out in an Irish jaunting-car, and if they vexed him he would choose
the dirtiest roads possible, and spoil their clothes by jumping in and
out of the car, and treading upon them.  ‘But for all that’—and so he
ended all—‘he was a good fellow, and a clever fellow, and he liked him
well.’  He would have ten or a dozen hares in the larder at once, he half
maintained his family with game, and he himself was very fond of eating
of the spoil—unusual with true heart-and-soul sportsmen.

The man gave us an account of his farm where he had lived, which was so
cheap and pleasant that we thought we should have liked to have had it
ourselves.  Soon after leaving the turnpike house we turned up a hill to
the right, the road for a little way very steep, bare hills, with sheep.

After ascending a little while we heard the murmur of a stream far below
us, and saw it flowing downwards on our left, towards the Nith, and
before us, between steep green hills, coming along a winding valley.  The
simplicity of the prospect impressed us very much.  There was a single
cottage by the brook side; the dell was not heathy, but it was impossible
not to think of Peter Bell’s Highland Girl.

We now felt indeed that we were in Scotland; there was a natural
peculiarity in this place.  In the scenes of the Nith it had not been the
same as England, but yet not simple, naked Scotland.  The road led us
down the hill, and now there was no room in the vale but for the river
and the road; we had sometimes the stream to the right, sometimes to the
left.  The hills were pastoral, but we did not see many sheep; green
smooth turf on the left, no ferns.  On the right the heath-plant grew in
abundance, of the most exquisite colour; it covered a whole hillside, or
it was in streams and patches.  We travelled along the vale without
appearing to ascend for some miles; all the reaches were beautiful, in
exquisite proportion, the hills seeming very high from being so near to
us.  It might have seemed a valley which nature had kept to herself for
pensive thoughts and tender feelings, but that we were reminded at every
turning of the road of something beyond by the coal-carts which were
travelling towards us.  Though these carts broke in upon the tranquillity
of the glen, they added much to the picturesque effect of the different
views, which indeed wanted nothing, though perfectly bare, houseless, and

After some time our road took us upwards towards the end of the valley.
Now the steeps were heathy all around.  Just as we began to climb the
hill we saw three boys who came down the cleft of a brow on our left; one
carried a fishing-rod, and the hats of all were braided with
honeysuckles; they ran after one another as wanton as the wind.  I cannot
express what a character of beauty those few honeysuckles in the hats of
the three boys gave to the place: what bower could they have come from?
We walked up the hill, met two well-dressed travellers, the woman
barefoot.  Our little lads before they had gone far were joined by some
half-dozen of their companions, all without shoes and stockings.  They
told us they lived at Wanlockhead, the village above, pointing to the top
of the hill; they went to school and learned Latin, Virgil, and some of
them Greek, Homer, but when Coleridge began to inquire further, off they
ran, poor things! I suppose afraid of being examined.

When, after a steep ascent, we had reached the top of the hill, we saw a
village about half a mile before us on the side of another hill, which
rose up above the spot where we were, after a descent, a sort of valley
or hollow.  Nothing grew upon this ground, or the hills above or below,
but heather, yet round about the village—which consisted of a great
number of huts, all alike, and all thatched, with a few larger slated
houses among them, and a single modern-built one of a considerable
size—were a hundred patches of cultivated ground, potatoes, oats, hay,
and grass.  We were struck with the sight of haycocks fastened down with
aprons, sheets, pieces of sacking—as we supposed, to prevent the wind
from blowing them away.  We afterwards found that this practice was very
general in Scotland.  Every cottage seemed to have its little plot of
ground, fenced by a ridge of earth; this plot contained two or three
different divisions, kail, potatoes, oats, hay; the houses all standing
in lines, or never far apart; the cultivated ground was all together
also, and made a very strange appearance with its many greens among the
dark brown hills, neither tree nor shrub growing; yet the grass and the
potatoes looked greener than elsewhere, owing to the bareness of the
neighbouring hills; it was indeed a wild and singular spot—to use a
woman’s illustration, like a collection of patchwork, made of pieces as
they might have chanced to have been cut by the mantua-maker, only just
smoothed to fit each other, the different sorts of produce being in such
a multitude of plots, and those so small and of such irregular shapes.
Add to the strangeness of the village itself, that we had been climbing
upwards, though gently, for many miles, and for the last mile and a half
up a steep ascent, and did not know of any village till we saw the boys
who had come out to play.  The air was very cold, and one could not help
thinking what it must be in winter, when those hills, now ‘red brown,’
should have their three months’ covering of snow.

The village, as we guessed, is inhabited by miners; the mines belong to
the Duke of Queensberry.  The road to the village, down which the lads
scampered away, was straight forward.  I must mention that we met, just
after we had parted from them, another little fellow, about six years
old, carrying a bundle over his shoulder; he seemed poor and half
starved, and was scratching his fingers, which were covered with the
itch.  He was a miner’s son, and lived at Wanlockhead; did not go to
school, but this was probably on account of his youth.  I mention him
because he seemed to be a proof that there was poverty and wretchedness
among these people, though we saw no other symptom of it; and afterwards
we met scores of the inhabitants of this same village.  Our road turned
to the right, and we saw, at the distance of less than a mile, a tall
upright building of grey stone, with several men standing upon the roof,
as if they were looking out over battlements.  It stood beyond the
village, upon higher ground, as if presiding over it,—a kind of
enchanter’s castle, which it might have been, a place where Don Quixote
would have gloried in.  When we drew nearer we saw, coming out of the
side of the building, a large machine or lever, in appearance like a
great forge-hammer, as we supposed for raising water out of the mines.
It heaved upwards once in half a minute with a slow motion, and seemed to
rest to take breath at the bottom, its motion being accompanied with a
sound between a groan and ‘jike.’  There would have been something in
this object very striking in any place, as it was impossible not to
invest the machine with some faculty of intellect; it seemed to have made
the first step from brute matter to life and purpose, showing its
progress by great power.  William made a remark to this effect, and
Coleridge observed that it was like a giant with one idea.  At all
events, the object produced a striking effect in that place, where
everything was in unison with it—particularly the building itself, which
was turret-shaped, and with the figures upon it resembled much one of the
fortresses in the wooden cuts of Bunyan’s ‘Holy War.’

After ascending a considerable way we began to descend again; and now we
met a team of horses dragging an immense tree to the lead mines, to
repair or add to the building, and presently after we came to a cart,
with another large tree, and one horse left in it, right in the middle of
the highway.  We were a little out of humour, thinking we must wait till
the team came back.  There were men and boys without number all staring
at us; after a little consultation they set their shoulders to the cart,
and with a good heave all at once they moved it, and we passed along.
These people were decently dressed, and their manners decent; there was
no hooting or impudent laughter.  Leadhills, another mining village, was
the place of our destination for the night; and soon after we had passed
the cart we came in sight of it.  This village and the mines belong to
Lord Hopetoun; it has more stone houses than Wanlockhead, one large old
mansion, and a considerable number of old trees—beeches, I believe.  The
trees told of the coldness of the climate; they were more brown than
green—far browner than the ripe grass of the little hay-garths.  Here, as
at Wanlockhead, were haycocks, hay-stacks, potato-beds, and kail-garths
in every possible variety of shape, but, I suppose from the irregularity
of the ground, it looked far less artificial—indeed, I should think that
a painter might make several beautiful pictures in this village.  It
straggles down both sides of a mountain glen.  As I have said, there is a
large mansion.  There is also a stone building that looks like a school,
and the houses are single, or in clusters, or rows as it may chance.

We passed a decent-looking inn, the Hopetoun Arms; but the house of Mrs.
Otto, a widow, had been recommended to us with high encomiums.  We did
not then understand Scotch inns, and were not quite satisfied at first
with our accommodations, but all things were smoothed over by degrees; we
had a fire lighted in our dirty parlour, tea came after a reasonable
waiting; and the fire with the gentle aid of twilight, burnished up the
room into cheerful comfort.  Coleridge was weary; but William and I
walked out after tea.  We talked with one of the miners, who informed us
that the building which we had supposed to be a school was a library
belonging to the village.  He said they had got a book into it a few
weeks ago, which had cost thirty pounds, and that they had all sorts of
books.  ‘What! have you Shakespeare?’  ‘Yes, we have that,’ and we found,
on further inquiry, that they had a large library, {19} of long standing,
that Lord Hopetoun had subscribed liberally to it, and that gentlemen who
came with him were in the habit of making larger or smaller donations.
Each man who had the benefit of it paid a small sum monthly—I think about

The man we talked with spoke much of the comfort and quiet in which they
lived one among another; he made use of a noticeable expression, saying
that they were ‘very peaceable people considering they lived so much
underground;’—wages were about thirty pounds a year; they had land for
potatoes, warm houses, plenty of coals, and only six hours’ work each
day, so that they had leisure for reading if they chose.  He said the
place was healthy, that the inhabitants lived to a great age; and indeed
we saw no appearance of ill-health in their countenances; but it is not
common for people working in lead mines to be healthy; and I have since
heard that it is _not_ a healthy place.  However this may be, they are
unwilling to allow it; for the landlady the next morning, when I said to
her ‘You have a cold climate,’ replied, ‘Ay, but it is _varra halesome_.’
We inquired of the man respecting the large mansion; he told us that it
was built, as we might see, in the form of an H, and belonged to the
Hopetouns, and they took their title from thence, {20} and that part of
it was used as a chapel.  We went close to it, and were a good deal
amused with the building itself, standing forth in bold contradiction of
the story which I daresay every man of Leadhills tells, and every man
believes, that it is in the shape of an H; it is but half an H, and one
must be very accommodating to allow it even so much, for the legs are far
too short.

We visited the burying-ground, a plot of land not very small, crowded
with graves, and upright grave-stones, overlooking the village and the
dell.  It was now the closing in of evening.  Women and children were
gathering in the linen for the night, which was bleaching by the
burn-side;—the graves overgrown with grass, such as, by industrious
culture, had been raised up about the houses; but there were bunches of
heather here and there, and with the blue-bells that grew among the grass
the small plot of ground had a beautiful and wild appearance.

William left me, and I went to a shop to purchase some thread; the woman
had none that suited me; but she would send a ‘_wee_ lad’ to the other
shop.  In the meantime I sat with the mother, and was much pleased with
her manner and conversation.  She had an excellent fire, and her cottage,
though very small, looked comfortable and cleanly; but remember I saw it
only by firelight.  She confirmed what the man had told us of the quiet
manner in which they lived; and indeed her house and fireside seemed to
need nothing to make it a cheerful happy spot, but health and good
humour.  There was a bookishness, a certain formality in this woman’s
language, which was very remarkable.  She had a dark complexion, dark
eyes, and wore a very white cap, much over her face, which gave her the
look of a French woman, and indeed afterwards the women on the roads
frequently reminded us of French women, partly from the extremely white
caps of the elder women, and still more perhaps from a certain gaiety and
party-coloured appearance in their dress in general.  White bed-gowns are
very common, and you rarely meet a young girl with either hat or cap;
they buckle up their hair often in a graceful manner.

I returned to the inn, and went into the kitchen to speak with the
landlady; she had made a hundred hesitations when I told her we wanted
three beds.  At last she confessed she _had_ three beds, and showed me
into a parlour which looked damp and cold, but she assured me in a tone
that showed she was unwilling to be questioned further, that all _her_
beds were well aired.  I sat a while by the kitchen fire with the
landlady, and began to talk to her; but, much as I had heard in her
praise—for the shopkeeper had told me she was a varra discreet woman—I
cannot say that her manners pleased me much.  But her servant made
amends, for she was as pleasant and cheerful a lass as was ever seen; and
when we asked her to do anything, she answered, ‘Oh yes,’ with a merry
smile, and almost ran to get us what we wanted.  She was about sixteen
years old: wore shoes and stockings, and had her hair tucked up with a
comb.  The servant at Brownhill was a coarse-looking wench, barefoot and
barelegged.  I examined the kitchen round about; it was crowded with
furniture, drawers, cupboards, dish-covers, pictures, pans, and pots,
arranged without order, except that the plates were on shelves, and the
dish-covers hung in rows; these were very clean, but floors, passages,
staircase, everything else dirty.  There were two beds in recesses in the
wall; above one of them I noticed a shelf with some books:—it made me
think of Chaucer’s Clerke of Oxenforde:—

   ‘Liever had he at his bed’s head
   Twenty books clothed in black and red.’

They were baking oat-bread, which they cut into quarters, and half-baked
over the fire, and half-toasted before it.  There was a suspiciousness
about Mrs. Otto, almost like ill-nature; she was very jealous of any
inquiries that might appear to be made with the faintest idea of a
comparison between Leadhills and any other place, except the advantage
was evidently on the side of Leadhills.  We had nice honey to breakfast.
When ready to depart, we learned that we might have seen the library,
which we had not thought of till it was too late, and we were very sorry
to go away without seeing it.

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, _August_ 20_th_.—Left Leadhills at nine o’clock, regretting
much that we could not stay another day, that we might have made more
minute inquiries respecting the manner of living of the miners, and been
able to form an estimate, from our own observation, of the degree of
knowledge, health, and comfort that there was among them.  The air was
keen and cold; we might have supposed it to be three months later in the
season and two hours earlier in the day.  The landlady had not lighted us
a fire; so I was obliged to get myself toasted in the kitchen, and when
we set off I put on both grey cloak and spencer.

Our road carried us down the valley, and we soon lost sight of Leadhills,
for the valley made a turn almost immediately, and we saw two miles,
perhaps, before us; the glen sloped somewhat rapidly—heathy, bare, no hut
or house.  Passed by a shepherd, who was sitting upon the ground,
reading, with the book on his knee, screened from the wind by his plaid,
while a flock of sheep were feeding near him among the rushes and coarse
grass—for, as we descended we came among lands where grass grew with the
heather.  Travelled through several reaches of the glen, which somewhat
resembled the valley of Menock on the other side of Wanlockhead; but it
was not near so beautiful; the forms of the mountains did not melt so
exquisitely into each other, and there was a coldness, and, if I may so
speak, a want of simplicity in the surface of the earth; the heather was
poor, not covering a whole hillside; not in luxuriant streams and beds
interveined with rich verdure; but patchy and stunted, with here and
there coarse grass and rushes.  But we soon came in sight of a spot that
impressed us very much.  At the lower end of this new reach of the vale
was a decayed tree, beside a decayed cottage, the vale spreading out into
a level area which was one large field, without fence and without
division, of a dull yellow colour; the vale seemed to partake of the
desolation of the cottage, and to participate in its decay.  And yet the
spot was in its nature so dreary that one would rather have wondered how
it ever came to be tenanted by man, than lament that it was left to waste
and solitude.  Yet the encircling hills were so exquisitely formed that
it was impossible to conceive anything more lovely than this place would
have been if the valley and hill-sides had been interspersed with trees,
cottages, green fields, and hedgerows.  But all was desolate; the one
large field which filled up the area of the valley appeared, as I have
said, in decay, and seemed to retain the memory of its connexion with man
in some way analogous to the ruined building; for it was as much of a
field as Mr. King’s best pasture scattered over with his fattest cattle.

We went on, looking before us, the place losing nothing of its hold upon
our minds, when we discovered a woman sitting right in the middle of the
field, alone, wrapped up in a grey cloak or plaid.  She sat motionless
all the time we looked at her, which might be nearly half an hour.  We
could not conceive why she sat there, for there were neither sheep nor
cattle in the field; her appearance was very melancholy.  In the meantime
our road carried us nearer to the cottage, though we were crossing over
the hill to the left, leaving the valley below us, and we perceived that
a part of the building was inhabited, and that what we had supposed to be
_one_ blasted tree was eight trees, four of which were entirely blasted;
the others partly so, and round about the place was a little potato and
cabbage garth, fenced with earth.  No doubt, that woman had been an
inhabitant of the cottage.  However this might be, there was so much
obscurity and uncertainty about her, and her figure agreed so well with
the desolation of the place, that we were indebted to the chance of her
being there for some of the most interesting feelings that we had ever
had from natural objects connected with man in dreary solitariness.

We had been advised to go along the _new_ road, which would have carried
us down the vale; but we met some travellers who recommended us to climb
the hill, and go by the village of Crawfordjohn as being much nearer.  We
had a long hill, and after having reached the top, steep and bad roads,
so we continued to walk for a considerable way.  The air was cold and
clear—the sky blue.  We walked cheerfully along in the sunshine, each of
us alone, only William had the charge of the horse and car, so he
sometimes took a ride, which did but poorly recompense him for the
trouble of driving.  I never travelled with more cheerful spirits than
this day.  Our road was along the side of a high moor.  I can always walk
over a moor with a light foot; I seem to be drawn more closely to nature
in such places than anywhere else; or rather I feel more strongly the
power of nature over me, and am better satisfied with myself for being
able to find enjoyment in what unfortunately to many persons is either
dismal or insipid.  This moor, however, was more than commonly
interesting; we could see a long way, and on every side of us were larger
or smaller tracts of cultivated land.  Some were extensive farms, yet in
so large a waste they did but look small, with farm-houses, barns, etc.,
others like little cottages, with enough to feed a cow, and supply the
family with vegetables.  In looking at these farms we had always one
feeling.  Why did the plough stop there?  Why might not they as well have
carried it twice as far?  There were no hedgerows near the farms, and
very few trees.  As we were passing along, we saw an old man, the first
we had seen in a Highland bonnet, walking with a staff at a very slow
pace by the edge of one of the moorland cornfields; he wore a grey plaid,
and a dog was by his side.  There was a scriptural solemnity in this
man’s figure, a sober simplicity which was most impressive.  Scotland is
the country above all others that I have seen, in which a man of
imagination may carve out his own pleasures.  There are so many
_inhabited_ solitudes, and the employments of the people are so
immediately connected with the places where you find them, and their
dresses so simple, so much alike, yet, from their being folding garments,
admitting of an endless variety, and falling often so gracefully.

After some time we descended towards a broad vale, passed one farm-house,
sheltered by fir trees, with a burn close to it; children playing, linen
bleaching.  The vale was open pastures and corn-fields unfenced, the land
poor.  The village of Crawfordjohn on the slope of a hill a long way
before us to the left.  Asked about our road of a man who was driving a
cart; he told us to go through the village, then along some fields, and
we should come to a ‘herd’s house by the burn side.’  The highway was
right through the vale, unfenced on either side; the people of the
village, who were making hay, all stared at us and our carriage.  We
inquired the road of a middle-aged man, dressed in a shabby black coat,
at work in one of the hay fields; he looked like the minister of the
place, and when he spoke we felt assured that he was so, for he was not
sparing of hard words, which, however, he used with great propriety, and
he spoke like one who had been accustomed to dictate.  Our car wanted
mending in the wheel, and we asked him if there was a blacksmith in the
village.  ‘Yes,’ he replied, but when we showed him the wheel he told
William that he might mend it himself without a blacksmith, and he would
put him in the way; so he fetched hammer and nails and gave his
directions, which William obeyed, and repaired the damage entirely to his
own satisfaction and the priest’s, who did not offer to lend any
assistance himself; not as if he would not have been willing in case of
need; but as if it were more natural for him to dictate, and because he
thought it more fit that William should do it himself.  He spoke much
about the propriety of every man’s lending all the assistance in his
power to travellers, and with some ostentation or self-praise.  Here I
observed a honey-suckle and some flowers growing in a garden, the first I
had seen in Scotland.  It is a pretty cheerful-looking village, but must
be very cold in winter; it stands on a hillside, and the vale itself is
very high ground, unsheltered by trees.

Left the village behind us, and our road led through arable ground for a
considerable way, on which were growing very good crops of corn and
potatoes.  Our friend accompanied us to show us the way, and Coleridge
and he had a scientific conversation concerning the uses and properties
of lime and other manures.  He seemed to be a well-informed man; somewhat
pedantic in his manners; but this might be only the difference between
Scotch and English. {27}

Soon after he had parted from us, we came upon a stony, rough road over a
black moor; and presently to the ‘herd’s house by the burn side.’  We
could hardly cross the burn dry-shod, over which was the only road to the
cottage.  In England there would have been stepping-stones or a bridge;
but the Scotch need not be afraid of wetting their bare feet.  The hut
had its little kail-garth fenced with earth; there was no other
enclosure—but the common, heathy with coarse grass.  Travelled along the
common for some miles, before we joined the great road from Longtown to
Glasgow—saw on the bare hill-sides at a distance, sometimes a solitary
farm, now and then a plantation, and one very large wood, with an
appearance of richer ground above; but it was so very high we could not
think it possible.  Having descended considerably, the common was no
longer of a peat-mossy brown heath colour, but grass with rushes was its
chief produce; there was sometimes a solitary hut, no enclosures except
the kail-garth, and sheep pasturing in flocks, with shepherd-boys tending
them.  I remember one boy in particular; he had no hat on, and only had a
grey plaid wrapped about him.  It is nothing to describe, but on a bare
moor, alone with his sheep, standing, as he did, in utter quietness and
silence, there was something uncommonly impressive in his appearance, a
solemnity which recalled to our minds the old man in the corn-field.  We
passed many people who were mowing, or raking the grass of the common; it
was little better than rushes; but they did not mow straight forward,
only here and there, where it was the best; in such a place hay-cocks had
an uncommon appearance to us.

After a long descent we came to some plantations which were not far from
Douglas Mill.  The country for some time had been growing into
cultivation, and now it was a wide vale with large tracts of corn; trees
in clumps, no hedgerows, which always make a country look bare and
unlovely.  For my part, I was better pleased with the desert places we
had left behind, though no doubt the inhabitants of this place think it
‘a varra bonny spot,’ for the Scotch are always pleased with their own
abode, be it what it may; and afterwards at Edinburgh, when we were
talking with a bookseller of our travels, he observed that it was ‘a fine
country near Douglas Mill.’  Douglas Mill is a single house, a large inn,
being one of the regular stages between Longtown and Glasgow, and
therefore a fair specimen of the best of the country inns of Scotland.
As soon as our car stopped at the door we felt the difference.  At an
English inn of this size, a waiter, or the master or mistress, would have
been at the door immediately, but we remained some time before anybody
came; then a barefooted lass made her appearance, but she only looked at
us and went away.  The mistress, a remarkably handsome woman, showed us
into a large parlour; we ordered mutton-chops, and I finished my letter
to Mary; writing on the same window-ledge on which William had written to
me two years before.

After dinner, William and I sat by a little mill-race in the garden.  We
had left Leadhills and Wanlockhead far above us, and now were come into a
warmer climate; but there was no richness in the face of the country.
The shrubs looked cold and poor, and yet there were some very fine trees
within a little distance of Douglas Mill, so that the reason, perhaps,
why the few low shrubs and trees which were growing in the gardens seemed
to be so unluxuriant, might be, that there being no hedgerows, the
general appearance of the country was naked, and I could not help seeing
the same coldness where, perhaps, it did not exist in itself to any great
degree, for the corn crops are abundant, and I should think the soil is
not bad.  While we were sitting at the door, two of the landlady’s
children came out; the elder, a boy about six years old, was running away
from his little brother, in petticoats; the ostler called out, ‘Sandy,
tak’ your wee brither wi’ you;’ another voice from the window, ‘Sawny,
dinna leave your wee brither;’ the mother then came, ‘Alexander, tak’
your wee brother by the hand;’ Alexander obeyed, and the two went off in
peace together.  We were charged eightpence for hay at this inn, another
symptom of our being in Scotland.  Left Douglas Mill at about three
o’clock; travelled through an open corn country, the tracts of corn large
and unenclosed.  We often passed women or children who were watching a
single cow while it fed upon the slips of grass between the corn.
William asked a strong woman, about thirty years of age, who looked like
the mistress of a family—I suppose moved by some sentiment of compassion
for her being so employed,—if the cow would eat the corn if it were left
to itself: she smiled at his simplicity.  It is indeed a melancholy thing
to see a full-grown woman thus waiting, as it were, body and soul devoted
to the poor beast; yet even this is better than working in a manufactory
the day through.

We came to a moorish tract; saw before us the hills of Loch Lomond, Ben
Lomond and another, distinct each by itself.  Not far from the roadside
were some benches placed in rows in the middle of a large field, with a
sort of covered shed like a sentry-box, but much more like those boxes
which the Italian puppet-showmen in London use.  We guessed that it was a
pulpit or tent for preaching, and were told that a sect met there
occasionally, who held that toleration was unscriptural, and would have
all religions but their own exterminated.  I have forgotten what name the
man gave to this sect; we could not learn that it differed in any other
respect from the Church of Scotland.  Travelled for some miles along the
open country, which was all without hedgerows, sometimes arable,
sometimes moorish, and often whole tracts covered with grunsel. {30}
There was one field, which one might have believed had been sown with
grunsel, it was so regularly covered with it—a large square field upon a
slope, its boundary marked to our eyes only by the termination of the
bright yellow; contiguous to it were other fields of the same size and
shape, one of clover, the other of potatoes, all equally regular crops.
The oddness of this appearance, the grunsel being uncommonly luxuriant,
and the field as yellow as gold, made William laugh.  Coleridge was
melancholy upon it, observing that there was land enough wasted to rear a
healthy child.

We left behind us, considerably to the right, a single high mountain;
{31a} I have forgotten its name; we had had it long in view.  Saw before
us the river Clyde, its course at right angles to our road, which now
made a turn, running parallel with the river; the town of Lanerk in sight
long before we came to it.  I was somewhat disappointed with the first
view of the Clyde: {31b} the banks, though swelling and varied, had a
poverty in their appearance, chiefly from the want of wood and hedgerows.
Crossed the river and ascended towards Lanerk, which stands upon a hill.
When we were within about a mile of the town, William parted from
Coleridge and me, to go to the celebrated waterfalls.  Coleridge did not
attempt to drive the horse; but led him all the way.  We inquired for the
best inn, and were told that the New Inn was the best; but that they had
very ‘genteel apartments’ at the Black Bull, and made less charges, and
the Black Bull was at the entrance of the town, so we thought we would
stop there, as the horse was obstinate and weary.  But when we came to
the Black Bull we had no wish to enter the apartments; for it seemed the
abode of dirt and poverty, yet it was a large building.  The town showed
a sort of French face, and would have done much more, had it not been for
the true British tinge of coal-smoke; the doors and windows dirty, the
shops dull, the women too seemed to be very dirty in their dress.  The
town itself is not ugly; the houses are of grey stone, the streets not
very narrow, and the market-place decent.  The New Inn is a handsome old
stone building, formerly a gentleman’s house.  We were conducted into a
parlour, where people had been drinking; the tables were unwiped, chairs
in disorder, the floor dirty, and the smell of liquors was most
offensive.  We were tired, however, and rejoiced in our tea.

The evening sun was now sending a glorious light through the street,
which ran from west to east; the houses were of a fire red, and the faces
of the people as they walked westward were almost like a blacksmith when
he is at work by night.  I longed to be out, and meet with William, that
we might see the Falls before the day was gone.  Poor Coleridge was
unwell, and could not go.  I inquired my road, and a little girl told me
she would go with me to the porter’s lodge, where I might be admitted.  I
was grieved to hear that the Falls of the Clyde were shut up in a
gentleman’s grounds, and to be viewed only by means of lock and key.
Much, however, as the pure feeling with which one would desire to visit
such places is disturbed by useless, impertinent, or even unnecessary
interference with nature, yet when I was there the next morning I seemed
to feel it a less disagreeable thing than in smaller and more delicate
spots, if I may use the phrase.  My guide, a sensible little girl,
answered my inquiries very prettily.  She was eight years old, read in
the ‘Collection,’ a book which all the Scotch children whom I have
questioned read in.  I found it was a collection of hymns; she could
repeat several of Dr. Watts’.  We passed through a great part of the
town, then turned down a steep hill, and came in view of a long range of
cotton mills, {33} the largest and loftiest I had ever seen; climbed
upwards again, our road leading us along the top of the left bank of the
river; both banks very steep and richly wooded.  The girl left me at the
porter’s lodge.  Having asked after William, I was told that no person
had been there, or could enter but by the gate.  The night was coming on,
therefore I did not venture to go in, as I had no hope of meeting
William.  I had a delicious walk alone through the wood; the sound of the
water was very solemn, and even the cotton mills in the fading light of
evening had somewhat of the majesty and stillness of the natural objects.
It was nearly dark when I reached the inn.  I found Coleridge sitting by
a good fire, which always makes an inn room look comfortable.  In a few
minutes William arrived; he had heard of me at the gate, and followed as
quickly as he could, shouting after me.  He was pale and exceedingly

After he had left us he had taken a wrong road, and while looking about
to set himself right had met with a barefooted boy, who said he would go
with him.  The little fellow carried him by a wild path to the upper of
the Falls, the Boniton Linn, and coming down unexpectedly upon it, he was
exceedingly affected by the solemn grandeur of the place.  This fall is
not much admired or spoken of by travellers; you have never a full,
breast view of it; it does not make a complete self-satisfying place, an
abode of its own, as a perfect waterfall seems to me to do; but the
river, down which you look through a long vista of steep and ruin-like
rocks, the roaring of the waterfall, and the solemn evening lights, must
have been most impressive.  One of the rocks on the near bank, even in
broad daylight, as we saw it the next morning, is exactly like the
fractured arch of an abbey.  With the lights and shadows of evening upon
it, the resemblance must have been much more striking.

William’s guide was a pretty boy, and he was exceedingly pleased with
him.  Just as they were quitting the waterfall, William’s mind being full
of the majesty of the scene, the little fellow pointed to the top of a
rock, ‘There’s a fine slae-bush there.’  ‘Ay,’ said William, ‘but there
are no slaes upon it,’ which was true enough; but I suppose the child
remembered the slaes of another summer, though, as he said, he was but
‘half seven years old,’ namely, six and a half.  He conducted William to
the other fall, and as they were going along a narrow path, they came to
a small cavern, where William lost him, and looking about, saw his pretty
figure in a sort of natural niche fitted for a statue, from which the boy
jumped out laughing, delighted with the success of his trick.  William
told us a great deal about him, while he sat by the fire, and of the
pleasure of his walk, often repeating, ‘I wish you had been with me.’
Having no change, he gave the boy sixpence, which was certainly, if he
had formed any expectations at all, far beyond them; but he received it
with the utmost indifference, without any remark of surprise or pleasure;
most likely he did not know how many halfpence he could get for it, and
twopence would have pleased him more.  My little girl was delighted with
the sixpence I gave her, and said she would buy a book with it on Monday
morning.  What a difference between the manner of living and education of
boys and of girls among the lower classes of people in towns! she had
never seen the Falls of the Clyde, nor had ever been further than the
porter’s lodge; the boy, I daresay, knew every hiding-place in every
accessible rock, as well as the fine ‘slae bushes’ and the nut trees.


_Sunday_, _August_ 21_st_.—The morning was very hot, a morning to tempt
us to linger by the water-side.  I wished to have had the day before us,
expecting so much from what William had seen; but when we went there, I
did not desire to stay longer than till the hour which we had prescribed
to ourselves; for it was a rule not to be broken in upon, that the person
who conducted us to the Falls was to remain by our side till we chose to
depart.  We left our inn immediately after breakfast.  The lanes were
full of people going to church; many of the middle-aged women wore long
scarlet cardinals, and were without hats: they brought to my mind the
women of Goslar as they used to go to church in their silver or gold
caps, with their long cloaks, black or coloured.

The banks of the Clyde from Lanerk to the Falls rise immediately from the
river; they are lofty and steep, and covered with wood.  The road to the
Falls is along the top of one of the banks, and to the left you have a
prospect of the open country, corn fields and scattered houses.  To the
right, over the river, the country spreads out, as it were, into a plain
covered over with hills, no one hill much higher than another, but hills
all over; there were endless pastures overgrown with broom, and scattered
trees, without hedges or fences of any kind, and no distinct footpaths.
It was delightful to see the lasses in gay dresses running like cattle
among the broom, making their way straight forward towards the river,
here and there as it might chance.  They waded across the stream, and,
when they had reached the top of the opposite bank, sat down by the
road-side, about half a mile from the town, to put on their shoes and
cotton stockings, which they brought tied up in pocket-handkerchiefs.
The porter’s lodge is about a mile from Lanerk, and the lady’s house—for
the whole belongs to a lady, whose name I have forgotten {36a}—is upon a
hill at a little distance.  We walked, after we had entered the private
grounds, perhaps two hundred yards along a gravel carriage-road, then
came to a little side gate, which opened upon a narrow gravel path under
trees, and in a minute and a half, or less, were directly opposite to the
great waterfall.  I was much affected by the first view of it.  The
majesty and strength of the water, for I had never before seen so large a
cataract, struck me with astonishment, which died away, giving place to
more delightful feelings; though there were some buildings that I could
have wished had not been there, though at first unnoticed.  The chief of
them was a neat, white, lady-like house, {36b} very near to the
waterfall.  William and Coleridge however were in a better and perhaps
wiser humour, and did not dislike the house; indeed, it was a very
nice-looking place, with a moderate-sized garden, leaving the green
fields free and open.  This house is on the side of the river opposite to
the grand house and the pleasure-grounds.  The waterfall Cora Linn {36c}
is composed of two falls, with a sloping space, which _appears_ to be
about twenty yards between, but is much more.  The basin which receives
the fall is enclosed by noble rocks, with trees, chiefly hazels, birch,
and ash growing out of their sides whenever there is any hold for them;
and a magnificent resting-place it is for such a river; I think more
grand than the Falls themselves.

After having stayed some time, we returned by the same footpath into the
main carriage-road, and soon came upon what William calls an ell-wide
gravel walk, from which we had different views of the Linn.  We sat upon
a bench, placed for the sake of one of these views, whence we looked down
upon the waterfall, and over the open country, and saw a ruined tower,
called Wallace’s Tower, which stands at a very little distance from the
fall, and is an interesting object.  A lady and gentleman, more
expeditious tourists than ourselves, came to the spot; they left us at
the seat, and we found them again at another station above the Falls.
Coleridge, who is always good-natured enough to enter into conversation
with anybody whom he meets in his way, began to talk with the gentleman,
who observed that it was a _majestic_ waterfall.  Coleridge was delighted
with the accuracy of the epithet, particularly as he had been settling in
his own mind the precise meaning of the words grand, majestic, sublime,
etc., and had discussed the subject with William at some length the day
before.  ‘Yes, sir,’ says Coleridge, ‘it _is_ a majestic waterfall.’
‘Sublime and beautiful,’ replied his friend.  Poor Coleridge could make
no answer, and, not very desirous to continue the conversation, came to
us and related the story, laughing heartily.

The distance from one Linn to the other may be half a mile or more, along
the same ell-wide walk.  We came to a pleasure-house, of which the little
girl had the key; she said it was called the Fog-house, because it was
lined with ‘fog,’ namely moss.  On the outside it resembled some of the
huts in the prints belonging to Captain Cook’s Voyages, and within was
like a hay-stack scooped out.  It was circular, with a dome-like roof, a
seat all round fixed to the wall, and a table in the middle,—seat, wall,
roof and table all covered with moss in the neatest manner possible.  It
was as snug as a bird’s nest; I wish we had such a one at the top of our
orchard, only a great deal smaller.  We afterwards found that huts of the
same kind were common in the pleasure-grounds of Scotland; but we never
saw any that were so beautifully wrought as this.  It had, however,
little else to recommend it, the situation being chosen without judgment;
there was no prospect from it, nor was it a place of seclusion and
retirement, for it stood close to the ell-wide gravel walk.  We wished we
could have shoved it about a hundred yards further on, when we arrived at
a bench which was also close to the walk, for just below the bench, the
walk elbowing out into a circle, there was a beautiful spring of clear
water, which we could see rise up continually, at the bottom of a round
stone basin full to the brim, the water gushing out at a little outlet
and passing away under the walk.  A reason was wanted for placing the hut
where it is; what a good one would this little spring have furnished for
bringing it hither!  Along the whole of the path were openings at
intervals for views of the river, but, as almost always happens in
gentlemen’s grounds, they were injudiciously managed; you were prepared
for a dead stand—by a parapet, a painted seat, or some other device.

We stayed some time at the Boniton Fall, which has one great advantage
over the other falls, that it is at the termination of the
pleasure-grounds, and we see no traces of the boundary-line; yet, except
under some accidental circumstances, such as a sunset like that of the
preceding evening, it is greatly inferior to the Cora Linn.  We returned
to the inn to dinner.  The landlord set the first dish upon the table, as
is common in England, and we were well waited upon.  This first dish was
true Scottish—a boiled sheep’s head, with the hair singed off; Coleridge
and I ate heartily of it; we had barley broth, in which the sheep’s head
had been boiled.  A party of tourists whom we had met in the
pleasure-grounds drove from the door while we were waiting for dinner; I
guess they were fresh from England, for they had stuffed the pockets of
their carriage with bundles of heather, roots and all, just as if
Scotland grew no heather but on the banks of the Clyde.  They passed away
with their treasure towards Loch Lomond.  A party of boys, dressed all
alike in blue, very neat, were standing at the chaise-door; we
conjectured they were charity scholars; but found on inquiry that they
were apprentices to the cotton factory; we were told that they were well
instructed in reading and writing.  We had seen in the morning a flock of
girls dressed in grey coming out of the factory, probably apprentices

After dinner set off towards Hamilton, but on foot, for we had to turn
aside to the Cartland Rocks, and our car was to meet us on the road.  A
guide attended us, who might almost in size, and certainly in activity,
have been compared with William’s companion who hid himself in the niche
of the cavern.  His method of walking and very quick step soon excited
our attention.  I could hardly keep up with him; he paddled by our side,
just reaching to my shoulder, like a little dog, with his long snout
pushed before him—for he had an enormous nose, and walked with his head
foremost.  I said to him, ‘How quick you walk!’ he replied, ‘_That_ was
_not_ quick walking,’ and when I asked him what he called so, he said
‘Five miles an hour,’ and then related in how many hours he had lately
walked from Lanerk to Edinburgh, done some errands, and returned to
Lanerk—I have forgotten the particulars, but it was a very short time—and
added that he had an old father who could walk at the rate of four miles
an hour, for twenty-four miles, any day, and had never had an hour’s
sickness in his life.  ‘Then,’ said I, ‘he has not drunk much strong
liquor?’  ‘Yes, enough to drown him.’  From his eager manner of uttering
this, I inferred that he himself was a drinker; and the man who met us
with the car told William that he gained a great deal of money as an
errand-goer, but spent it all in tippling.  He had been a shoemaker, but
could not bear the confinement on account of a weakness in his chest.

The neighbourhood of Lanerk is exceedingly pleasant; we came to a sort of
district of glens or little valleys that cleave the hills, leaving a
cheerful, open country above them, with no superior hills, but an
undulating surface.  Our guide pointed to the situation of the Cartland
Crags.  We were to cross a narrow valley, and walk down on the other
side, and then we should be at the spot; but the little fellow made a
sharp turn down a footpath to the left, saying, ‘We must have some
conversation here.’  He paddled on with his small pawing feet till we
came right opposite to a gentleman’s house on the other side of the
valley, when he halted, repeating some words, I have forgotten what,
which were taken up by the most distinct echo I ever heard—this is saying
little: it was the most distinct echo that it is possible to conceive.
It shouted the names of our fireside friends in the very tone in which
William and Coleridge spoke; but it seemed to make a joke of me, and I
could not help laughing at my own voice, it was so shrill and pert,
exactly as if some one had been mimicking it very successfully, with an
intention of making me ridiculous.  I wished Joanna {41} had been there
to laugh, for the echo is an excellent laugher, and would have almost
made her believe that it was a true story which William has told of her
and the mountains.  We turned back, crossed the valley, went through the
orchard and plantations belonging to the gentleman’s house.  By the bye,
we observed to our guide that the echo must bring many troublesome
visitors to disturb the quiet of the owner of that house.  ‘Oh no,’ said
he, ‘he glories in much company.’  He was a native of that neighbourhood,
had made a moderate fortune abroad, purchased an estate, built the house,
and raised the plantations; and further, had made a convenient walk
through his woods to the Cartland Crags.  The house was modest and neat,
and though not adorned in the best taste, and though the plantations were
of fir, we looked at it with great pleasure, there was such true
liberality and kind-heartedness in leaving his orchard path open, and his
walks unobstructed by gates.  I hope this goodness is not often abused by
plunderers of the apple-trees, which were hung with tempting apples close
to the path.

At the termination of the little valley, we descended through a wood
along a very steep path to a muddy stream running over limestone rocks;
turned up to the left along the bed of the stream, and soon we were
closed in by rocks on each side.  They were very lofty—of limestone,
trees starting out of them, high and low, overhanging the stream or
shooting up towards the sky.  No place of the kind could be more
beautiful if the stream had been clear, but it was of a muddy yellow
colour; had it been a large river, one might have got the better of the
unpleasantness of the muddy water in the grandeur of its roaring, the
boiling up of the foam over the rocks, or the obscurity of its pools.

We had been told that the Cartland Crags were better worth going to see
than the Falls of the Clyde.  I did not think so; but I have seen rocky
dells resembling this before, with clear water instead of that muddy
stream, and never saw anything like the Falls of the Clyde.  It would be
a delicious spot to have near one’s house; one would linger out many a
day in the cool shade of the caverns, and the stream would soothe one by
its murmuring; still, being an old friend, one would not love it the less
for its homely face.  Even we, as we passed along, could not help
stopping for a long while to admire the beauty of the lazy foam, for ever
in motion, and never moved away, in a still place of the water, covering
the whole surface of it with streaks and lines and ever-varying circles.
Wild marjoram grew upon the rocks in great perfection and beauty; our
guide gave me a bunch, and said he should come hither to collect a store
for tea for the winter, and that it was ‘varra hale-some:’ he drank none
else.  We walked perhaps half a mile along the bed of the river; but it
might _seem_ to be much further than it was, owing to the difficulty of
the path, and the sharp and many turnings of the glen.  Passed two of
Wallace’s Caves.  There is scarce a noted glen in Scotland that has not a
cave for Wallace or some other hero.  Before we left the river the rocks
became less lofty, turned into a wood through which was a convenient path
upwards, met the owner of the house and the echo-ground, and thanked him
for the pleasure which he had provided for us and other travellers by
making such pretty pathways.

It was four o’clock when we reached the place where the car was waiting.
We were anxious to be off, as we had fifteen miles to go; but just as we
were seating ourselves we found that the cushions were missing.  William
was forced to go back to the town, a mile at least, and Coleridge and I
waited with the car.  It rained, and we had some fear that the evening
would be wet, but the rain soon ceased, though the sky continued
gloomy—an unfortunate circumstance, for we had to travel through a
beautiful country, and of that sort which is most set off by sunshine and
pleasant weather.

Travelled through the Vale or _Trough_ of the Clyde, as it is called, for
ten or eleven miles, having the river on our right.  We had fine views
both up and down the river for the first three or four miles, our road
being not close to it, but above its banks, along the open country, which
was here occasionally intersected by hedgerows.

Left our car in the road, and turned down a field to the Fall of
Stonebyres, another of the falls of the Clyde, which I had not heard
spoken of; therefore it gave me the more pleasure.  We saw it from the
top of the bank of the river at a little distance.  It has not the
imposing majesty of Cora Linn; but it has the advantage of being left to
itself, a grand solitude in the heart of a populous country.  We had a
prospect above and below it, of cultivated grounds, with hay-stacks,
houses, hills; but the river’s banks were lonesome, steep, and woody,
with rocks near the fall.

A little further on, came more into company with the river; sometimes we
were close to it, sometimes above it, but always at no great distance;
and now the vale became more interesting and amusing.  It is very
populous, with villages, hamlets, single cottages, or farm-houses
embosomed in orchards, and scattered over with gentlemen’s houses, some
of them very ugly, tall and obtrusive, others neat and comfortable.  We
seemed now to have got into a country where poverty and riches were
shaking hands together; pears and apples, of which the crop was abundant,
hung over the road, often growing in orchards unfenced; or there might be
bunches of broom along the road-side in an interrupted line, that looked
like a hedge till we came to it and saw the gaps.  Bordering on these
fruitful orchards perhaps would be a patch, its chief produce being gorse
or broom.  There was nothing like a moor or common anywhere; but small
plots of uncultivated ground were left high and low, among the potatoes,
corn, cabbages, which grew intermingled, now among trees, now bare.  The
Trough of the Clyde is, indeed, a singular and very interesting region;
it is somewhat like the upper part of the vale of Nith, but above the
Nith is much less cultivated ground—without hedgerows or orchards, or
anything that looks like a rich country.  We met crowds of people coming
from the kirk; the lasses were gaily dressed, often in white gowns,
coloured satin bonnets, and coloured silk handkerchiefs, and generally
with their shoes and stockings in a bundle hung on their arm.  Before we
left the river the vale became much less interesting, resembling a poor
English country, the fields being large, and unluxuriant hedges.

It had been dark long before we reached Hamilton, and William had some
difficulty in driving the tired horse through the town.  At the inn they
hesitated about being able to give us beds, the house being
brim-full—lights at every window.  We were rather alarmed for our
accommodations during the rest of the tour, supposing the house to be
filled with _tourists_; but they were in general only regular travellers
for out of the main road from town to town we saw scarcely a carriage,
and the inns were empty.  There was nothing remarkable in the treatment
we met with at this inn, except the lazy impertinence of the waiter.  It
was a townish place, with a great larder set out; the house throughout

                                * * * * *

_Monday_, _August_ 22_d_.—Immediately after breakfast walked to the Duke
of Hamilton’s house to view the picture-gallery, chiefly the famous
picture of Daniel in the Lions’ Den, by Rubens.  It is a large building,
without grandeur, a heavy, lumpish mass, after the fashion of the
Hopetoun H, {45} only five times the size, and with longer legs, which
makes it gloomy.  We entered the gate, passed the porter’s lodge, where
we saw nobody, and stopped at the front door, as William had done two
years before with Sir William Rush’s family.  We were met by a little
mean-looking man, shabbily dressed, out of livery, who, we found, was the
porter.  After scanning us over, he told us that we ought not to have
come to that door.  We said we were sorry for the mistake, but as one of
our party had been there two years before, and was admitted by the same
entrance, we had supposed it was the regular way.  After many
hesitations, and having kept us five minutes waiting in the large hall,
while he went to consult with the housekeeper, he informed us that we
could not be admitted at that time, the housekeeper being unwell; but
that we might return in an hour: he then conducted us through long gloomy
passages to an obscure door at the corner of the house.  We asked if we
might be permitted to walk in the park in the meantime; and he told us
that this would not be agreeable to the Duke’s family.  We returned to
the inn discontented enough, but resolved not to waste an hour, if there
were anything else in the neighbourhood worth seeing.  The waiter told us
there was a curious place called Baroncleugh, with gardens cut out in
rocks, and we determined to go thither.  We had to walk through the town,
which may be about as large as Penrith, and perhaps a mile further, along
a dusty turnpike road.  The morning was hot, sunny, and windy, and we
were half tired before we reached the place; but were amply repaid for
our trouble.

The general face of the country near Hamilton is much in the ordinary
English style; not very hilly, with hedgerows, corn fields, and stone
houses.  The Clyde is here an open river with low banks, and the country
spreads out so wide that there is no appearance of a regular vale.
Baroncleugh is in a beautiful deep glen through which runs the river
Avon, a stream that falls into the Clyde.  The house stands very sweetly
in complete retirement; it has its gardens and terraces one above
another, with flights of steps between, box-trees and yew-trees cut in
fantastic shapes, flower-borders and summer-houses; and, still below,
apples and pears were hanging in abundance on the branches of large old
trees, which grew intermingled with the natural wood, elms, beeches,
etc., even to the water’s edge.  The whole place is in perfect harmony
with the taste of our ancestors, and the yews and hollies are shaven as
nicely, and the gravel walks and flower-borders kept in as exact order,
as if the spirit of the first architect of the terraces still presided
over them.  The opposite bank of the river is left in its natural
wildness, and nothing was to be seen higher up but the deep dell, its
steep banks being covered with fine trees, a beautiful relief or contrast
to the garden, which is one of the most elaborate old things ever seen, a
little hanging garden of Babylon.

I was sorry to hear that the owner of this sweet place did not live there
always.  He had built a small thatched house to eke out the old one: it
was a neat dwelling, with no false ornaments.  We were exceedingly sorry
to quit this spot, which is left to nature and past times, and should
have liked to have pursued the glen further up; we were told that there
was a ruined castle; and the walk itself must be very delightful; but we
wished to reach Glasgow in good time, and had to go again to Hamilton
House.  Returned to the town by a much shorter road, and were very angry
with the waiter for not having directed us to it; but he was too great a
man to speak three words more than he could help.

We stopped at the proper door of the Duke’s house, and seated ourselves
humbly upon a bench, waiting the pleasure of the porter, who, after a
little time, informed us that we could not be admitted, giving no reason
whatever.  When we got to the inn, we could just gather from the waiter
that it was not usual to refuse admittance to strangers; but that was
all: he could not, or would not, help us, so we were obliged to give it
up, which mortified us, for I had wished much to see the picture.
William vowed that he would write that very night to Lord Archibald
Hamilton, stating the whole matter, which he did from Glasgow.

I ought to have mentioned the park, though, as we were not allowed to
walk there, we saw but little of it.  It looked pleasant, as all parks
with fine trees must be, but, as it seemed to be only a large, nearly
level, plain, it could not be a particularly beautiful park, though it
borders upon the Clyde, and the Avon runs, I believe, through it, after
leaving the solitude of the glen of Baroncleugh.

Quitted Hamilton at about eleven o’clock.  There is nothing interesting
between Hamilton and Glasgow till we came to Bothwell Castle, a few miles
from Hamilton.  The country is cultivated, but not rich, the fields
large, a perfect contrast to the huddling together of hills and trees,
corn and pasture grounds, hay-stacks, cottages, orchards, broom and
gorse, but chiefly broom, that had amused us so much the evening before
in passing through the Trough of the Clyde.  A native of Scotland would
not probably be satisfied with the account I have given of the Trough of
the Clyde, for it is one of the most celebrated scenes in Scotland.  We
certainly received less pleasure from it than we had expected; but it was
plain that this was chiefly owing to the unfavourable circumstances under
which we saw it—a gloomy sky and a cold blighting wind.  It is a very
beautiful district, yet there, as in all the other scenes of Scotland
celebrated for their fertility, we found something which gave us a notion
of barrenness, of what was not altogether genial.  The new fir and larch
plantations, here as in almost every other part of Scotland, contributed
not a little to this effect.

Crossed the Clyde not far from Hamilton, and had the river for some miles
at a distance from us, on our left; but after having gone, it might be,
three miles, we came to a porter’s lodge on the left side of the road,
where we were to turn to Bothwell Castle, which is in Lord Douglas’s
grounds.  The woman who keeps the gate brought us a book, in which we
wrote down our names.  Went about half a mile before we came to the
pleasure-grounds.  Came to a large range of stables, where we were to
leave the car; but there was no one to unyoke the horse, so William was
obliged to do it himself, a task which he performed very awkwardly, being
then new to it.  We saw the ruined castle embosomed in trees, passed the
house, and soon found ourselves on the edge of a steep brow immediately
above and overlooking the course of the river Clyde through a deep hollow
between woods and green steeps.  We had approached at right angles from
the main road to the place over a flat, and had seen nothing before us
but a nearly level country terminated by distant slopes, the Clyde hiding
himself in his deep bed.  It was exceedingly delightful to come thus
unexpectedly upon such a beautiful region.

The Castle stands nobly, overlooking the Clyde.  When we came up to it I
was hurt to see that flower-borders had taken place of the natural
overgrowings of the ruin, the scattered stones and wild plants.  It is a
large and grand pile, of red freestone, harmonizing perfectly with the
rocks of the river, from which, no doubt, it has been hewn.  When I was a
little accustomed to the unnaturalness of a modern garden, I could not
help admiring the excessive beauty and luxuriance of some of the plants,
particularly the purple-flowered clematis, and a broad-leaved creeping
plant without flowers, which scrambled up the castle wall along with the
ivy, and spread its vine-like branches so lavishly that it seemed to be
in its natural situation, and one could not help thinking that, though
not self-planted among the ruins of this country, it must somewhere have
its natural abode in such places.  If Bothwell Castle had not been close
to the Douglas mansion we should have been disgusted with the possessor’s
miserable conception of ‘adorning’ such a venerable ruin; but it is so
very near to the house that of necessity the pleasure-grounds must have
extended beyond it, and perhaps the neatness of a shaven lawn and the
complete desolation natural to a ruin might have made an unpleasing
contrast; and besides, being within the precincts of the
pleasure-grounds, and so very near to the modern mansion of a noble
family, it has forfeited in some degree its independent majesty, and
becomes a tributary to the mansion; its solitude being interrupted, it
has no longer the same command over the mind in sending it back into past
times, or excluding the ordinary feelings which we bear about us in daily
life.  We had then only to regret that the castle and house were so near
to each other; and it was impossible not to regret it; for the ruin
presides in state over the river, far from city or town, as if it might
have had a peculiar privilege to preserve its memorials of past ages and
maintain its own character and independence for centuries to come.

We sat upon a bench under the high trees, and had beautiful views of the
different reaches of the river above and below.  On the opposite bank,
which is finely wooded with elms and other trees, are the remains of an
ancient priory, built upon a rock: and rock and ruin are so blended
together that it is impossible to separate the one from the other.
Nothing can be more beautiful than the little remnants of this holy
place; elm trees—for we were near enough to distinguish them by their
branches—grow out of the walls, and overshadow a small but very elegant
window.  It can scarcely be conceived what a grace the castle and priory
impart to each other; and the river Clyde flows on smooth and unruffled
below, seeming to my thoughts more in harmony with the sober and stately
images of former times, than if it had roared over a rocky channel,
forcing its sound upon the ear.  It blended gently with the warbling of
the smaller birds and chattering of the larger ones that had made their
nests in the ruins.  In this fortress the chief of the English nobility
were confined after the battle of Bannockburn.  If a man is to be a
prisoner, he scarcely could have a more pleasant place to solace his
captivity; but I thought that for close confinement I should prefer the
banks of a lake or the sea-side.  The greatest charm of a brook or river
is in the liberty to pursue it through its windings; you can then take it
in whatever mood you like; silent or noisy, sportive or quiet.  The
beauties of a brook or river must be sought, and the pleasure is in going
in search of them; those of a lake or of the sea come to you of
themselves.  These rude warriors cared little perhaps about either; and
yet if one may judge from the writings of Chaucer and from the old
romances, more interesting passions were connected with natural objects
in the days of chivalry than now, though going in search of scenery, as
it is called, had not then been thought of.  I had heard nothing of
Bothwell Castle, at least nothing that I remembered, therefore, perhaps,
my pleasure was greater, compared with what I received elsewhere, than
others might feel.

At our return to the stables we found an inferior groom, who helped
William to yoke the horse, and was very civil.  We grew hungry before we
had travelled many miles, and seeing a large public-house—it was in a
walled court some yards from the road—Coleridge got off the car to
inquire if we could dine there, and was told we could have nothing but
eggs.  It was a miserable place, very like a French house; indeed we
observed, in almost every part of Scotland, except Edinburgh, that we
were reminded ten times of France and Germany for once of England.

Saw nothing remarkable after leaving Bothwell, except the first view of
Glasgow, at some miles distance, terminated by the mountains of Loch
Lomond.  The suburbs of Glasgow extend very far, houses on each side of
the highway,—all ugly, and the inhabitants dirty.  The roads are very
wide; and everything seems to tell of the neighbourhood of a large town.
We were annoyed by carts and dirt, and the road was full of people, who
all noticed our car in one way or other; the children often sent a
hooting after us.

Wearied completely, we at last reached the town, and were glad to walk,
leading the car to the first decent inn, which was luckily not far from
the end of the town.  William, who gained most of his road-knowledge from
ostlers, had been informed of this house by the ostler at Hamilton; it
proved quiet and tolerably cheap, a new building—the Saracen’s Head.  I
shall never forget how glad I was to be landed in a little quiet
back-parlour, for my head was beating with the noise of carts which we
had left, and the wearisomeness of the disagreeable objects near the
highway; but with my first pleasant sensations also came the feeling that
we were not in an English inn—partly from its half-unfurnished
appearance, which is common in Scotland, for in general the deal
wainscots and doors are unpainted, and partly from the dirtiness of the
floors.  Having dined, William and I walked to the post-office, and after
much seeking found out a quiet timber-yard wherein to sit down and read
our letter.  We then walked a considerable time in the streets, which are
perhaps as handsome as streets can be, which derive no particular effect
from their situation in connexion with natural advantages, such as
rivers, sea, or hills.  The Trongate, an old street, is very
picturesque—high houses, with an intermixture of gable fronts towards the
street.  The New Town is built of fine stone, in the best style of the
very best London streets at the west end of the town, but, not being of
brick, they are greatly superior.  One thing must strike every stranger
in his first walk through Glasgow—an appearance of business and bustle,
but no coaches or gentlemen’s carriages; during all the time we walked in
the streets I only saw three carriages, and these were travelling
chaises.  I also could not but observe a want of cleanliness in the
appearance of the lower orders of the people, and a dulness in the dress
and outside of the whole mass, as they moved along.  We returned to the
inn before it was dark.  I had a bad headache, and was tired, and we all
went to bed soon.

                                * * * * *

_Tuesday_, _August_ 23_d_.—A cold morning.  Walked to the
bleaching-ground, {53} a large field bordering on the Clyde, the banks of
which are perfectly flat, and the general face of the country is nearly
so in the neighbourhood of Glasgow.  This field, the whole summer
through, is covered with women of all ages, children, and young girls
spreading out their linen, and watching it while it bleaches.  The scene
must be very cheerful on a fine day, but it rained when we were there,
and though there was linen spread out in all parts, and great numbers of
women and girls were at work, yet there would have been many more on a
fine day, and they would have appeared happy, instead of stupid and
cheerless.  In the middle of the field is a wash-house, whither the
inhabitants of this large town, rich and poor, send or carry their linen
to be washed.  There are two very large rooms, with each a cistern in the
middle for hot water; and all round the rooms are benches for the women
to set their tubs upon.  Both the rooms were crowded with washers; there
might be a hundred, or two, or even three; for it is not easy to form an
accurate notion of so great a number; however, the rooms were large, and
they were both full.  It was amusing to see so many women, arms, head,
and face all in motion, all busy in an ordinary household employment, in
which we are accustomed to see, at the most, only three or four women
employed in one place.  The women were very civil.  I learnt from them
the regulations of the house; but I have forgotten the particulars.  The
substance of them is, that ‘so much’ is to be paid for each tub of water,
‘so much’ for a tub, and the privilege of washing for a day, and, ‘so
much’ to the general overlookers of the linen, when it is left to be
bleached.  An old man and woman have this office, who were walking about,
two melancholy figures.

The shops at Glasgow are large, and like London shops, and we passed by
the largest coffee-room I ever saw.  You look across the piazza of the
Exchange, and see to the end of the coffee-room, where there is a
circular window, the width of the room.  Perhaps there might be thirty
gentlemen sitting on the circular bench of the window, each reading a
newspaper.  They had the appearance of figures in a fantoccine, or men
seen at the extremity of the opera-house, diminished into puppets.

I am sorry I did not see the High Church: both William and I were tired,
and it rained very hard after we had left the bleaching-ground; besides,
I am less eager to walk in a large town than anywhere else; so we put it
off, and I have since repented of my irresolution.

Dined, and left Glasgow at about three o’clock, in a heavy rain.  We were
obliged to ride through the streets to keep our feet dry, and, in spite
of the rain, every person as we went along stayed his steps to look at
us; indeed, we had the pleasure of spreading smiles from one end of
Glasgow to the other—for we travelled the whole length of the town.  A
set of schoolboys, perhaps there might he eight, with satchels over their
shoulders, and, except one or two, without shoes and stockings, yet very
well dressed in jackets and trousers, like gentlemen’s children, followed
us in great delight, admiring the car and longing to jump up.  At last,
though we were seated, they made several attempts to get on behind; and
they looked so pretty and wild, and at the same time so modest, that we
wished to give them a ride, and there being a little hill near the end of
the town, we got off, and four of them who still remained, the rest
having dropped into their homes by the way, took our places; and indeed I
would have walked two miles willingly, to have had the pleasure of seeing
them so happy.  When they were to ride no longer, they scampered away,
laughing and rejoicing.  New houses are rising up in great numbers round
Glasgow, citizen-like houses, and new plantations, chiefly of fir; the
fields are frequently enclosed by hedgerows, but there is no richness,
nor any particular beauty for some miles.

The first object that interested us was a gentleman’s house upon a green
plain or holm, almost close to the Clyde, sheltered by tall trees, a
quiet modest mansion, and, though white-washed, being an old building,
and no other house near it, or in connexion with it, and standing upon
the level field, which belonged to it, its own domain, the whole scene
together brought to our minds an image of the retiredness and sober
elegance of a nunnery; but this might be owing to the greyness of the
afternoon, and our having come immediately from Glasgow, and through a
country which, till now, had either had a townish taint, or at best
little of rural beauty.  While we were looking at the house we overtook a
foot-traveller, who, like many others, began to talk about our car.  We
alighted to walk up a hill, and, continuing the conversation, the man
told us, with something like a national pride, that it belonged to a
Scotch Lord, Lord Semple; he added, that a little further on we should
see a much finer prospect, as fine a one as ever we had seen in our
lives.  Accordingly, when we came to the top of the hill, it opened upon
us most magnificently.  We saw the Clyde, now a stately sea-river,
winding away mile after mile, spotted with boats and ships, each side of
the river hilly, the right populous with single houses and
villages—Dunglass Castle upon a promontory, the whole view terminated by
the rock of Dumbarton, at five or six miles distance, which stands by
itself, without any hills near it, like a sea-rock.

We travelled for some time near the river, passing through clusters of
houses which seemed to owe their existence rather to the wealth of the
river than the land, for the banks were mostly bare, and the soil
appeared poor, even near the water.  The left side of the river was
generally uninhabited and moorish, yet there are some beautiful spots:
for instance, a nobleman’s house, {56} where the fields and trees were
rich, and, in combination with the river, looked very lovely.  As we went
along William and I were reminded of the views upon the Thames in Kent,
which, though greatly superior in richness and softness, are much
inferior in grandeur.  Not far from Dumbarton, we passed under some
rocky, copse-covered hills, which were so like some of the hills near
Grasmere that we could have half believed they were the same.  Arrived at
Dumbarton before it was dark, having pushed on briskly that we might have
start of a traveller at the inn, who was following us as fast as he could
in a gig.  Every front room was full, and we were afraid we should not
have been admitted.  They put us into a little parlour, dirty, and
smelling of liquors, the table uncleaned, and not a chair in its place;
we were glad, however, of our sorry accommodations.

While tea was preparing we lolled at our ease, and though the room-window
overlooked the stable-yard, and at our entrance there appeared to be
nothing but gloom and unloveliness, yet while I lay stretched upon the
carriage cushions on three chairs, I discovered a little side peep which
was enough to set the mind at work.  It was no more than a smoky vessel
lying at anchor, with its bare masts, a clay hut and the shelving bank of
the river, with a green pasture above.  Perhaps you will think that there
is not much in this, as I describe it: it is true; but the effect
produced by these simple objects, as they happened to be combined,
together with the gloom of the evening, was exceedingly wild.  Our room
was parted by a slender partition from a large dining-room, in which were
a number of officers and their wives, who, after the first hour, never
ceased singing, dancing, laughing, or loud talking.  The ladies sang some
pretty songs, a great relief to us.  We went early to bed; but poor
Coleridge could not sleep for the noise at the street door; he lay in the
parlour below stairs.  It is no uncommon thing in the best inns of
Scotland to have shutting-up beds in the sitting-rooms.

                                * * * * *

_Wednesday_, _August_ 24_th_.—As soon as breakfast was over, William and
I walked towards the Castle, a short mile from the town.  We overtook two
young men, who, on our asking the road, offered to conduct us, though it
might seem it was not easy to miss our way, for the rock rises singly by
itself from the plain on which the town stands.  The rock of Dumbarton is
very grand when you are close to it, but at a little distance, under an
ordinary sky, and in open day, it is not grand, but curiously wild.  The
castle and fortifications add little effect to the general view of the
rock, especially since the building of a modern house, which is
white-washed, and consequently jars, wherever it is seen, with the
natural character of the place.  There is a path up to the house, but it
being low water we could walk round the rock, which we resolved to do.
On that side next the town green grass grows to a considerable height up
the rock, but wherever the river borders upon it, it is naked stone.  I
never saw rock in nobler masses, or more deeply stained by time and
weather; nor is this to be wondered at, for it is in the very eye of
sea-storms and land-storms, of mountain winds and water winds.  It is of
all colours, but a rusty yellow predominates.  As we walked along, we
could not but look up continually, and the mass above being on every side
so huge, it appeared more wonderful than when we saw the whole together.

We sat down on one of the large stones which lie scattered near the base
of the rock, with sea-weed growing amongst them.  Above our heads the
rock was perpendicular for a considerable height, nay, as it seemed, to
the very top, and on the brink of the precipice a few sheep, two of them
rams with twisted horns, stood, as if on the look-out over the wide
country.  At the same time we saw a sentinel in his red coat, walking
backwards and forwards between us and the sky, with his firelock over his
shoulder.  The sheep, I suppose owing to our being accustomed to see them
in similar situations, appeared to retain their real size, while, on the
contrary, the soldier seemed to be diminished by the distance till he
almost looked like a puppet moved with wires for the pleasure of
children, or an eight years’ old drummer in his stiff, manly dress beside
a company of grenadiers.  I had never before, perhaps, thought of sheep
and men in soldiers’ dresses at the same time, and here they were brought
together in a strange fantastic way.  As will be easily conceived, the
fearlessness and stillness of those quiet creatures, on the brow of the
rock, pursuing their natural occupations, contrasted with the restless
and apparently unmeaning motions of the dwarf soldier, added not a little
to the general effect of this place, which is that of wild singularity,
and the whole was aided by a blustering wind and a gloomy sky.  Coleridge
joined us, and we went up to the top of the rock.

The road to a considerable height is through a narrow cleft, in which a
flight of steps is hewn; the steps nearly fill the cleft, and on each
side the rocks form a high and irregular wall; it is almost like a long
sloping cavern, only that it is roofed by the sky.  We came to the
barracks; soldiers’ wives were hanging out linen upon the rails, while
the wind beat about them furiously—there was nothing which it could set
in motion but the garments of the women and the linen upon the rails; the
grass—for we had now come to green grass—was close and smooth, and not
one pile an inch above another, and neither tree nor shrub.  The standard
pole stood erect without a flag.  The rock has two summits, one much
broader and higher than the other.  When we were near to the top of the
lower eminence we had the pleasure of finding a little garden of flowers
and vegetables belonging to the soldiers.  There are three distinct and
very noble prospects—the first up the Clyde towards Glasgow—Dunglass
Castle, seen on its promontory—boats, sloops, hills, and many buildings;
the second, down the river to the sea—Greenock and Port-Glasgow, and the
distant mountains at the entrance of Loch Long; and the third extensive
and distant view is up the Leven, which here falls into the Clyde, to the
mountains of Loch Lomond.  The distant mountains in all these views were
obscured by mists and dingy clouds, but if the grand outline of any one
of the views can be seen, it is sufficient recompense for the trouble of
climbing the rock of Dumbarton.

The soldier who was our guide told us that an old ruin which we came to
at the top of the higher eminence had been a wind-mill—an inconvenient
station, though certainly a glorious place for wind; perhaps if it really
had been a wind-mill it was only for the use of the garrison.  We looked
over cannons on the battery-walls, and saw in an open field below the
yeomanry cavalry exercising, while we could hear from the town, which was
full of soldiers, ‘Dumbarton’s drums beat bonny, O!’  Yet while we stood
upon this eminence, rising up so far as it does—inland, and having the
habitual old English feeling of our own security as islanders—we could
not help looking upon the fortress, in spite of its cannon and soldiers,
and the rumours of invasion, as set up against the hostilities of wind
and weather rather than for any other warfare.  On our return we were
invited into the guard-room, about half-way down the rock, where we were
shown a large rusty sword, which they called Wallace’s Sword, and a trout
boxed up in a well close by, where they said he had been confined for
upwards of thirty years.  For the pleasure of the soldiers, who were
anxious that we should see him, we took some pains to spy him out in his
black den, and at last succeeded.  It was pleasing to observe how much
interest the poor soldiers—though themselves probably new to the
place—seemed to attach to this antiquated inhabitant of their garrison.

When we had reached the bottom of the rock along the same road by which
we had ascended, we made our way over the rough stones left bare by the
tide, round the bottom of the rock, to the point where we had set off.
This is a wild and melancholy walk on a blustering cloudy day: the naked
bed of the river, scattered over with sea-weed; grey swampy fields on the
other shore; sea-birds flying overhead; the high rock perpendicular and
bare.  We came to two very large fragments, which had fallen from the
main rock; Coleridge thought that one of them was as large as
Bowder-Stone, {61} William and I did not; but it is impossible to judge
accurately; we probably, without knowing it, compared them with the whole
mass from which they had fallen, which, from its situation, we consider
as one rock or stone, and there is no object of the kind for comparison
with the Bowder-Stone.  When we leave the shore of the Clyde grass begins
to show itself on the rock; go a considerable way—still under the
rock—along a flat field, and pass immediately below the white house,
which wherever seen looks so ugly.

Left Dumbarton at about eleven o’clock.  The sky was cheerless and the
air ungenial, which we regretted, as we were going to Loch Lomond, and
wished to greet the first of the Scottish lakes with our cheerfullest and
best feelings.  Crossed the Leven at the end of Dumbarton, and, when we
looked behind, had a pleasing view of the town, bridge, and rock; but
when we took in a reach of the river at the distance of perhaps half a
mile, the swamp ground, being so near a town, and not in its natural
wildness, but seemingly half cultivated, with houses here and there, gave
us an idea of extreme poverty of soil, or that the inhabitants were
either indolent or miserable.  We had to travel four miles on the banks
of the ‘Water of Leven’ before we should come to Loch Lomond.  Having
expected a grand river from so grand a lake, we were disappointed; for it
appeared to me not to be very much larger than the Emont, and is not near
so beautiful; but we must not forget that the day was cold and gloomy.
Near Dumbarton it is like a river in a flat country, or under the
influence of tides; but a little higher up it resembles one of our
rivers, flowing through a vale of no extreme beauty, though prettily
wooded; the hills on each side not very high, sloping backwards from the
bed of the vale, which is neither very narrow nor very wide; the prospect
terminated by Ben Lomond and other mountains.  The vale is populous, but
looks as if it were not inhabited by cultivators of the earth; the houses
are chiefly of stone; often in rows by the river-side; they stand
pleasantly, but have a tradish look, as if they might have been off-sets
from Glasgow.  We saw many bleach-yards, but no other symptom of a
manufactory, except something in the houses that was not rural, and a
want of independent comforts.  Perhaps if the river had been glittering
in the sun, and the smoke of the cottages rising in distinct volumes
towards the sky, as I have seen in the vale or basin below Pillsden in
Dorsetshire, when every cottage, hidden from the eye, pointed out its
lurking-place by an upright wreath of white smoke, the whole scene might
have excited ideas of perfect cheerfulness.

Here, as on the Nith, and much more than in the Trough of the Clyde, a
great portion of the ground was uncultivated, but the hills being less
wild, the river more stately, and the ground not heaved up so irregularly
and tossed about, the imperfect cultivation was the more to be lamented,
particularly as there were so many houses near the river.  In a small
enclosure by the wayside is a pillar erected to the memory of Dr.
Smollett, who was born in a village at a little distance, which we could
see at the same time, and where, I believe, some of the family still
reside.  There is a long Latin inscription, which Coleridge translated
for my benefit.  The Latin is miserably bad {63}—as Coleridge said, such
as poor Smollett, who was an excellent scholar, would have been ashamed

Before we came to Loch Lomond the vale widened, and became less populous.
We climbed over a wall into a large field to have a better front view of
the lake than from the road.  This view is very much like that from Mr.
Clarkson’s windows: the mountain in front resembles Hallan; indeed, is
almost the same; but Ben Lomond is not seen standing in such majestic
company as Helvellyn, and the meadows are less beautiful than Ulswater.
The reach of the lake is very magnificent; you see it, as Ulswater is
seen beyond the promontory of Old Church, winding away behind a large
woody island that looks like a promontory.  The outlet of the lake—we had
a distinct view of it in the field—is very insignificant.  The bulk of
the river is frittered away by small alder bushes, as I recollect; I do
not remember that it was reedy, but the ground had a swampy appearance;
and here the vale spreads out wide and shapeless, as if the river were
born to no inheritance, had no sheltering cradle, no hills of its own.
As we have seen, this does not continue long; it flows through a
distinct, though not a magnificent vale.  But, having lost the pastoral
character which it had in the youthful days of Smollett—if the
description in his ode to his native stream be a faithful one—it is less
interesting than it was then.

The road carried us sometimes close to the lake, sometimes at a
considerable distance from it, over moorish grounds, or through
half-cultivated enclosures; we had the lake on our right, which is here
so wide that the opposite hills, not being high, are cast into
insignificance, and we could not distinguish any buildings near the
water, if any there were.  It is however always delightful to travel by a
lake of clear waters, if you see nothing else but a very ordinary
country; but we had some beautiful distant views, one in particular, down
the high road, through a vista of over-arching trees; and the near shore
was frequently very pleasing, with its gravel banks, bendings, and small
bays.  In one part it was bordered for a considerable way by irregular
groups of forest trees or single stragglers, which, although not large,
seemed old; their branches were stunted and knotty, as if they had been
striving with storms, and had half yielded to them.  Under these trees we
had a variety of pleasing views across the lake, and the very rolling
over the road and looking at its smooth and beautiful surface was itself
a pleasure.  It was as smooth as a gravel walk, and of the bluish colour
of some of the roads among the lakes of the north of England.

Passed no very remarkable place till we came to Sir James Colquhoun’s
house, which stands upon a large, flat, woody peninsula, looking towards
Ben Lomond.  There must be many beautiful walks among the copses of the
peninsula, and delicious views over the water; but the general surface of
the country is poor, and looks as if it ought to be rich and well
peopled, for it is not mountainous; nor had we passed any hills which a
Cumbrian would dignify with the name of mountains.  There was many a
little plain or gently-sloping hill covered with poor heath or broom
without trees, where one should have liked to see a cottage in a bower of
wood, with its patch of corn and potatoes, and a green field with a hedge
to keep it warm.  As we advanced we perceived less of the coldness of
poverty, the hills not having so large a space between them and the lake.
The surface of the hills being in its natural state, is always beautiful;
but where there is only a half cultivated and half peopled soil near the
banks of a lake or river, the idea is forced upon one that they who do
live there have not much of cheerful enjoyment.

But soon we came to just such a place as we had wanted to see.  The road
was close to the water, and a hill, bare, rocky, or with scattered copses
rose above it.  A deep shade hung over the road, where some little boys
were at play; we expected a dwelling-house of some sort; and when we came
nearer, saw three or four thatched huts under the trees, and at the same
moment felt that it was a paradise.  We had before seen the lake only as
one wide plain of water; but here the portion of it which we saw was
bounded by a high and steep, heathy and woody island opposite, which did
not appear like an island, but the main shore, and framed out a little
oblong lake apparently not so broad as Rydale-water, with one small
island covered with trees, resembling some of the most beautiful of the
holms of Windermere, and only a narrow river’s breadth from the shore.
This was a place where we should have liked to have lived, and the only
one we had seen near Loch Lomond.  How delightful to have a little shed
concealed under the branches of the fairy island! the cottages and the
island might have been made for the pleasure of each other.  It was but
like a natural garden, the distance was so small; nay, one could not have
forgiven any one living there, not compelled to daily labour, if he did
not connect it with his dwelling by some feeling of domestic attachment,
like what he has for the orchard where his children play.  I thought,
what a place for William! he might row himself over with twenty strokes
of the oars, escaping from the business of the house, and as safe from
intruders, with his boat anchored beside him, as if he had locked himself
up in the strong tower of a castle.  We were unwilling to leave this
sweet spot; but it was so simple, and therefore so rememberable, that it
seemed almost as if we could have carried it away with us.  It was
nothing more than a small lake enclosed by trees at the ends and by the
way-side, and opposite by the island, a steep bank on which the purple
heath was seen under low oak coppice-wood, a group of houses
over-shadowed by trees, and a bending road.  There was one remarkable
tree, an old larch with hairy branches, which sent out its main stem
horizontally across the road, an object that seemed to have been singled
out for injury where everything else was lovely and thriving, tortured
into that shape by storms, which one might have thought could not have
reached it in that sheltered place.

We were now entering into the Highlands.  I believe Luss is the place
where we were told that country begins; but at these cottages I would
have gladly believed that we were there, for it was like a new region.
The huts were after the Highland fashion, and the boys who were playing
wore the Highland dress and philabeg.  On going into a new country I seem
to myself to waken up, and afterwards it surprises me to remember how
much alive I have been to the distinctions of dress, household
arrangements, etc. etc., and what a spirit these little things give to
wild, barren, or ordinary places.  The cottages are within about two
miles of Luss.  Came in view of several islands; but the lake being so
very wide, we could see little of their peculiar beauties, and they,
being large, hardly looked like islands.

Passed another gentleman’s house, which stands prettily in a bay, {67}
and soon after reached Luss, where we intended to lodge.  On seeing the
outside of the inn, we were glad that we were to have such pleasant
quarters.  It is a nice-looking white house, by the road-side; but there
was not much promise of hospitality when we stopped at the door: no
person came out till we had shouted a considerable time.  A barefooted
lass showed me up-stairs, and again my hopes revived; the house was clean
for a Scotch inn, and the view very pleasant to the lake, over the top of
the village—a cluster of thatched houses among trees, with a large chapel
in the midst of them.  Like most of the Scotch kirks which we had seen,
this building resembles a big house; but it is a much more pleasing
building than they generally are, and has one of our rustic belfries, not
unlike that at Ambleside, with two bells hanging in the open air. {68}
We chose one of the back rooms to sit in, being more snug, and they
looked upon a very sweet prospect—a stream tumbling down a cleft or glen
on the hill-side, rocky coppice ground, a rural lane, such as we have
from house to house at Grasmere, and a few outhouses.  We had a poor
dinner, and sour ale; but as long as the people were civil we were

Coleridge was not well, so he did not stir out, but William and I walked
through the village to the shore of the lake.  When I came close to the
houses, I could not but regret a want of loveliness correspondent with
the beauty of the situation and the appearance of the village at a little
distance; not a single ornamented garden.  We saw potatoes and cabbages,
but never a honeysuckle.  Yet there were wild gardens, as beautiful as
any that ever man cultivated, overgrowing the roofs of some of the
cottages, flowers and creeping plants.  How elegant were the wreaths of
the bramble that had ‘built its own bower’ upon the riggins in several
parts of the village; therefore we had chiefly to regret the want of
gardens, as they are symptoms of leisure and comfort, or at least of no
painful industry.  Here we first saw houses without windows, the smoke
coming out of the open window-places; the chimneys were like stools with
four legs, a hole being left in the roof for the smoke, and over that a
slate placed upon four sticks—sometimes the whole leaned as if it were
going to fall.  The fields close to Luss lie flat to the lake, and a
river, as large as our stream near the church at Grasmere, flows by the
end of the village, being the same which comes down the glen behind the
inn; it is very much like our stream—beds of blue pebbles upon the

We walked towards the head of the lake, and from a large pasture field
near Luss, a gentle eminence, had a very interesting view back upon the
village and the lake and islands beyond.  We then perceived that Luss
stood in the centre of a spacious bay, and that close to it lay another
small one, within the larger, where the boats of the inhabitants were
lying at anchor, a beautiful natural harbour.  The islands, as we look
down the water, are seen in great beauty.  Inch-ta-vanach, the same that
framed out the little peaceful lake which we had passed in the morning,
towers above the rest.  The lake is very wide here, and the opposite
shores not being lofty the chief part of the permanent beauty of this
view is among the islands, and on the near shore, including the low
promontories of the bay of Luss, and the village; and we saw it under its
dullest aspect—the air cold, the sky gloomy, without a glimpse of

On a splendid evening, with the light of the sun diffused over the whole
islands, distant hills, and the broad expanse of the lake, with its
creeks, bays, and little slips of water among the islands, it must be a
glorious sight.

Up the lake there are no islands; Ben Lomond terminates the view, without
any other large mountains; no clouds were upon it, therefore we saw the
whole size and form of the mountain, yet it did not appear to me so large
as Skiddaw does from Derwent-water.  Continued our walk a considerable
way towards the head of the lake, and went up a high hill, but saw no
other reach of the water.  The hills on the Luss side become much
steeper, and the lake, having narrowed a little above Luss, was no longer
a very wide lake where we lost sight of it.

Came to a bark hut by the shores, and sate for some time under the
shelter of it.  While we were here a poor woman with a little child by
her side begged a penny of me, and asked where she could ‘find quarters
in the village.’  She was a travelling beggar, a native of Scotland, had
often ‘heard of that water,’ but was never there before.  This woman’s
appearance, while the wind was rustling about us, and the waves breaking
at our feet, was very melancholy: the waters looked wide, the hills many,
and dark, and far off—no house but at Luss.  I thought what a dreary
waste must this lake be to such poor creatures, struggling with fatigue
and poverty and unknown ways!

We ordered tea when we reached the inn, and desired the girl to light us
a fire; she replied, ‘I dinna ken whether she’ll gie fire,’ meaning her
mistress.  We told her we did not wish her mistress to give fire, we only
desired her to let her make it and we would pay for it.  The girl brought
in the tea-things, but no fire, and when I asked if she was coming to
light it, she said ‘her mistress was not varra willing to gie fire.’  At
last, however, on our insisting upon it, the fire was lighted: we got tea
by candlelight, and spent a comfortable evening.  I had seen the landlady
before we went out, for, as had been usual in all the country inns, there
was a demur respecting beds, notwithstanding the house was empty, and
there were at least half-a-dozen spare beds.  Her countenance
corresponded with the unkindness of denying us a fire on a cold night,
{70} for she was the most cruel and hateful-looking woman I ever saw.
She was overgrown with fat, and was sitting with her feet and legs in a
tub of water for the dropsy,—probably brought on by whisky-drinking.  The
sympathy which I felt and expressed for her, on seeing her in this
wretched condition—for her legs were swollen as thick as
mill-posts—seemed to produce no effect; and I was obliged, after five
minutes’ conversation, to leave the affair of the beds undecided.
Coleridge had some talk with her daughter, a smart lass in a cotton gown,
with a bandeau round her head, without shoes and stockings.  She told
Coleridge with some pride that she had not spent all her time at Luss,
but was then fresh from Glasgow.

It came on a very stormy night; the wind rattled every window in the
house, and it rained heavily.  William and Coleridge had bad beds, in a
two-bedded room in the garrets, though there were empty rooms on the
first floor, and they were disturbed by a drunken man, who had come to
the inn when we were gone to sleep.

                                * * * * *

_Thursday_, _August_ 25_th_.—We were glad when we awoke to see that it
was a fine morning—the sky was bright blue, with quick-moving clouds, the
hills cheerful, lights and shadows vivid and distinct.  The village
looked exceedingly beautiful this morning from the garret windows—the
stream glittering near it, while it flowed under trees through the level
fields to the lake.  After breakfast, William and I went down to the
water-side.  The roads were as dry as if no drop of rain had fallen,
which added to the pure cheerfulness of the appearance of the village,
and even of the distant prospect, an effect which I always seem to
perceive from clearly bright roads, for they are always brightened by
rain, after a storm; but when we came among the houses I regretted even
more than last night, because the contrast was greater, the slovenliness
and dirt near the doors; and could not but remember, with pain from the
contrast, the cottages of Somersetshire, covered with roses and myrtle,
and their small gardens of herbs and flowers.  While lingering by the
shore we began to talk with a man who offered to row us to
Inch-ta-vanach; but the sky began to darken; and the wind being high, we
doubted whether we should venture, therefore made no engagement; he
offered to sell me some thread, pointing to his cottage, and added that
many English ladies carried thread away from Luss.

Presently after Coleridge joined us, and we determined to go to the
island.  I was sorry that the man who had been talking with us was not
our boatman; William by some chance had engaged another.  We had two
rowers and a strong boat; so I felt myself bold, though there was a great
chance of a high wind.  The nearest point of Inch-ta-vanach is not
perhaps more than a mile and a quarter from Luss; we did not land there,
but rowed round the end, and landed on that side which looks towards our
favourite cottages, and their own island, which, wherever seen, is still
their own.  It rained a little when we landed, and I took my cloak, which
afterwards served us to sit down upon in our road up the hill, when the
day grew much finer, with gleams of sunshine.  This island belongs to Sir
James Colquhoun, who has made a convenient road, that winds gently to the
top of it.

We had not climbed far before we were stopped by a sudden burst of
prospect, so singular and beautiful that it was like a flash of images
from another world.  We stood with our backs to the hill of the island,
which we were ascending, and which shut out Ben Lomond entirely, and all
the upper part of the lake, and we looked towards the foot of the lake,
scattered over with islands without beginning and without end.  The sun
shone, and the distant hills were visible, some through sunny mists,
others in gloom with patches of sunshine; the lake was lost under the low
and distant hills, and the islands lost in the lake, which was all in
motion with travelling fields of light, or dark shadows under rainy
clouds.  There are many hills, but no commanding eminence at a distance
to confine the prospect, so that the land seemed endless as the water.

What I had heard of Loch Lomond, or any other place in Great Britain, had
given me no idea of anything like what we beheld: it was an outlandish
scene—we might have believed ourselves in North America.  The islands
were of every possible variety of shape and surface—hilly and level,
large and small, bare, rocky, pastoral, or covered with wood.
Immediately under my eyes lay one large flat island, bare and green, so
flat and low that it scarcely appeared to rise above the water, with
straggling peat-stacks and a single hut upon one of its out-shooting
promontories—for it was of a very irregular shape, though perfectly flat.
Another, its next neighbour, and still nearer to us, was covered over
with heath and coppice-wood, the surface undulating, with flat or sloping
banks towards the water, and hollow places, cradle-like valleys, behind.
These two islands, with Inch-ta-vanach, where we were standing, were
intermingled with the water, I might say interbedded and interveined with
it, in a manner that was exquisitely pleasing.  There were bays
innumerable, straits or passages like calm rivers, landlocked lakes, and,
to the main water, stormy promontories.  The solitary hut on the flat
green island seemed unsheltered and desolate, and yet not wholly so, for
it was but a broad river’s breadth from the covert of the wood of the
other island.  Near to these is a miniature, an islet covered with trees,
on which stands a small ruin that looks like the remains of a religious
house; it is overgrown with ivy, and were it not that the arch of a
window or gateway may be distinctly seen, it would be difficult to
believe that it was not a tuft of trees growing in the shape of a ruin,
rather than a ruin overshadowed by trees.  When we had walked a little
further we saw below us, on the nearest large island, where some of the
wood had been cut down, a hut, which we conjectured to be a bark hut.  It
appeared to be on the shore of a little forest lake, enclosed by
Inch-ta-vanach, where we were, and the woody island on which the hut

Beyond we had the same intricate view as before, and could discover
Dumbarton rock with its double head.  There being a mist over it, it had
a ghost-like appearance—as I observed to William and Coleridge, something
like the Tor of Glastonbury from the Dorsetshire hills.  Right before us,
on the flat island mentioned before, were several small single trees or
shrubs, growing at different distances from each other, close to the
shore, but some optical delusion had detached them from the land on which
they stood, and they had the appearance of so many little vessels sailing
along the coast of it.  I mention the circumstance, because, with the
ghostly image of Dumbarton Castle, and the ambiguous ruin on the small
island, it was much in the character of the scene, which was throughout
magical and enchanting—a new world in its great permanent outline and
composition, and changing at every moment in every part of it by the
effect of sun and wind, and mist and shower and cloud, and the blending
lights and deep shades which took place of each other, traversing the
lake in every direction.  The whole was indeed a strange mixture of
soothing and restless images, of images inviting to rest, and others
hurrying the fancy away into an activity still more pleasing than repose.
Yet, intricate and homeless, that is, without lasting abiding-place for
the mind, as the prospect was, there was no perplexity; we had still a
guide to lead us forward.

Wherever we looked, it was a delightful feeling that there was something
beyond.  Meanwhile, the sense of quiet was never lost sight of; the
little peaceful lakes among the islands might make you forget that the
great water, Loch Lomond, was so near; and yet are more beautiful,
because you know that it is so: they have their own bays and creeks
sheltered within a shelter.  When we had ascended to the top of the
island we had a view up to Ben Lomond, over the long, broad water without
spot or rock; and, looking backwards, saw the islands below us as on a
map.  This view, as may be supposed, was not nearly so interesting as
those we had seen before.  We hunted out all the houses on the shore,
which were very few: there was the village of Luss, the two gentlemen’s
houses, our favourite cottages, and here and there a hut; but I do not
recollect any comfortable-looking farm-houses, and on the opposite shore
not a single dwelling.  The whole scene was a combination of natural
wildness, loveliness, beauty, and barrenness, or rather bareness, yet not
comfortless or cold; but the whole was beautiful.  We were too far off
the more distant shore to distinguish any particular spots which we might
have regretted were not better cultivated, and near Luss there was no
want of houses.

After we had left the island, having been so much taken with the beauty
of the bark hut and the little lake by which it appeared to stand, we
desired the boatman to row us through it, and we landed at the hut.
Walked upon the island for some time, and found out sheltered places for
cottages.  There were several woodman’s huts, which, with some scattered
fir-trees, and others in irregular knots, that made a delicious murmuring
in the wind, added greatly to the romantic effect of the scene.  They
were built in the form of a cone from the ground, like savages’ huts, the
door being just large enough for a man to enter with stooping.  Straw
beds were raised on logs of wood, tools lying about, and a forked bough
of a tree was generally suspended from the roof in the middle to hang a
kettle upon.  It was a place that might have been just visited by new
settlers.  I thought of Ruth and her dreams of romantic love:

   ‘And then he said how sweet it were,
   A fisher or a hunter there,
   A gardener in the shade,
   Still wandering with an easy mind,
   To build a household fire, and find
   A home in every glade.’

We found the main lake very stormy when we had left the shelter of the
islands, and there was again a threatening of rain, but it did not come
on.  I wanted much to go to the old ruin, but the boatmen were in a hurry
to be at home.  They told us it had been a stronghold built by a man who
lived there alone, and was used to swim over and make depredations on the
shore,—that nobody could ever lay hands on him, he was such a good
swimmer, but at last they caught him in a net.  The men pointed out to us
an island belonging to Sir James Colquhoun, on which were a great
quantity of deer.

Arrived at the inn at about twelve o’clock, and prepared to depart
immediately: we should have gone with great regret if the weather had
been warmer and the inn more comfortable.  When we were leaving the door,
a party with smart carriage and servants drove up, and I observed that
the people of the house were just as slow in their attendance upon them
as on us, with one single horse and outlandish Hibernian vehicle.

When we had travelled about two miles the lake became considerably
narrower, the hills rocky, covered with copses, or bare, rising more
immediately from the bed of the water, and therefore we had not so often
to regret the want of inhabitants.  Passed by, or saw at a distance,
sometimes a single cottage, or two or three together, but the whole space
between Luss and Tarbet is a solitude to the eye.  We were reminded of
Ulswater, but missed the pleasant farms, and the mountains were not so
interesting: we had not seen them in companies or brotherhoods rising one
above another at a long distance.  Ben Lomond stood alone, opposite to
us, majestically overlooking the lake; yet there was something in this
mountain which disappointed me,—a want of massiveness and simplicity,
perhaps from the top being broken into three distinct stages.  The road
carried us over a bold promontory by a steep and high ascent, and we had
a long view of the lake pushing itself up in a narrow line through an
avenue of mountains, terminated by the mountains at the head of the lake,
of which Ben Lui, if I do not mistake, is the most considerable.  The
afternoon was showery and misty, therefore we did not see this prospect
so distinctly as we could have wished, but there was a grand obscurity
over it which might make the mountains appear more numerous.

I have said so much of this lake that I am tired myself, and I fear I
must have tired my friends.  We had a pleasant journey to Tarbet; more
than half of it on foot, for the road was hilly, and after we had climbed
one small hill we were not desirous to get into the car again, seeing
another before us, and our path was always delightful, near the lake, and
frequently through woods.  When we were within about half a mile of
Tarbet, at a sudden turning looking to the left, we saw a very
craggy-topped mountain amongst other smooth ones; the rocks on the summit
distinct in shape as if they were buildings raised up by man, or uncouth
images of some strange creature.  We called out with one voice, ‘That’s
what we wanted!’ alluding to the frame-like uniformity of the
side-screens of the lake for the last five or six miles.  As we
conjectured, this singular mountain was the famous Cobbler, near
Arrochar.  Tarbet was before us in the recess of a deep, large bay, under
the shelter of a hill.  When we came up to the village we had to inquire
for the inn, there being no signboard.  It was a well-sized white house,
the best in the place.  We were conducted up-stairs into a sitting-room
that might make any good-humoured travellers happy—a square room, with
windows on each side, looking, one way, towards the mountains, and across
the lake to Ben Lomond, the other.

There was a pretty stone house before (_i.e._ towards the lake) some
huts, scattered trees, two or three green fields with hedgerows, and a
little brook making its way towards the lake; the fields are almost flat,
and screened on that side nearest the head of the lake by a hill, which,
pushing itself out, forms the bay of Tarbet, and, towards the foot, by a
gentle slope and trees.  The lake is narrow, and Ben Lomond shuts up the
prospect, rising directly from the water.  We could have believed
ourselves to be by the side of Ulswater, at Glenridden, or in some other
of the inhabited retirements of that lake.  We were in a sheltered place
among mountains; it was not an open joyous bay, with a cheerful populous
village, like Luss; but a pastoral and retired spot, with a few single
dwellings.  The people of the inn stared at us when we spoke, without
giving us an answer immediately, which we were at first disposed to
attribute to coarseness of manners, but found afterwards that they did
not understand us at once, Erse being the language spoken in the family.
Nothing but salt meat and eggs for dinner—no potatoes; the house smelt
strongly of herrings, which were hung to dry over the kitchen fire.

Walked in the evening towards the head of the lake; the road was steep
over the hill, and when we had reached the top of it we had long views up
and down the water.  Passed a troop of women who were resting themselves
by the roadside, as if returning from their day’s labour.  Amongst them
was a man, who had walked with us a considerable way in the morning, and
told us he was just come from America, where he had been for some
years,—was going to his own home, and should return to America.  He spoke
of emigration as a glorious thing for them who had money.  Poor fellow! I
do not think that he had brought much back with him, for he had worked
his passage over: I much suspected that a bundle, which he carried upon a
stick, tied in a pocket-handkerchief, contained his all.  He was almost
blind, he said, as were many of the crew.  He intended crossing the lake
at the ferry; but it was stormy, and he thought he should not be able to
get over that day.  I could not help smiling when I saw him lying by the
roadside with such a company about him, not like a wayfaring man, but
seeming as much at home and at his ease as if he had just stepped out of
his hut among them, and they had been neighbours all their lives. {80b}
Passed one pretty house, a large thatched dwelling with out-houses, but
the prospect above and below was solitary.

The sun had long been set before we returned to the inn.  As travellers,
we were glad to see the moon over the top of one of the hills, but it was
a cloudy night, without any peculiar beauty or solemnity.  After tea we
made inquiries respecting the best way to go to Loch Ketterine; the
landlord could give but little information, and nobody seemed to know
anything distinctly of the place, though it was but ten miles off.  We
applied to the maid-servant who waited on us: she was a fine-looking
young woman, dressed in a white bed-gown, her hair fastened up by a comb,
and without shoes and stockings.  When we asked her about the Trossachs
she could give us no information, but on our saying, ‘Do you know Loch
Ketterine?’ she answered with a smile, ‘I _should_ know that loch, for I
was bred and born there.’  After much difficulty we learned from her that
the Trossachs were at the foot of the lake, and that by the way we were
to go we should come upon them at the head, should have to travel ten
miles to the foot {80a} of the water, and that there was no inn by the
way.  The girl spoke English very distinctly; but she had few words, and
found it difficult to understand us.  She did not much encourage us to
go, because the roads were bad, and it was a long way, ‘and there was no
putting-up for the like of us.’  We determined, however, to venture, and
throw ourselves upon the hospitality of some cottager or gentleman.  We
desired the landlady to roast us a couple of fowls to carry with us.
There are always plenty of fowls at the doors of a Scotch inn, and eggs
are as regularly brought to table at breakfast as bread and butter.

                                * * * * *

_Friday_, _August_ 26_th_.—We did not set off till between ten and eleven
o’clock, much too late for a long day’s journey.  Our boatman lived at
the pretty white house which we saw from the windows: we called at his
door by the way, and, even when we were near the house, the outside
looked comfortable; but within I never saw anything so miserable from
dirt, and dirt alone: it reminded one of the house of a decayed weaver in
the suburbs of a large town, with a sickly wife and a large family; but
William says it was far worse, that it was quite Hottentotish.

After long waiting, and many clumsy preparations, we got ourselves seated
in the boat; but we had not floated five yards before we perceived that
if any of the party—and there was a little Highland woman who was going
over the water with us, the boatman, his helper, and ourselves—should
stir but a few inches, leaning to one side or the other, the boat would
be full in an instant, and we at the bottom; besides, it was very leaky,
and the woman was employed to lade out the water continually.  It
appeared that this crazy vessel was not the man’s own, and that _his_ was
lying in a bay at a little distance.  He said he would take us to it as
fast as possible, but I was so much frightened I would gladly have given
up the whole day’s journey; indeed not one of us would have attempted to
cross the lake in that boat for a thousand pounds.  We reached the larger
boat in safety after coasting a considerable way near the shore, but just
as we were landing, William dropped the bundle which contained our food
into the water.  The fowls were no worse, but some sugar, ground coffee,
and pepper-cake seemed to be entirely spoiled.  We gathered together as
much of the coffee and sugar as we could and tied it up, and again
trusted ourselves to the lake.  The sun shone, and the air was
calm—luckily it had been so while we were in the crazy boat—we had rocks
and woods on each side of us, or bare hills; seldom a single cottage and
there was no rememberable place till we came opposite to a waterfall of
no inconsiderable size, that appeared to drop directly into the lake:
close to it was a hut, which we were told was the ferry-house.  On the
other side of the lake was a pretty farm under the mountains, beside a
river, the cultivated grounds lying all together, and sloping towards the
lake from the mountain hollow down which the river came.  It is not easy
to conceive how beautiful these spots appeared after moving on so long
between the solitary steeps.

We went a considerable way further, and landed at Rob Roy’s Caves, which
are in fact no caves, but some fine rocks on the brink of the lake, in
the crevices of which a man might hide himself cunningly enough; the
water is very deep below them, and the hills above steep and covered with
wood.  The little Highland woman, who was in size about a match for our
guide at Lanerk, accompanied us hither.  There was something very
gracious in the manners of this woman; she could scarcely speak five
English words, yet she gave me, whenever I spoke to her, as many
intelligible smiles as I had needed English words to answer me, and
helped me over the rocks in the most obliging manner.  She had left the
boat out of good-will to us, or for her own amusement.  She had never
seen these caves before; but no doubt had heard of them, the tales of Rob
Roy’s exploits being told familiarly round the ‘ingles’ hereabouts, for
this neighbourhood was his home.  We landed at Inversneyde, the
ferry-house by the waterfall, and were not sorry to part with our
boatman, who was a coarse hard-featured man, and, speaking of the French,
uttered the basest and most cowardly sentiments.  His helper, a youth
fresh from the Isle of Skye, was innocent of this fault, and though but a
bad rower, was a far better companion; he could not speak a word of
English, and sang a plaintive Gaelic air in a low tone while he plied his

The ferry-house stood on the bank a few yards above the landing-place
where the boat lies.  It is a small hut under a steep wood, and a few
yards to the right, looking towards the hut, is the waterfall.  The fall
is not very high, but the stream is considerable, as we could see by the
large black stones that were lying bare, but the rains, if they had
reached this place, had had little effect upon the waterfall; its noise
was not so great as to form a contrast with the stillness of the bay into
which it falls, where the boat, and house, and waterfall itself seemed
all sheltered and protected.  The Highland woman was to go with us the
two first miles of our journey.  She led us along a bye foot-path a
shorter way up the hill from the ferry-house.  There is a considerable
settling in the hills that border Loch Lomond, at the passage by which we
were to cross to Loch Ketterine; Ben Lomond, terminating near the
ferry-house, is on the same side of the water with it, and about three
miles above Tarbet.

We had to climb right up the hill, which is very steep, and, when close
under it, seemed to be high, but we soon reached the top, and when we
were there had lost sight of the lake; and now our road was over a moor,
or rather through a wide moorland hollow.  Having gone a little way, we
saw before us, at the distance of about half a mile, a very large stone
building, a singular structure, with a high wall round it, naked hill
above, and neither field nor tree near; but the moor was not overgrown
with heath merely, but grey grass, such as cattle might pasture upon.  We
could not conjecture what this building was; it appeared as if it had
been built strong to defend it from storms; but for what purpose?
William called out to us that we should observe that place well, for it
was exactly like one of the spittals of the Alps, built for the reception
of travellers, and indeed I had thought it must be so before he spoke.
This building, from its singular structure and appearance, made the
place, which is itself in a country like Scotland nowise remarkable, take
a character of unusual wildness and desolation—this when we first came in
view of it; and afterwards, when we had passed it and looked back, three
pyramidal mountains on the opposite side of Loch Lomond terminated the
view, which under certain accidents of weather must be very grand.  Our
Highland companion had not English enough to give us any information
concerning this strange building; we could only get from her that it was
a ‘large house,’ which was plain enough.

We walked about a mile and a half over the moor without seeing any other
dwelling but one hut by the burn-side, with a peat-stack and a
ten-yards’-square enclosure for potatoes; then we came to several
clusters of houses, even hamlets they might be called, but where there is
any land belonging to the Highland huts there are so many outbuildings
near, which differ in no respect from the dwelling-houses except that
they send out no smoke, that one house looks like two or three.  Near
these houses was a considerable quantity of cultivated ground, potatoes
and corn, and the people were busy making hay in the hollow places of the
open vale, and all along the sides of the becks.  It was a pretty sight
altogether—men and women, dogs, the little running streams, with linen
bleaching near them, and cheerful sunny hills and rocks on every side.
We passed by one patch of potatoes that a florist might have been proud
of; no carnation-bed ever looked more gay than this square plot of ground
on the waste common.  The flowers were in very large bunches, and of an
extraordinary size, and of every conceivable shade of colouring from
snow-white to deep purple.  It was pleasing in that place, where perhaps
was never yet a flower cultivated by man for his own pleasure, to see
these blossoms grow more gladly than elsewhere, making a summer garden
near the mountain dwellings.

At one of the clusters of houses we parted with our companion, who had
insisted on bearing my bundle while she stayed with us: I often tried to
enter into conversation with her, and seeing a small tarn before us, was
reminded of the pleasure of fishing and the manner of living there, and
asked her what sort of food was eaten in that place, if they lived much
upon fish, or had mutton from the hills; she looked earnestly at me, and
shaking her head, replied, ‘Oh yes! eat fish—no papistes, eat
everything.’  The tarn had one small island covered with wood; the stream
that runs from it falls into Loch Ketterine, which, after we had gone a
little beyond the tarn, we saw at some distance before us.

Pursued the road, a mountain horse-track, till we came to a corner of
what seemed the head of the lake, and there sate down completely tired,
and hopeless as to the rest of our journey.  The road ended at the shore,
and no houses were to be seen on the opposite side except a few widely
parted huts, and on the near side was a trackless heath.  The land at the
head of the lake was but a continuation of the common we had come along,
and was covered with heather, intersected by a few straggling foot-paths.

Coleridge and I were faint with hunger, and could go no further till we
had refreshed ourselves, so we ate up one of our fowls, and drank of the
water of Loch Ketterine; but William could not be easy till he had
examined the coast, so he left us, and made his way along the moor across
the head of the lake.  Coleridge and I, as we sate, had what seemed to us
but a dreary prospect—a waste of unknown ground which we guessed we must
travel over before it was possible for us to find a shelter.  We saw a
long way down the lake; it was all moor on the near side; on the other
the hills were steep from the water, and there were large coppice-woods,
but no cheerful green fields, and no road that we could see; we knew,
however, that there must be a road from house to house; but the whole
lake appeared a solitude—neither boats, islands, nor houses, no grandeur
in the hills, nor any loveliness in the shores.  When we first came in
view of it we had said it was like a barren Ulswater—Ulswater dismantled
of its grandeur, and cropped of its lesser beauties.  When I had
swallowed my dinner I hastened after William, and Coleridge followed me.
Walked through the heather with some labour for perhaps half a mile, and
found William sitting on the top of a small eminence, whence we saw the
real head of the lake, which was pushed up into the vale a considerable
way beyond the promontory where we now sate.  The view up the lake was
very pleasing, resembling Thirlemere below Armath.  There were rocky
promontories and woody islands, and, what was most cheering to us, a neat
white house on the opposite shore; but we could see no boats, so, in
order to get to it we should be obliged to go round the head of the lake,
a long and weary way.

After Coleridge came up to us, while we were debating whether we should
turn back or go forward, we espied a man on horseback at a little
distance, with a boy following him on foot, no doubt a welcome sight, and
we hailed him.  We should have been glad to have seen either man, woman,
or child at this time, but there was something uncommon and interesting
in this man’s appearance, which would have fixed our attention wherever
we had met him.  He was a complete Highlander in dress, figure, and face,
and a very fine-looking man, hardy and vigorous, though past his prime.
While he stood waiting for us in his bonnet and plaid, which never look
more graceful than on horseback, I forgot our errand, and only felt glad
that we were in the Highlands.  William accosted him with, ‘Sir, do you
speak English?’  He replied, ‘A little.’  He spoke however, sufficiently
well for our purpose, and very distinctly, as all the Highlanders do who
learn English as a foreign language; but in a long conversation they want
words; he informed us that he himself was going beyond the Trossachs, to
Callander, that no boats were kept to ‘let;’ but there were two
gentlemen’s houses at this end of the lake, one of which we could not yet
see, it being hidden from us by a part of the hill on which we stood.
The other house was that which we saw opposite to us; both the gentlemen
kept boats, and probably might be able to spare one of their servants to
go with us.  After we had asked many questions, which the Highlander
answered with patience and courtesy, he parted from us, going along a
sort of horse-track, which a foot-passenger, if he once get into it, need
not lose if he be careful.

When he was gone we again debated whether we should go back to Tarbet, or
throw ourselves upon the mercy of one of the two gentlemen for a night’s
lodging.  What we had seen of the main body of the lake made us little
desire to see more of it; the Highlander upon the naked heath, in his
Highland dress, upon his careful-going horse, with the boy following him,
was worth it all; but after a little while we resolved to go on, ashamed
to shrink from an adventure.  Pursued the horse-track, and soon came in
sight of the other gentleman’s house, which stood on the opposite side of
the vale, a little above the lake.  It was a white house; no trees near
it except a new plantation of firs; but the fields were green, sprinkled
over with haycocks, and the brook which comes down the valley and falls
into the lake ran through them.  It was like a new-made farm in a
mountain vale, and yet very pleasing after the depressing prospect which
had been before us.

Our road was rough, and not easy to be kept.  It was between five and six
o’clock when we reached the brook side, where Coleridge and I stopped,
and William went up towards the house, which was in a field, where about
half a dozen people were at work.  He addressed himself to one who
appeared like the master, and all drew near him, staring at William as
nobody could have stared but out of sheer rudeness, except in such a
lonely place.  He told his tale, and inquired about boats; there were no
boats, and no lodging nearer than Callander, ten miles beyond the foot of
the lake.  A laugh was on every face when William said we were come to
see the Trossachs; no doubt they thought we had better have stayed at our
own homes.  William endeavoured to make it appear not so very foolish, by
informing them that it was a place much celebrated in England, though
perhaps little thought of by them, and that we only differed from many of
our countrymen in having come the wrong way in consequence of an
erroneous direction.

After a little time the gentleman said we should be accommodated with
such beds as they had, and should be welcome to rest in their house if we
pleased.  William came back for Coleridge and me; the men all stood at
the door to receive us, and now their behaviour was perfectly courteous.
We were conducted into the house by the same man who had directed us
hither on the other side of the lake, and afterwards we learned that he
was the father of our hostess.  He showed us into a room up-stairs,
begged we would sit at our ease, walk out, or do just as we pleased.  It
was a large square deal wainscoted room, the wainscot black with age, yet
had never been painted: it did not look like an English room, and yet I
do not know in what it differed, except that in England it is not common
to see so large and well-built a room so ill-furnished: there were two or
three large tables, and a few old chairs of different sorts, as if they
had been picked up one did not know how, at sales, or had belonged to
different rooms of the house ever since it was built.  We sat perhaps
three-quarters of an hour, and I was about to carry down our wet coffee
and sugar and ask leave to boil it, when the mistress of the house
entered, a tall fine-looking woman, neatly dressed in a dark-coloured
gown, with a white handkerchief tied round her head; she spoke to us in a
very pleasing manner, begging permission to make tea for us, an offer
which we thankfully accepted.  Encouraged by the sweetness of her
manners, I went down-stairs to dry my feet by the kitchen fire; she lent
me a pair of stockings, and behaved to me with the utmost attention and
kindness.  She carried the tea-things into the room herself, leaving me
to make tea, and set before us cheese and butter and barley cakes.  These
cakes are as thin as our oat-bread, but, instead of being crisp, are soft
and leathery, yet we, being hungry, and the butter delicious, ate them
with great pleasure, but when the same bread was set before us afterwards
we did not like it.

After tea William and I walked out; we amused ourselves with watching the
Highlanders at work: they went leisurely about everything, and whatever
was to be done, all followed, old men, and young, and little children.
We were driven into the house by a shower, which came on with the evening
darkness, and the people leaving their work paused at the same time.  I
was pleased to see them a while after sitting round a blazing fire in the
kitchen, father and son-in-law, master and man, and the mother with her
little child on her knee.  When I had been there before tea I had
observed what a contrast there was between the mistress and her kitchen;
she did not differ in appearance from an English country lady; but her
kitchen, roof, walls, and floor of mud, was all black alike; yet now,
with the light of a bright fire upon so many happy countenances, the
whole room made a pretty sight.

We heard the company laughing and talking long after we were in bed;
indeed I believe they never work till they are tired.  The children could
not speak a word of English: they were very shy at first; but after I had
caressed the eldest, and given her a red leather purse, with which she
was delighted, she took hold of my hand and hung about me, changing her
side-long looks for pretty smiles.  Her mother lamented they were so far
from school, they should be obliged to send the children down into the
Lowlands to be taught reading and English.  Callander, the nearest town,
was twenty miles from them, and it was only a small place: they had their
groceries from Glasgow.  She said that at Callander was their nearest
church, but sometimes ‘got a preaching at the Garrison.’  In explaining
herself she informed us that the large building which had puzzled us in
the morning had been built by Government, at the request of one of the
Dukes of Montrose, for the defence of his domains against the attacks of
Rob Roy.  I will not answer for the truth of this; perhaps it might have
been built for this purpose, and as a check on the Highlands in general;
certain it is, however, that it was a garrison; soldiers used to be
constantly stationed there, and have only been withdrawn within the last
thirteen or fourteen years.  Mrs. Macfarlane attended me to my room; she
said she hoped I should be able to sleep upon blankets, and said they
were ‘fresh from the fauld.’

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, _August_ 27_th_.—Before I rose, Mrs. Macfarlane came into my
room to see if I wanted anything, and told me she should send the servant
up with a basin of whey, saying, ‘We make very good whey in this
country;’ indeed, I thought it the best I had ever tasted; but I cannot
tell how this should be, for they only make skimmed-milk cheeses.  I
asked her for a little bread and milk for our breakfast, but she said it
would be no trouble to make tea, as she must make it for the family; so
we all breakfasted together.  The cheese was set out, as before, with
plenty of butter and barley-cakes, and fresh baked oaten cakes, which, no
doubt, were made for us: they had been kneaded with cream, and were
excellent.  All the party pressed us to eat, and were very jocose about
the necessity of helping out their coarse bread with butter, and they
themselves ate almost as much butter as bread.  In talking of the French
and the present times, their language was what most people would call
Jacobinical.  They spoke much of the oppressions endured by the
Highlanders further up, of the absolute impossibility of their living in
any comfort, and of the cruelty of laying so many restraints on
emigration.  Then they spoke with animation of the attachment of the
clans to their lairds: ‘The laird of this place, Glengyle, where we live,
could have commanded so many men who would have followed him to the
death; and now there are none left.’  It appeared that Mr. Macfarlane,
and his wife’s brother, Mr. Macalpine, farmed the place, inclusive of the
whole vale upwards to the mountains, and the mountains themselves, under
the lady of Glengyle, the mother of the young laird, a minor.  It was a

Speaking of another neighbouring laird, they said he had gone, like the
rest of them, to Edinburgh, left his lands and his own people, spending
his money where it brought him not any esteem, so that he was of no value
either at home or abroad.  We mentioned Rob Roy, and the eyes of all
glistened; even the lady of the house, who was very diffident, and no
great talker, exclaimed, ‘He was a good man, Rob Roy! he had been dead
only about eighty years, had lived in the next farm, which belonged to
him, and there his bones were laid.’ {93}  He was a famous swordsman.
Having an arm much longer than other men, he had a greater command with
his sword.  As a proof of the length of his arm, they told us that he
could garter his tartan stockings below the knee without stooping, and
added a dozen different stories of single combats, which he had fought,
all in perfect good-humour, merely to prove his prowess.  I daresay they
had stories of this kind which would hardly have been exhausted in the
long evenings of a whole December week, Rob Roy being as famous here as
ever Robin Hood was in the Forest of Sherwood; _he_ also robbed from the
rich, giving to the poor, and defending them from oppression.  They tell
of his confining the factor of the Duke of Montrose in one of the islands
of Loch Ketterine, after having taken his money from him—the Duke’s
rents—in open day, while they were sitting at table.  He was a formidable
enemy of the Duke, but being a small laird against a greater, was
overcome at last, and forced to resign all his lands on the Braes of Loch
Lomond, including the caves which we visited, on account of the money he
had taken from the Duke and could not repay.

When breakfast was ended the mistress desired the person whom we took to
be her husband to ‘return thanks.’  He said a short grace, and in a few
minutes they all went off to their work.  We saw them about the door
following one another like a flock of sheep, with the children after,
whatever job they were engaged in.  Mrs. Macfarlane told me she would
show me the burying-place of the lairds of Glengyle, and took me to a
square enclosure like a pinfold, with a stone ball at every corner; we
had noticed it the evening before, and wondered what it could be.  It was
in the middle of a ‘planting,’ as they call plantations, which was
enclosed for the preservation of the trees, therefore we had to climb
over a high wall: it was a dismal spot, containing four or five graves
overgrown with long grass, nettles, and brambles.  Against the wall was a
marble monument to the memory of one of the lairds, of whom they spoke
with veneration: some English verses were inscribed upon the marble,
purporting that he had been the father of his clan, a brave and good man.
When we returned to the house she said she would show me what curious
feathers they had in their country, and brought out a bunch carefully
wrapped up in paper.  On my asking her what bird they came from, ‘Oh!’
she replied, ‘it is a great beast.’  We conjectured it was an eagle, and
from her description of its ways, and the manner of destroying it, we
knew it was so.  She begged me to accept of some of the feathers, telling
me that some ladies wore them in their heads.  I was much pleased with
the gift, which I shall preserve in memory of her kindness and simplicity
of manners, and the Highland solitude where she lived.

We took leave of the family with regret: they were handsome, healthy, and
happy-looking people.  It was ten o’clock when we departed.  We had
learned that there was a ferry-boat kept at three miles’ distance, and if
the man was at home he would row us down the lake to the Trossachs.  Our
walk was mostly through coppice-woods, along a horse-road, upon which
narrow carts might travel.  Passed that white house which had looked at
us with such a friendly face when we were on the other side; it stood on
the slope of a hill, with green pastures below it, plots of corn and
coppice-wood, and behind, a rocky steep covered with wood.  It was a very
pretty place, but the morning being cold and dull the opposite shore
appeared dreary.  Near to the white house we passed by another of those
little pinfold squares, which we knew to be a burying-place; it was in a
sloping green field among woods, and within sound of the beating of the
water against the shore, if there were but a gentle breeze to stir it: I
thought if I lived in that house, and my ancestors and kindred were
buried there, I should sit many an hour under the walls of this plot of
earth, where all the household would be gathered together.

We found the ferryman at work in the field above his hut, and he was at
liberty to go with us, but, being wet and hungry, we begged that he would
let us sit by his fire till we had refreshed ourselves.  This was the
first genuine Highland hut we had been in.  We entered by the cow-house,
the house-door being within, at right angles to the outer door.  The
woman was distressed that she had a bad fire, but she heaped up some dry
peats and heather, and, blowing it with her breath, in a short time
raised a blaze that scorched us into comfortable feelings.  A small part
of the smoke found its way out of the hole of the chimney, the rest
through the open window-places, one of which was within the recess of the
fireplace, and made a frame to a little picture of the restless lake and
the opposite shore, seen when the outer door was open.  The woman of the
house was very kind: whenever we asked her for anything it seemed a fresh
pleasure to her that she had it for us; she always answered with a sort
of softening down of the Scotch exclamation, ‘Hoot!’  ‘Ho! yes, ye’ll get
that,’ and hied to her cupboard in the spence.  We were amused with the
phrase ‘Ye’ll get that’ in the Highlands, which appeared to us as if it
came from a perpetual feeling of the difficulty with which most things
are procured.  We got oatmeal, butter, bread and milk, made some
porridge, and then departed.  It was rainy and cold, with a strong wind.

Coleridge was afraid of the cold in the boat, so he determined to walk
down the lake, pursuing the same road we had come along.  There was
nothing very interesting for the first three or four miles on either side
of the water: to the right, uncultivated heath or poor coppice-wood, and
to the left, a scattering of meadow ground, patches of corn,
coppice-woods, and here and there a cottage.  The wind fell, and it began
to rain heavily.  On this William wrapped himself in the boatman’s plaid,
and lay at the bottom of the boat till we came to a place where I could
not help rousing him.

We were rowing down that side of the lake which had hitherto been little
else than a moorish ridge.  After turning a rocky point we came to a bay
closed in by rocks and steep woods, chiefly of full-grown birch.  The
lake was elsewhere ruffled, but at the entrance of this bay the breezes
sunk, and it was calm: a small island was near, and the opposite shore,
covered with wood, looked soft through the misty rain.  William, rubbing
his eyes, for he had been asleep, called out that he hoped I had not let
him pass by anything that was so beautiful as this; and I was glad to
tell him that it was but the beginning of a new land.  After we had left
this bay we saw before us a long reach of woods and rocks and rocky
points, that promised other bays more beautiful than what we had passed.
The ferryman was a good-natured fellow, and rowed very industriously,
following the ins and outs of the shore; he was delighted with the
pleasure we expressed, continually repeating how pleasant it would have
been on a fine day.  I believe he was attached to the lake by some
sentiment of pride, as his own domain—his being almost the only boat upon
it—which made him, seeing we were willing gazers, take far more pains
than an ordinary boatman; he would often say, after he had compassed the
turning of a point, ‘This is a bonny part,’ and he always chose the
bonniest, with greater skill than our prospect-hunters and ‘picturesque
travellers;’ places screened from the winds—that was the first point; the
rest followed of course,—richer growing trees, rocks and banks, and
curves which the eye delights in.

The second bay we came to differed from the rest; the hills retired a
short space from the lake, leaving a few level fields between, on which
was a cottage embosomed in trees: the bay was defended by rocks at each
end, and the hills behind made a shelter for the cottage, the only
dwelling, I believe, except one, on this side of Loch Ketterine.  We now
came to steeps that rose directly from the lake, and passed by a place
called in the Gaelic the Den of the Ghosts, {97} which reminded us of
Lodore; it is a rock, or mass of rock, with a stream of large black
stones like the naked or dried-up bed of a torrent down the side of it;
birch-trees start out of the rock in every direction, and cover the hill
above, further than we could see.  The water of the lake below was very
deep, black, and calm.  Our delight increased as we advanced, till we
came in view of the termination of the lake, seeing where the river
issues out of it through a narrow chasm between the hills.

Here I ought to rest, as we rested, and attempt to give utterance to our
pleasure: but indeed I can impart but little of what we felt.  We were
still on the same side of the water, and, being immediately under the
hill, within a considerable bending of the shore, we were enclosed by
hills all round, as if we had been upon a smaller lake of which the whole
was visible.  It was an entire solitude; and all that we beheld was the
perfection of loveliness and beauty.

We had been through many solitary places since we came into Scotland, but
this place differed as much from any we had seen before, as if there had
been nothing in common between them; no thought of dreariness or
desolation found entrance here; yet nothing was to be seen but water,
wood, rocks, and heather, and bare mountains above.  We saw the mountains
by glimpses as the clouds passed by them, and were not disposed to
regret, with our boatman, that it was not a fine day, for the near
objects were not concealed from us, but softened by being seen through
the mists.  The lake is not very wide here, but appeared to be much
narrower than it really is, owing to the many promontories, which are
pushed so far into it that they are much more like islands than
promontories.  We had a longing desire to row to the outlet and look up
into the narrow passage through which the river went; but the point where
we were to land was on the other side, so we bent our course right
across, and just as we came in sight of two huts, which have been built
by Lady Perth as a shelter for those who visit the Trossachs, Coleridge
hailed us with a shout of triumph from the door of one of them, exulting
in the glory of Scotland.  The huts stand at a small distance from each
other, on a high and perpendicular rock, that rises from the bed of the
lake.  A road, which has a very wild appearance, has been cut through the
rock; yet even here, among these bold precipices, the feeling of
excessive beautifulness overcomes every other.  While we were upon the
lake, on every side of us were bays within bays, often more like tiny
lakes or pools than bays, and these not in long succession only, but all
round, some almost on the broad breast of the water, the promontories
shot out so far.

After we had landed we walked along the road to the uppermost of the
huts, where Coleridge was standing.  From the door of this hut we saw
Benvenue opposite to us—a high mountain, but clouds concealed its top;
its side, rising directly from the lake, is covered with birch-trees to a
great height, and seamed with innumerable channels of torrents; but now
there was no water in them, nothing to break in upon the stillness and
repose of the scene; nor do I recollect hearing the sound of water from
any side, the wind being fallen and the lake perfectly still; the place
was all eye, and completely satisfied the sense and the heart.  Above and
below us, to the right and to the left, were rocks, knolls, and hills,
which, wherever anything could grow—and that was everywhere between the
rocks—were covered with trees and heather; the trees did not in any place
grow so thick as an ordinary wood; yet I think there was never a bare
space of twenty yards: it was more like a natural forest where the trees
grow in groups or singly, not hiding the surface of the ground, which,
instead of being green and mossy, was of the richest purple.  The heather
was indeed the most luxuriant I ever saw; it was so tall that a child of
ten years old struggling through it would often have been buried head and
shoulders, and the exquisite beauty of the colour, near or at a distance,
seen under the trees, is not to be conceived.  But if I were to go on
describing for evermore, I should give but a faint, and very often a
false, idea of the different objects and the various combinations of them
in this most intricate and delicious place; besides, I tired myself out
with describing at Loch Lomond, so I will hasten to the end of my tale.
This reminds me of a sentence in a little pamphlet written by the
minister of Callander, descriptive of the environs of that place.  After
having taken up at least six closely-printed pages with the Trossachs, he
concludes thus, ‘In a word, the Trossachs beggar all description,’
{100}—a conclusion in which everybody who has been there will agree with
him.  I believe the word Trossachs signifies ‘many hills:’ it is a name
given to all the eminences at the foot of Loch Ketterine, and about half
a mile beyond.

We left the hut, retracing the few yards of road which we had climbed;
our boat lay at anchor under the rock in the last of all the compartments
of the lake, a small oblong pool, almost shut up within itself, as
several others had appeared to be, by jutting points of rock; the
termination of a long out-shooting of the water, pushed up between the
steps of the main shore where the huts stand, and a broad promontory
which, with its hillocks and points and lesser promontories, occupies the
centre of the foot of the lake.  A person sailing through the lake up the
middle of it, would just as naturally suppose that the outlet was here as
on the other side; and so it might have been, with the most trifling
change in the disposition of the ground, for at the end of this slip of
water the lake is confined only by a gentle rising of a few yards towards
an opening between the hills, a narrow pass or valley through which the
river might have flowed.  The road is carried through this valley, which
only differs from the lower part of the vale of the lake in being
excessively narrow, and without water; it is enclosed by mountains, rocky
mounds, hills and hillocks scattered over with birch-trees, and covered
with Dutch myrtle {101} and heather, even surpassing what we had seen
before.  Our mother Eve had no fairer, though a more diversified garden,
to tend, than we found within this little close valley.  It rained all
the time, but the mists and calm air made us ample amends for a wetting.

At the opening of the pass we climbed up a low eminence, and had an
unexpected prospect suddenly before us—another lake, small compared with
Loch Ketterine, though perhaps four miles long, but the misty air
concealed the end of it.  The transition from the solitary wildness of
Loch Ketterine and the narrow valley or pass to this scene was very
delightful: it was a gentle place, with lovely open bays, one small
island, corn fields, woods, and a group of cottages.  This vale seemed to
have been made to be tributary to the comforts of man, Loch Ketterine for
the lonely delight of Nature, and kind spirits delighting in beauty.  The
sky was grey and heavy,—floating mists on the hill-sides, which softened
the objects, and where we lost sight of the lake it appeared so near to
the sky that they almost touched one another, giving a visionary beauty
to the prospect.  While we overlooked this quiet scene we could hear the
stream rumbling among the rocks between the lakes, but the mists
concealed any glimpse of it which we might have had.  This small lake is
called Loch Achray.

We returned, of course, by the same road.  Our guide repeated over and
over again his lamentations that the day was so bad, though we had often
told him—not indeed with much hope that he would believe us—that we were
glad of it.  As we walked along he pulled a leafy twig from a birch-tree,
and, after smelling it, gave it to me, saying, how ‘sweet and halesome’
it was, and that it was pleasant and very halesome on a fine summer’s
morning to sail under the banks where the birks are growing.  This
reminded me of the old Scotch songs, in which you continually hear of the
‘pu’ing the birks.’  Common as birches are in the north of England, I
believe their sweet smell is a thing unnoticed among the peasants.  We
returned again to the huts to take a farewell look.  We had shared our
food with the ferryman and a traveller whom we had met here, who was
going up the lake, and wished to lodge at the ferry-house, so we offered
him a place in the boat.  Coleridge chose to walk.  We took the same side
of the lake as before, and had much delight in visiting the bays over
again; but the evening began to darken, and it rained so heavily before
we had gone two miles that we were completely wet.  It was dark when we
landed, and on entering the house I was sick with cold.

The good woman had provided, according to her promise, a better fire than
we had found in the morning; and indeed when I sate down in the
chimney-corner of her smoky biggin’ I thought I had never been more
comfortable in my life.  Coleridge had been there long enough to have a
pan of coffee boiling for us, and having put our clothes in the way of
drying, we all sate down, thankful for a shelter.  We could not prevail
upon the man of the house to draw near the fire, though he was cold and
wet, or to suffer his wife to get him dry clothes till she had served us,
which she did, though most willingly, not very expeditiously.  A
Cumberland man of the same rank would not have had such a notion of what
was fit and right in his own house, or if he had, one would have accused
him of servility; but in the Highlander it only seemed like politeness,
however erroneous and painful to us, naturally growing out of the
dependence of the inferiors of the clan upon their laird; he did not,
however, refuse to let his wife bring out the whisky-bottle at our
request: ‘She keeps a dram,’ as the phrase is; indeed, I believe there is
scarcely a lonely house by the wayside in Scotland where travellers may
not be accommodated with a dram.  We asked for sugar, butter,
barley-bread, and milk, and with a smile and a stare more of kindness
than wonder, she replied, ‘Ye’ll get that,’ bringing each article

We caroused our cups of coffee, laughing like children at the strange
atmosphere in which we were: the smoke came in gusts, and spread along
the walls and above our heads in the chimney, where the hens were
roosting like light clouds in the sky.  We laughed and laughed again, in
spite of the smarting of our eyes, yet had a quieter pleasure in
observing the beauty of the beams and rafters gleaming between the clouds
of smoke.  They had been crusted over and varnished by many winters,
till, where the firelight fell upon them, they were as glossy as black
rocks on a sunny day cased in ice.  When we had eaten our supper we sate
about half an hour, and I think I had never felt so deeply the blessing
of a hospitable welcome and a warm fire.  The man of the house repeated
from time to time that we should often tell of this night when we got to
our homes, and interposed praises of this, his own lake, which he had
more than once, when we were returning in the boat, ventured to say was
‘bonnier than Loch Lomond.’

Our companion from the Trossachs, who it appeared was an Edinburgh
drawing-master going during the vacation on a pedestrian tour to John o’
Groat’s House, was to sleep in the barn with William and Coleridge, where
the man said he had plenty of dry hay.  I do not believe that the hay of
the Highlands is often very dry, but this year it had a better chance
than usual: wet or dry, however, the next morning they said they had
slept comfortably.  When I went to bed, the mistress, desiring me to ‘go
ben,’ attended me with a candle, and assured me that the bed was dry,
though not ‘sic as I had been used to.’  It was of chaff; there were two
others in the room, a cupboard and two chests, on one of which stood the
milk in wooden vessels covered over; I should have thought that milk so
kept could not have been sweet, but the cheese and butter were good.  The
walls of the whole house were of stone unplastered.  It consisted of
three apartments,—the cow-house at one end, the kitchen or house in the
middle, and the spence at the other end.  The rooms were divided, not up
to the rigging, but only to the beginning of the roof, so that there was
a free passage for light and smoke from one end of the house to the

I went to bed some time before the family.  The door was shut between us,
and they had a bright fire, which I could not see; but the light it sent
up among the varnished rafters and beams, which crossed each other in
almost as intricate and fantastic a manner as I have seen the
under-boughs of a large beech-tree withered by the depth of the shade
above, produced the most beautiful effect that can be conceived.  It was
like what I should suppose an underground cave or temple to be, with a
dripping or moist roof, and the moonlight entering in upon it by some
means or other, and yet the colours were more like melted gems.  I lay
looking up till the light of the fire faded away, and the man and his
wife and child had crept into their bed at the other end of the room.  I
did not sleep much, but passed a comfortable night, for my bed, though
hard, was warm and clean: the unusualness of my situation prevented me
from sleeping.  I could hear the waves beat against the shore of the
lake; a little ‘syke’ close to the door made a much louder noise; and
when I sate up in my bed I could see the lake through an open
window-place at the bed’s head.  Add to this, it rained all night.  I was
less occupied by remembrance of the Trossachs, beautiful as they were,
than the vision of the Highland hut, which I could not get out of my
head.  I thought of the Fairyland of Spenser, and what I had read in
romance at other times, and then, what a feast would it be for a London
pantomime-maker, could he but transplant it to Drury Lane, with all its
beautiful colours!


_Sunday_, _August_ 28_th_.—We were desirous to have crossed the mountains
above Glengyle to Glenfalloch, at the head of Loch Lomond, but it rained
so heavily that it was impossible, so the ferryman engaged to row us to
the point where Coleridge and I had rested, while William was going on
our doubtful adventure.  The hostess provided us with tea and sugar for
our breakfast; the water was boiled in an iron pan, and dealt out to us
in a jug, a proof that she does not often drink tea, though she said she
had always tea and sugar in the house.  She and the rest of the family
breakfasted on curds and whey, as taken out of the pot in which she was
making cheese; she insisted upon my taking some also; and her husband
joined in with the old story, that it was ‘varra halesome.’  I thought it
exceedingly good, and said to myself that they lived nicely with their
cow: she was meat, drink, and company.  Before breakfast the housewife
was milking behind the chimney, and I thought I had seldom heard a
sweeter fire-side sound; in an evening, sitting over a sleepy, low-burnt
fire, it would lull one like the purring of a cat.

When we departed, the good woman shook me cordially by the hand, saying
she hoped that if ever we came into Scotland again, we would come and see
her.  The lake was calm, but it rained so heavily that we could see
little.  Landed at about ten o’clock, almost wet to the skin, and, with
no prospect but of streaming rains, faced the mountain-road to Loch
Lomond.  We recognised the same objects passed before,—the tarn, the
potato-bed, and the cottages with their burnies, which were no longer, as
one might say, household streams, but made us only think of the mountains
and rocks they came from.  Indeed, it is not easy to imagine how
different everything appeared; the mountains with mists and torrents
alive and always changing: but the low grounds where the inhabitants had
been at work the day before were melancholy, with here and there a few
haycocks and hay scattered about.

Wet as we were, William and I turned out of our path to the Garrison
house.  A few rooms of it seemed to be inhabited by some wretchedly poor
families, and it had all the desolation of a large decayed mansion in the
suburbs of a town, abandoned of its proper inhabitants, and become the
abode of paupers.  In spite of its outside bravery, it was but a poor
protection against ‘the sword of winter, keen and cold.’  We looked at
the building through the arch of a broken gateway of the courtyard, in
the middle of which it stands.  Upon that stormy day it appeared more
than desolate; there was something about it even frightful.

When beginning to descend the hill towards Loch Lomond, we overtook two
girls, who told us we could not cross the ferry till evening, for the
boat was gone with a number of people to church.  One of the girls was
exceedingly beautiful; and the figures of both of them, in grey plaids
falling to their feet, their faces only being uncovered, excited our
attention before we spoke to them; but they answered us so sweetly that
we were quite delighted, at the same time that they stared at us with an
innocent look of wonder.  I think I never heard the English language
sound more sweetly than from the mouth of the elder of these girls, while
she stood at the gate answering our inquiries, her face flushed with the
rain; her pronunciation was clear and distinct: without difficulty, yet
slow, like that of a foreign speech.  They told us we might sit in the
ferry-house till the return of the boat, went in with us, and made a good
fire as fast as possible to dry our wet clothes.  We learnt that the
taller was the sister of the ferryman, and had been left in charge with
the house for the day, that the other was his wife’s sister, and was come
with her mother on a visit,—an old woman, who sate in a corner beside the
cradle, nursing her little grandchild.  We were glad to be housed, with
our feet upon a warm hearth-stone; and our attendants were so active and
good-humoured that it was pleasant to have to desire them to do anything.
The younger was a delicate and unhealthy-looking girl; but there was an
uncommon meekness in her countenance, with an air of premature
intelligence, which is often seen in sickly young persons.  The other
made me think of Peter Bell’s ‘Highland Girl:’

   ‘As light and beauteous as a squirrel,
   As beauteous and as wild.’

She moved with unusual activity, which was chastened very delicately by a
certain hesitation in her looks when she spoke, being able to understand
us but imperfectly.  They were both exceedingly desirous to get me what I
wanted to make me comfortable.  I was to have a gown and petticoat of the
mistress’s; so they turned out her whole wardrobe upon the parlour floor,
talking Erse to one another, and laughing all the time.  It was long
before they could decide which of the gowns I was to have; they chose at
last, no doubt thinking that it was the best, a light-coloured sprigged
cotton, with long sleeves, and they both laughed while I was putting it
on, with the blue linsey petticoat, and one or the other, or both
together, helped me to dress, repeating at least half a dozen times, ‘You
never had on the like of that before.’  They held a consultation of
several minutes over a pair of coarse woollen stockings, gabbling Erse as
fast as their tongues could move, and looked as if uncertain what to do:
at last, with great diffidence, they offered them to me, adding, as
before, that I had never worn ‘the like of them.’  When we entered the
house we had been not a little glad to see a fowl stewing in
barley-broth; and now when the wettest of our clothes were stripped off,
began again to recollect that we were hungry, and asked if we could have
dinner.  ‘Oh yes, ye may get that,’ the elder replied, pointing to the
pan on the fire.

Conceive what a busy house it was—all our wet clothes to be dried, dinner
prepared and set out for us four strangers, and a second cooking for the
family; add to this, two rough ‘callans,’ as they called them, boys about
eight years old, were playing beside us; the poor baby was fretful all
the while; the old woman sang doleful Erse songs, rocking it in its
cradle the more violently the more it cried; then there were a dozen
cookings of porridge, and it could never be fed without the assistance of
all three.  The hut was after the Highland fashion, but without anything
beautiful except its situation; the floor was rough, and wet with the
rain that came in at the door, so that the lasses’ bare feet were as wet
as if they had been walking through street puddles, in passing from one
room to another; the windows were open, as at the other hut; but the
kitchen had a bed in it, and was much smaller, and the shape of the house
was like that of a common English cottage, without its comfort; yet there
was no appearance of poverty—indeed, quite the contrary.  The peep out of
the open door-place across the lake made some amends for the want of the
long roof and elegant rafters of our boatman’s cottage, and all the while
the waterfall, which we could not see, was roaring at the end of the hut,
which seemed to serve as a sounding-board for its noise, so that it was
not unlike sitting in a house where a mill is going.  The dashing of the
waves against the shore could not be distinguished; yet in spite of my
knowledge of this I could not help fancying that the tumult and storm
came from the lake, and went out several times to see if it was possible
to row over in safety.

After long waiting we grew impatient for our dinner; at last the pan was
taken off, and carried into the other room; but we had to wait at least
another half hour before the ceremony of dishing up was completed; yet
with all this bustle and difficulty, the manner in which they, and
particularly the elder of the girls, performed everything, was perfectly
graceful.  We ate a hearty dinner, and had time to get our clothes quite
dry before the arrival of the boat.  The girls could not say at what time
it would be at home; on our asking them if the church was far off they
replied, ‘Not very far;’ and when we asked how far, they said, ‘Perhaps
about four or five miles.’  I believe a Church of England congregation
would hold themselves excused for non-attendance three parts of the year,
having but half as far to go; but in the lonely parts of Scotland they
make little of a journey of nine or ten miles to a preaching.  They have
not perhaps an opportunity of going more than once in a quarter of a
year, and, setting piety aside, have other motives to attend: they hear
the news, public and private, and see their friends and neighbours; for,
though the people who meet at these times may be gathered together from a
circle of twenty miles’ diameter, a sort of neighbourly connexion must be
so brought about.  There is something exceedingly pleasing to my
imagination in this gathering together of the inhabitants of these
secluded districts—for instance, the borderers of these two large lakes
meeting at the deserted garrison which I have described.  The manner of
their travelling is on foot, on horseback, and in boats across the
waters,—young and old, rich and poor, all in their best dress.

If it were not for these Sabbath-day meetings one summer month would be
like another summer month, one winter month like another—detached from
the goings-on of the world, and solitary throughout; from the time of
earliest childhood they will be like landing-places in the memory of a
person who has passed his life in these thinly peopled regions; they must
generally leave distinct impressions, differing from each other so much
as they do in circumstances, in time and place, etc.,—some in the open
fields, upon hills, in houses, under large rocks, in storms, and in fine

But I have forgotten the fireside of our hut.  After long waiting, the
girls, who had been on the look-out, informed us that the boat was
coming.  I went to the water-side, and saw a cluster of people on the
opposite shore; but being yet at a distance, they looked more like
soldiers surrounding a carriage than a group of men and women; red and
green were the distinguishable colours.  We hastened to get ourselves
ready as soon as we saw the party approach, but had longer to wait than
we expected, the lake being wider than it appears to be.  As they drew
near we could distinguish men in tartan plaids, women in scarlet cloaks,
and green umbrellas by the half-dozen.  The landing was as pretty a sight
as ever I saw.  The bay, which had been so quiet two days before, was all
in motion with small waves, while the swoln waterfall roared in our ears.
The boat came steadily up, being pressed almost to the water’s edge by
the weight of its cargo; perhaps twenty people landed, one after another.
It did not rain much, but the women held up their umbrellas; they were
dressed in all the colours of the rainbow, and, with their scarlet
cardinals, the tartan plaids of the men, and Scotch bonnets, made a gay
appearance.  There was a joyous bustle surrounding the boat, which even
imparted something of the same character to the waterfall in its tumult,
and the restless grey waves; the young men laughed and shouted, the
lasses laughed, and the elder folks seemed to be in a bustle to be away.
I remember well with what haste the mistress of the house where we were
ran up to seek after her child, and seeing us, how anxiously and kindly
she inquired how we had fared, if we had had a good fire, had been well
waited upon, etc. etc.  All this in three minutes—for the boatman had
another party to bring from the other side and hurried us off.

The hospitality we had met with at the two cottages and Mr. Macfarlane’s
gave us very favourable impressions on this our first entrance into the
Highlands, and at this day the innocent merriment of the girls, with
their kindness to us, and the beautiful figure and face of the elder,
come to my mind whenever I think of the ferry-house and waterfall of Loch
Lomond, and I never think of the two girls but the whole image of that
romantic spot is before me, a living image, as it will be to my dying
day.  The following poem {113} was written by William not long after our
return from Scotland:—

   Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
   Of beauty is thy earthly dower!
   Twice seven consenting years have shed
   Their utmost bounty on thy head:
   And these grey rocks; this household lawn;
   These trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
   This fall of water, that doth make
   A murmur near the silent Lake;
   This little Bay, a quiet road
   That holds in shelter thy abode;
   In truth together ye do seem
   Like something fashion’d in a dream;
   Such forms as from their covert peep
   When earthly cares are laid asleep!
   Yet, dream and vision as thou art,
   I bless thee with a human heart:
   God shield thee to thy latest years!
   I neither know thee nor thy peers;
   And yet my eyes are filled with tears.

   With earnest feeling I shall pray
   For thee when I am far away:
   For never saw I mien or face,
   In which more plainly I could trace
   Benignity and home-bred sense
   Ripening in perfect innocence.
   Here, scattered like a random seed,
   Remote from men, thou dost not need
   Th’ embarrass’d look of shy distress
   And maidenly shamefacedness;
   Thou wear’st upon thy forehead clear
   The freedom of a mountaineer:
   A face with gladness overspread!
   Sweet smiles, by human-kindness bred!
   And seemliness complete, that sways
   Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
   With no restraint but such as springs
   From quick and eager visitings
   Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
   Of thy few words of English speech:
   A bondage sweetly brook’d, a strife
   That gives thy gestures grace and life!
   So have I, not unmoved in mind,
   Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
   Thus beating up against the wind.

   What hand but would a garland cull
   For thee, who art so beautiful?
   O happy pleasure! here to dwell
   Beside thee in some heathy dell;
   Adopt your homely ways and dress,
   A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess!
   But I could frame a wish for thee
   More like a grave reality:
   Thou art to me but as a wave
   Of the wild sea: and I would have
   Some claim upon thee, if I could,
   Though but of common neighbourhood.
   What joy to hear thee and to see!
   Thy elder brother I would be,
   Thy father—anything to thee.

   Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace
   Hath led me to this lonely place!
   Joy have I had; and going hence
   I bear away my recompence.
   In spots like these it is we prize
   Our memory, feel that she hath eyes:
   Then why should I be loth to stir?
   I feel this place is made for her;
   To give new pleasure like the past
   Continued long as life shall last.
   Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,
   Sweet Highland Girl, from thee to part;
   For I, methinks, till I grow old,
   As fair before me shall behold
   As I do now, the Cabin small,
   The Lake, the Bay, the Waterfall,
   And thee, the Spirit of them all.

We were rowed over speedily by the assistance of two youths, who went
backwards and forwards for their own amusement, helping at the oars, and
pulled as if they had strength and spirits to spare for a year to come.
We noticed that they had uncommonly fine teeth, and that they and the
boatman were very handsome people.  Another merry crew took our place in
the boat.

We had three miles to walk to Tarbet.  It rained, but not heavily; the
mountains were not concealed from us by the mists, but appeared larger
and more grand; twilight was coming on, and the obscurity under which we
saw the objects, with the sounding of the torrents, kept our minds alive
and wakeful; all was solitary and huge—sky, water, and mountains mingled
together.  While we were walking forward, the road leading us over the
top of a brow, we stopped suddenly at the sound of a half articulate
Gaelic hooting from the field close to us.  It came from a little boy,
whom we could see on the hill between us and the lake, wrapped up in a
grey plaid.  He was probably calling home the cattle for the night.  His
appearance was in the highest degree moving to the imagination: mists
were on the hillsides, darkness shutting in upon the huge avenue of
mountains, torrents roaring, no house in sight to which the child might
belong; his dress, cry, and appearance all different from anything we had
been accustomed to.  It was a text, as William has since observed to me,
containing in itself the whole history of the Highlander’s life—his
melancholy, his simplicity, his poverty, his superstition, and above all,
that visionariness which results from a communion with the unworldliness
of nature.

When we reached Tarbet the people of the house were anxious to know how
we had fared, particularly the girl who had waited upon us.  Our praises
of Loch Ketterine made her exceedingly happy, and she ventured to say, of
which we had heard not a word before, that it was ‘bonnier to _her_ fancy
than Loch Lomond.’ {116}  The landlord, who was not at home when we had
set off, told us that if he had known of our going he would have
recommended us to Mr. Macfarlane’s or the other farm-house, adding that
they were hospitable people in that vale.  Coleridge and I got tea, and
William and the drawing-master chose supper; they asked to have a broiled
fowl, a dish very common in Scotland, to which the mistress replied,
‘Would not a “boiled” one do as well?’  They consented, supposing that it
would be more easily cooked; but when the fowl made its appearance, to
their great disappointment it proved a cold one that had been stewed in
the broth at dinner.

                                * * * * *

_Monday_, _August_ 29_th_.—It rained heavily this morning, and, having
heard so much of the long rains since we came into Scotland, as well as
before, we had no hope that it would be over in less than three weeks at
the least, so poor Coleridge, being very unwell, determined to send his
clothes to Edinburgh and make the best of his way thither, being afraid
to face much wet weather in an open carriage.  William and I were
unwilling to be confined at Tarbet, so we resolved to go to Arrochar, a
mile and a half on the road to Inverary, where there is an inn celebrated
as a place of good accommodation for travellers.  Coleridge and I set off
on foot, and William was to follow with the car, but a heavy shower
coming on, Coleridge left me to shelter in a hut and wait for William,
while he went on before.  This hut was unplastered, and without windows,
crowded with beds, uncomfortable, and not in the simplicity of the
ferryman’s house.  A number of good clothes were hanging against the
walls, and a green silk umbrella was set up in a corner.  I should have
been surprised to see an umbrella in such a place before we came into the
Highlands; but umbrellas are not so common anywhere as there—a plain
proof of the wetness of the climate; even five minutes after this a girl
passed us without shoes and stockings, whose gown and petticoat were not
worth half a crown, holding an umbrella over her bare head.

We turned at a guide-post, ‘To the New Inn,’ and, after descending a
little, and winding round the bottom of a hill, saw, at a small distance,
a white house half hidden by tall trees upon a lawn that slopes down to
the side of Loch Long, a sea-loch, which is here very narrow.  Right
before us, across the lake, was The Cobbler, which appeared to rise
directly from the water; but, in fact, it overtopped another hill, being
a considerable way behind.  The inn looked so much like a gentleman’s
house that we could hardly believe it was an inn.  We drove down the
broad gravel walk, and, making a sweep, stopped at the front door, were
shown into a large parlour with a fire, and my first thought was, How
comfortable we should be! but Coleridge, who had arrived before us,
checked my pleasure: the waiter had shown himself disposed to look coolly
upon us, and there had been a hint that we could not have beds;—a party
was expected, who had engaged all the beds.  We conjectured this might be
but a pretence, and ordered dinner in the hope that matters would clear
up a little, and we thought they could not have the heart to turn us out
in so heavy a rain if it were possible to lodge us.  We had a nice
dinner, yet would have gladly changed our roasted lamb and pickles, and
the gentleman-waiter with his napkin in his pocket, for the more homely
fare of the smoky hut at Loch Ketterine, and the good woman’s busy
attentions, with the certainty of a hospitable shelter at night.  After
dinner I spoke to the landlord himself, but he was not to be moved: he
could not even provide one bed for me, so nothing was to be done but
either to return to Tarbet with Coleridge, or that William and I should
push on the next stage, to Cairndow.  We had an interesting close view
from the windows of the room where we sate, looking across the lake,
which did not differ in appearance, as we saw it here, from a fresh-water
lake.  The sloping lawn on which the house stood was prettily scattered
over with trees; but we had seen the place to great advantage at our
first approach, owing to the mists upon the mountains, which had made
them seem exceedingly high, while the strange figures on The Cobbler
appeared and disappeared, like living things; but, as the day cleared we
were disappointed in what was more like the permanent effect of the
scene: the mountains were not so lofty as we had supposed, and the low
grounds not so fertile; yet still it is a very interesting, I may say
beautiful, place.

The rain ceased entirely, so we resolved to go on to Cairndow, and had
the satisfaction of seeing that our landlord had not told us an untruth
concerning the expected company; for just before our departure we saw, on
the opposite side of the vale, a coach with four horses, another
carriage, and two or three men on horseback—a striking procession, as it
moved along between the bare mountain and the lake.  Twenty years ago,
perhaps, such a sight had not been seen here except when the Duke of
Argyle, or some other Highland chieftain, might chance to be going with
his family to London or Edinburgh.  They had to cross a bridge at the
head of the lake, which we could not see, so, after disappearing about
ten minutes, they drove up to the door—three old ladies, two
waiting-women, and store of men-servants.  The old ladies were as gaily
dressed as bullfinches in spring-time.  We heard the next day that they
were the renowned Miss Waughs of Carlisle, and that they enjoyed
themselves over a game at cards in the evening.

Left Arrochar at about four o’clock in the afternoon.  Coleridge
accompanied us a little way; we portioned out the contents of our purse
before our parting; and, after we had lost sight of him, drove heavily
along.  Crossed the bridge, and looked to the right, up the vale, which
is soon terminated by mountains: it was of a yellow green, with but few
trees and few houses; sea-gulls were flying above it.  Our road—the same
along which the carriages had come—was directly under the mountains on
our right hand, and the lake was close to us on our left, the waves
breaking among stones overgrown with yellow sea-weed; fishermen’s boats,
and other larger vessels than are seen on fresh-water lakes were lying at
anchor near the opposite shore; seabirds flying overhead; the noise of
torrents mingled with the beating of the waves, and misty mountains
enclosed the vale;—a melancholy but not a dreary scene.  Often have I, in
looking over a map of Scotland, followed the intricate windings of one of
these sea-lochs, till, pleasing myself with my own imaginations, I have
felt a longing, almost painful, to travel among them by land or by water.

This was the first sea-loch we had seen.  We came prepared for a new and
great delight, and the first impression which William and I received, as
we drove rapidly through the rain down the lawn of Arrochar, the objects
dancing before us, was even more delightful than we had expected.  But,
as I have said, when we looked through the window, as the mists
disappeared and the objects were seen more distinctly, there was less of
sheltered valley-comfort than we had fancied to ourselves, and the
mountains were not so grand; and now that we were near to the shore of
the lake, and could see that it was not of fresh water, the wreck, the
broken sea-shells, and scattered sea-weed gave somewhat of a dull and
uncleanly look to the whole lake, and yet the water was clear, and might
have appeared as beautiful as that of Loch Lomond, if with the same pure
pebbly shore.  Perhaps, had we been in a more cheerful mood of mind we
might have seen everything with a different eye.  The stillness of the
mountains, the motion of the waves, the streaming torrents, the
sea-birds, the fishing-boats were all melancholy; yet still, occupied as
my mind was with other things, I thought of the long windings through
which the waters of the sea had come to this inland retreat, visiting the
inner solitudes of the mountains, and I could have wished to have mused
out a summer’s day on the shores of the lake.  From the foot of these
mountains whither might not a little barque carry one away?  Though so
far inland, it is but a slip of the great ocean: seamen, fishermen, and
shepherds here find a natural home.  We did not travel far down the lake,
but, turning to the right through an opening of the mountains, entered a
glen called Glen Croe.

Our thoughts were full of Coleridge, and when we were enclosed in the
narrow dale, with a length of winding road before us, a road that seemed
to have insinuated itself into the very heart of the mountains—the brook,
the road, bare hills, floating mists, scattered stones, rocks, and herds
of black cattle being all that we could see,—I shivered at the thought of
his being sickly and alone, travelling from place to place.

The Cobbler, on our right, was pre-eminent above the other hills; the
singular rocks on its summit, seen so near, were like ruins—castles or
watch-towers.  After we had passed one reach of the glen, another opened
out, long, narrow, deep, and houseless, with herds of cattle and large
stones; but the third reach was softer and more beautiful, as if the
mountains had there made a warmer shelter, and there were a more gentle
climate.  The rocks by the riverside had dwindled away, the mountains
were smooth and green, and towards the end, where the glen sloped
upwards, it was a cradle-like hollow, and at that point where the slope
became a hill, at the very bottom of the curve of the cradle, stood one
cottage, with a few fields and beds of potatoes.  There was also another
house near the roadside, which appeared to be a herdsman’s hut.  The
dwelling in the middle of the vale was a very pleasing object.  I said
within myself, How quietly might a family live in this pensive solitude,
cultivating and loving their own fields! but the herdsman’s hut, being
the only one in the vale, had a melancholy face; not being attached to
any particular plot of land, one could not help considering it as just
kept alive and above ground by some dreary connexion with the long barren
tract we had travelled through.

The afternoon had been exceedingly pleasant after we had left the vale of
Arrochar; the sky was often threatening, but the rain blew off, and the
evening was uncommonly fine.  The sun had set a short time before we had
dismounted from the car to walk up the steep hill at the end of the glen.
Clouds were moving all over the sky—some of a brilliant yellow hue, which
shed a light like bright moonlight upon the mountains.  We could not have
seen the head of the valley under more favourable circumstances.

The passing away of a storm is always a time of life and cheerfulness,
especially in a mountainous country; but that afternoon and evening the
sky was in an extraordinary degree vivid and beautiful.  We often stopped
in ascending the hill to look down the long reach of the glen.  The road,
following the course of the river as far as we could see, the farm and
cottage hills, smooth towards the base and rocky higher up, were the sole
objects before us.  This part of Glen Croe reminded us of some of the
dales of the north of England—Grisdale above Ulswater, for instance; but
the length of it, and the broad highway, which is always to be seen at a
great distance, a sort of centre of the vale, a point of reference, gives
to the whole of the glen, and each division of it, a very different

At the top of the hill we came to a seat with the well-known inscription,
‘Rest and be thankful.’  On the same stone it was recorded that the road
had been made by Col. Wade’s regiment.  The seat is placed so as to
command a full view of the valley, and the long, long road, which, with
the fact recorded, and the exhortation, makes it an affecting
resting-place.  We called to mind with pleasure a seat under the braes of
Loch Lomond on which I had rested, where the traveller is informed by an
inscription upon a stone that the road was made by Col. Lascelles’
regiment.  There, the spot had not been chosen merely as a resting-place,
for there was no steep ascent in the highway, but it might be for the
sake of a spring of water and a beautiful rock, or, more probably,
because at that point the labour had been more than usually toilsome in
hewing through the rock.  Soon after we had climbed the hill we began to
descend into another glen, called Glen Kinglas.  We now saw the western
sky, which had hitherto been hidden from us by the hill—a glorious mass
of clouds uprising from a sea of distant mountains, stretched out in
length before us, towards the west—and close by us was a small lake or
tarn.  From the reflection of the crimson clouds the water appeared of a
deep red, like melted rubies, yet with a mixture of a grey or blackish
hue: the gorgeous light of the sky, with the singular colour of the lake,
made the scene exceedingly romantic; yet it was more melancholy than
cheerful.  With all the power of light from the clouds, there was an
overcasting of the gloom of evening, a twilight upon the hills.

We descended rapidly into the glen, which resembles the lower part of
Glen Croe, though it seemed to be inferior in beauty; but before we had
passed through one reach it was quite dark, and I only know that the
steeps were high, and that we had the company of a foaming stream; and
many a vagrant torrent crossed us, dashing down the hills.  The road was
bad, and, uncertain how we should fare, we were eager and somewhat uneasy
to get forward; but when we were out of the close glen, and near to
Cairndow, as a traveller had told us, the moon showed her clear face in
the sky, revealing a spacious vale, with a broad loch and sloping corn
fields; the hills not very high.  This cheerful sight put us into
spirits, and we thought it was at least no dismal place to sit up all
night in, if they had no beds, and they could not refuse us a shelter.
We were, however, well received, and sate down in a neat parlour with a
good fire.

                                * * * * *

_Tuesday_, _August_ 30_th_.—Breakfasted before our departure, and ate a
herring, fresh from the water, at our landlord’s earnest
recommendation—much superior to the herrings we get in the north of
England. {124}  Though we rose at seven, could not set off before nine
o’clock; the servants were in bed; the kettle did not boil—indeed, we
were completely out of patience; but it had always been so, and we
resolved to go off in future without breakfast.  Cairndow is a single
house by the side of the loch, I believe resorted to by gentlemen in the
fishing season: it is a pleasant place for such a purpose; but the vale
did not look so beautiful as by moonlight—it had a sort of sea-coldness
without mountain grandeur.  There is a ferry for foot-passengers from
Cairndow to the other side of the water, and the road along which all
carriages go is carried round the head of the lake, perhaps a distance of
three miles.

After we had passed the landing-place of the ferry opposite to Cairndow
we saw the lake spread out to a great width, more like an arm of the sea
or a great river than one of our lakes; it reminded us of the Severn at
the Chepstow passage; but the shores were less rich and the hills higher.
The sun shone, which made the morning cheerful, though there was a cold
wind.  Our road never carried us far from the lake, and with the beating
of the waves, the sparkling sunshiny water, boats, the opposite hills,
and, on the side on which we travelled, the chance cottages, the coppice
woods, and common business of the fields, the ride could not but be
amusing.  But what most excited our attention was, at one particular
place, a cluster of fishing-boats at anchor in a still corner of the
lake, a small bay or harbour by the wayside.  They were overshadowed by
fishermen’s nets hung out to dry, which formed a dark awning that covered
them like a tent, overhanging the water on each side, and falling in the
most exquisitely graceful folds.  There was a monastic pensiveness, a
funereal gloom in the appearance of this little company of vessels, which
was the more interesting from the general liveliness and glancing motions
of the water, they being perfectly still and silent in their sheltered

When we had travelled about seven miles from Cairndow, winding round the
bottom of a hill, we came in view of a great basin or elbow of the lake.
Completely out of sight of the long track of water we had coasted, we
seemed now to be on the edge of a very large, almost circular, lake, the
town of Inverary before us, a line of white buildings on a low promontory
right opposite, and close to the water’s edge; the whole landscape a
showy scene, and bursting upon us at once.  A traveller who was riding by
our side called out, ‘Can that be the Castle?’  Recollecting the prints
which we had seen, we knew it could not; but the mistake is a natural one
at that distance: it is so little like an ordinary town, from the mixture
of regularity and irregularity in the buildings.  With the expanse of
water and pleasant mountains, the scattered boats and sloops, and those
gathered together, it had a truly festive appearance.  A few steps more
brought us in view of the Castle, a stately turreted mansion, but with a
modern air, standing on a lawn, retired from the water, and screened
behind by woods covering the sides of high hills to the top, and still
beyond, by bare mountains.  Our road wound round the semicircular shore,
crossing two bridges of lordly architecture.  The town looked pretty when
we drew near to it in connexion with its situation, different from any
place I had ever seen, yet exceedingly like what I imaged to myself from
representations in raree-shows, or pictures of foreign places—Venice, for
example—painted on the scene of a play-house, which one is apt to fancy
are as cleanly and gay as they look through the magnifying-glass of the
raree-show or in the candle-light dazzle of a theatre.  At the door of
the inn, though certainly the buildings had not that delightful outside
which they appeared to have at a distance, yet they looked very pleasant.
The range bordering on the water consisted of little else than the inn,
being a large house, with very large stables, the county gaol, the
opening into the main street into the town, and an arched gateway, the
entrance into the Duke of Argyle’s private domain.

We were decently well received at the inn, but it was over-rich in
waiters and large rooms to be exactly to our taste, though quite in
harmony with the neighbourhood.  Before dinner we went into the Duke’s
pleasure-grounds, which are extensive, and of course command a variety of
lively and interesting views.  Walked through avenues of tall
beech-trees, and observed some that we thought even the tallest we had
ever seen; but they were all scantily covered with leaves, and the leaves
exceedingly small—indeed, some of them, in the most exposed situations,
were almost bare, as if it had been winter.  Travellers who wish to view
the inside of the Castle send in their names, and the Duke appoints the
time of their going; but we did not think that what we should see would
repay us for the trouble, there being no pictures, and the house, which I
believe has not been built above half a century, is fitted up in the
modern style.  If there had been any reliques of the ancient costume of
the castle of a Highland chieftain, we should have been sorry to have
passed it.

Sate after dinner by the fireside till near sunset, for it was very cold,
though the sun shone all day.  At the beginning of this our second walk
we passed through the town, which is but a doleful example of Scotch
filth.  The houses are plastered or rough-cast, and washed yellow—well
built, well sized, and sash-windowed, bespeaking a connexion with the
Duke, such a dependence as may be expected in a small town so near to his
mansion; and indeed he seems to have done his utmost to make them
comfortable, according to our English notions of comfort: they are fit
for the houses of people living decently upon a decent trade; but the
windows and door-steads were as dirty as in a dirty by-street of a large
town, making a most unpleasant contrast with the comely face of the
buildings towards the water, and the ducal grandeur and natural festivity
of the scene.  Smoke and blackness are the wild growth of a Highland hut:
the mud floors cannot be washed, the door-steads are trampled by cattle,
and if the inhabitants be not very cleanly it gives one little pain; but
dirty people living in two-storied stone houses, with dirty sash windows,
are a melancholy spectacle anywhere, giving the notion either of vice or
the extreme of wretchedness.

Returning through the town, we went towards the Castle, and entered the
Duke’s grounds by a porter’s lodge, following the carriage-road through
the park, which is prettily scattered over with trees, and slopes gently
towards the lake.  A great number of lime-trees were growing singly, not
beautiful in their shape, but I mention them for the resemblance to one
of the same kind we had seen in the morning, which formed a shade as
impenetrable as the roof of any house.  The branches did not spread far,
nor any one branch much further than another; on the outside it was like
a green bush shorn with shears, but when we sate upon a bench under it,
looking upwards, in the middle of the tree we could not perceive any
green at all; it was like a hundred thousand magpies’ nests clustered and
matted together, the twigs and boughs being so intertwined that neither
the light of the mid-day sun nor showers of hail or rain could pierce
through them.  The lime-trees on the lawn resembled this tree both in
shape and in the manner of intertwisting their twigs, but they were much
smaller, and not an impenetrable shade.

The views from the Castle are delightful.  Opposite is the lake, girt
with mountains, or rather smooth high hills; to the left appears a very
steep rocky hill, called Duniquoich Hill, on the top of which is a
building like a watch-tower; it rises boldly and almost perpendicular
from the plain, at a little distance from the river Arey, that runs
through the grounds.  To the right is the town, overtopped by a sort of
spire or pinnacle of the church, a thing unusual in Scotland, except in
the large towns, and which would often give an elegant appearance to the
villages, which, from the uniformity of the huts, and the frequent want
of tall trees, they seldom exhibit.

In looking at an extensive prospect, or travelling through a large vale,
the Trough of the Clyde for instance, I could not help thinking that in
England there would have been somewhere a tower or spire to warn us of a
village lurking under the covert of a wood or bank, or to point out some
particular spot on the distant hills which we might look at with kindly
feelings.  I well remember how we used to love the little nest of trees
out of which Ganton spire rose on the distant Wolds opposite to the
windows at Gallow Hill.  The spire of Inverary is not of so beautiful a
shape as those of the English churches, and, not being one of a class of
buildings which is understood at once, seen near or at a distance, is a
less interesting object; but it suits well with the outlandish trimness
of the buildings bordering on the water; indeed, there is no one thing of
the many gathered together in the extensive circuit of the basin or vale
of Inverary, that is not in harmony with the effect of the whole place.
The Castle is built of a beautiful hewn stone, in colour resembling our
blue slates.  The author-tourists have quarrelled with the architecture
of it, but we did not find much that we were disposed to blame.  A castle
in a deep glen, overlooking a roaring stream, and defended by precipitous
rocks, is, no doubt, an object far more interesting; but, dropping all
ideas of danger or insecurity, the natural retinue in our minds of an
ancient Highland chieftain,—take a Duke of Argyle at the end of the
eighteenth century, let him have his house in Grosvenor Square, his
London liveries, and daughters glittering at St. James’s, and I think you
will be satisfied with his present mansion in the Highlands, which seems
to suit with the present times and its situation, and that is indeed a
noble one for a modern Duke of the mountainous district of Argyleshire,
with its bare valleys, its rocky coasts, and sea lochs.

There is in the natural endowments of Inverary something akin to every
feature of the general character of the county; yet even the very
mountains and the lake itself have a kind of princely festivity in their
appearance.  I do not know how to communicate the feeling, but it seemed
as if it were no insult to the hills to look on them as the shield and
enclosure of the ducal domain, to which the water might delight in
bearing its tribute.  The hills near the lake are smooth, so smooth that
they might have been shaven or swept; the shores, too, had somewhat of
the same effect, being bare, and having no roughness, no woody points;
yet the whole circuit being very large, and the hills so extensive, the
scene was not the less cheerful and festive, rejoicing in the light of
heaven.  Behind the Castle the hills are planted to a great height, and
the pleasure-grounds extend far up the valley of Arey.  We continued our
walk a short way along the river, and were sorry to see it stripped of
its natural ornaments, after the fashion of Mr. Brown, {131} and left to
tell its tale—for it would not be silent like the river at Blenheim—to
naked fields and the planted trees on the hills.  We were disgusted with
the stables, outhouses, or farm-houses in different parts of the grounds
behind the Castle: they were broad, out-spreading, fantastic, and
unintelligible buildings.

Sate in the park till the moonlight was perceived more than the light of
day.  We then walked near the town by the water-side.  I observed that
the children who were playing did not speak Erse, but a much worse
English than is spoken by those Highlanders whose common language is the
Erse.  I went into the town to purchase tea and sugar to carry with us on
our journey.  We were tired when we returned to the inn, and went to bed
directly after tea.  My room was at the very top of the house—one flight
of steps after another!—but when I drew back the curtains of my window I
was repaid for the trouble of panting up-stairs by one of the most
splendid moonlight prospects that can be conceived: the whole circuit of
the hills, the Castle, the two bridges, the tower on Duniquoich Hill, and
the lake with many boats—fit scene for summer midnight festivities!  I
should have liked to have seen a bevy of Scottish ladies sailing, with
music, in a gay barge.  William, to whom I have read this, tells me that
I have used the very words of Browne of Ottery, Coleridge’s

   ‘As I have seen when on the breast of Thames
   A heavenly bevy of sweet English dames,
   In some calm evening of delightful May,
   With music give a farewell to the day,
   Or as they would (with an admired tone)
   Greet night’s ascension to her ebon throne.’

                                         BROWNE’S _Britannia’s Pastorals_.

                                * * * * *

_Wednesday_, _August_ 31_st_.—We had a long day’s journey before us,
without a regular baiting-place on the road, so we breakfasted at
Inverary, and did not set off till nine o’clock, having, as usual, to
complain of the laziness of the servants.  Our road was up the valley
behind the Castle, the same we had gone along the evening before.
Further up, though the plantations on the hills are noble, the valley was
cold and naked, wanting hedgerows and comfortable houses.  We travelled
several miles under the plantations, the vale all along seeming to belong
almost exclusively to the Castle.  It might have been better
distinguished and adorned, as we thought, by neater farm-houses and
cottages than are common in Scotland, and snugger fields with warm
hedgerows, at the same time testifying as boldly its adherence to the

At that point of the valley where the pleasure-grounds appear to end, we
left our horse at a cottage door, and turned a few steps out of the road
to see a waterfall, which roared so loud that we could not have gone by
without looking about for it, even if we had not known that there was one
near Inverary.  The waterfall is not remarkable for anything but the good
taste with which it has been left to itself, though there is a
pleasure-road from the Castle to it.  As we went further up the valley
the roads died away, and it became an ordinary Scotch glen, the poor
pasturage of the hills creeping down into the valley, where it was little
better for the shelter, I mean little greener than on the hill-sides; but
a man must be of a churlish nature if, with a mind free to look about, he
should not find such a glen a pleasing place to travel through, though
seeing little but the busy brook, with here and there a bush or tree, and
cattle pasturing near the thinly-scattered dwellings.  But we came to one
spot which I cannot forget, a single green field at the junction of
another brook with the Arey, a peninsula surrounded with a close row of
trees, which overhung the streams, and under their branches we could just
see a neat white house that stood in the middle of the field enclosed by
the trees.  Before us was nothing but bare hills, and the road through
the bare glen.  A person who has not travelled in Scotland can scarcely
imagine the pleasure we have had from a stone house, though fresh from
the workmen’s hands, square and sharp; there is generally such an
appearance of equality in poverty through the long glens of Scotland,
giving the notion of savage ignorance—no house better than another, and
barns and houses all alike.  This house had, however, other
recommendations of its own; even in the fertile parts of Somersetshire it
would have been a delicious spot; here, ‘’Mid mountain wild set like a
little nest,’ it was a resting-place for the fancy, and to this day I
often think of it, the cottage and its green covert, as an image of
romance, a place of which I have the same sort of knowledge as of some of
the retirements, the little valleys, described so livelily by Spenser in
his Fairy Queen.

We travelled on, the glen now becoming entirely bare.  Passed a miserable
hut on a naked hill-side, not far from the road, where we were told by a
man who came out of it that we might refresh ourselves with a dram of
whisky.  Went over the hill, and saw nothing remarkable till we came in
view of Loch Awe, a large lake far below us, among high mountains—one
very large mountain right opposite, which we afterwards found was called
Cruachan.  The day was pleasant—sunny gleams and a fresh breeze; the
lake—we looked across it—as bright as silver, which made the islands,
three or four in number, appear very green.  We descended gladly, invited
by the prospect before us, travelling downwards, along the side of the
hill, above a deep glen, woody towards the lower part near the brook; the
hills on all sides were high and bare, and not very stony: it made us
think of the descent from Newlands into Buttermere, though on a wider
scale, and much inferior in simple majesty.

After walking down the hill a long way we came to a bridge, under which
the water dashed through a dark channel of rocks among trees, the lake
being at a considerable distance below, with cultivated lands between.
Close upon the bridge was a small hamlet, {134} a few houses near
together, and huddled up in trees—a very sweet spot, the only retired
village we had yet seen which was characterized by ‘beautiful’ wildness
with sheltering warmth.  We had been told at Inverary that we should come
to a place where we might give our horse a feed of corn, and found on
inquiry that there was a little public-house here, or rather a hut ‘where
they kept a dram.’  It was a cottage, like all the rest, without a
sign-board.  The woman of the house helped to take the horse out of
harness, and, being hungry, we asked her if she could make us some
porridge, to which she replied that ‘we should get that,’ and I followed
her into the house, and sate over her hearth while she was making it.  As
to fire, there was little sign of it, save the smoke, for a long time,
she having no fuel but green wood, and no bellows but her breath.  My
eyes smarted exceedingly, but the woman seemed so kind and cheerful that
I was willing to endure it for the sake of warming my feet in the ashes
and talking to her.  The fire was in the middle of the room, a crook
being suspended from a cross-beam, and a hole left at the top for the
smoke to find its way out by: it was a rude Highland hut, unadulterated
by Lowland fashions, but it had not the elegant shape of the ferry-house
at Loch Ketterine, and the fire, being in the middle of the room, could
not be such a snug place to draw to on a winter’s night.

We had a long afternoon before us, with only eight miles to travel to
Dalmally, and, having been told that a ferry-boat was kept at one of the
islands, we resolved to call for it, and row to the island, so we went to
the top of an eminence, and the man who was with us set some children to
work to gather sticks and withered leaves to make a smoky fire—a signal
for the boatman, whose hut is on a flat green island, like a sheep
pasture, without trees, and of a considerable size: the man told us it
was a rabbit-warren.  There were other small islands, on one of which was
a ruined house, fortification, or small castle: we could not learn
anything of its history, only a girl told us that formerly gentlemen
lived in such places.  Immediately from the water’s edge rose the
mountain Cruachan on the opposite side of the lake; it is woody near the
water and craggy above, with deep hollows on the surface.  We thought it
the grandest mountain we had seen, and on saying to the man who was with
us that it was a fine mountain, ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘it is an excellent
mountain,’ adding that it was higher than Ben Lomond, and then told us
some wild stories of the enormous profits it brought to Lord Breadalbane,
its lawful owner.  The shape of Loch Awe is very remarkable, its outlet
being at one side, and only about eight miles from the head, and the
whole lake twenty-four miles in length.  We looked with longing after
that branch of it opposite to us out of which the water issues: it seemed
almost like a river gliding under steep precipices.  What we saw of the
larger branch, or what might be called the body of the lake, was less
promising, the banks being merely gentle slopes, with not very high
mountains behind, and the ground moorish and cold.

The children, after having collected fuel for our fire, began to play on
the green hill where we stood, as heedless as if we had been trees or
stones, and amused us exceedingly with their activity: they wrestled,
rolled down the hill, pushing one another over and over again, laughing,
screaming, and chattering Erse: they were all without shoes and
stockings, which, making them fearless of hurting or being hurt, gave a
freedom to the action of their limbs which I never saw in English
children: they stood upon one another, body, breast, or face, or any
other part; sometimes one was uppermost, sometimes another, and sometimes
they rolled all together, so that we could not know to which body this
leg or that arm belonged.  We waited, watching them, till we were assured
that the boatman had noticed our signal—By the bye, if we had received
proper directions at Loch Lomond, on our journey to Loch Ketterine, we
should have made our way down the lake till we had come opposite to the
ferryman’s house, where there is a hut, and the people who live there are
accustomed to call him by the same signal as here.  Luckily for us we
were not so well instructed, for we should have missed the pleasure of
receiving the kindness of Mr. and Mrs. Macfarlane and their family.

A young woman who wanted to go to the island accompanied us to the
water-side.  The walk was pleasant, through fields with hedgerows, the
greenest fields we had seen in Scotland; but we were obliged to return
without going to the island.  The poor man had taken his boat to another
place, and the waters were swollen so that we could not go close to the
shore, and show ourselves to him, nor could we make him hear by shouting.
On our return to the public-house we asked the woman what we should pay
her, and were not a little surprised when she answered, ‘Three
shillings.’  Our horse had had a sixpenny feed of miserable corn, not
worth threepence; the rest of the charge was for skimmed milk, oat-bread,
porridge, and blue milk cheese: we told her it was far too much; and,
giving her half-a-crown, departed.  I was sorry she had made this
unreasonable demand, because we had liked the woman, and we had before
been so well treated in the Highland cottages; but, on thinking more
about it, I satisfied myself that it was no scheme to impose upon us, for
she was contented with the half-crown, and would, I daresay, have been so
with two shillings, if we had offered it her at first.  Not being
accustomed to fix a price upon porridge and milk, to such as we, at
least, when we asked her she did not know what to say; but, seeing that
we were travelling for pleasure, no doubt she concluded we were rich, and
that what was a small gain to her could be no great loss to us.

When we had gone a little way we saw before us a young man with a bundle
over his shoulder, hung on a stick, bearing a great boy on his back:
seeing that they were travellers, we offered to take the boy on the car,
to which the man replied that he should be more than thankful, and set
him up beside me.  They had walked from Glasgow, and that morning from
Inverary; the boy was only six years old, ‘But,’ said his father, ‘he is
a stout walker,’ and a fine fellow he was, smartly dressed in tight clean
clothes and a nice round hat: he was going to stay with his grandmother
at Dalmally.  I found him good company; though I could not draw a single
word out of him, it was a pleasure to see his happiness gleaming through
the shy glances of his healthy countenance.  Passed a pretty chapel by
the lake-side, and an island with a farm-house upon it, and corn and
pasture fields; but, as we went along, we had frequent reason to regret
the want of English hedgerows and English culture; for the ground was
often swampy or moorish near the lake where comfortable dwellings among
green fields might have been.  When we came near to the end of the lake
we had a steep hill to climb, so William and I walked; and we had such
confidence in our horse that we were not afraid to leave the car to his
guidance with the child in it; we were soon, however, alarmed at seeing
him trot up the hill a long way before us; the child, having raised
himself up upon the seat, was beating him as hard as he could with a
little stick which he carried in his hand; and when he saw our eyes were
on him he sate down, I believe very sorry to resign his office: the horse
slackened his pace, and no accident happened.

When we had ascended half-way up the hill, directed by the man, I took a
nearer footpath, and at the top came in view of a most impressive scene,
a ruined castle on an island almost in the middle of the last compartment
of the lake, backed by a mountain cove, down which came a roaring stream.
The castle occupied every foot of the island that was visible to us,
appearing to rise out of the water; mists rested upon the mountain side,
with spots of sunshine between; there was a mild desolation in the low
grounds, a solemn grandeur in the mountains, and the castle was wild, yet
stately, not dismantled of its turrets, nor the walls broken down, though
completely in ruin.  After having stood some minutes I joined William on
the high road, and both wishing to stay longer near this place, we
requested the man to drive his little boy on to Dalmally, about two miles
further, and leave the car at the inn.  He told us that the ruin was
called Kilchurn Castle, that it belonged to Lord Breadalbane, and had
been built by one of the ladies of that family for her defence during her
Lord’s absence at the Crusades, for which purpose she levied a tax of
seven years’ rent upon her tenants; {139a} he said that from that side of
the lake it did not appear, in very dry weather, to stand upon an island;
but that it was possible to go over to it without being wet-shod.  We
were very lucky in seeing it after a great flood; for its enchanting
effect was chiefly owing to its situation in the lake, a decayed palace
rising out of the plain of waters!  I have called it a palace, for such
feeling it gave to me, though having been built as a place of defence, a
castle or fortress.  We turned again and reascended the hill, and sate a
long time in the middle of it looking on the castle and the huge mountain
cove opposite, and William, addressing himself to the ruin, poured out
these verses:—

   Child of loud-throated War! the mountain stream
   Roars in thy hearing; but thy hour of rest
   Is come, and thou art silent in thy age. {139b}

We walked up the hill again, and, looking down the vale, had a fine view
of the lake and islands, resembling the views down Windermere, though
much less rich.  Our walk to Dalmally was pleasant: the vale makes a turn
to the right, beyond the head of the lake, and the village of Dalmally,
which is, in fact, only a few huts, the manse or minister’s house, the
chapel, and the inn, stands near the river, which flows into the head of
the lake.  The whole vale is very pleasing, the lower part of the
hill-sides being sprinkled with thatched cottages, cultivated ground in
small patches near them, which evidently belonged to the cottages.

We were overtaken by a gentleman who rode on a beautiful white pony, like
Lilly, and was followed by his servant, a Highland boy, on another pony,
a little creature, not much bigger than a large mastiff, on which were
slung a pair of crutches and a tartan plaid.  The gentleman entered into
conversation with us, and on our telling him that we were going to Glen
Coe, he advised us, instead of proceeding directly to Tyndrum, the next
stage, to go round by the outlet of Loch Awe to Loch Etive, and thence to
Glen Coe.  We were glad to change our plan, for we wanted much to see
more of Loch Awe, and he told us that the whole of the way by Loch Etive
was pleasant, and the road to Tyndrum as dreary as possible; indeed, we
could see it at that time several miles before us upon the side of a
bleak mountain; and he said that there was nothing but moors and
mountains all the way.  We reached the inn a little before sunset,
ordered supper, and I walked out.  Crossed a bridge to look more nearly
at the parsonage-house and the chapel, which stands upon a bank close to
the river, a pretty stream overhung in some parts by trees.  The vale is
very pleasing; but, like all the other Scotch vales we had yet seen, it
told of its kinship with the mountains and of poverty or some neglect on
the part of man.

                                * * * * *

_Thursday_, _September_ 1_st_.—We had been attended at supper by a civil
boy, whom we engaged to rouse us at six o’clock, and to provide us each a
basin of milk and bread, and have the car ready; all which he did
punctually, and we were off in good time.  The morning was not
unpleasant, though rather cold, and we had some fear of rain.  Crossed
the bridge, and passed by the manse and chapel, our road carrying us back
again in the direction we had come; but on the opposite side of the
river.  Passed close to many of the houses we had seen on the hill-side,
which the lame gentleman had told us belonged to Lord Breadalbane, and
were attached to little farms, or ‘crofts,’ as he called them.  Lord
Breadalbane had lately laid out a part of his estates in this way as an
experiment, in the hope of preventing discontent and emigration.  We were
sorry we had not an opportunity of seeing into these cottages, and of
learning how far the people were happy or otherwise.  The dwellings
certainly did not look so comfortable when we were near to them as from a
distance; but this might be chiefly owing to what the inhabitants did not
feel as an evil—the dirt about the doors.  We saw, however—a sight always
painful to me—two or three women, each creeping after her single cow,
while it was feeding on the slips of grass between the corn-grounds.
Went round the head of the lake, and onwards close to the lake-side.
Kilchurn Castle was always interesting, though not so grand as seen from
the other side, with its own mountain cove and roaring stream.  It
combined with the vale of Dalmally and the distant hills—a beautiful
scene, yet overspread with a gentle desolation.  As we went further down
we lost sight of the vale of Dalmally.  The castle, which we often
stopped to look back upon, was very beautiful seen in combination with
the opposite shore of the lake—perhaps a little bay, a tuft of trees, or
a slope of the hill.  Travelled under the foot of the mountain Cruachan,
along an excellent road, having the lake close to us on our left, woods
overhead, and frequent torrents tumbling down the hills.  The distant
views across the lake were not peculiarly interesting after we were out
of sight of Kilchurn Castle, the lake being wide, and the opposite shore
not rich, and those mountains which we could see were not high.

Came opposite to the village where we had dined the day before, and,
losing sight of the body of the lake, pursued the narrow channel or pass,
{142} which is, I believe, three miles long, out of which issues the
river that flows into Loch Etive.  We were now enclosed between steep
hills, on the opposite side entirely bare, on our side bare or woody; the
branch of the lake generally filling the whole area of the vale.  It was
a pleasing, solitary scene; the long reach of naked precipices on the
other side rose directly out of the water, exceedingly steep, not rugged
or rocky, but with scanty sheep pasturage and large beds of small stones,
purple, dove-coloured, or red, such as are called Screes in Cumberland
and Westmoreland.  These beds, or rather streams of stones, appeared as
smooth as the turf itself, nay, I might say, as soft as the feathers of
birds, which they resembled in colour.  There was no building on either
side of the water; in many parts only just room for the road, and on the
other shore no footing, as it might seem, for any creature larger than
the mountain sheep, and they, in treading amongst the shelving stones,
must often send them down into the lake below.

After we had wound for some time through the valley, having met neither
foot-traveller, horse, nor cart, we started at the sight of a single
vessel, just as it turned round the point of a hill, coming into the
reach of the valley where we were.  She floated steadily through the
middle of the water, with one large sail spread out, full swollen by the
breeze, that blew her right towards us.  I cannot express what romantic
images this vessel brought along with her—how much more beautiful the
mountains appeared, the lake how much more graceful.  There was one man
on board, who sate at the helm, and he, having no companion, made the
boat look more silent than if we could not have seen him.  I had almost
said the ship, for on that narrow water it appeared as large as the ships
which I have watched sailing out of a harbour of the sea.  A little
further on we passed a stone hut by the lake-side, near which were many
charcoal sacks, and we conjectured that the vessel had been depositing
charcoal brought from other parts of Loch Awe to be carried to the
iron-works at Loch Etive.  A little further on we came to the end of the
lake, but where exactly it ended was not easy to determine, for the river
was as broad as the lake, and we could only say when it became positively
a river by the rushing of the water.  It is, indeed, a grand stream, the
quantity of water being very large, frequently forming rapids, and always
flowing very quickly; but its greatness is short-lived, for, after a
course of three miles, it is lost in the great waters of Loch Etive, a
sea loch.

Crossed a bridge, and climbing a hill towards Taynuilt, our
baiting-place, we saw a hollow to the right below us, through which the
river continued its course between rocks and steep banks of wood.
William turned aside to look into the dell, but I was too much tired.  We
had left it, two or three hundred yards behind, an open river, the hills,
enclosing the branch of the lake, having settled down into irregular
slopes.  We were glad when we reached Taynuilt, a village of huts, with a
chapel and one stone house, which was the inn.  It had begun to rain, and
I was almost benumbed with the cold, besides having a bad headache; so it
rejoiced me to see kind looks on the landlady’s face, and that she was
willing to put herself in a bustle for our comfort; we had a good fire
presently, and breakfast was set out—eggs, preserved gooseberries,
excellent cream, cheese, and butter, but no wheat bread, and the oaten
cakes were so hard I could not chew them.  We wished to go upon Loch
Etive; so, having desired the landlady to prepare a fowl for supper, and
engaged beds, which she promised us willingly—a proof that we were not in
the great road—we determined to find our way to the lake and endeavour to
procure a boat.  It rained heavily, but we went on, hoping the sky would
clear up.

Walked through unenclosed fields, a sort of half-desolate country; but
when we came to the mouth of the river which issues out of Loch Awe, and
which we had to cross by a ferry, looking up that river we saw that the
vale down which it flowed was richly wooded and beautiful.

We were now among familiar fireside names.  We could see the town of
Bunawe, a place of which the old woman with whom William lodged ten years
at Hawkshead used to tell tales half as long as an ancient romance.  It
is a small village or port on the same side of Loch Etive on which we
stood, and at a little distance is a house built by a Mr. Knott of
Coniston Water-head, a partner in the iron-foundry at Bunawe, in the
service of whose family the old woman had spent her youth.  It was an
ugly yellow-daubed building, staring this way and that, but William
looked at it with pleasure for poor Ann Tyson’s sake. {145}  We hailed
the ferry-boat, and a little boy came to fetch us; he rowed up against
the stream with all his might for a considerable way, and then yielding
to it, the boat was shot towards the shore almost like an arrow from a
bow.  It was pleasing to observe the dexterity with which the lad managed
his oars, glorying in the appearance of danger—for he observed us
watching him, and afterwards, while he conveyed us over, his pride
redoubled; for my part, I was completely dizzy with the swiftness of the

We could not have a boat from the ferry, but were told that if we would
walk to a house half a mile up the river, we had a chance of getting one.
I went a part of the way with William, and then sate down under the
umbrella near some houses.  A woman came out to talk with me, and pressed
me to take shelter in her house, which I refused, afraid of missing
William.  She eyed me with extreme curiosity, asking fifty questions
respecting the object of our journey.  She told me that it rained most
parts of the year there, and that there was no chance of fine weather
that day; and I believe when William came to tell me that we could have a
boat, she thought I was half crazed.  We went down to the shore of the
lake, and, after having sate some time under a wall, the boatman came to
us, and we went upon the water.  At first it did not rain heavily, and
the air was not cold, and before we had gone far we rejoiced that we had
not been faint-hearted.  The loch is of a considerable width, but the
mountains are so very high that, whether we were close under them or
looked from one shore to the other, they maintained their dignity.  I
speak of the higher part of the loch, above the town of Bunawe and the
large river, for downwards they are but hills, and the water spreads out
wide towards undetermined shores.  On our right was the mountain
Cruachan, rising directly from the lake, and on the opposite side another
mountain, called Ben Durinish, craggy, and exceedingly steep, with wild
wood growing among the rocks and stones.

We crossed the water, which was very rough in the middle, but calmer near
the shores, and some of the rocky basins and little creeks among the
rocks were as still as a mirror, and they were so beautiful with the
reflection of the orange-coloured seaweed growing on the stones or rocks,
that a child, with a child’s delight in gay colours, might have danced
with joy at the sight of them.  It never ceased raining, and the tops of
the mountains were concealed by mists, but as long as we could see across
the water we were contented; for though little could be seen of the true
shapes and permanent appearances of the mountains, we saw enough to give
us the most exquisite delight: the powerful lake which filled the large
vale, roaring torrents, clouds floating on the mountain sides, sheep that
pastured there, sea-birds and land birds.  We sailed a considerable way
without coming to any houses or cultivated fields.  There was no
horse-road on either side of the loch, but a person on foot, as the
boatman told us, might make his way at the foot of Ben Durinish, namely
on that side of the loch on which we were; there was, however, not the
least track to be seen, and it must be very difficult and laborious.

We happened to say that we were going to Glen Coe, which would be the
journey of a long day and a half, when one of the men, pointing to the
head of the loch, replied that if we were there we should be but an
hour’s walk from Glen Coe.  Though it continued raining, and there was no
hope that the rain would cease, we could not help wishing to go by that
way: it was an adventure; we were not afraid of trusting ourselves to the
hospitality of the Highlanders, and we wanted to give our horse a day’s
rest, his back having been galled by the saddle.  The owner of the boat,
who understood English much better than the other man, his helper, said
he would make inquiries about the road at a farm-house a little further
on.  He was very ready to talk with us, and was rather an interesting
companion; he spoke after a slow and solemn manner, in book and sermon
language and phrases:

    “A stately speech, such as grave livers do in Scotland use.”

When we came to the farm-house of which the man had spoken, William and
he landed to make the necessary inquiries.  It was a thatched house at
the foot of the high mountain Ben Durinish—a few patches or little beds
of corn belonging to it; but the spot was pastoral, the green grass
growing to the walls of the house.  The dwelling-house was distinguished
from the outer buildings, which were numerous, making it look like two or
three houses, as is common in Scotland, by a chimney and one small window
with sash-panes; on one side was a little woody glen, with a precipitous
stream that fell into the bay, which was perfectly still, and bordered
with the rich orange-colour reflected from the sea-weed.  Cruachan, on
the other side of the lake, was exceedingly grand, and appeared of an
enormous height, spreading out two large arms that made a cove down which
fell many streams swoln by the rain, and in the hollow of the cove were
some huts which looked like a village.  The top of the mountain was
concealed from us by clouds, and the mists floated high and low upon the
sides of it.

William came back to the boat highly pleased with the cheerful
hospitality and kindness of the woman of the house, who would scarcely
permit him and his guide to go away without taking some refreshment.  She
was the only person at home, so they could not obtain the desired
information; but William had been well repaid for the trouble of landing;
indeed, rainy as it was, I regretted that I had not landed also, for I
should have wished to bear away in my memory a perfect image of this
place,—the view from the doors, as well as the simple Highland comforts
and contrivances which were near it.  I think I never saw a retirement
that would have so completely satisfied me, if I had wanted to be
altogether shut out from the world, and at the same time among the
grandest of the works of God; but it must be remembered that mountains
are often so much dignified by clouds, mists, and other accidents of
weather, that one could not know them again in the full sunshine of a
summer’s noon.  But, whatever the mountains may be in their own shapes,
the farm-house with its pastoral grounds and corn fields won from the
mountain, its warm out-houses in irregular stages one above another on
the side of the hill, the rocks, the stream, and sheltering bay, must at
all times be interesting objects.  The household boat lay at anchor,
chained to a rock, which, like the whole border of the lake, was edged
with sea-weed, and some fishing-nets were hung upon poles,—affecting
images, which led our thoughts out to the wide ocean, yet made these
solitudes of the mountains bear the impression of greater safety and more
deep seclusion.

The rain became so heavy that we should certainly have turned back if we
had not felt more than usual courage from the pleasure we had enjoyed,
which raised hope where none was.  There were some houses a little higher
up, and we determined to go thither and make further inquiries.  We could
now hardly see to the other side of the lake, yet continued to go on, and
presently heard some people pushing through a thicket close to us, on
which the boatman called out, ‘There’s one that can tell us something
about the road to Glen Coe, for he was born there.’  We looked up and saw
a ragged, lame fellow, followed by some others, with a fishing-rod over
his shoulder; and he was making such good speed through the boughs that
one might have half believed he was the better for his lame leg.  He was
the head of a company of tinkers, who, as the men told us, travel with
their fishing-rods as duly as their hammers.  On being hailed by us the
whole company stopped; and their lame leader and our boatmen shouted to
each other in Erse—a savage cry to our ears, in that lonely and romantic
place.  We could not learn from the tinker all we wished to know,
therefore when we came near to the houses William landed again with the
owner of the boat.  The rain was now so heavy that we could see nothing
at all—not even the houses whither William was going.

We had given up all thought of proceeding further at that time, but were
desirous to know how far that road to Glen Coe was practicable for us.
They met with an intelligent man, who was at work with others in a hay
field, though it rained so heavily; he gave them the information they
desired, and said that there was an acquaintance of his between that
place and Glen Coe, who, he had no doubt, would gladly accommodate us
with lodging and anything else we might need.  When William returned to
the boat we shaped our course back again down the water, leaving the head
of Loch Etive not only unvisited, but unseen—to our great regret.  The
rain was very heavy; the wind had risen, and both wind and tide were
against us, so that it was hard labour for the boatmen to push us on.
They kept as close to the shore as they could, to be under the wind; but
at the doubling of many of the rocky points the tide was so strong that
it was difficult to get on at all, and I was sometimes afraid that we
should be dashed against the rocks, though I believe, indeed, there was
not much danger.

Came down the same side of the lake under Ben Durinish, and landed at a
ferry-house opposite to Bunawe, where we gave the men a glass of whisky;
but our chief motive for landing was to look about the place, which had a
most wild aspect at that time.  It was a low promontory, pushed far into
the water, narrowing the lake exceedingly; in the obscurity occasioned by
the mist and rain it appeared to be an island; it was stained and
weather-beaten, a rocky place, seeming to bear no produce but such as
might be cherished by cold and storms, lichens or the incrustations of
sea rocks.  We rowed right across the water to the mouth of the river of
Loch Awe, our boat following the ferry-boat which was conveying the
tinker crew to the other side, whither they were going to lodge, as the
men told us, in some kiln, which they considered as their right and
privilege—a lodging always to be found where there was any arable
land—for every farm has its kiln to dry the corn in: another proof of the
wetness of the climate.  The kilns are built of stone, covered in, and
probably as good a shelter as the huts in which these Highland vagrants
were born.  They gather sticks or heather for their fire, and, as they
are obstinate beggars, for the men said they would not be denied, they
probably have plenty of food with little other trouble than that of
wandering in search of it, for their smutty faces and tinker equipage
serve chiefly for a passport to a free and careless life.  It rained very
heavily, and the wind blew when we crossed the lake, and their boat and
ours went tilting over the high waves.  They made a romantic appearance;
three women were of the party; two men rowed them over; the lame fellow
sate at one end of the boat, and his companion at the other, each with an
enormous fishing-rod, which looked very graceful, something like masts to
the boat.  When we had landed at the other side we saw them, after having
begged at the ferry-house, strike merrily through the fields, no doubt
betaking themselves to their shelter for the night.

We were completely wet when we reached the inn; the landlady wanted to
make a fire for me up-stairs, but I went into her own parlour to undress,
and her daughter, a pretty little girl, who could speak a few words of
English, waited on me; I rewarded her with one of the penny books bought
at Dumfries for Johnny, with which she was greatly delighted.  We had an
excellent supper—fresh salmon, a fowl, gooseberries and cream, and
potatoes; good beds; and the next morning boiled milk and bread, and were
only charged seven shillings and sixpence for the whole—horse, liquor,
supper, and the two breakfasts.  We thought they had made a mistake, and
told them so—for it was only just half as much as we had paid the day
before at Dalmally, the case being that Dalmally is in the main road of
the tourists.  The landlady insisted on my bringing away a little cup
instead of our tin can, which she told me had been taken from the car by
some children: we set no little value on this cup as a memorial of the
good woman’s honesty and kindness, and hoped to have brought it home.
. . .

                                * * * * *

_Friday_, _September_ 2_d_.—Departed at about seven o’clock this morning,
having to travel eight miles down Loch Etive, and then to cross a ferry.
Our road was at first at a considerable distance from the lake, and out
of sight of it, among undulating hills covered with coppice woods,
resembling the country between Coniston and Windermere, but it afterwards
carried us close to the water’s edge; and in this part of our ride we
were disappointed.  We knew that the high mountains were all at the head
of the lake, therefore had not expected the same awful grandeur which we
beheld the day before, and perceived by glimpses; but the gentleman whom
we met with at Dalmally had told us that there were many fine situations
for gentlemen’s seats on this part of the lake, which had made us expect
greater loveliness near the shores, and better cultivation.  It is true
there are pleasant bays, with grounds prettily sloping to the water, and
coppice woods, where houses would stand in shelter and sun, looking on
the lake; but much is yet wanting—waste lands to be ploughed, peat-mosses
drained, hedgerows reared; and the woods demand a grant of longer life
than is now their privilege.

But after we had journeyed about six miles a beautiful scene opened upon
us.  The morning had been gloomy, and at this time the sun shone out,
scattering the clouds.  We looked right down the lake, that was covered
with streams of dazzling sunshine, which revealed the indentings of the
dark shores.  On a bold promontory, on the same side of the loch where we
were, stood an old castle, an irregular tall building, not without
majesty; and beyond, with leagues of water between, our eyes settled upon
the island of Mull, a high mountain, green in the sunshine, and overcast
with clouds,—an object as inviting to the fancy as the evening sky in the
west, and though of a terrestrial green, almost as visionary.  We saw
that it was an island of the seas but were unacquainted with its name; it
was of a gem-like colour, and as soft as the sky.  The shores of Loch
Etive, in their moorish, rocky wildness, their earthly bareness, as they
lay in length before us, produced a contrast which, with the pure sea,
the brilliant sunshine, the long distance, contributed to the aërial and
romantic power with which the mountain island was invested.

Soon after, we came to the ferry.  The boat being on the other shore, we
had to wait a considerable time, though the water was not wide, and our
call was heard immediately.  The boatmen moved with surly tardiness, as
if glad to make us know that they were our masters.  At this point the
lake was narrowed to the breadth of not a very wide river by a round ear
or promontory on the side on which we were, and a low ridge of peat-mossy
ground on the other.  It was a dreary place, shut out from the beautiful
prospect of the Isle of Mull, and Dunstaffnage Castle—so the fortress was
called.  Four or five men came over with the boat; the horse was unyoked,
and being harshly driven over rough stones, which were as slippery as
ice, with slimy seaweed, he was in terror before he reached the boat, and
they completed the work by beating and pushing him by main force over the
ridge of the boat, for there was no open end, or plank, or any other
convenience for shipping either horse or carriage.  I was very uneasy
when we were launched on the water.  A blackguard-looking fellow, blind
of one eye, which I could not but think had been put out in some strife
or other, held him by force like a horse-breaker, while the poor creature
fretted, and stamped with his feet against the bare boards, frightening
himself more and more with every stroke; and when we were in the middle
of the water I would have given a thousand pounds to have been sure that
we should reach the other side in safety.  The tide was rushing violently
in, making a strong eddy with the stream of the loch, so that the motion
of the boat and the noise and foam of the waves terrified him still more,
and we thought it would be impossible to keep him in the boat, and when
we were just far enough from the shore to have been all drowned he became
furious, and, plunging desperately, his hind-legs were in the water,
then, recovering himself, he beat with such force against the boat-side
that we were afraid he should send his feet through.  All the while the
men were swearing terrible oaths, and cursing the poor beast, redoubling
their curses when we reached the landing-place, and whipping him ashore
in brutal triumph.

We had only room for half a heartful of joy when we set foot on dry land,
for another ferry was to be crossed five miles further.  We had intended
breakfasting at this house if it had been a decent place; but after this
affair we were glad to pay the men off and depart, though I was not well
and needed refreshment.  The people made us more easy by assuring us that
we might easily swim the horse over the next ferry.  The first mile or
two of our road was over a peat-moss; we then came near to the seashore,
and had beautiful views backwards towards the Island of Mull and
Dunstaffnage Castle, and forward where the sea ran up between the hills.
In this part, on the opposite side of the small bay or elbow of the sea,
was a gentleman’s house on a hillside, {155} and a building on the
hill-top which we took for a lighthouse, but were told that it belonged
to the mansion, and was only lighted up on rejoicing days—the laird’s
birthday, for instance.

Before we had left the peat-moss to travel close to the sea-shore we
delighted ourselves with looking on a range of green hills, in shape like
those bordering immediately upon the sea, abrupt but not high; they were,
in fact, a continuation of the same; but retiring backwards, and rising
from the black peat-moss.  These hills were of a delicate green, uncommon
in Scotland; a foaming rivulet ran down one part, and near it lay two
herdsmen full in the sun, with their dogs, among a troop of black cattle
which were feeding near, and sprinkled over the whole range of hills—a
pastoral scene, to our eyes the more beautiful from knowing what a
delightful prospect it must overlook.  We now came under the steeps by
the sea-side, which were bold rocks, mouldering scars, or fresh with
green grass.  Under the brow of one of these rocks was a burying-ground,
with many upright grave-stones and hay-cocks between, and fenced round by
a wall neatly sodded.  Near it were one or two houses, with out-houses
under a group of trees, but no chapel.  The neatness of the
burying-ground would in itself have been noticeable in any part of
Scotland where we have been; but it was more interesting from its
situation than for its own sake—within the sound of the gentlest waves of
the sea, and near so many quiet and beautiful objects.  There was a range
of hills opposite, which we were here first told were the hills of
Morven, so much sung of by Ossian.  We consulted with some men respecting
the ferry, who advised us by all means to send our horse round the loch,
and go ourselves over in the boat: they were very civil, and seemed to be
intelligent men, yet all disagreed about the length of the loch, though
we were not two miles from it: one said it was only six miles long,
another ten or fifteen, and afterwards a man whom we met told us it was

We lost sight of the sea for some time, crossing a half-cultivated space,
then reached Loch Creran, a large irregular sea loch, with low sloping
banks, coppice woods, and uncultivated grounds, with a scattering of corn
fields; as it appeared to us, very thinly inhabited: mountains at a
distance.  We found only women at home at the ferry-house.  I was faint
and cold, and went to sit by the fire, but, though very much needing
refreshment, I had not heart to eat anything there—the house was so
dirty, and there were so many wretchedly dirty women and children; yet
perhaps I might have got over the dirt, though I believe there are few
ladies who would not have been turned sick by it, if there had not been a
most disgusting combination of laziness and coarseness in the
countenances and manners of the women, though two of them were very
handsome.  It was a small hut, and four women were living in it: one, the
mother of the children and mistress of the house; the others I supposed
to be lodgers, or perhaps servants; but there was no work amongst them.
They had just taken from the fire a great pan full of potatoes, which
they mixed up with milk, all helping themselves out of the same vessel,
and the little children put in their dirty hands to dig out of the mess
at their pleasure.  I thought to myself, How light the labour of such a
house as this!  Little sweeping, no washing of floors, and as to scouring
the table, I believe it was a thing never thought of.

After a long time the ferryman came home; but we had to wait yet another
hour for the tide.  In the meanwhile our horse took fright in consequence
of his terror at the last ferry, ran away with the car, and dashed out
umbrellas, greatcoats, etc.; but luckily he was stopped before any
serious mischief was done.  We had determined, whatever it cost, not to
trust ourselves with him again in the boat; but sending him round the
lake seemed almost out of the question, there being no road, and probably
much difficulty in going round with a horse; so after some deliberation
with the ferryman it was agreed that he should swim over.  The usual
place of ferrying was very broad, but he was led to the point of a
peninsula at a little distance.  It being an unusual affair,—indeed, the
people of the house said that he was the first horse that had ever swum
over,—we had several men on board, and the mistress of the house offered
herself as an assistant: we supposed for the sake of a share in
eighteen-pennyworth of whisky which her husband called for without
ceremony, and of which she and the young lasses, who had helped to push
the boat into the water, partook as freely as the men.  At first I feared
for the horse: he was frightened, and strove to push himself under the
boat; but I was soon tolerably easy, for he went on regularly and well,
and after from six to ten minutes swimming landed in safety on the other
side.  Poor creature! he stretched out his nostrils and stared wildly
while the man was trotting him about to warm him, and when he put him
into the car he was afraid of the sound of the wheels.  For some time our
road was up a glen, the banks chiefly covered with coppice woods, an
unpeopled, but, though without grandeur, not a dreary tract.

Came to a moor and descended into a broad vale, which opened to Loch
Linnhe, an arm of the sea, the prospect being shut in by high mountains,
on which the sun was shining among mists and resting clouds.  A village
and chapel stood on the opposite hill; the hills sloped prettily down to
the bed of the vale, a large level area—the grounds in general
cultivated, but not rich.  We went perhaps half a mile down the vale,
when our road struck right across it towards the village on the
hill-side.  We overtook a tall, well-looking man, seemingly about thirty
years of age, driving a cart, of whom we inquired concerning the road,
and the distance to Portnacroish, our baiting-place.  We made further
inquiries respecting our future journey, which he answered in an
intelligent manner, being perfectly acquainted with the geography of
Scotland.  He told us that the village which we saw before us and the
whole tract of country was called Appin.  William said that it was a
pretty wild place, to which the man replied, ‘Sir, it is a very bonny
place if you did but see it on a fine day,’ mistaking William’s praise
for a half-censure; I must say, however, that we hardly ever saw a
thoroughly pleasing place in Scotland, which had not something of
wildness in its aspect of one sort or other.  It came from many causes
here: the sea, or sea-loch, of which we only saw as it were a glimpse
crossing the vale at the foot of it, the high mountains on the opposite
shore, the unenclosed hills on each side of the vale, with black cattle
feeding on them, the simplicity of the scattered huts, the
half-sheltered, half-exposed situation of the village, the imperfect
culture of the fields, the distance from any city or large town, and the
very names of Morven and Appin, particularly at such a time, when old
Ossian’s old friends, sunbeams and mists, as like ghosts as any in the
mid-afternoon could be, were keeping company with them.  William did all
he could to efface the unpleasant impression he had made on the
Highlander, and not without success, for he was kind and communicative
when we walked up the hill towards the village.  He had been a great
traveller, in Ireland and elsewhere; but I believe that he had visited no
place so beautiful to his eyes as his native home, the strath of Appin
under the heathy hills.

We arrived at Portnacroish soon after parting from this man.  It is a
small village—a few huts and an indifferent inn by the side of the loch.
Ordered a fowl for dinner, had a fire lighted, and went a few steps from
the door up the road, and turning aside into a field stood at the top of
a low eminence, from which, looking down the loch to the sea through a
long vista of hills and mountains, we beheld one of the most delightful
prospects that, even when we dream of fairer worlds than this, it is
possible for us to conceive in our hearts.  A covering of clouds rested
on the long range of the hills of Morven, mists floated very near to the
water on their sides, and were slowly shifting about: yet the sky was
clear, and the sea, from the reflection of the sky, of an ethereal or
sapphire blue, which was intermingled in many places, and mostly by
gentle gradations, with beds of bright dazzling sunshine; green islands
lay on the calm water, islands far greener, for so it seemed, than the
grass of other places; and from their excessive beauty, their unearthly
softness, and the great distance of many of them, they made us think of
the islands of the blessed in the Vision of Mirza—a resemblance more
striking from the long tract of mist which rested on the top of the
steeps of Morven.  The view was endless, and though not so wide, had
something of the intricacy of the islands and water of Loch Lomond as we
saw them from Inch-ta-vanach; and yet how different!  At Loch Lomond we
could never forget that it was an inland lake of fresh water, nor here
that it was the sea itself, though among multitudes of hills.
Immediately below us, on an island a few yards from the shore, stood an
old keep or fortress; {160} the vale of Appin opened to the water-side,
with cultivated fields and cottages.  If there were trees near the shore
they contributed little to the delightful effect of the scene: it was the
immeasurable water, the lofty mist-covered steeps of Morven to the right,
the emerald islands without a bush or tree, the celestial colour and
brightness of the calm sea, and the innumerable creeks and bays, the
communion of land and water as far as the eye could travel.  My
description must needs be languid; for the sight itself was too fair to
be remembered.  We sate a long time upon the hill, and pursued our
journey at about four o’clock.  Had an indifferent dinner, but the cheese
was so excellent that William wished to buy the remainder; but the woman
would not consent to sell it, and forced us to accept a large portion of

We had to travel up the loch, leaving behind us the beautiful scene which
we had viewed with such delight before dinner.  Often, while we were
climbing the hill, did we stop to look back, and when we had gone twenty
or thirty yards beyond the point where we had the last view of it, we
left the car to the care of some children who were coming from school,
and went to take another farewell, always in the hope of bearing away a
more substantial remembrance.  Travelled for some miles along a road
which was so smooth it was more like a gravel walk in a gentleman’s
grounds than a public highway.  Probably the country is indebted for this
excellent road to Lord Tweeddale, {161} now a prisoner in France.  His
house stands upon an eminence within a mile of Portnacroish, commanding
the same prospect which I have spoken of, except that it must lose
something in not having the old fortress at the foot of it—indeed, it is
not to be seen at all from the house or grounds.

We travelled under steep hills, stony or smooth, with coppice-woods and
patches of cultivated land, and houses here and there; and at every
hundred yards, I may almost venture to say, a streamlet, narrow as a
ribbon, came tumbling down, and, crossing our road, fell into the lake
below.  On the opposite shore, the hills—namely, the continuation of the
hills of Morven—were stern and severe, rising like upright walls from the
water’s edge, and in colour more resembling rocks than hills, as they
appeared to us.  We did not see any house, or any place where it was
likely a house could stand, for many miles; but as the loch was broad we
could not perhaps distinguish the objects thoroughly.  A little after
sunset our road led us from the vale of the loch.  We came to a small
river, a bridge, a mill, and some cottages at the foot of a hill, and
close to the loch.

Did not cross the bridge, but went up the brook, having it on our left,
and soon found ourselves in a retired valley, scattered over with many
grey huts, and surrounded on every side by green hills.  The hay grounds
in the middle of the vale were unenclosed, which was enough to keep alive
the Scottish wildness, here blended with exceeding beauty; for there were
trees growing irregularly or in clumps all through the valley, rocks or
stones here and there, which, with the people at work, hay-cocks
sprinkled over the fields, made the vale look full and populous.  It was
a sweet time of the evening: the moon was up; but there was yet so much
of day that her light was not perceived.  Our road was through open
fields; the people suspended their work as we passed along, and leaning
on their pitchforks or rakes, with their arms at their sides, or hanging
down, some in one way, some in another, and no two alike, they formed
most beautiful groups, the outlines of their figures being much more
distinct than by day, and all that might have been harsh or unlovely
softened down.  The dogs were, as usual, attendant on their masters, and,
watching after us, they barked aloud; yet even their barking hardly
disturbed the quiet of the place.

I cannot say how long this vale was; it made the larger half of a circle,
or a curve deeper than that of half a circle, before it opened again upon
the loch.  It was less thoroughly cultivated and woody after the last
turning—the hills steep and lofty.  We met a very tall stout man, a fine
figure, in a Highland bonnet, with a little girl, driving home their cow:
he accosted us, saying that we were late travellers, and that we had yet
four miles to go before we should reach Ballachulish—a long way,
uncertain as we were respecting our accommodations.  He told us that the
vale was called the Strath of Duror, and when we said it was a pretty
place, he answered, Indeed it was, and that they lived very comfortably
there, for they had a good master, Lord Tweeddale, whose imprisonment he
lamented, speaking earnestly of his excellent qualities.  At the end of
the vale we came close upon a large bay of the loch, formed by a rocky
hill, a continuation of the ridge of high hills on the left side of the
strath, making a very grand promontory, under which was a hamlet, a
cluster of huts, at the water’s edge, with their little fleet of fishing
boats at anchor, and behind, among the rocks, a hundred slips of corn,
slips and patches, often no bigger than a garden such as a child, eight
years old, would make for sport: it might have been the work of a small
colony from China.  There was something touching to the heart in this
appearance of scrupulous industry, and excessive labour of the soil, in a
country where hills and mountains, and even valleys, are left to the care
of nature and the pleasure of the cattle that feed among them.  It was,
indeed, a very interesting place, the more so being in perfect contrast
with the few houses at the entrance of the strath—a sea hamlet, without
trees, under a naked stony mountain, yet perfectly sheltered, standing in
the middle of a large bay which half the winds that travel over the lake
can never visit.  The other, a little bowery spot, with its river,
bridge, and mill, might have been a hundred miles from the sea-side.

The moon was now shining, and though it reminded us how far the evening
was advanced, we stopped for many minutes before we could resolve to go
on; we saw nothing stirring, neither men, women, nor cattle; but the
linen was still bleaching by the stony rivulet, which ran near the houses
in water-breaks and tiny cataracts.  For the first half mile after we had
left this scene there was no thing remarkable; and afterwards we could
only see the hills, the sky, the moon, and moonlight water.  When we came
within, it might be, half a mile of Ballachulish, the place where we were
to lodge, the loch narrowed very much, the hills still continuing high.
I speak inaccurately, for it split into two divisions, the one along
which we went being called Loch Leven.

The road grew very bad, and we had an anxious journey till we saw a light
before us, which with great joy we assured ourselves was from the inn;
but what was our distress when, on going a few steps further, we came to
a bridge half broken down, with bushes laid across to prevent travellers
from going over.  After some perplexity we determined that I should walk
on to the house before us—for we could see that the bridge was safe for
foot-passengers—and ask for assistance.  By great good luck, at this very
moment four or five men came along the road towards us and offered to
help William in driving the car through the water, which was not very
deep at that time, though, only a few days before, the damage had been
done to the bridge by a flood.

I walked on to the inn, ordered tea, and was conducted into a lodging
room.  I desired to have a fire, and was answered with the old scruple
about ‘giving fire,’—with, at the same time, an excuse ‘that it was so
late,’—the girl, however, would ask the landlady, who was lying-in; the
fire was brought immediately, and from that time the girl was very civil.
I was not, however, quite at ease, for William stayed long, and I was
going to leave my fire to seek after him, when I heard him at the door
with the horse and car.  The horse had taken fright with the roughness of
the river-bed and the rattling of the wheels—the second fright in
consequence of the ferry—and the men had been obliged to unyoke him and
drag the car through, a troublesome affair for William; but he talked
less of the trouble and alarm than of the pleasure he had felt in having
met with such true good-will and ready kindness in the Highlanders.  They
drank their glass of whisky at the door, wishing William twenty good
wishes, and asking him twice as many questions,—if he was married, if he
had an estate, where he lived, etc. etc.  This inn is the ferry-house on
the main road up into the Highlands by Fort-William, and here Coleridge,
though unknown to us, had slept three nights before. {165}

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, _September_ 3_d_.—When we have arrived at an unknown place by
moonlight, it is never a moment of indifference when I quit it again with
the morning light, especially if the objects have appeared beautiful, or
in any other way impressive or interesting.  I have kept back, unwilling
to go to the window, that I might not lose the picture taken to my pillow
at night.  So it was at Ballachulish: and instantly I felt that the
passing away of my own fancies was a loss.  The place had appeared
exceedingly wild by moonlight; I had mistaken corn-fields for naked
rocks, and the lake had appeared narrower and the hills more steep and
lofty than they really were.

We rose at six o’clock, and took a basin of milk before we set forward on
our journey to Glen Coe.  It was a delightful morning, the road
excellent, and we were in good spirits, happy that we had no more ferries
to cross, and pleased with the thought that we were going among the grand
mountains which we saw before us at the head of the loch.  We travelled
close to the water’s edge, and were rolling along a smooth road, when the
horse suddenly backed, frightened by the upright shafts of a roller
rising from behind the wall of a field adjoining the road.  William
pulled, whipped, and struggled in vain; we both leapt upon the ground,
and the horse dragged the car after him, he going backwards down the bank
of the loch, and it was turned over, half in the water, the horse lying
on his back, struggling in the harness, a frightful sight!  I gave up
everything; thought that the horse would be lamed, and the car broken to
pieces.  Luckily a man came up in the same moment, and assisted William
in extricating the horse, and, after an hour’s delay, with the help of
strings and pocket-handkerchiefs, we mended the harness and set forward
again, William leading the poor animal all the way, for the regular
beating of the waves frightened him, and any little gushing stream that
crossed the road would have sent him off.  The village where the
blacksmith lived was before us—a few huts under the mountains, and, as it
seemed, at the head of the loch; but it runs further up to the left,
being narrowed by a hill above the village, near which, at the edge of
the water, was a slate quarry, and many large boats with masts, on the
water below, high mountains shutting in the prospect, which stood in
single, distinguishable shapes, yet clustered together—simple and bold in
their forms, and their surfaces of all characters and all colours—some
that looked as if scarified by fire, others green; and there was one that
might have been blasted by an eternal frost, its summit and sides for a
considerable way down being as white as hoar-frost at eight o’clock on a
winter’s morning.  No clouds were on the hills; the sun shone bright, but
the wind blew fresh and cold.

When we reached the blacksmith’s shop, I left William to help to take
care of the horse, and went into the house.  The mistress, with a child
in her arms and two or three running about, received me very kindly,
making many apologies for the dirty house, which she partly attributed to
its being Saturday; but I could plainly see that it was dirt of all days.
I sate in the midst of it with great delight, for the woman’s benevolent,
happy countenance almost converted her slovenly and lazy way of leaving
all things to take care of themselves into a comfort and a blessing.

It was not a Highland hut, but a slated house built by the master of the
quarry for the accommodation of his blacksmith,—the shell of an English
cottage, as if left unfinished by the workmen, without plaster, and with
floor of mud.  Two beds, with not over-clean bedclothes, were in the
room.  Luckily for me, there was a good fire and a boiling kettle.  The
woman was very sorry she had no butter; none was to be had in the
village: she gave me oaten and barley bread.  We talked over the fire; I
answered her hundred questions, and in my turn put some to her.  She
asked me, as usual, if I was married, how many brothers I had, etc. etc.
I told her that William was married, and had a fine boy; to which she
replied, ‘And the man’s a decent man too.’  Her next-door neighbour came
in with a baby on her arm, to request that I would accept of some fish,
which I broiled in the ashes.  She joined in our conversation, but with
more shyness than her neighbour, being a very young woman.  She happened
to say that she was a stranger in that place, and had been bred and born
a long way off.  On my asking her where, she replied, ‘At Leadhills;’ and
when I told her that I had been there, a joy lighted up her countenance
which I shall never forget, and when she heard that it was only a
fortnight before, her eyes filled with tears.  I was exceedingly affected
with the simplicity of her manners; her tongue was now let loose, and she
would have talked for ever of Leadhills, of her mother, of the quietness
of the people in general, and the goodness of Mrs. Otto, who, she told
me, was a ‘varra discreet woman.’  She was sure we should be ‘well put
up’ at Mrs. Otto’s, and praised her house and furniture; indeed, it
seemed she thought all earthly comforts were gathered together under the
bleak heights that surround the villages of Wanlockhead and Leadhills:
and afterwards, when I said it was a wild country thereabouts, she even
seemed surprised, and said it was not half so wild as where she lived
now.  One circumstance which she mentioned of Mrs. Otto I must record,
both in proof of her ‘discretion,’ and the sobriety of the people at
Leadhills, namely, that no liquor was ever drunk in her house after a
certain hour of the night—I have forgotten what hour; but it was an early
one, I am sure not later than ten.

The blacksmith, who had come in to his breakfast, was impatient to finish
our job, that he might go out into the hay-field, for, it being a fine
day, every plot of hay-ground was scattered over with hay-makers.  On my
saying that I guessed much of their hay must be spoiled, he told me no,
for that they had high winds, which dried it quickly,—the people
understood the climate, ‘were clever at the work, and got it in with a
blink.’  He hastily swallowed his breakfast, dry bread and a basin of
weak tea without sugar, and held his baby on his knee till he had done.

The women and I were again left to the fireside, and there were no limits
to their joy in me, for they discovered another bond of connexion.  I
lived in the same part of England from which Mr. Rose, the superintendent
of the slate-quarries, and his wife, had come.  ‘Oh!’ said Mrs. Stuart—so
her neighbour called her, they not giving each other their Christian
names, as is common in Cumberland and Westmoreland,—‘Oh!’ said she, ‘what
would not I give to see anybody that came from within four or five miles
of Leadhills?’  They both exclaimed that I must see Mrs. Rose; she would
make much of me—she would have given me tea and bread and butter and a
good breakfast.  I learned from the two women, Mrs. Stuart and Mrs.
Duncan—so the other was called—that Stuart had come from Leadhills for
the sake of better wages, to take the place of Duncan, who had resigned
his office of blacksmith to the quarries, as far as I could learn, in a
pet, intending to go to America, that his wife was averse to go, and that
the scheme, for this cause and through other difficulties, had been given
up.  He appeared to be a good-tempered man, and made us a most reasonable
charge for mending the car.  His wife told me that they must give up the
house in a short time to the other blacksmith; she did not know whither
they should go, but her husband, being a good workman, could find
employment anywhere.  She hurried me out to introduce me to Mrs. Rose,
who was at work in the hay-field; she was exceedingly glad to see one of
her country-women, and entreated that I would go up to her house.  It was
a substantial plain house, that would have held half-a-dozen of the
common huts.  She conducted me into a sitting-room up-stairs, and set
before me red and white wine, with the remnant of a loaf of wheaten
bread, which she took out of a cupboard in the sitting-room, and some
delicious butter.  She was a healthy and cheerful-looking woman, dressed
like one of our country lasses, and had certainly had no better education
than Aggy Ashburner, but she was as a chief in this secluded place, a
Madam of the village, and seemed to be treated with the utmost respect.

In our way to and from the house we met several people who interchanged
friendly greetings with her, but always as with one greatly superior.
She attended me back to the blacksmith’s, and would not leave me till she
had seen us set forward again on our journey.  Mrs. Duncan and Mrs.
Stuart shook me cordially, nay, affectionately, by the hand.  I tried to
prevail upon the former, who had been my hostess, to accept of some
money, but in vain; she would not take a farthing, and though I told her
it was only to buy something for her little daughter, even seemed grieved
that I should think it possible.  I forgot to mention that while the
blacksmith was repairing the car, we walked to the slate-quarry, where we
saw again some of the kind creatures who had helped us in our
difficulties the night before.  The hovel under which they split their
slates stood upon an out-jutting rock, a part of the quarry rising
immediately out of the water, and commanded a fine prospect down the loch
below Ballachulish, and upwards towards the grand mountains, and the
other horn of the vale where the lake was concealed.  The blacksmith
drove our car about a mile of the road; we then hired a man and horse to
take me and the car to the top of Glen Coe, being afraid that if the
horse backed or took fright we might be thrown down some precipice.

But before we departed we could not resist our inclination to climb up
the hill which I have mentioned as appearing to terminate the loch.  The
mountains, though inferior to those of Glen Coe, on the other side are
very majestic; and the solitude in which we knew the unseen lake was
bedded at their feet was enough to excite our longings.  We climbed steep
after steep, far higher than they appeared to us, and I was going to give
up the accomplishment of our aim, when a glorious sight on the mountain
before us made me forget my fatigue.  A slight shower had come on, its
skirts falling upon us, and half the opposite side of the mountain was
wrapped up in rainbow light, covered as by a veil with one dilated
rainbow: so it continued for some minutes; and the shower and rainy
clouds passed away as suddenly as they had come, and the sun shone again
upon the tops of all the hills.  In the meantime we reached the
wished-for point, and saw to the head of the loch.  Perhaps it might not
be so beautiful as we had imaged it in our thoughts, but it was beautiful
enough not to disappoint us,—a narrow deep valley, a perfect solitude,
without house or hut.  One of the hills was thinly sprinkled with Scotch
firs, which appeared to be the survivors of a large forest: they were the
first natural wild Scotch firs we had seen.  Though thinned of their
numbers, and left, comparatively, to a helpless struggle with the
elements, we were much struck with the gloom, and even grandeur, of the

Hastened back again to join the car, but were tempted to go a little out
of our way to look at a nice white house belonging to the laird of Glen
Coe, which stood sweetly in a green field under the hill near some tall
trees and coppice woods.  At this house the horrible massacre of Glen Coe
began, which we did not know when we were there; but the house must have
been rebuilt since that time.  We had a delightful walk through fields,
among copses, and by a river-side: we could have fancied ourselves in
some part of the north of England unseen before, it was so much like it,
and yet so different.  I must not forget one place on the opposite side
of the water, where we longed to live—a snug white house on the
mountain-side, surrounded by its own green fields and woods, the high
mountain above, the loch below, and inaccessible but by means of boats.
A beautiful spot indeed it was; but in the retired parts of Scotland a
comfortable white house is itself such a pleasant sight, that I believe,
without our knowing how or why, it makes us look with a more loving eye
on the fields and trees than for their own sakes they deserve.

At about one o’clock we set off, William on our own horse, and I with my
Highland driver.  He was perfectly acquainted with the country, being a
sort of carrier or carrier-merchant or shopkeeper, going frequently to
Glasgow with his horse and cart to fetch and carry goods and merchandise.
He knew the name of every hill, almost every rock; and I made good use of
his knowledge; but partly from laziness, and still more because it was
inconvenient, I took no notes, and now I am little better for what he
told me.  He spoke English tolerably; but seldom understood what was said
to him without a ‘What’s your wull?’  We turned up to the right, and were
at the foot of the glen—the laird’s house cannot be said to be _in_ the
glen.  The afternoon was delightful,—the sun shone, the mountain-tops
were clear, the lake glittered in the great vale behind us, and the
stream of Glen Coe flowed down to it glittering among alder-trees.  The
meadows of the glen were of the freshest green; one new-built stone house
in the first reach, some huts, hillocks covered with wood, alder-trees
scattered all over.  Looking backward, we were reminded of Patterdale and
the head of Ulswater, but forward the greatness of the mountains overcame
every other idea.

The impression was, as we advanced up to the head of this first reach, as
if the glen were nothing, its loneliness and retirement—as if it made up
no part of my feeling: the mountains were all in all.  That which fronted
us—I have forgotten its name—was exceedingly lofty, the surface stony,
nay, the whole mountain was one mass of stone, wrinkled and puckered up
together.  At the second and last reach—for it is not a winding vale—it
makes a quick turning almost at right angles to the first; and now we are
in the depths of the mountains; no trees in the glen, only green
pasturage for sheep, and here and there a plot of hay-ground, and
something that tells of former cultivation.  I observed this to the
guide, who said that formerly the glen had had many inhabitants, and that
there, as elsewhere in the Highlands, there had been a great deal of corn
where now the lands were left waste, and nothing fed upon them but
cattle.  I cannot attempt to describe the mountains.  I can only say that
I thought those on our right—for the other side was only a continued high
ridge or craggy barrier, broken along the top into petty spiral
forms—were the grandest I had ever seen.  It seldom happens that
mountains in a very clear air look exceedingly high, but these, though we
could see the whole of them to their very summits, appeared to me more
majestic in their own nakedness than our imaginations could have
conceived them to be, had they been half hidden by clouds, yet showing
some of their highest pinnacles.  They were such forms as Milton might be
supposed to have had in his mind when he applied to Satan that sublime

   ‘His stature reached the sky.’

The first division of the glen, as I have said, was scattered over with
rocks, trees, and woody hillocks, and cottages were to be seen here and
there.  The second division is bare and stony, huge mountains on all
sides, with a slender pasturage in the bottom of the valley; and towards
the head of it is a small lake or tarn, and near the tarn a single
inhabited dwelling, and some unfenced hay-ground—a simple impressive
scene!  Our road frequently crossed large streams of stones, left by the
mountain-torrents, losing all appearance of a road.  After we had passed
the tarn the glen became less interesting, or rather the mountains, from
the manner in which they are looked at; but again, a little higher up,
they resume their grandeur.  The river is, for a short space, hidden
between steep rocks: we left the road, and, going to the top of one of
the rocks, saw it foaming over stones, or lodged in dark black dens;
birch-trees grew on the inaccessible banks, and a few old Scotch firs
towered above them.  At the entrance of the glen the mountains had been
all without trees, but here the birches climb very far up the side of one
of them opposite to us, half concealing a rivulet, which came tumbling
down as white as snow from the very top of the mountain.  Leaving the
rock, we ascended a hill which terminated the glen.  We often stopped to
look behind at the majestic company of mountains we had left.  Before us
was no single paramount eminence, but a mountain waste, mountain beyond
mountain, and a barren hollow or basin into which we were descending.

We parted from our companion at the door of a whisky hovel, a building
which, when it came out of the workmen’s hands with its unglassed
windows, would, in that forlorn region, have been little better than a
howling place for the winds, and was now half unroofed.  On seeing a
smoke, I exclaimed, ‘Is it possible any people can live there?’ when at
least half a dozen, men, women, and children, came to the door.  They
were about to rebuild the hut, and I suppose that they, or some other
poor creatures, would dwell there through the winter, dealing out whisky
to the starved travellers.  The sun was now setting, the air very cold,
the sky clear; I could have fancied that it was winter-time, with hard
frost.  Our guide pointed out King’s House to us, our resting-place for
the night.  We could just distinguish the house at the bottom of the
moorish hollow or basin—I call it so, for it was nearly as broad as
long—lying before us, with three miles of naked road winding through it,
every foot of which we could see.  The road was perfectly white, making a
dreary contrast with the ground, which was of a dull earthy brown.  Long
as the line of road appeared before us, we could scarcely believe it to
be three miles—I suppose owing to its being unbroken by any one object,
and the moor naked as the road itself, but we found it the longest three
miles we had yet travelled, for the surface was so stony we had to walk
most of the way.

The house looked respectable at a distance—a large square building, cased
in blue slates to defend it from storms,—but when we came close to it the
outside forewarned us of the poverty and misery within.  Scarce a blade
of grass could be seen growing upon the open ground; the heath-plant
itself found no nourishment there, appearing as if it had but sprung up
to be blighted.  There was no enclosure for a cow, no appropriated ground
but a small plot like a church yard, in which were a few starveling
dwarfish potatoes, which had, no doubt, been raised by means of the dung
left by travellers’ horses: they had not come to blossoming, and whether
they would either yield fruit or blossom I know not.  The first thing we
saw on entering the door was two sheep hung up, as if just killed from
the barren moor, their bones hardly sheathed in flesh.  After we had
waited a few minutes, looking about for a guide to lead us into some
corner of the house, a woman, seemingly about forty years old, came to us
in a great bustle, screaming in Erse, with the most horrible guinea-hen
or peacock voice I ever heard, first to one person, then another.  She
could hardly spare time to show us up-stairs, for crowds of men were in
the house—drovers, carriers, horsemen, travellers, all of whom she had to
provide with supper, and she was, as she told us, the only woman there.

Never did I see such a miserable, such a wretched place,—long rooms with
ranges of beds, no other furniture except benches, or perhaps one or two
crazy chairs, the floors far dirtier than an ordinary house could be if
it were never washed,—as dirty as a house after a sale on a rainy day,
and the rooms being large, and the walls naked, they looked as if more
than half the goods had been sold out.  We sate shivering in one of the
large rooms for three quarters of an hour before the woman could find
time to speak to us again; she then promised a fire in another room,
after two travellers, who were going a stage further, had finished their
whisky, and said we should have supper as soon as possible.  She had no
eggs, no milk, no potatoes, no loaf-bread, or we should have preferred
tea.  With length of time the fire was kindled, and, after another hour’s
waiting, supper came,—a shoulder of mutton so hard that it was impossible
to chew the little flesh that might be scraped off the bones, and some
sorry soup made of barley and water, for it had no other taste.

After supper, the woman, having first asked if we slept on blankets,
brought in two pair of sheets, which she begged that I would air by the
fire, for they would be dirtied below-stairs.  I was very willing, but
behold! the sheets were so wet, that it would have been at least a
two-hours’ job before a far better fire than could be mustered at King’s
House,—for, that nothing might be wanting to make it a place of complete
starvation, the peats were not dry, and if they had not been helped out
by decayed wood dug out of the earth along with them, we should have had
no fire at all.  The woman was civil, in her fierce, wild way.  She and
the house, upon that desolate and extensive Wild, and everything we saw,
made us think of one of those places of rendezvous which we read of in
novels—Ferdinand Count Fathom, or Gil Blas,—where there is one woman to
receive the booty, and prepare the supper at night.  She told us that she
was only a servant, but that she had now lived there five years, and
that, when but a ‘young lassie,’ she had lived there also.  We asked her
if she had always served the same master, ‘Nay, nay, many masters, for
they were always changing.’  I verily believe that the woman was attached
to the place like a cat to the empty house when the family who brought
her up are gone to live elsewhere.  The sheets were so long in drying
that it was very late before we went to bed.  We talked over our day’s
adventures by the fireside, and often looked out of the window towards a
huge pyramidal mountain {177} at the entrance of Glen Coe.  All between,
the dreary waste was clear, almost, as sky, the moon shining full upon
it.  A rivulet ran amongst stones near the house, and sparkled with
light: I could have fancied that there was nothing else, in that
extensive circuit over which we looked, that had the power of motion.

In comparing the impressions we had received at Glen Coe, we found that
though the expectations of both had been far surpassed by the grandeur of
the mountains, we had upon the whole both been disappointed, and from the
same cause: we had been prepared for images of terror, had expected a
deep, den-like valley with overhanging rocks, such as William has
described in these lines, speaking of the Alps:—

                  Brook and road
   Were fellow-travellers in this gloomy Pass,
   And with them did we journey several hours
   At a slow step.  The immeasurable height
   Of woods decaying, never to be decayed!
   The stationary blasts of waterfalls;
   And everywhere along the hollow rent
   Winds thwarting winds, bewilder’d and forlorn;
   The torrents shooting from the clear blue sky,
   The rocks that mutter’d close upon our ears,
   Black drizzling crags that spake by the way-side
   As if a voice were in them; the sick sight
   And giddy prospect of the raving stream;
   The unfetter’d clouds, and region of the heavens,
   Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light,
   Were all like workings of one mind, the features
   Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree,
   Characters of the great Apocalypse,
   The Types and Symbols of Eternity,
   Of first, and last, and midst, and without end.

The place had nothing of this character, the glen being open to the eye
of day, the mountains retiring in independent majesty.  Even in the upper
part of it, where the stream rushed through the rocky chasm, it was but a
deep trench in the vale, not the vale itself, and could only be seen when
we were close to it.


_Sunday_, _September_ 4_th_.—We had desired to be called at six o’clock,
and rose at the first summons.  Our beds had proved better than we
expected, and we had not slept ill; but poor Coleridge had passed a
wretched night here four days before.  This we did not know; but since,
when he told us of it, the notion of what he must have suffered, with the
noise of drunken people about his ears all night, himself sick and tired,
has made our discomfort cling to my memory, and given these recollections
a twofold interest.  I asked if it was possible to have a couple of eggs
boiled before our departure: the woman hesitated; she thought I might,
and sent a boy into the out-houses to look about, who brought in one egg
after long searching.  Early as we had risen it was not very early when
we set off; for everything at King’s House was in unison—equally
uncomfortable.  As the woman had told us the night before, ‘They had no
hay, and that was a loss.’  There were neither stalls nor bedding in the
stable, so that William was obliged to watch the horse while it was
feeding, for there were several others in the stable, all standing like
wild beasts, ready to devour each other’s portion of corn: this, with the
slowness of the servant and other hindrances, took up much time, and we
were completely starved, for the morning was very cold, as I believe all
the mornings in that desolate place are.

When we had gone about a quarter of a mile I recollected that I had left
the little cup given me by the kind landlady at Taynuilt, which I had
intended that John should hereafter drink out of, in memory of our
wanderings.  I would have turned back for it, but William pushed me on,
unwilling that we should lose so much time, though indeed he was as sorry
to part with it as myself.

Our road was over a hill called the Black Mount.  For the first mile, or
perhaps more, after we left King’s House, we ascended on foot; then came
upon a new road, one of the finest that was ever trod; and, as we went
downwards almost all the way afterwards, we travelled very quickly.  The
motion was pleasant, the different reaches and windings of the road were
amusing; the sun shone, the mountain-tops were clear and cheerful, and we
in good spirits, in a bustle of enjoyment, though there never was a more
desolate region: mountains behind, before, and on every side; I do not
remember to have seen either patch of grass, flower, or flowering heather
within three or four miles of King’s House.  The low ground was not
rocky, but black, and full of white frost-bleached stones, the prospect
only varied by pools, seen everywhere both near and at a distance, as far
as the ground stretched out below us: these were interesting spots, round
which the mind assembled living objects, and they shone as bright as
mirrors in the forlorn waste.  We passed neither tree nor shrub for
miles—I include the whole space from Glen Coe—yet we saw perpetually
traces of a long decayed forest, pieces of black mouldering wood.

Through such a country as this we had travelled perhaps seven and a half
miles this morning, when, after descending a hill, we turned to the
right, and saw an unexpected sight in the moorland hollow into which we
were entering, a small lake bounded on the opposite side by a grove of
Scotch firs, two or three cottages at the head of it, and a lot of
cultivated ground with scattered hay-cocks.  The road along which we were
going, after having made a curve considerably above the tarn, was seen
winding through the trees on the other side, a beautiful object, and,
luckily for us, a drove of cattle happened to be passing there at the
very time, a stream coursing the road, with off-stragglers to the borders
of the lake, and under the trees on the sloping ground.

In conning over our many wanderings I shall never forget the gentle
pleasure with which we greeted the lake of Inveroran and its few grey
cottages: we suffered our horse to slacken his pace, having now no need
of the comfort of quick motion, though we were glad to think that one of
those cottages might be the public-house where we were to breakfast.  A
forest—now, as it appeared, dwindled into the small grove bordering the
lake—had, not many years ago, spread to that side of the vale where we
were: large stumps of trees which had been cut down were yet remaining
undecayed, and there were some single trees left alive, as if by their
battered black boughs to tell us of the storms that visit the valley
which looked now so sober and peaceful.  When we arrived at the huts, one
of them proved to be the inn, a thatched house without a sign-board.  We
were kindly received, had a fire lighted in the parlour, and were in such
good humour that we seemed to have a thousand comforts about us; but we
had need of a little patience in addition to this good humour before
breakfast was brought, and at last it proved a disappointment: the butter
not eatable, the barley-cakes fusty, the oat-bread so hard I could not
chew it, and there were only four eggs in the house, which they had
boiled as hard as stones.

Before we had finished breakfast two foot-travellers came in, and seated
themselves at our table; one of them was returning, after a long absence,
to Fort-William, his native home; he had come from Egypt, and, many years
ago, had been on a recruiting party at Penrith, and knew many people
there.  He seemed to think his own country but a dismal land.

There being no bell in the parlour, I had occasion to go several times
and ask for what we wanted in the kitchen, and I would willingly have
given twenty pounds to have been able to take a lively picture of it.
About seven or eight travellers, probably drovers, with as many dogs,
were sitting in a complete circle round a large peat-fire in the middle
of the floor, each with a mess of porridge, in a wooden vessel, upon his
knee; a pot, suspended from one of the black beams, was boiling on the
fire; two or three women pursuing their household business on the outside
of the circle, children playing on the floor.  There was nothing
uncomfortable in this confusion: happy, busy, or vacant faces, all looked
pleasant; and even the smoky air, being a sort of natural indoor
atmosphere of Scotland, served only to give a softening, I may say
harmony, to the whole.

We departed immediately after breakfast; our road leading us, as I have
said, near the lake-side and through the grove of firs, which extended
backward much further than we had imagined.  After we had left it we came
again among bare moorish wastes, as before, under the mountains, so that
Inveroran still lives in our recollection as a favoured place, a flower
in the desert.

Descended upon the whole, I believe very considerably, in our way to
Tyndrum; but it was a road of long ups and downs, over hills and through
hollows of uncultivated ground; a chance farm perhaps once in three
miles, a glittering rivulet bordered with greener grass than grew on the
broad waste, or a broken fringe of alders or birches, partly concealing
and partly pointing out its course.

Arrived at Tyndrum at about two o’clock.  It is a cold spot.  Though, as
I should suppose, situated lower than Inveroran, and though we saw it in
the hottest time of the afternoon sun, it had a far colder aspect from
the want of trees.  We were here informed that Coleridge, who, we
supposed, was gone to Edinburgh, had dined at this very house a few days
before, in his road to Fort-William.  By the help of the cook, who was
called in, the landlady made out the very day: it was the day after we
parted from him; as she expressed it, the day after the ‘great speet,’
namely, the great rain.  We had a moorfowl and mutton-chops for dinner,
well cooked, and a reasonable charge.  The house was clean for a Scotch
inn, and the people about the doors were well dressed.  In one of the
parlours we saw a company of nine or ten, with the landlady, seated round
a plentiful table,—a sight which made us think of the fatted calf in the
alehouse pictures of the Prodigal Son.  There seemed to be a whole
harvest of meats and drinks, and there was something of festivity and
picture-like gaiety even in the fresh-coloured dresses of the people and
their Sunday faces.  The white table-cloth, glasses, English dishes,
etc., were all in contrast with what we had seen at Inveroran: the places
were but about nine miles asunder, both among hills; the rank of the
people little different, and each house appeared to be a house of plenty.

We were I think better pleased with our treatment at this inn than any of
the lonely houses on the road, except Taynuilt; but Coleridge had not
fared so well, and was dissatisfied, as he has since told us, and the two
travellers who breakfasted with us at Inveroran had given a bad account
of the house.

Left Tyndrum at about five o’clock; a gladsome afternoon; the road
excellent, and we bowled downwards through a pleasant vale, though not
populous, or well cultivated, or woody, but enlivened by a river that
glittered as it flowed.  On the side of a sunny hill a knot of men and
women were gathered together at a preaching.  We passed by many droves of
cattle and Shetland ponies, which accident stamped a character upon
places, else unrememberable—not an individual character, but the soul,
the spirit, and solitary simplicity of many a Highland region.

We had about eleven miles to travel before we came to our lodging, and
had gone five or six, almost always descending, and still in the same
vale, when we saw a small lake before us after the vale had made a
bending to the left; it was about sunset when we came up to the lake; the
afternoon breezes had died away, and the water was in perfect stillness.
One grove-like island, with a ruin that stood upon it overshadowed by the
trees, was reflected on the water.  This building, which, on that
beautiful evening, seemed to be wrapped up in religious quiet, we were
informed had been raised for defence by some Highland chieftain.  All
traces of strength, or war, or danger are passed away, and in the mood in
which we were we could only look upon it as a place of retirement and
peace.  The lake is called Loch Dochart.  We passed by two others of
inferior beauty, and continued to travel along the side of the same
river, the Dochart, through an irregular, undetermined vale,—poor soil
and much waste land.

At that time of the evening when, by looking steadily, we could discover
a few pale stars in the sky, we saw upon an eminence, the bound of our
horizon, though very near to us, and facing the bright yellow clouds of
the west, a group of figures that made us feel how much we wanted in not
being painters.  Two herdsmen, with a dog beside them, were sitting on
the hill, overlooking a herd of cattle scattered over a large meadow by
the river-side.  Their forms, looked at through a fading light, and
backed by the bright west, were exceedingly distinct, a beautiful picture
in the quiet of a Sabbath evening, exciting thoughts and images of almost
patriarchal simplicity and grace.  We were much pleased with the
situation of our inn, where we arrived between eight and nine o’clock.
The river was at the distance of a broad field from the door; we could
see it from the upper windows and hear its murmuring; the moon shone,
enlivening the large corn fields with cheerful light.  We had a bad
supper, and the next morning they made us an unreasonable charge; and the
servant was uncivil, because, forsooth! we had no wine.

_N.B._—The travellers in the morning had spoken highly of this inn. {186}

                                * * * * *

_Monday_, _September_ 5_th_.—After drinking a bason of milk we set off
again at a little after six o’clock—a fine morning—eight miles to
Killin—the river Dochart always on our left.  The face of the country not
very interesting, though not unpleasing, reminding us of some of the
vales of the north of England, though meagre, nipped-up, or shrivelled
compared with them.  There were rocks, and rocky knolls, as about
Grasmere and Wytheburn, and copses, but of a starveling growth; the
cultivated ground poor.  Within a mile or two of Killin the land was
better cultivated, and, looking down the vale, we had a view of Loch Tay,
into which the Dochart falls.  Close to the town, the river took up a
roaring voice, beating its way over a rocky descent among large black
stones: islands in the middle turning the stream this way and that; the
whole course of the river very wide.  We crossed it by means of three
bridges, which make one continued bridge of a great length.  On an island
below the bridge is a gateway with tall pillars, leading to an old
burying-ground belonging to some noble family. {187}  It has a singular
appearance, and the place is altogether uncommon and romantic—a remnant
of ancient grandeur: extreme natural wildness—the sound of roaring water,
and withal, the ordinary half-village, half-town bustle of an every-day

The inn at Killin is one of the largest on the Scotch road: it stands
pleasantly, near the chapel, at some distance from the river Dochart, and
out of reach of its tumultuous noise; and another broad, stately, and
silent stream, which you cannot look at without remembering its
boisterous neighbour, flows close under the windows of the inn, and
beside the churchyard, in which are many graves.  That river falls into
the lake at the distance of nearly a mile from the mouth of the Dochart.
It is bordered with tall trees and corn fields, bearing plentiful crops,
the richest we had seen in Scotland.

After breakfast we walked onwards, expecting that the stream would lead
us into some considerable vale; but it soon became little better than a
common rivulet, and the glen appeared to be short; indeed, we wondered
how the river had grown so great all at once.  Our horse had not been
able to eat his corn, and we waited a long time in the hope that he would
be better.  At eleven o’clock, however, we determined to set off, and
give him all the ease possible by walking up the hills, and not pushing
beyond a slow walk.  We had fourteen miles to travel to Kenmore, by the
side of Loch Tay.  Crossed the same bridge again, and went down the south
side of the lake.  We had a delightful view of the village of Killin,
among rich green fields, corn and wood, and up towards the two horns of
the vale of Tay, the valley of the Dochart, and the other valley with its
full-grown river, the prospect terminated by mountains.  We travelled
through lanes, woods, or open fields, never close to the lake, but always
near it, for many miles, the road being carried along the side of a hill,
which rose in an almost regularly receding steep from the lake.  The
opposite shore did not much differ from that down which we went, but it
seemed more thinly inhabited, and not so well cultivated.  The sun shone,
the cottages were pleasant, and the goings-on of the harvest—for all the
inhabitants were at work in the corn fields—made the way cheerful.  But
there is an uniformity in the lake which, comparing it with other lakes,
made it appear tiresome.  It has no windings: I should even imagine,
although it is so many miles long, that, from some points not very high
on the hills, it may be seen from one end to the other.  There are few
bays, no lurking-places where the water hides itself in the land, no
outjutting points or promontories, no islands; and there are no
commanding mountains or precipices.  I think that this lake would be the
most pleasing in spring-time, or in summer before the corn begins to
change colour, the long tracts of hills on each side of the vale having
at this season a kind of patchy appearance, for the corn fields in
general were very small, mere plots, and of every possible shade of
bright yellow.  When we came in view of the foot of the lake we perceived
that it ended, as it had begun, in pride and loveliness.  The village of
Kenmore, with its neat church and cleanly houses, stands on a gentle
eminence at the end of the water.  The view, though not near so beautiful
as that of Killin, is exceedingly pleasing.  Left our car, and turned out
of the road at about the distance of a mile from the town, and after
having climbed perhaps a quarter of a mile, we were conducted into a
locked-up plantation, and guessed by the sound that we were near the
cascade, but could not see it.  Our guide opened a door, and we entered a
dungeon-like passage, and, after walking some yards in total darkness,
found ourselves in a quaint apartment stuck over with moss, hung about
with stuffed foxes and other wild animals, and ornamented with a library
of wooden books covered with old leather backs, the mock furniture of a
hermit’s cell.  At the end of the room, through a large bow-window, we
saw the waterfall, and at the same time, looking down to the left, the
village of Kenmore and a part of the lake—a very beautiful prospect.


‘The transcript of the First Part of this Journal, and the Second as far
as page 149, were written before the end of the year 1803.  I do not know
exactly when I concluded the remainder of the Second Part, but it was
resumed on the 2d of February 1804.  The Third Part was begun at the end
of the month of April 1805, and finished on the 31st of May.’ {190}

                                * * * * *

_April_ 11_th_, 1805.—I am setting about a task which, however free and
happy the state of my mind, I could not have performed well at this
distance of time; but now, I do not know that I shall be able to go on
with it at all.  I will strive, however, to do the best I can, setting
before myself a different object from that hitherto aimed at, which was,
to omit no incident, however trifling, and to describe the country so
minutely that you should, where the objects were the most interesting,
feel as if you had been with us.  I shall now only attempt to give you an
idea of those scenes which pleased us most, dropping the incidents of the
ordinary days, of which many have slipped from my memory, and others
which remain it would be difficult, and often painful to me, to endeavour
to draw out and disentangle from other thoughts.  I the less regret my
inability to do more, because, in describing a great part of what we saw
from the time we left Kenmore, my work would be little more than a
repetition of what I have said before, or, where it was not so, a longer
time was necessary to enable us to bear away what was most interesting
than we could afford to give.

                                * * * * *

_Monday_, _September_ 5_th_.—We arrived at Kenmore after sunset.

                                * * * * *

_Tuesday_, _September_ 6_th_.—Walked before breakfast in Lord
Breadalbane’s grounds, which border upon the river Tay.  The higher
elevations command fine views of the lake; and the walks are led along
the river’s banks, and shaded with tall trees: but it seemed to us that a
bad taste had been at work, the banks being regularly shaven and cut as
if by rule and line.  One or two of such walks I should well have liked
to see; but they are all equally trim, and I could not but regret that
the fine trees had not been left to grow out of a turf that cattle were
permitted to feed upon.  There was one avenue which would well have
graced the ruins of an abbey or some stately castle.  It was of a very
great length, perfectly straight, the trees meeting at the top in a
cathedral arch, lessening in perspective,—the boughs the roof, the stems
the pillars.  I never saw so beautiful an avenue.  We were told that some
improver of pleasure-grounds had advised Lord B. to cut down the trees,
and lay the whole open to the lawn, for the avenue is very near his
house.  His own better taste, or that of some other person, I suppose,
had saved them from the axe.  Many workmen were employed in building a
large mansion something like that of Inverary, close to the old house,
which was yet standing; the situation, as we thought, very bad,
considering that Lord Breadalbane had the command of all the ground at
the foot of the lake, including hills both high and low.  It is in a
hollow, without prospect either of the lake or river, or anything
else—seeing nothing, and adorning nothing.  After breakfast, left
Kenmore, and travelled through the vale of Tay, I believe fifteen or
sixteen miles; but in the course of this we turned out of our way to the
Falls of Moness, a stream tributary to the Tay, which passes through a
narrow glen with very steep banks.  A path like a woodman’s track has
been carried through the glen, which, though the private property of a
gentleman, has not been taken out of the hands of Nature, but merely
rendered accessible by this path, which ends at the waterfalls.  They
tumble from a great height, and are indeed very beautiful falls, and we
could have sate with pleasure the whole morning beside the cool basin in
which the waters rest, surrounded by high rocks and overhanging trees.
In one of the most retired parts of the dell, we met a young man coming
slowly along the path, intent upon a book which he was reading: he did
not seem to be of the rank of a gentleman, though above that of a

Passed through the village of Aberfeldy, at the foot of the glen of
Moness.  The birks of Aberfeldy are spoken of in some of the Scotch
songs, which no doubt grew in the stream of Moness; but near the village
we did not see any trees that were remarkable, except a row of laburnums,
growing as a common field hedge; their leaves were of a golden colour,
and as lively as the yellow blossoms could have been in the spring.
Afterwards we saw many laburnums in the woods, which we were told had
been ‘planted;’ though I remember that Withering speaks of the laburnum
as one of the British plants, and growing in Scotland.  The twigs and
branches being stiff, were not so graceful as those of our garden
laburnums, but I do not think I ever before saw any that were of so
brilliant colours in their autumnal decay.  In our way to and from Moness
we crossed the Tay by a bridge of ambitious and ugly architecture.  Many
of the bridges in Scotland are so, having eye-holes between the arches,
not in the battlements but at the outspreading of the pillar of the arch,
which destroys its simplicity, and takes from the appearance of strength
and security, without adding anything of lightness.  We returned, by the
same road, to the village of Weem, where we had left our car.  The vale
of Tay was very wide, having been so from within a short distance of
Kenmore: the reaches of the river are long; and the ground is more
regularly cultivated than in any vale we had yet seen—chiefly corn, and
very large tracts.  Afterwards the vale becomes narrow and less
cultivated, the reaches shorter—on the whole resembling the vale of Nith,
but we thought it inferior in beauty.

One among the cottages in this narrow and wilder part of the vale fixed
our attention almost as much as a Chinese or a Turk would do passing
through the vale of Grasmere.  It was a cottage, I believe, little
differing in size and shape from all the rest; but it was like a visitor,
a stranger come into the Highlands, or a model set up of what may be seen
in other countries.  The walls were neatly plastered or roughcast, the
windows of clean bright glass, and the door was painted—before it a
flower-garden, fenced with a curiously-clipped hedge, and against the
wall was placed the sign of a spinning-wheel.  We could not pass this
humble dwelling, so distinguished by an appearance of comfort and
neatness, without some conjectures respecting the character and manner of
life of the person inhabiting it.  Leisure he must have had; and we
pleased ourselves with thinking that some self-taught mind might there
have been nourished by knowledge gathered from books, and the simple
duties and pleasures of rural life.

At Logierait, the village where we dined, the vale widens again, and the
Tummel joins the Tay and loses its name; but the Tay falls into the
channel of the Tummel, continuing its course in the same direction,
almost at right angles to the former course of the Tay.  We were sorry to
find that we had to cross the Tummel by a ferry, and resolved not to
venture in the same boat with the horse.  Dined at a little public-house,
kept by a young widow, very talkative and laboriously civil.  She took me
out to the back-door, and said she would show me a place which had once
been very grand, and, opening a door in a high wall, I entered a ruinous
court-yard, in which was a large old mansion, the walls entire and very
strong, but the roof broken in.  The woman said it had been a palace
{196} of one of the kings of Scotland.  It was a striking and even an
affecting object, coming upon it, as I did, unawares,—a royal residence
shut up and hidden, while yet in its strength, by mean cottages; there
was no appearance of violence, but decay from desertion, and I should
think that it may remain many years without undergoing further visible
change.  The woman and her daughter accompanied us to the ferry and
crossed the water with us; the woman said, but with not much appearance
of honest heart-feeling, that she could not be easy to let us go without
being there to know how we sped, so I invited the little girl to
accompany her, that she might have a ride in the car.  The men were
cautious, and the horse got over with less alarm than we could have
expected.  Our way was now up the vale, along the banks of the Tummel, an
impetuous river; the mountains higher than near the Tay, and the vale
more wild, and the different reaches more interesting.

When we approached near to Fascally, near the junction of the Garry with
the Tummel, the twilight was far advanced, and our horse not being
perfectly recovered, we were fearful of taking him on to
Blair-Athole—five miles further; besides, the Pass of Killicrankie was
within half a mile, and we were unwilling to go through a place so
celebrated in the dark; therefore, being joined by a traveller, we
inquired if there was any public-house near; he said there was; and that
though the accommodations were not good, we might do well enough for one
night, the host and his wife being very honest people.  It proved to be
rather better than a common cottage of the country; we seated ourselves
by the fire, William called for a glass of whisky, and asked if they
could give us beds.  The woman positively refused to lodge us, though we
had every reason to believe that she had at least one bed for me; we
entreated again and again in behalf of the poor horse, but all in vain;
she urged, though in an uncivil way, that she had been sitting up the
whole of one or two nights before on account of a fair, and that now she
wanted to go to bed and sleep; so we were obliged to remount our car in
the dark, and with a tired horse we moved on, and went through the Pass
of Killicrankie, hearing only the roaring of the river, and seeing a
black chasm with jagged-topped black hills towering above.  Afterwards
the moon rose, and we should not have had an unpleasant ride if our horse
had been in better plight, and we had not been annoyed, as we were almost
at every twenty yards, by people coming from a fair held that day near
Blair—no pleasant prognostic of what might be our accommodation at the
inn, where we arrived between ten and eleven o’clock, and found the house
in an uproar; but we were civilly treated, and were glad, after eating a
morsel of cold beef, to retire to rest, and I fell asleep in spite of the
noisy drunkards below stairs, who had outstayed the fair.

                                * * * * *

_Wednesday_, _September_ 7_th_.—Rose early, and went before breakfast to
the Duke of Athol’s gardens and pleasure-grounds, where we completely
tired ourselves with a three-hours’ walk.  Having been directed to see
all the waterfalls, we submitted ourselves to the gardener, who dragged
us from place to place, calling our attention to, it might be,
half-a-dozen—I cannot say how many—dripping streams, very pretty in
themselves, if we had had the pleasure of discovering them; but they were
generally robbed of their grace by the obtrusive ornaments which were
first seen.  The whole neighbourhood, a great country, seems to belong to
the Duke of Athol.  In his domain are hills and mountains, glens and
spacious plains, rivers and innumerable torrents; but near Blair are no
old woods, and the plantations, except those at a little distance from
the house, appear inconsiderable, being lost to the eye in so extensive a

The castle stands on low ground, and far from the Garry, commanding a
prospect all round of distant mountains, a bare and cold scene, and, from
the irregularity and width of it, not so grand as one should expect,
knowing the great height of some of the mountains.  Within the Duke’s
park are three glens, the glen of the river Tilt and two others, which,
if they had been planted more judiciously, would have been very sweet
retirements; but they are choked up, the whole hollow of the glens—I do
not speak of the Tilt, for that is rich in natural wood—being closely
planted with trees, and those chiefly firs; but many of the old fir-trees
are, as single trees, very fine.  On each side of the glen is an ell-wide
gravel walk, which the gardener told us was swept once a week.  It is
conducted at the top of the banks, on each side, at nearly equal height,
and equal distance from the stream; they lead you up one of these paths,
and down the other—very wearisome, as you will believe—mile after mile!
We went into the garden, where there was plenty of fruit—gooseberries,
hanging as thick as possible upon the trees, ready to drop off; I thought
the gardener might have invited us to refresh ourselves with some of his
fruit after our long fatigue.  One part of the garden was decorated with
statues, ‘images,’ as poor Mr. Gill used to call those at Racedown,
dressed in gay-painted clothes; and in a retired corner of the grounds,
under some tall trees, appeared the figure of a favourite old gamekeeper
of one of the former Dukes, in the attitude of pointing his gun at the
game—‘reported to be a striking likeness,’ said the gardener.  Looking at
some of the tall larches, with long hairy twigs, very beautiful trees, he
told us that they were among the first which had ever been planted in
Scotland, that a Duke of Athol had brought a single larch from London in
a pot, in his coach, from which had sprung the whole family that had
overspread Scotland.  This, probably, might not be accurate, for others
might afterwards have come, or seed from other trees.  He told us many
anecdotes of the present Duke, which I wish I could perfectly remember.
He is an indefatigable sportsman, hunts the wild deer on foot, attended
by twelve Highlanders in the Highland dress, which he himself formerly
used to wear; he will go out at four o’clock in the morning, and not
return till night.  His fine family, ‘Athol’s honest men, and Athol’s
bonny lasses,’ to whom Burns, in his bumpers, drank health and long life,
are dwindled away: of nine, I believe only four are left: the mother of
them is dead in a consumption, and the Duke married again.  We rested
upon the heather seat which Burns was so loth to quit that moonlight
evening when he first went to Blair Castle, and had a pleasure in
thinking that he had been under the same shelter, and viewed the little
waterfall opposite with some of the happy and pure feelings of his better
mind.  The castle has been modernized, which has spoiled its appearance.
It is a large irregular pile, not handsome, but I think may have been
picturesque, and even noble, before it was docked of its battlements and

The most interesting object we saw at Blair was the chapel, shaded by
trees, in which the body of the impetuous Dundee lies buried.  This quiet
spot is seen from the windows of the inn, whence you look, at the same
time, upon a high wall and a part of the town—a contrast which, I know
not why, made the chapel and its grove appear more peaceful, as if kept
so for some sacred purpose.  We had a very nice breakfast, which we
sauntered over after our weary walk.

Being come to the most northerly point of our destined course, we took
out the map, loth to turn our backs upon the Highlands, and, looking
about for something which we might yet see, we fixed our eyes upon two or
three spots not far distant, and sent for the landlord to consult with
him.  One of them was Loch Rannoch, a fresh-water lake, which he told us
was bordered by a natural pine forest, that its banks were populous, and
that the place being very remote, we might there see much of the
simplicity of the Highlander’s life.  The landlord said that we must take
a guide for the first nine or ten miles; but afterwards the road was
plain before us, and very good, so at about ten o’clock we departed,
having engaged a man to go with us.  The Falls of Bruar, which we wished
to visit for the sake of Burns, are about three miles from Blair, and our
road was in the same direction for two miles.

After having gone for some time under a bare hill, we were told to leave
the car at some cottages, and pass through a little gate near a brook
which crossed the road.  We walked upwards at least three quarters of a
mile in the hot sun, with the stream on our right, both sides of which to
a considerable height were planted with firs and larches
intermingled—children of poor Burns’s song; for his sake we wished that
they had been the natural trees of Scotland, birches, ashes,
mountain-ashes, etc.; however, sixty or seventy years hence they will be
no unworthy monument to his memory.  At present, nothing can be uglier
than the whole chasm of the hill-side with its formal walks.  I do not
mean to condemn them, for, for aught I know, they are as well managed as
they could be; but it is not easy to see the use of a pleasure-path
leading to nothing, up a steep and naked hill in the midst of an unlovely
tract of country, though by the side of a tumbling stream of clear water.
It does not surely deserve the name of a pleasure-path.  It is three
miles from the Duke of Athol’s house, and I do not believe that one
person living within five miles of the place would wish to go twice to
it.  The falls are high, the rocks and stones fretted and gnawed by the
water.  I do not wonder at the pleasure which Burns received from this
stream; I believe we should have been much pleased if we had come upon it
as he did.  At the bottom of the hill we took up our car, and, turning
back, joined the man who was to be our guide.

Crossed the Garry, and went along a moor without any road but straggling
cart-tracks.  Soon began to ascend a high hill, and the ground grew so
rough—road there was none—that we were obliged to walk most of the way.
Ascended to a considerable height, and commanded an extensive prospect
bounded by lofty mountains, and having crossed the top of the fell we
parted with our guide, being in sight of the vale into which we were to
descend, and to pursue upwards till we should come to Loch Rannoch, a
lake, as described to us, bedded in a forest of Scotch pines.

When left to ourselves we sate down on the hillside, and looked with
delight into the deep vale below, which was exceedingly green, not
regularly fenced or cultivated, but the level area scattered over with
bushes and trees, and through that level ground glided a glassy river,
not in serpentine windings, but in direct turnings backwards and
forwards, and then flowed into the head of the Lake of Tummel; but I will
copy a rough sketch which I made while we sate upon the hill, which,
imperfect as it is, will give a better idea of the course of the
river—which I must add is more curious than beautiful—than my
description.  The ground must be often overflowed in winter, for the
water seemed to touch the very edge of its banks.  At this time the scene
was soft and cheerful, such as invited us downwards, and made us proud of
our adventure.

Coming near to a cluster of huts, we turned thither, a few steps out of
our way, to inquire about the road; these huts were on the hill, placed
side by side, in a figure between a square and a circle, as if for the
sake of mutual shelter, like haystacks in a farmyard—no trees near them.
We called at one of the doors, and three hale, stout men came out, who
could speak very little English, and stared at us with an almost savage
look of wonder.  One of them took much pains to set us forward, and went
a considerable way down the hill till we came in sight of the cart road,
which we were to follow; but we had not gone far before we were
disheartened.  It was with the greatest difficulty William could lead the
horse and car over the rough stones, and to sit in it was impossible; the
road grew worse and worse, therefore we resolved to turn back, having no
reason to expect anything better, for we had been told that after we
should leave the untracked ground all would be fair before us.  We knew
ourselves where we stood to be about eight miles distant from the point
where the river Tummel, after having left the lake, joins the Garry at
Fascally near the Pass of Killicrankie, therefore we resolved to make our
way thither, and endeavour to procure a lodging at the same public-house
where it had been refused to us the night before.  The road was likely to
be very bad; but, knowing the distance, we thought it more prudent than
to venture farther with nothing before us but uncertainty.  We were
forced to unyoke the horse, and turn the car ourselves, owing to the
steep banks on either side of the road, and after much trouble we got him
in again, and set our faces down the vale towards Loch Tummel, William
leading the car and I walking by his side.

For the first two or three miles we looked down upon the lake, our road
being along the side of the hill directly above it.  On the opposite side
another range of hills rose up in the same manner,—farm-houses thinly
scattered among the copses near the water, and cultivated ground in
patches.  The lake does not wind, nor are the shores much varied by
bays,—the mountains not commanding; but the whole a pleasing scene.  Our
road took us out of sight of the water, and we were obliged to procure a
guide across a high moor, where it was impossible that the horse should
drag us at all, the ground being exceedingly rough and untracked: of
course fatiguing for foot-travellers, and on foot we must travel.  After
some time, the river Tummel again served us for a guide, when it had left
the lake.  It was no longer a gentle stream, a mirror to the sky, but we
could hear it roaring at a considerable distance between steep banks of
rock and wood.  We had to cross the Garry by a bridge, a little above the
junction of the two rivers; and were now not far from the public-house,
to our great joy, for we were very weary with our laborious walk.  I do
not think that I had walked less than sixteen miles, and William much
more, to which add the fatigue of leading the horse, and the rough roads,
and you will not wonder that we longed for rest.  We stopped at the door
of the house, and William entered as before, and again the woman refused
to lodge us, in a most inhuman manner, giving no other reason than that
she would not do it.  We pleaded for the poor horse, entreated, soothed,
and flattered, but all in vain, though the night was cloudy and dark.  We
begged to sit by the fire till morning, and to this she would not
consent; indeed, if it had not been for the sake of the horse, I would
rather have lain in a barn than on the best of feather-beds in the house
of such a cruel woman.

We were now, after our long day’s journey, five miles from the inn at
Blair, whither we, at first, thought of returning; but finally resolved
to go to a public-house which we had seen in a village we passed through,
about a mile above the ferry over the Tummel, having come from that point
to Blair, for the sake of the Pass of Killicrankie and Blair itself, and
had now the same road to measure back again.  We were obliged to leave
the Pass of Killicrankie unseen; but this disturbed us little at a time
when we had seven miles to travel in the dark, with a poor beast almost
sinking with fatigue, for he had not rested once all day.  We went on
spiritless, and at a dreary pace.  Passed by one house which we were half
inclined to go up to and ask for a night’s lodging; and soon after, being
greeted by a gentle voice from a poor woman, whom, till she spoke, though
we were close to her, we had not seen, we stopped, and asked if she could
tell us where we might stay all night, and put up our horse.  She
mentioned the public-house left behind, and we told our tale, and asked
her if she had no house to which she could take us.  ‘Yes, to be sure she
had a house, but it was only a small cottage;’ and she had no place for
the horse, and how we could lodge in her house she could not tell; but we
should be welcome to whatever she had, so we turned the car, and she
walked by the side of it, talking to us in a tone of human kindness which
made us friends at once.

I remember thinking to myself, as I have often done in a stage-coach,
though never with half the reason to prejudge favourably, What sort of
countenance and figure shall we see in this woman when we come into the
light?  And indeed it was an interesting moment when, after we had
entered her house, she blew the embers on the hearth, and lighted a
candle to assist us in taking the luggage out of the car.  Her husband
presently arrived, and he and William took the horse to the public-house.
The poor woman hung the kettle over the fire.  We had tea and sugar of
our own, and she set before us barley cakes, and milk which she had just
brought in; I recollect she said she ‘had been west to fetch it.’  The
Highlanders always direct you by east and west, north and south—very
confusing to strangers.  She told us that it was her business to ‘keep
the gate’ for Mr. ---, who lived at --- just below,—that is, to receive
messages, take in letters, etc.  Her cottage stood by the side of the
road leading to his house, within the gate, having, as we saw in the
morning, a dressed-up porter’s lodge outside; but within was nothing but
the naked walls, unplastered, and floors of mud, as in the common huts.
She said that they lived rent-free in return for their services; but
spoke of her place and Mr. --- with little respect, hinting that he was
very proud; and indeed her appearance, and subdued manners, and that soft
voice which had prepossessed us so much in her favour, seemed to belong
to an injured and oppressed being.  We talked a great deal with her, and
gathered some interesting facts from her conversation, which I wish I had
written down while they were fresh in my memory.  They had only one
child, yet seemed to be very poor, not discontented but languid, and
willing to suffer rather than rouse to any effort.  Though it was plain
she despised and hated her master, and had no wish to conceal it, she
hardly appeared to think it worth while to speak ill of him.  We were
obliged to sit up very late while our kind hostess was preparing our
beds.  William lay upon the floor on some hay, without sheets; my bed was
of chaff; I had plenty of covering, and a pair of very nice strong clean
sheets,—she said with some pride that she had good linen.  I believe the
sheets had been of her own spinning, perhaps when she was first married,
or before, and she probably will keep them to the end of her life of

                                * * * * *

_Thursday_, _September_ 8_th_.—Before breakfast we walked to the Pass of
Killicrankie.  A very fine scene; the river Garry forcing its way down a
deep chasm between rocks, at the foot of high rugged hills covered with
wood, to a great height.  The Pass did not, however, impress us with awe,
or a sensation of difficulty or danger, according to our expectations;
but, the road being at a considerable height on the side of the hill, we
at first only looked into the dell or chasm.  It is much grander seen
from below, near the river’s bed.  Everybody knows that this Pass is
famous in military history.  When we were travelling in Scotland an
invasion was hourly looked for, and one could not but think with some
regret of the times when from the now depopulated Highlands forty or
fifty thousand men might have been poured down for the defence of the
country, under such leaders as the Marquis of Montrose or the brave man
who had so distinguished himself upon the ground where we were standing.
I will transcribe a sonnet suggested to William by this place, and
written in October 1803:—

   Six thousand Veterans practised in War’s game,
   Tried men, at Killicrankie were array’d
   Against an equal host that wore the Plaid,
   Shepherds and herdsmen.  Like a whirlwind came
   The Highlanders; the slaughter spread like flame,
   And Garry, thundering down his mountain road,
   Was stopp’d, and could not breathe beneath the load
   Of the dead bodies.  ’Twas a day of shame
   For them whom precept and the pedantry
   Of cold mechanic battle do enslave.
   Oh! for a single hour of that Dundee
   Who on that day the word of onset gave:
   Like conquest might the men of England see,
   And her Foes find a like inglorious grave.

We turned back again, and going down the hill below the Pass, crossed the
same bridge we had come over the night before, and walked through Lady
Perth’s grounds by the side of the Garry till we came to the Tummel, and
then walked up to the cascade of the Tummel.  The fall is inconsiderable,
scarcely more than an ordinary ‘wear;’ but it makes a loud roaring over
large stones, and the whole scene is grand—hills, mountains, woods, and
rocks.  --- is a very pretty place, all but the house.  Stoddart’s print
gives no notion of it.  The house stands upon a small plain at the
junction of the two rivers, a close deep spot, surrounded by high hills
and woods.  After we had breakfasted William fetched the car, and, while
we were conveying the luggage to the outside of the gate, where it stood,
Mr. ---, _mal apropos_, came very near to the door, called the woman out,
and railed at her in the most abusive manner for ‘harbouring’ people in
that way.  She soon slipped from him, and came back to us: I wished that
William should go and speak to her master, for I was afraid that he might
turn the poor woman away; but she would not suffer it, for she did not
care whether they stayed or not.  In the meantime, Mr. --- continued
scolding her husband; indeed, he appeared to be not only proud, but very
ignorant, insolent, and low-bred.  The woman told us that she had
sometimes lodged poor travellers who were passing along the road, and
permitted others to cook their victuals in her house, for which Mr. ---
had reprimanded her before; but, as she said, she did not value her
place, and it was no matter.  In sounding forth the dispraise of Mr. ---,
I ought not to omit mentioning that the poor woman had great delight in
talking of the excellent qualities of his mother, with whom she had been
a servant, and lived many years.  After having interchanged good wishes
we parted with our charitable hostess, who, telling us her name,
entreated us, if ever we came that way again, to inquire for her.

We travelled down the Tummel till it is lost in the Tay, and then, in the
same direction, continued our course along the vale of Tay, which is very
wide for a considerable way, but gradually narrows, and the river, always
a fine stream, assumes more dignity and importance.  Two or three miles
before we reached Dunkeld, we observed whole hill-sides, the property of
the Duke of Athol, planted with fir-trees till they are lost among the
rocks near the tops of the hills.  In forty or fifty years these
plantations will be very fine, being carried from hill to hill, and not
bounded by a visible artificial fence.

Reached Dunkeld at about three o’clock.  It is a pretty, small town, with
a respectable and rather large ruined abbey, which is greatly injured by
being made the nest of a modern Scotch kirk, with sash windows,—very
incongruous with the noble antique tower,—a practice which we afterwards
found is not uncommon in Scotland.  Sent for the Duke’s gardener after
dinner, and walked with him into the pleasure-grounds, intending to go to
the Falls of the Bran, a mountain stream which here joins the Tay.  After
walking some time on a shaven turf under the shade of old trees, by the
side of the Tay, we left the pleasure-grounds, and crossing the river by
a ferry, went up a lane on the hill opposite till we came to a locked
gate by the road-side, through which we entered into another part of the
Duke’s pleasure-grounds bordering on the Bran, the glen being for a
considerable way—for aught I know, two miles—thridded by gravel walks.
The walks are quaintly enough intersected, here and there by a baby
garden of fine flowers among the rocks and stones.  The waterfall, which
we came to see, warned us by a loud roaring that we must expect it; we
were first, however, conducted into a small apartment, where the gardener
desired us to look at a painting of the figure of Ossian, which, while he
was telling us the story of the young artist who performed the work,
disappeared, parting in the middle, flying asunder as if by the touch of
magic, and lo! we are at the entrance of a splendid room, which was
almost dizzy and alive with waterfalls, that tumbled in all
directions—the great cascade, which was opposite to the window that faced
us, being reflected in innumerable mirrors upon the ceiling and against
the walls. {210}  We both laughed heartily, which, no doubt, the gardener
considered as high commendation; for he was very eloquent in pointing out
the beauties of the place.

We left the Bran, and pursued our walk through the plantations, where we
readily forgave the Duke his little devices for their sakes.  They are
already no insignificant woods, where the trees happen to be oaks,
birches, and others natural to the soil; and under their shade the walks
are delightful.  From one hill, through different openings under the
trees, we looked up the vale of Tay to a great distance, a magnificent
prospect at that time of the evening; woody and rich—corn, green fields,
and cattle, the winding Tay, and distant mountains.  Looked down the
river to the town of Dunkeld, which lies low, under irregular hills,
covered with wood to their rocky summits, and bounded by higher
mountains, which are bare.  The hill of Birnam, no longer Birnam ‘wood,’
was pointed out to us.  After a very long walk we parted from our guide
when it was almost dark, and he promised to call on us in the morning to
conduct us to the gardens.

                                * * * * *

_Friday_, _September_ 9_th_.—According to appointment, the gardener came
with his keys in his hand, and we attended him whithersoever he chose to
lead, in spite of past experience at Blair.  We had, however, no reason
to repent, for we were repaid for the trouble of going through the large
gardens by the apples and pears of which he gave us liberally, and the
walks through the woods on that part of the grounds opposite to where we
had been the night before were very delightful.  The Duke’s house is
neither large nor grand, being just an ordinary gentleman’s house, upon a
green lawn, and whitewashed, I believe.  The old abbey faces the house on
the east side, and appears to stand upon the same green lawn, which,
though close to the town, is entirely excluded from it by high walls and

We had been undetermined respecting our future course when we came to
Dunkeld, whether to go on directly to Perth and Edinburgh, or to make a
circuit and revisit the Trossachs.  We decided upon the latter plan, and
accordingly after breakfast set forward towards Crieff, where we intended
to sleep, and the next night at Callander.  The first part of our road,
after having crossed the ferry, was up the glen of the Bran.  Looking
backwards, we saw Dunkeld very pretty under the hills, and surrounded by
rich cultivated ground, but we had not a good distant view of the abbey.

Left our car, and went about a hundred yards from the road to see the
Rumbling Brig, which, though well worth our going out of the way even
much further, disappointed us, as places in general do which we hear much
spoken of as savage, tremendous, etc.,—and no wonder, for they are
usually described by people to whom rocks are novelties.  The gardener
had told us that we should pass through the most populous glen in
Scotland, the glen of Amulree.  It is not populous in the usual way, with
scattered dwellings; but many clusters of houses, hamlets such as we had
passed near the Tummel, which had a singular appearance, being like small
encampments, were generally without trees, and in high situations—every
house the same as its neighbour, whether for men or cattle.  There was
nothing else remarkable in the glen.  We halted at a lonely inn at the
foot of a steep barren moor, which we had to cross; then, after
descending considerably, came to the narrow glen, which we had approached
with no little curiosity, not having been able to procure any distinct
description of it.

At Dunkeld, when we were hesitating what road to take, we wished to know
whether that glen would be worth visiting, and accordingly put several
questions to the waiter, and, among other epithets used in the course of
interrogation, we stumbled upon the word ‘grand,’ to which he replied,
‘No, I do not think there are any gentlemen’s seats in it.’  However, we
drew enough from this describer and the gardener to determine us finally
to go to Callander, the Narrow Glen being in the way.

Entered the glen at a small hamlet at some distance from the head, and
turning aside a few steps, ascended a hillock which commanded a view to
the top of it—a very sweet scene, a green valley, not very narrow, with a
few scattered trees and huts, almost invisible in a misty gleam of
afternoon light.  At this hamlet we crossed a bridge, and the road led us
down the glen, which had become exceedingly narrow, and so continued to
the end: the hills on both sides heathy and rocky, very steep, but
continuous; the rocks not single or overhanging, not scooped into caverns
or sounding with torrents: there are no trees, no houses, no traces of
cultivation, not one outstanding object.  It is truly a solitude, the
road even making it appear still more so: the bottom of the valley is
mostly smooth and level, the brook not noisy: everything is simple and
undisturbed, and while we passed through it the whole place was shady,
cool, clear, and solemn.  At the end of the long valley we ascended a
hill to a great height, and reached the top, when the sun, on the point
of setting, shed a soft yellow light upon every eminence.  The prospect
was very extensive; over hollows and plains, no towns, and few houses
visible—a prospect, extensive as it was, in harmony with the secluded
dell, and fixing its own peculiar character of removedness from the
world, and the secure possession of the quiet of nature more deeply in
our minds.  The following poem was written by William on hearing of a
tradition relating to it, which we did not know when we were there:—

   In this still place remote from men
   Sleeps Ossian, in the Narrow Glen,
   In this still place where murmurs on
   But one meek streamlet, only one.
   He sung of battles and the breath
   Of stormy war, and violent death,
   And should, methinks, when all was pass’d,
   Have rightfully been laid at last
   Where rocks were rudely heap’d, and rent
   As by a spirit turbulent;
   Where sights were rough, and sounds were wild,
   And everything unreconciled,
   In some complaining, dim retreat
   Where fear and melancholy meet;
   But this is calm; there cannot be
   A more entire tranquillity.

   Does then the bard sleep here indeed?
   Or is it but a groundless creed?
   What matters it?  I blame them not
   Whose fancy in this lonely spot
   Was moved, and in this way express’d
   Their notion of its perfect rest.
   A convent, even a hermit’s cell
   Would break the silence of this Dell;
   It is not quiet, is not ease,
   But something deeper far than these;
   The separation that is here
   Is of the grave; and of austere
   And happy feelings of the dead:
   And therefore was it rightly said
   That Ossian, last of all his race,
   Lies buried in this lonely place.

Having descended into a broad cultivated vale, we saw nothing remarkable.
Observed a gentleman’s house, {215} which stood pleasantly among trees.
It was dark some time before we reached Crieff, a small town, though
larger than Dunkeld.

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, _September_ 10_th_.—Rose early, and departed without
breakfast.  We were to pass through one of the most celebrated vales of
Scotland, Strath Erne.  We found it a wide, long, and irregular vale,
with many gentlemen’s seats under the hills, woods, copses, frequent
cottages, plantations, and much cultivation, yet with an intermixture of
barren ground; indeed, except at Killin and Dunkeld, there was always
something which seemed to take from the composure and simplicity of the
cultivated scenes.  There is a struggle to overcome the natural
barrenness, and the end not attained, an appearance of something doing or
imperfectly done, a passing with labour from one state of society into
another.  When you look from an eminence on the fields of Grasmere Vale,
the heart is satisfied with a simple undisturbed pleasure, and no less,
on one of the green or heathy dells of Scotland, where there is no
appearance of change to be, or having been, but such as the seasons make.
Strath Erne is so extensive a vale that, had it been in England, there
must have been much inequality, as in Wensley Dale; but at Wensley there
is a unity, a softness, a melting together, which in the large vales of
Scotland I never perceived.  The difference at Strath Erne may come
partly from the irregularity, the undefined outline, of the hills which
enclose it; but it is caused still more by the broken surface, I mean
broken as to colour and produce, the want of hedgerows, and also the
great number of new fir plantations.  After some miles it becomes much
narrower as we approach nearer the mountains at the foot of the lake of
the same name, Loch Erne.

Breakfasted at a small public-house, a wretchedly dirty cottage, but the
people were civil, and though we had nothing but barley cakes we made a
good breakfast, for there were plenty of eggs.  Walked up a high hill to
view the seat of Mr. Dundas, now Lord Melville—a spot where, if he have
gathered much wisdom from his late disgrace or his long intercourse with
the world, he may spend his days as quietly as he need desire.  It is a
secluded valley, not rich, but with plenty of wood: there are many pretty
paths through the woods, and moss huts in different parts.  After leaving
the cottage where we breakfasted the country was very pleasing, yet still
with a want of richness; but this was less perceived, being huddled up in
charcoal woods, and the vale narrow.  Loch Erne opens out in a very
pleasing manner, seen from a hill along which the road is carried through
a wood of low trees; but it does not improve afterwards, lying directly
from east to west without any perceivable bendings: and the shores are
not much broken or varied, not populous, and the mountains not
sufficiently commanding to make up for the deficiencies.  Dined at the
head of the lake.  I scarcely know its length, but should think not less
than four or five miles, and it is wide in proportion.  The inn is in a
small village—a decent house.

Walked about half a mile along the road to Tyndrum, which is through a
bare glen, {216} and over a mountain pass.  It rained when we pursued our
journey again, and continued to rain for several hours.  The road which
we were to take was up another glen, down which came a stream that fell
into the lake on the opposite side at the head of it, so, after having
crossed the main vale, a little above the lake, we entered into the
smaller glen.  The road delightfully smooth and dry—one gentleman’s house
very pleasant among large coppice woods.  After going perhaps three miles
up this valley, we turned to the left into another, which seemed to be
much more beautiful.  It was a level valley, not—like that which we had
passed—a wide sloping cleft between the hills, but having a quiet,
slow-paced stream, which flowed through level green grounds tufted with
trees intermingled with cottages.  The tops of the hills were hidden by
mists, and the objects in the valley seen through misty rain, which made
them look exceedingly soft, and indeed partly concealed them, and we
always fill up what we are left to guess at with something as beautiful
as what we see.  This valley seemed to have less of the appearance of
barrenness or imperfect cultivation than any of the same character we had
passed through; indeed, we could not discern any traces of it.  It is
called Strath Eyer.  ‘Strath’ is generally applied to a broad vale; but
this, though open, is not broad.

We next came to a lake, called Loch Lubnaig, a name which signifies
‘winding.’  In shape it somewhat resembles Ulswater, but is much narrower
and shorter, being only four miles in length.  The character of this lake
is simple and grand.  On the side opposite to where we were is a range of
steep craggy mountains, one of which—like Place Fell—encroaching upon the
bed of the lake, forces it to make a considerable bending.  I have
forgotten the name of this precipice: it is a very remarkable one, being
almost perpendicular, and very rugged.

We, on the other side, travelled under steep and rocky hills which were
often covered with low woods to a considerable height; there were one or
two farm-houses, and a few cottages.  A neat white dwelling {218} on the
side of the hill over against the bold steep of which I have spoken, had
been the residence of the famous traveller Bruce, who, all his travels
ended, had arranged the history of them in that solitude—as deep as any
Abyssinian one—among the mountains of his native country, where he passed
several years.  Whether he died there or not we did not learn; but the
manner of his death was remarkable and affecting,—from a fall down-stairs
in his own house, after so many dangers through which fortitude and
courage had never failed to sustain him.  The house stands sweetly,
surrounded by coppice-woods and green fields.  On the other side, I
believe, were no houses till we came near to the outlet, where a few low
huts looked very beautiful, with their dark brown roofs near a stream
which hurried down the mountain, and after its turbulent course travelled
a short way over a level green, and was lost in the lake.

Within a few miles of Callander we come into a grand region; the
mountains to a considerable height were covered with wood, enclosing us
in a narrow passage; the stream on our right, generally concealed by
wood, made a loud roaring; at one place, in particular, it fell down the
rocks in a succession of cascades.  The scene is much celebrated in
Scotland, and is called the Pass of Leny.  It was nearly dark when we
reached Callander.  We were wet and cold, and glad of a good fire.  The
inn was comfortable; we drank tea; and after tea the waiter presented us
with a pamphlet descriptive of the neighbourhood of Callander, which we
brought away with us, and I am very sorry I lost it.


_Sunday_, _September_ 11_th_.—Immediately after breakfast, the morning
being fine, we set off with cheerful spirits towards the Trossachs,
intending to take up our lodging at the house of our old friend the
ferryman.  A boy accompanied us to convey the horse and car back to
Callander from the head of Loch Achray.  The country near Callander is
very pleasing; but, as almost everywhere else, imperfectly cultivated.
We went up a broad vale, through which runs the stream from Loch
Ketterine, and came to Loch Vennachar, a larger lake than Loch Achray,
the small one which had given us such unexpected delight when we left the
Pass of the Trossachs.  Loch Vennachar is much larger, but greatly
inferior in beauty to the image which we had conceived of its neighbour,
and so the reality proved to us when we came up to that little lake, and
saw it before us in its true shape in the cheerful sunshine.  The
Trossachs, overtopped by Benledi and other high mountains, enclose the
lake at the head; and those houses which we had seen before, with their
corn fields sloping towards the water, stood very prettily under low
woods.  The fields did not appear so rich as when we had seen them
through the veil of mist; but yet, as in framing our expectations we had
allowed for a much greater difference, so we were even a second time
surprised with pleasure at the same spot.

Went as far as these houses of which I have spoken in the car, and then
walked on, intending to pursue the road up the side of Loch Ketterine
along which Coleridge had come; but we had resolved to spend some hours
in the neighbourhood of the Trossachs, and accordingly coasted the head
of Loch Achray, and pursued the brook between the two lakes as far as
there was any track.  Here we found, to our surprise—for we had expected
nothing but heath and rocks like the rest of the neighbourhood of the
Trossachs—a secluded farm, a plot of verdant ground with a single cottage
and its company of out-houses.  We turned back, and went to the very
point from which we had first looked upon Loch Achray when we were here
with Coleridge.  It was no longer a visionary scene: the sun shone into
every crevice of the hills, and the mountain-tops were clear.  After some
time we went into the pass from the Trossachs, and were delighted to
behold the forms of objects fully revealed, and even surpassing in
loveliness and variety what we had conceived.  The mountains, I think,
appeared not so high; but on the whole we had not the smallest
disappointment; the heather was fading, though still beautiful.

Sate for half-an-hour in Lady Perth’s shed, and scrambled over the rocks
and through the thickets at the head of the lake.  I went till I could
make my way no further, and left William to go to the top of the hill,
whence he had a distinct view, as on a map, of the intricacies of the
lake and the course of the river.  Returned to the huts, and, after
having taken a second dinner of the food we had brought from Callander,
set our faces towards the head of Loch Ketterine.  I can add nothing to
my former description of the Trossachs, except that we departed with our
old delightful remembrances endeared, and many new ones.  The path or
road—for it was neither the one nor the other, but something between
both—is the pleasantest I have ever travelled in my life for the same
length of way,—now with marks of sledges or wheels, or none at all, bare
or green, as it might happen; now a little descent, now a level;
sometimes a shady lane, at others an open track through green pastures;
then again it would lead us into thick coppice-woods, which often
entirely shut out the lake, and again admitted it by glimpses.  We have
never had a more delightful walk than this evening.  Ben Lomond and the
three pointed-topped mountains of Loch Lomond, which we had seen from the
Garrison, were very majestic under the clear sky, the lake perfectly
calm, the air sweet and mild.  I felt that it was much more interesting
to visit a place where we have been before than it can possibly be the
first time, except under peculiar circumstances.  The sun had been set
for some time, when, being within a quarter of a mile of the ferryman’s
hut, our path having led us close to the shore of the calm lake, we met
two neatly dressed women, without hats, who had probably been taking
their Sunday evening’s walk.  One of them said to us in a friendly, soft
tone of voice, ‘What! you are stepping westward?’  I cannot describe how
affecting this simple expression was in that remote place, with the
western sky in front, yet glowing with the departed sun.  William wrote
the following poem long after, in remembrance of his feelings and mine:—

   ‘What! you are stepping westward?’  Yea,
   ’Twould be a wildish destiny
   If we, who thus together roam
   In a strange land, and far from home,
   Were in this place the guests of chance:
   Yet who would stop, or fear to advance,
   Though home or shelter he had none,
   With such a sky to lead him on?

   The dewy ground was dark and cold,
   Behind all gloomy to behold,
   And stepping westward seem’d to be
   A kind of heavenly destiny;
   I liked the greeting, ’twas a sound
   Of something without place or bound;
   And seem’d to give me spiritual right
   To travel through that region bright.

   The voice was soft; and she who spake
   Was walking by her native Lake;
   The salutation was to me
   The very sound of courtesy;
   Its power was felt, and while my eye
   Was fix’d upon the glowing sky,
   The echo of the voice enwrought
   A human sweetness with the thought
   Of travelling through the world that lay
   Before me in my endless way.

We went up to the door of our boatman’s hut as to a home, and scarcely
less confident of a cordial welcome than if we had been approaching our
own cottage at Grasmere.  It had been a very pleasing thought, while we
were walking by the side of the beautiful lake, that, few hours as we had
been there, there was a home for us in one of its quiet dwellings.
Accordingly, so we found it; the good woman, who had been at a preaching
by the lake-side, was in her holiday dress at the door, and seemed to be
rejoiced at the sight of us.  She led us into the hut in haste to supply
our wants; we took once more a refreshing meal by her fireside, and,
though not so merry as the last time, we were not less happy, bating our
regrets that Coleridge was not in his old place.  I slept in the same bed
as before, and listened to the household stream, which now only made a
very low murmuring.

                                * * * * *

_Monday_, _September_ 12_th_.—Rejoiced in the morning to see the sun
shining upon the hills when I first looked out through the open
window-place at my bed’s head.  We rose early, and after breakfast, our
old companion, who was to be our guide for the day, rowed us over the
water to the same point where Coleridge and I had sate down and eaten our
dinner, while William had gone to survey the unknown coast.  We intended
to cross Loch Lomond, follow the lake to Glenfalloch, above the head of
it, and then come over the mountains to Glengyle, and so down the glen,
and passing Mr. Macfarlane’s house, back again to the ferry-house, where
we should sleep.  So, a third time we went through the mountain hollow,
now familiar ground.  The inhabitants had not yet got in all their hay,
and were at work in the fields; our guide often stopped to talk with
them, and no doubt was called upon to answer many inquiries respecting us
two strangers.

At the ferry-house of Inversneyde we had not the happy sight of the
Highland girl and her companion, but the good woman received us
cordially, gave me milk, and talked of Coleridge, who, the morning after
we parted from him, had been at her house to fetch his watch, which he
had forgotten two days before.  He has since told me that he questioned
her respecting the miserable condition of her hut, which, as you may
remember, admitted the rain at the door, and retained it in the hollows
of the mud floor: he told her how easy it would be to remove these
inconveniences, and to contrive something, at least, to prevent the wind
from entering at the window-places, if not a glass window for light and
warmth by day.  She replied that this was very true, but if they made any
improvements the laird would conclude that they were growing rich, and
would raise their rent.

The ferryman happened to be just ready at the moment to go over the lake
with a poor man, his wife and child.  The little girl, about three years
old, cried all the way, terrified by the water.  When we parted from this
family, they going down the lake, and we up it, I could not but think of
the difference in our condition to that poor woman, who, with her
husband, had been driven from her home by want of work, and was now going
a long journey to seek it elsewhere: every step was painful toil, for she
had either her child to bear or a heavy burthen.  _I_ walked as she did,
but pleasure was my object, and if toil came along with it, even _that_
was pleasure,—pleasure, at least, it would be in the remembrance.

We were, I believe, nine miles from Glenfalloch when we left the boat.
To us, with minds at ease, the walk was delightful; it could not be
otherwise, for we passed by a continual succession of rocks, woods, and
mountains; but the houses were few, and the ground cultivated only in
small portions near the water, consequently there was not that sort of
variety which leaves distinct separate remembrances, but one impression
of solitude and greatness.  While the Highlander and I were plodding on
together side by side, interspersing long silences with now and then a
question or a remark, looking down to the lake he espied two small rocky
islands, and pointing to them, said to me, ‘It will be gay {225a} and
dangerous sailing there in stormy weather when the water is high.’  In
giving my assent I could not help smiling, but I afterwards found that a
like combination of words is not uncommon in Scotland, for, at Edinburgh,
William being afraid of rain, asked the ostler what he thought, who,
looking up to the sky, pronounced it to be ‘gay and dull,’ and therefore
rain might be expected.  The most remarkable object we saw was a huge
single stone, I believe three or four times the size of Bowder Stone.
{225b}  The top of it, which on one side was sloping like the roof of a
house, was covered with heather.  William climbed up the rock, which
would have been no easy task but to a mountaineer, and we constructed a
rope of pocket-handkerchiefs, garters, plaids, coats, etc., and measured
its height.  It was so many times the length of William’s walking-stick,
but, unfortunately, having lost the stick, we have lost the measure.  The
ferryman told us that a preaching was held there once in three months by
a certain minister—I think of Arrochar—who engages, as a part of his
office, to perform the service.  The interesting feelings we had
connected with the Highland Sabbath and Highland worship returned here
with double force.  The rock, though on one side a high perpendicular
wall, in no place overhung so as to form a shelter, in no place could it
be more than a screen from the elements.  Why then had it been selected
for such a purpose?  Was it merely from being a central situation and a
conspicuous object?  Or did there belong to it some inheritance of
superstition from old times?  It is impossible to look at the stone
without asking, How came it hither?  Had then that obscurity and
unaccountableness, that mystery of power which is about it, any influence
over the first persons who resorted hither for worship?  Or have they now
on those who continue to frequent it?  The lake is in front of the
perpendicular wall, and behind, at some distance, and totally detached
from it, is the continuation of the ridge of mountains which forms the
vale of Loch Lomond—a magnificent temple, of which this spot is a noble
Sanctum Sanctorum.

We arrived at Glenfalloch at about one or two o’clock.  It is no village;
there being only scattered huts in the glen, which may be four miles
long, according to my remembrance: the middle of it is very green, and
level, and tufted with trees.  Higher up, where the glen parts into two
very narrow ones, is the house of the laird; I daresay a pretty place.
The view from the door of the public-house is exceedingly beautiful; the
river flows smoothly into the lake, and the fields were at that time as
green as possible.  Looking backward, Ben Lomond very majestically shuts
in the view.  The top of the mountain, as seen here, being of a pyramidal
form, it is much grander than with the broken outline, and stage above
stage, as seen from the neighbourhood of Luss.  We found nobody at home
at the inn, but the ferryman shouted, wishing to have a glass of whisky,
and a young woman came from the hay-field, dressed in a white bed-gown,
without hat or cap.  There was no whisky in the house, so he begged a
little whey to drink with the fragments of our cold meat brought from
Callander.  After a short rest in a cool parlour we set forward again,
having to cross the river and climb up a steep mountain on the opposite
side of the valley.  I observed that the people were busy bringing in the
hay before it was dry into a sort of ‘fauld’ or yard, where they intended
to leave it, ready to be gathered into the house with the first
threatening of rain, and if not completely dry brought out again.  Our
guide bore me in his arms over the stream, and we soon came to the foot
of the mountain.  The most easy rising, for a short way at first, was
near a naked rivulet which made a fine cascade in one place.  Afterwards,
the ascent was very laborious, being frequently almost perpendicular.

It is one of those moments which I shall not easily forget, when at that
point from which a step or two would have carried us out of sight of the
green fields of Glenfalloch, being at a great height on the mountain, we
sate down, and heard, as if from the heart of the earth, the sound of
torrents ascending out of the long hollow glen.  To the eye all was
motionless, a perfect stillness.  The noise of waters did not appear to
come this way or that, from any particular quarter: it was everywhere,
almost, one might say, as if ‘exhaled’ through the whole surface of the
green earth.  Glenfalloch, Coleridge has since told me, signifies the
Hidden Vale; but William says, if we were to name it from our
recollections of that time, we should call it the Vale of Awful Sound.
We continued to climb higher and higher; but the hill was no longer
steep, and afterwards we pursued our way along the top of it with many
small ups and downs.  The walk was very laborious after the climbing was
over, being often exceedingly stony, or through swampy moss, rushes, or
rough heather.  As we proceeded, continuing our way at the top of the
mountain, encircled by higher mountains at a great distance, we were
passing, without notice, a heap of scattered stones round which was a
belt of green grass—green, and as it seemed rich, where all else was
either poor heather and coarse grass, or unprofitable rushes and spongy
moss.  The Highlander made a pause, saying, ‘This place is much changed
since I was here twenty years ago.’  He told us that the heap of stones
had been a hut where a family was then living, who had their winter
habitation in the valley, and brought their goats thither in the summer
to feed on the mountains, and that they were used to gather them together
at night and morning to be milked close to the door, which was the reason
why the grass was yet so green near the stones.  It was affecting in that
solitude to meet with this memorial of manners passed away; we looked
about for some other traces of humanity, but nothing else could we find
in that place.  We ourselves afterwards espied another of those ruins,
much more extensive—the remains, as the man told us, of several
dwellings.  We were astonished at the sagacity with which our Highlander
discovered the track, where often no track was visible to us, and
scarcely even when he pointed it out.  It reminded us of what we read of
the Hottentots and other savages.  He went on as confidently as if it had
been a turnpike road—the more surprising, as when he was there before it
must have been a plain track, for he told us that fishermen from Arrochar
carried herrings regularly over the mountains by that way to Loch
Ketterine when the glens were much more populous than now.

Descended into Glengyle, above Loch Ketterine, and passed through Mr.
Macfarlane’s grounds, that is, through the whole of the glen, where there
was now no house left but his.  We stopped at his door to inquire after
the family, though with little hope of finding them at home, having seen
a large company at work in a hay field, whom we conjectured to be his
whole household—as it proved, except a servant-maid, who answered our
inquiries.  We had sent the ferryman forward from the head of the glen to
bring the boat round from the place where he left it to the other side of
the lake.  Passed the same farm-house we had such good reason to
remember, and went up to the burying-ground that stood so sweetly near
the water-side.  The ferryman had told us that Rob Roy’s grave was there,
{229} so we could not pass on without going up to the spot.  There were
several tomb-stones, but the inscriptions were either worn-out or
unintelligible to us, and the place choked up with nettles and brambles.
You will remember the description I have given of the spot.  I have
nothing here to add, except the following poem which it suggested to

   A famous Man is Robin Hood,
   The English Ballad-singer’s joy,
   And Scotland boasts of one as good,
      She has her own Rob Roy!

   Then clear the weeds from off his grave,
   And let us chaunt a passing stave
      In honour of that Outlaw brave.

   Heaven gave Rob Roy a daring heart
   And wondrous length and strength of arm,
   Nor craved he more to quell his foes,
      Or keep his friends from harm.

   Yet Robin was as wise as brave,
   As wise in thought as bold in deed,
   For in the principles of things
      He sought his moral creed.

   Said generous Rob, ‘What need of books?
   Burn all the statutes and their shelves:
   They stir us up against our kind,
      And worse, against ourselves.

   ‘We have a passion; make a law,
   Too false to guide us or control:
   And for the law itself we fight
      In bitterness of soul.

   ‘And puzzled, blinded thus, we lose
   Distinctions that are plain and few:
   These find I graven on my heart:
      That tells me what to do.

   ‘The Creatures see of flood and field,
   And those that travel on the wind!
   With them no strife can last; they live
      In peace, and peace of mind.

   ‘For why?  Because the good old rule
   Suffices them, the simple plan
   That they should take who have the power,
      And they should keep who can.

   ‘A lesson which is quickly learn’d,
   A signal this which all can see!
   Thus nothing here provokes the strong
      To tyrannous cruelty.

   ‘And freakishness of mind is check’d;
   He tamed who foolishly aspires,
   While to the measure of their might
      All fashion their desires.

   ‘All kinds and creatures stand and fall
   By strength of prowess or of wit,
   ’Tis God’s appointment who must sway,
      And who is to submit.

   ‘Since then,’ said Robin, ‘right is plain,
   And longest life is but a day;
   To have my ends, maintain my rights,
      I’ll take the shortest way.’

   And thus among these rocks he lived
   Through summer’s heat and winter’s snow;
   The Eagle, he was lord above,
      And Rob was lord below.

   So was it—would at least have been
   But through untowardness of fate;
   For polity was then too strong:
      He came an age too late.

   Or shall we say an age too soon?
   For were the bold man living now,
   How might he flourish in his pride
      With buds on every bough?

   Then Rents and Land-marks, Rights of chase,
   Sheriffs and Factors, Lairds and Thanes,
   Would all have seem’d but paltry things
      Not worth a moment’s pains.

   Rob Roy had never linger’d here,
   To these few meagre vales confined,
   But thought how wide the world, the times
      How fairly to his mind.

   And to his Sword he would have said,
   ‘Do thou my sovereign will enact
   From land to land through half the earth;
      Judge thou of law and fact.

   ‘’Tis fit that we should do our part;
   Becoming that mankind should learn
   That we are not to be surpass’d
      In fatherly concern.

   ‘Of old things all are over old,
   Of good things none are good enough;
   I’ll shew that I can help to frame
      A world of other stuff.

   ‘I, too, will have my Kings that take
   From me the sign of life and death,
   Kingdoms shall shift about like clouds
      Obedient to my breath.’

   And if the word had been fulfill’d
   As might have been, then, thought of joy!
   France would have had her present Boast,
      And we our brave Rob Roy.

   Oh! say not so, compare them not;
   I would not wrong thee, Champion brave!
   Would wrong thee nowhere; least of all
      Here, standing by thy Grave.

   For thou, although with some wild thoughts,
   Wild Chieftain of a savage Clan,
   Hadst this to boast of—thou didst love
      The Liberty of Man.

   And had it been thy lot to live
   With us who now behold the light,
   Thou wouldst have nobly stirr’d thyself,
      And battled for the right.

   For Robin was the poor man’s stay;
   The poor man’s heart, the poor man’s hand,
   And all the oppress’d who wanted strength
      Had Robin’s to command.

   Bear witness many a pensive sigh
   Of thoughtful Herdsman when he strays
   Alone upon Loch Veol’s heights,
      And by Loch Lomond’s Braes.

   And far and near, through vale and hill,
   Are faces that attest the same;
   Kindling with instantaneous joy
      At sound of Rob Roy’s name.

Soon after we saw our boat coming over the calm water.  It was late in
the evening, and I was stiff and weary, as well I might, after such a
long and toilsome walk, so it was no poor gratification to sit down and
be conscious of advancing in our journey without further labour.  The
stars were beginning to appear, but the brightness of the west was not
yet gone;—the lake perfectly still, and when we first went into the boat
we rowed almost close to the shore under steep crags hung with birches:
it was like a new-discovered country of which we had not dreamed, for in
walking down the lake, owing to the road in that part being carried at a
considerable height on the hill-side, the rocks and the indentings of the
shore had been hidden from us.  At this time, those rocks and their
images in the calm water composed one mass, the surfaces of both equally
distinct, except where the water trembled with the motion of our boat.
Having rowed a while under the bold steeps, we launched out further when
the shores were no longer abrupt.  We hardly spoke to each other as we
moved along receding from the west, which diffused a solemn animation
over the lake.  The sky was cloudless; and everything seemed at rest
except our solitary boat, and the mountain-streams,—seldom heard, and but
faintly.  I think I have rarely experienced a more elevated pleasure than
during our short voyage of this night.  The good woman had long been
looking out for us, and had prepared everything for our refreshment; and
as soon as we had finished supper, or rather tea, we went to bed.
William, I doubt not, rested well, and, for my part, I slept as soundly
on my chaff bed as ever I have done in childhood after the long day’s
playing of a summer’s holiday.

                                * * * * *

_Tuesday_, 13_th_ _September_.—Again a fine morning.  I strolled into the
green field in which the house stands while the woman was preparing
breakfast, and at my return found one of her neighbours sitting by the
fire, a feeble paralytic old woman.  After having inquired concerning our
journey the day before, she said, ‘I have travelled far in my time,’ and
told me she had married an English soldier who had been stationed at the
Garrison; they had had many children, who were all dead or in foreign
countries; and she had returned to her native place, where now she had
lived several years, and was more comfortable than she could ever have
expected to be, being very kindly dealt with by all her neighbours.
Pointing to the ferryman and his wife, she said they were accustomed to
give her a day of their labour in digging peats, in common with others,
and in that manner she was provided with fuel, and, by like voluntary
contributions, with other necessaries.  While this infirm old woman was
relating her story in a tremulous voice, I could not but think of the
changes of things, and the days of her youth, when the shrill fife,
sounding from the walls of the Garrison, made a merry noise through the
echoing hills.  I asked myself, if she were to be carried again to the
deserted spot after her course of life, no doubt a troublesome one, would
the silence appear to her the silence of desolation or of peace?

After breakfast we took a final leave of our hostess, and, attended by
her husband, again set forward on foot.  My limbs were a little stiff,
but the morning being uncommonly fine I did not fear to aim at the
accomplishment of a plan we had laid of returning to Callander by a
considerable circuit.  We were to go over the mountains from Loch
Ketterine, a little below the ferry-house on the same side of the water,
descending to Loch Voil, a lake from which issues the stream that flows
through Strath Eyer into Loch Lubnaig.  Our road, as is generally the
case in passing from one vale into another, was through a settling
between the hills, not far from a small stream.  We had to climb
considerably, the mountain being much higher than it appears to be, owing
to its retreating in what looks like a gradual slope from the lake,
though we found it steep enough in the climbing.  Our guide had been born
near Loch Voil, and he told us that at the head of the lake, if we would
look about for it, we should see the burying-place of a part of his
family, the MacGregors, a clan who had long possessed that district, a
circumstance which he related with no unworthy pride of ancestry.  We
shook hands with him at parting, not without a hope of again entering his
hut in company with others whom we loved.

Continued to walk for some time along the top of the hill, having the
high mountains of Loch Voil before us, and Ben Lomond and the steeps of
Loch Ketterine behind.  Came to several deserted mountain huts or shiels,
and rested for some time beside one of them, upon a hillock of its green
plot of monumental herbage.  William here conceived the notion of writing
an ode upon the affecting subject of those relics of human society found
in that grand and solitary region.  The spot of ground where we sate was
even beautiful, the grass being uncommonly verdant, and of a remarkably
soft and silky texture.

After this we rested no more till we came to the foot of the mountain,
where there was a cottage, at the door of which a woman invited me to
drink some whey: this I did, while William went to inquire respecting the
road at a new stone house a few steps further.  He was told to cross the
brook, and proceed to the other side of the vale, and that no further
directions were necessary, for we should find ourselves at the head of
the lake, and on a plain road which would lead us downward.  We waded the
river and crossed the vale, perhaps half a mile or more.  The mountains
all round are very high; the vale pastoral and unenclosed, not many
dwellings, and but few trees; the mountains in general smooth near the
bottom.  They are in large unbroken masses, combining with the vale to
give an impression of bold simplicity.

Near the head of the lake, at some distance from us, we discovered the
burial-place of the MacGregors, and did not view it without some
interest, with its ornamental balls on the four corners of the wall,
which, I daresay, have been often looked at with elevation of heart by
our honest friend of Loch Ketterine.  The lake is divided right across by
a narrow slip of flat land, making a small lake at the head of the large
one.  The whole may be about five miles long.

As we descended, the scene became more fertile, our way being pleasantly
varied—through coppices or open fields, and passing farm-houses, though
always with an intermixture of uncultivated ground.  It was harvest-time,
and the fields were quietly—might I be allowed to say
pensively?—enlivened by small companies of reapers.  It is not uncommon
in the more lonely parts of the Highlands to see a single person so
employed.  The following poem was suggested to William by a beautiful
sentence in Thomas Wilkinson’s ‘Tour in Scotland:’ {237}—

   Behold her single in the field,
   Yon solitary Highland Lass,
   Reaping and singing by herself—
   Stop here, or gently pass.
   Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
   And sings a melancholy strain.
   Oh! listen, for the Vale profound
   Is overflowing with the sound.

   No nightingale did ever chaunt
   So sweetly to reposing bands
   Of travellers in some shady haunt
   Among Arabian Sands;
   No sweeter voice was ever heard
   In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird
   Breaking the silence of the seas
   Among the farthest Hebrides.

   Will no one tell me what she sings?
   Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
   For old unhappy far-off things,
   And battles long ago;—
   Or is it some more humble lay—
   Familiar matter of to-day—
   Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain
   That has been, and may be again?

   Whate’er the theme, the Maiden sung
   As if her song could have no ending;
   I saw her singing at her work,
   And o’er the sickle bending;
   I listen’d till I had my fill,
   And as I mounted up the hill
   The music in my heart I bore
   Long after it was heard no more.

Towards the foot of the lake, on the opposite side, which was more barren
than that on which we travelled, was a bare road up a steep hill, which
leads to Glen Finlas, formerly a royal forest.  It is a wild and rocky
glen, as we had been told by a person who directed our notice to its
outlet at Loch Achray.  The stream which passes through it falls into
that lake near the head.  At the end of Loch Voil the vale is wide and
populous—large pastures with many cattle, large tracts of corn.  We
walked downwards a little way, and then crossed over to the same road
along which we had travelled from Loch Erne to Callander, being once
again at the entrance of Strath Eyer.  It might be about four or five
o’clock in the afternoon; we were ten miles from Callander, exceedingly
tired, and wished heartily for the poor horse and car.  Walked up Strath
Eyer, and saw in clear air and sunshine what had been concealed from us
when we travelled before in the mist and rain.  We found it less woody
and rich than it had appeared to be, but, with all deductions, a very
sweet valley.

Not far from Loch Lubnaig, though not in view of it, is a long village,
with two or three public-houses, and being in despair of reaching
Callander that night without over-fatigue we resolved to stop at the most
respectable-looking house, and, should it not prove wretched indeed, to
lodge there if there were beds for us: at any rate it was necessary to
take some refreshment.  The woman of the house spoke with gentleness and
civility, and had a good countenance, which reconciled me to stay, though
I had been averse to the scheme, dreading the dirt usual in Scotch
public-houses by the way-side.  She said she had beds for us, and clean
sheets, and we desired her to prepare them immediately.  It was a
two-storied house, light built, though in other respects no better than
the huts, and—as all the slated cottages are—much more uncomfortable in
appearance, except that there was a chimney in the kitchen.  At such
places it is fit that travellers should make up their minds to wait at
least an hour longer than the time necessary to prepare whatever meal
they may have ordered, which we, I may truly say, did with most temperate
philosophy.  I went to talk with the mistress, who was making barley
cakes, which she wrought out with her hands as thin as the oaten bread we
make in Cumberland.  I asked her why she did not use a rolling-pin, and
if it would not be much more convenient, to which she returned me no
distinct answer, and seemed to give little attention to the question: she
did not know, or that was what they were used to, or something of the
sort.  It was a tedious process, and I thought could scarcely have been
managed if the cakes had been as large as ours; but they are considerably
smaller, which is a great loss of time in the baking.

This woman, whose common language was the Gaelic, talked with me a very
good English, asking many questions, yet without the least appearance of
an obtrusive or impertinent curiosity; and indeed I must say that I
never, in those women with whom I conversed, observed anything on which I
could put such a construction.  They seemed to have a faith ready for
all; and as a child when you are telling him stories, asks for ‘more,
more,’ so they appeared to delight in being amused without effort of
their own minds.  Among other questions she asked me the old one over
again, if I was married; and when I told her that I was not, she appeared
surprised, and, as if recollecting herself, said to me, with a pious
seriousness and perfect simplicity, ‘To be sure, there is a great promise
for virgins in Heaven;’ and then she began to tell how long she had been
married, that she had had a large family and much sickness and sorrow,
having lost several of her children.  We had clean sheets and decent

                                * * * * *

_Wednesday_, _September_ 14_th_.—Rose early, and departed before
breakfast.  The morning was dry, but cold.  Travelled as before, along
the shores of Loch Lubnaig, and along the pass of the roaring stream of
Leny, and reached Callander at a little past eight o’clock.  After
breakfast set off towards Stirling, intending to sleep there; the
distance eighteen miles.  We were now entering upon a populous and more
cultivated country, having left the mountains behind, therefore I shall
have little to tell; for what is most interesting in such a country is
not to be seen in passing through it as we did.  Half way between
Callander and Stirling is the village of Doune, and a little further on
we crossed a bridge over a pleasant river, the Teith.  Above the river
stands a ruined castle of considerable size, upon a woody bank.  We
wished to have had time to go up to the ruin.  Long before we reached the
town of Stirling, saw the Castle, single, on its stately and commanding
eminence.  The rock or hill rises from a level plain; the print in
Stoddart’s book does indeed give a good notion of its form.  The
surrounding plain appears to be of a rich soil, well cultivated.  The
crops of ripe corn were abundant.  We found the town quite full; not a
vacant room in the inn, it being the time of the assizes: there was no
lodging for us, and hardly even the possibility of getting anything to
eat in a bye-nook of the house.  Walked up to the Castle.  The prospect
from it is very extensive, and must be exceedingly grand on a fine
evening or morning, with the light of the setting or rising sun on the
distant mountains, but we saw it at an unfavourable time of day, the
mid-afternoon, and were not favoured by light and shade.  The Forth makes
most intricate and curious turnings, so that it is difficult to trace
them, even when you are overlooking the whole.  It flows through a
perfect level, and in one place cuts its way in the form of a large
figure of eight.  Stirling is the largest town we had seen in Scotland,
except Glasgow.  It is an old irregular place; the streets towards the
Castle on one side very steep.  On the other, the hill or rock rises from
the fields.  The architecture of a part of the Castle is very fine, and
the whole building in good repair: some parts indeed, are modern.  At
Stirling we bought Burns’s Poems in one volume, for two shillings.  Went
on to Falkirk, ten or eleven miles.  I do not recollect anything
remarkable after we were out of sight of Stirling Castle, except the
Carron Ironworks, seen at a distance;—the sky above them was red with a
fiery light.  In passing through a turnpike gate we were greeted by a
Highland drover, who, with many others, was coming from a fair at
Falkirk, the road being covered all along with horsemen and cattle.  He
spoke as if we had been well known to him, asking us how we had fared on
our journey.  We were at a loss to conceive why he should interest
himself about us, till he said he had passed us on the Black Mountain,
near King’s House.  It was pleasant to observe the effect of solitary
places in making men friends, and to see so much kindness, which had been
produced in such a chance encounter, retained in a crowd.  No beds in the
inns at Falkirk—every room taken up by the people come to the fair.
Lodged in a private house, a neat clean place—kind treatment from the old
man and his daughter.

                                * * * * *

_Thursday_, _September_ 15_th_.—Breakfasted at Linlithgow, a small town.
The house is yet shown from which the Regent Murray was shot.  The
remains of a royal palace, where Queen Mary was born, are of considerable
extent; the banks of gardens and fish-ponds may yet be distinctly traced,
though the whole surface is transformed into smooth pasturage where
cattle graze.  The castle stands upon a gentle eminence, the prospect not
particularly pleasing, though not otherwise; it is bare and wide.  The
shell of a small ancient church is standing, into which are crammed
modern pews, galleries, and pulpit—very ugly, and discordant with the
exterior.  Nothing very interesting till we came to Edinburgh.  Dined by
the way at a small town or village upon a hill, the back part of the
houses on one side overlooking an extensive prospect over flat corn
fields.  I mention this for the sake of a pleasant hour we passed sitting
on the bank, where we read some of Burns’s poems in the volume which we
had bought at Stirling.

Arrived at Edinburgh a little before sunset.  As we approached, the
Castle rock resembled that of Stirling—in the same manner appearing to
rise from a plain of cultivated ground, the Firth of Forth being on the
other side, and not visible.  Drove to the White Hart in the
Grass-market, an inn which had been mentioned to us, and which we
conjectured would better suit us than one in a more fashionable part of
the town.  It was not noisy, and tolerably cheap.  Drank tea, and walked
up to the Castle, which luckily was very near.  Much of the daylight was
gone, so that except it had been a clear evening, which it was not, we
could not have seen the distant prospect.

                                * * * * *

_Friday_, _September_ 6_th_.—The sky the evening before, as you may
remember the ostler told us, had been ‘gay and dull,’ and this morning it
was downright dismal: very dark, and promising nothing but a wet day, and
before breakfast was over the rain began, though not heavily.  We set out
upon our walk, and went through many streets to Holyrood House, and
thence to the hill called Arthur’s Seat, a high hill, very rocky at the
top, and below covered with smooth turf, on which sheep were feeding.  We
climbed up till we came to St. Anthony’s Well and Chapel, as it is
called, but it is more like a hermitage than a chapel,—a small ruin,
which from its situation is exceedingly interesting, though in itself not
remarkable.  We sate down on a stone not far from the chapel, overlooking
a pastoral hollow as wild and solitary as any in the heart of the
Highland mountains: there, instead of the roaring of torrents, we
listened to the noises of the city, which were blended in one loud
indistinct buzz,—a regular sound in the air, which in certain moods of
feeling, and at certain times, might have a more tranquillizing effect
upon the mind than those which we are accustomed to hear in such places.
The Castle rock looked exceedingly large through the misty air: a cloud
of black smoke overhung the city, which combined with the rain and mist
to conceal the shapes of the houses,—an obscurity which added much to the
grandeur of the sound that proceeded from it.  It was impossible to think
of anything that was little or mean, the goings-on of trade, the strife
of men, or every-day city business:—the impression was one, and it was
visionary; like the conceptions of our childhood of Bagdad or Balsora
when we have been reading the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments.  Though the
rain was very heavy we remained upon the hill for some time, then
returned by the same road by which we had come, through green flat
fields, formerly the pleasure-grounds of Holyrood House, on the edge of
which stands the old roofless chapel, of venerable architecture.  It is a
pity that it should be suffered to fall down, for the walls appear to be
yet entire.  Very near to the chapel is Holyrood House, which we could
not but lament has nothing ancient in its appearance, being sash-windowed
and not an irregular pile.  It is very like a building for some national
establishment,—a hospital for soldiers or sailors.  You have a
description of it in Stoddart’s Tour, therefore I need not tell you what
we saw there.

When we found ourselves once again in the streets of the city, we
lamented over the heavy rain, and indeed before leaving the hill, much as
we were indebted to the accident of the rain for the peculiar grandeur
and affecting wildness of those objects we saw, we could not but regret
that the Firth of Forth was entirely hidden from us, and all distant
objects, and we strained our eyes till they ached, vainly trying to
pierce through the thick mist.  We walked industriously through the
streets, street after street, and, in spite of wet and dirt, were
exceedingly delighted.  The old town, with its irregular houses, stage
above stage, seen as we saw it, in the obscurity of a rainy day, hardly
resembles the work of men, it is more like a piling up of rocks, and I
cannot attempt to describe what we saw so imperfectly, but must say that,
high as my expectations had been raised, the city of Edinburgh far
surpassed all expectation.  Gladly would we have stayed another day, but
could not afford more time, and our notions of the weather of Scotland
were so dismal, notwithstanding we ourselves had been so much favoured,
that we had no hope of its mending.  So at about six o’clock in the
evening we departed, intending to sleep at an inn in the village of
Roslin, about five miles from Edinburgh.  The rain continued till we were
almost at Roslin; but then it was quite dark, so we did not see the
Castle that night.

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, _September_ 17_th_.—The morning very fine.  We rose early and
walked through the glen of Roslin, past Hawthornden, and considerably
further, to the house of Mr. Walter Scott at Lasswade.  Roslin Castle
stands upon a woody bank above a stream, the North Esk, too large, I
think, to be called a brook, yet an inconsiderable river.  We looked down
upon the ruin from higher ground.  Near it stands the Chapel, a most
elegant building, a ruin, though the walls and roof are entire.  I never
passed through a more delicious dell than the glen of Roslin, though the
water of the stream is dingy and muddy.  The banks are rocky on each
side, and hung with pine wood.  About a mile from the Castle, on the
contrary side of the water, upon the edge of a very steep bank, stands
Hawthornden, the house of Drummond the poet, whither Ben Jonson came on
foot from London to visit his friend.  We did hear to whom the house at
present belongs, and some other particulars, but I have a very indistinct
recollection of what was told us, except that many old trees had been
lately cut down.  After Hawthornden the glen widens, ceases to be rocky,
and spreads out into a rich vale, scattered over with gentlemen’s seats.

Arrived at Lasswade before Mr. and Mrs. Scott had risen, and waited some
time in a large sitting-room.  Breakfasted with them, and stayed till two
o’clock, and Mr. Scott accompanied us back almost to Roslin, having given
us directions respecting our future journey, and promised to meet us at
Melrose two days after. {246}

We ordered dinner on our return to the inn, and went to view the inside
of the Chapel of Roslin, which is kept locked up, and so preserved from
the injuries it might otherwise receive from idle boys; but as nothing is
done to keep it together, it must in the end fall.  The architecture
within is exquisitely beautiful.  The stone both of the roof and walls is
sculptured with leaves and flowers, so delicately wrought that I could
have admired them for hours, and the whole of their groundwork is stained
by time with the softest colours.  Some of those leaves and flowers were
tinged perfectly green, and at one part the effect was most exquisite:
three or four leaves of a small fern, resembling that which we call
adder’s tongue, grew round a cluster of them at the top of a pillar, and
the natural product and the artificial were so intermingled that at first
it was not easy to distinguish the living plant from the other, they
being of an equally determined green, though the fern was of a deeper

We set forward again after dinner.  The afternoon was pleasant.
Travelled through large tracts of ripe corn, interspersed with larger
tracts of moorland—the houses at a considerable distance from each other,
no longer thatched huts, but farm-houses resembling those of the farming
counties in England, having many corn-stacks close to them.  Dark when we
reached Peebles; found a comfortable old-fashioned public-house, had a
neat parlour, and drank tea.


_Sunday_, _September_ 8_th_.—The town of Peebles is on the banks of the
Tweed.  After breakfast walked up the river to Neidpath Castle, about a
mile and a half from the town.  The castle stands upon a green hill,
overlooking the Tweed, a strong square-towered edifice, neglected and
desolate, though not in ruin, the garden overgrown with grass, and the
high walls that fenced it broken down.  The Tweed winds between green
steeps, upon which, and close to the river side, large flocks of sheep
pasturing; higher still are the grey mountains; but I need not describe
the scene, for William has done it better than I could do in a sonnet
which he wrote the same day; the five last lines, at least, of his poem
will impart to you more of the feeling of the place than it would be
possible for me to do:—

   Degenerate Douglass! thou unworthy Lord
   Whom mere despite of heart could so far please,
   And love of havoc (for with such disease
   Fame taxes him) that he could send forth word
   To level with the dust a noble horde,
   A brotherhood of venerable trees,
   Leaving an ancient Dome and Towers like these
   Beggar’d and outraged!  Many hearts deplored
   The fate of those old trees; and oft with pain
   The Traveller at this day will stop and gaze
   On wrongs which Nature scarcely seems to heed;
   For shelter’d places, bosoms, nooks, and bays,
   And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed,
   And the green silent pastures yet remain.

_I_ was spared any regret for the fallen woods when we were there, not
then knowing the history of them.  The soft low mountains, the castle,
and the decayed pleasure-grounds, the scattered trees which have been
left in different parts, and the road carried in a very beautiful line
along the side of the hill, with the Tweed murmuring through the unfenced
green pastures spotted with sheep, together composed an harmonious scene,
and I wished for nothing that was not there.  When we were with Mr. Scott
he spoke of cheerful days he had spent in that castle not many years ago,
when it was inhabited by Professor Ferguson and his family, whom the Duke
of Queensberry, its churlish owner, forced to quit it.  We discovered a
very fine echo within a few yards of the building.

The town of Peebles looks very pretty from the road in returning: it is
an old town, built of grey stone, the same as the castle.  Well-dressed
people were going to church.  Sent the car before, and walked ourselves,
and while going along the main street William was called aside in a
mysterious manner by a person who gravely examined him—whether he was an
Irishman or a foreigner, or what he was; I suppose our car was the
occasion of suspicion at a time when every one was talking of the
threatened invasion.  We had a day’s journey before us along the banks of
the Tweed, a name which has been sweet to my ears almost as far back as I
can remember anything.  After the first mile or two our road was seldom
far from the river, which flowed in gentleness, though perhaps never
silent; the hills on either side high and sometimes stony, but excellent
pasturage for sheep.  In some parts the vale was wholly of this pastoral
character, in others we saw extensive tracts of corn ground, even
spreading along whole hill-sides, and without visible fences, which is
dreary in a flat country; but there is no dreariness on the banks of the
Tweed,—the hills, whether smooth or stony, uncultivated or covered with
ripe corn, had the same pensive softness.  Near the corn tracts were
large farm-houses, with many corn-stacks; the stacks and house and
out-houses together, I recollect, in one or two places upon the hills, at
a little distance, seemed almost as large as a small village or hamlet.
It was a clear autumnal day, without wind, and, being Sunday, the
business of the harvest was suspended, and all that we saw, and felt, and
heard, combined to excite one sensation of pensive and still pleasure.

Passed by several old halls yet inhabited, and others in ruin; but I have
hardly a sufficiently distinct recollection of any of them to be able to
describe them, and I now at this distance of time regret that I did not
take notes.  In one very sweet part of the vale a gate crossed the road,
which was opened by an old woman who lived in a cottage close to it; I
said to her, ‘You live in a very pretty place!’  ‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘the
water of Tweed is a bonny water.’  The lines of the hills are flowing and
beautiful, the reaches of the vale long; in some places appear the
remains of a forest, in others you will see as lovely a combination of
forms as any traveller who goes in search of the picturesque need desire,
and yet perhaps without a single tree; or at least if trees there are,
they shall be very few, and he shall not care whether they are there or

The road took us through one long village, but I do not recollect any
other; yet I think we never had a mile’s length before us without a
house, though seldom several cottages together.  The loneliness of the
scattered dwellings, the more stately edifices decaying or in ruin, or,
if inhabited, not in their pride and freshness, aided the general effect
of the gently varying scenes, which was that of tender pensiveness; no
bursting torrents when we were there, but the murmuring of the river was
heard distinctly, often blended with the bleating of sheep.  In one place
we saw a shepherd lying in the midst of a flock upon a sunny knoll, with
his face towards the sky,—happy picture of shepherd life.

The transitions of this vale were all gentle except one, a scene of which
a gentleman’s house was the centre, standing low in the vale, the hills
above it covered with gloomy fir plantations, and the appearance of the
house itself, though it could scarcely be seen, was gloomy.  There was an
allegorical air—a person fond of Spenser will understand me—in this
uncheerful spot, single in such a country,

    ‘The house was hearsed about with a black wood.’

We have since heard that it was the residence of Lord Traquair, a Roman
Catholic nobleman, of a decayed family.

We left the Tweed when we were within about a mile and a half or two
miles of Clovenford, where we were to lodge.  Turned up the side of a
hill, and went along sheep-grounds till we reached the spot—a single
stone house, without a tree near it or to be seen from it.  On our
mentioning Mr. Scott’s name the woman of the house showed us all possible
civility, but her slowness was really amusing.  I should suppose it is a
house little frequented, for there is no appearance of an inn.  Mr.
Scott, who she told me was a very clever gentleman, ‘goes there in the
fishing season;’ but indeed Mr. Scott is respected everywhere: I believe
that by favour of his name one might be hospitably entertained throughout
all the borders of Scotland.  We dined and drank tea—did not walk out,
for there was no temptation; a confined barren prospect from the window.

At Clovenford, being so near to the Yarrow, we could not but think of the
possibility of going thither, but came to the conclusion of reserving the
pleasure for some future time, in consequence of which, after our return,
William wrote the poem which I shall here transcribe:—

   From Stirling Castle we had seen
   The mazy Forth unravell’d,
   Had trod the banks of Clyde and Tay,
   And with the Tweed had travell’d.
   And when we came to Clovenford,
   Then said my winsome Marrow,
   ‘Whate’er betide we’ll turn aside
   And see the Braes of Yarrow.’

   ‘Let Yarrow Folk frae Selkirk Town,
   Who have been buying, selling,
   Go back to Yarrow:—’tis their own,
   Each Maiden to her dwelling.
   On Yarrow’s banks let herons feed,
   Hares couch, and rabbits burrow,
   But we will downwards with the Tweed,
   Nor turn aside to Yarrow.

   ‘There’s Gala Water, Leader Haughs,
   Both lying right before us;
   And Dryburgh, where with chiming Tweed
   The lintwhites sing in chorus.
   There’s pleasant Teviot Dale, a land
   Made blithe with plough and harrow,
   Why throw away a needful day,
   To go in search of Yarrow?

   ‘What’s Yarrow but a river bare,
   That glides the dark hills under?
   There are a thousand such elsewhere,
   As worthy of your wonder.’
   Strange words they seem’d of slight and scorn,
   My true-love sigh’d for sorrow,
   And look’d me in the face to think
   I thus could speak of Yarrow.

   ‘Oh! green,’ said I, ‘are Yarrow’s Holms,
   And sweet is Yarrow flowing,
   Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,
   But we will leave it growing.
   O’er hilly path and open Strath
   We’ll wander Scotland thorough,
   But though so near we will not turn
   Into the Dale of Yarrow.

   ‘Let beeves and home-bred kine partake
   The sweets of Burnmill Meadow,
   The swan on still St. Mary’s Lake
   Float double, swan and shadow.
   We will not see them, will not go,
   To-day nor yet to-morrow;
   Enough if in our hearts we know
   There’s such a place as Yarrow.

   ‘Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown,
   It must, or we shall rue it,
   We have a vision of our own,
   Ah! why should we undo it?
   The treasured dreams of times long past,
   We’ll keep them, “winsome Marrow,”
   For when we’re there, although ’tis fair,
   ’Twill be another Yarrow.

   ‘If care with freezing years should come,
   And wandering seem but folly,
   Should we be loth to stir from home,
   And yet be melancholy,
   Should life be dull and spirits low,
   ’Twill soothe us in our sorrow
   That earth has something yet to show—
   The bonny Holms of Yarrow.’ {254}

The next day we were to meet Mr. Scott, and again join the Tweed.  I wish
I could have given you a better idea of what we saw between Peebles and
this place.  I have most distinct recollections of the effect of the
whole day’s journey; but the objects are mostly melted together in my
memory, and though I should recognise them if we revisit the place, I
cannot call them out so as to represent them to you with distinctness.
William, in attempting in verse to describe this part of the Tweed, says
of it,

   More pensive in sunshine
   Than others in moonshine.

which perhaps may give you more power to conceive what it is than all I
have said.

                                * * * * *

_Monday_, _September_ 19_th_.—We rose early, and went to Melrose, six
miles, before breakfast.  After ascending a hill, descended, and
overlooked a dell, on the opposite side of which was an old mansion,
surrounded with trees and steep gardens, a curious and pleasing, yet
melancholy spot; for the house and gardens were evidently going to decay,
and the whole of the small dell, except near the house, was unenclosed
and uncultivated, being a sheep-walk to the top of the hills.  Descended
to Gala Water, a pretty stream, but much smaller than the Tweed, into
which the brook flows from the glen I have spoken of.  Near the Gala is a
large modern house, the situation very pleasant, but the old building
which we had passed put to shame the fresh colouring and meagre outline
of the new one.  Went through a part of the village of Galashiels,
pleasantly situated on the bank of the stream; a pretty place it once has
been, but a manufactory is established there; and a townish bustle and
ugly stone houses are fast taking place of the brown-roofed thatched
cottages, of which a great number yet remain, partly overshadowed by
trees.  Left the Gala, and, after crossing the open country, came again
to the Tweed, and pursued our way as before near the river, perhaps for a
mile or two, till we arrived at Melrose.  The valley for this short space
was not so pleasing as before, the hills more broken, and though the
cultivation was general, yet the scene was not rich, while it had lost
its pastoral simplicity.  At Melrose the vale opens out wide; but the
hills are high all round—single distinct risings.  After breakfast we
went out, intending to go to the Abbey, and in the street met Mr. Scott,
who gave us a cordial greeting, and conducted us thither himself.  He was
here on his own ground, for he is familiar with all that is known of the
authentic history of Melrose and the popular tales connected with it.  He
pointed out many pieces of beautiful sculpture in obscure corners which
would have escaped our notice.  The Abbey has been built of a pale red
stone; that part which was first erected of a very durable kind, the
sculptured flowers and leaves and other minute ornaments being as perfect
in many places as when first wrought.  The ruin is of considerable
extent, but unfortunately it is almost surrounded by insignificant
houses, so that when you are close to it you see it entirely separated
from many rural objects, and even when viewed from a distance the
situation does not seem to be particularly happy, for the vale is broken
and disturbed, and the Abbey at a distance from the river, so that you do
not look upon them as companions of each other.  And surely this is a
national barbarism: within these beautiful walls is the ugliest church
that was ever beheld—if it had been hewn out of the side of a hill it
could not have been more dismal; there was no neatness, nor even decency,
and it appeared to be so damp, and so completely excluded from fresh air,
that it must be dangerous to sit in it; the floor is unpaved, and very
rough.  What a contrast to the beautiful and graceful order apparent in
every part of the ancient design and workmanship!  Mr. Scott went with us
into the gardens and orchards of a Mr. Riddel, from which we had a very
sweet view of the Abbey through trees, the town being entirely excluded.
Dined with Mr. Scott at the inn; he was now travelling to the assizes at
Jedburgh in his character of Sheriff of Selkirk, and on that account, as
well as for his own sake, he was treated with great respect, a small part
of which was vouchsafed to us as his friends, though I could not persuade
the woman to show me the beds, or to make any sort of promise till she
was assured from the Sheriff himself that he had no objection to sleep in
the same room with William.

                                * * * * *

_Tuesday_, _September_ 20_th_.—Mr. Scott departed very early for
Jedburgh, and we soon followed, intending to go by Dryburgh to Kelso.  It
was a fine morning.  We went without breakfast, being told that there was
a public-house at Dryburgh.  The road was very pleasant, seldom out of
sight of the Tweed for any length of time, though not often close to it.
The valley is not so pleasantly defined as between Peebles and
Clovenford, yet so soft and beautiful, and in many parts pastoral, but
that peculiar and pensive simplicity which I have spoken of before was
wanting, yet there was a fertility chequered with wildness which to many
travellers would be more than a compensation.  The reaches of the vale
were shorter, the turnings more rapid, the banks often clothed with wood.
In one place was a lofty scar, at another a green promontory, a small
hill skirted by the river, the hill above irregular and green, and
scattered over with trees.  We wished we could have brought the ruins of
Melrose to that spot, and mentioned this to Mr. Scott, who told us that
the monks had first fixed their abode there, and raised a temporary
building of wood.  The monastery of Melrose was founded by a colony from
Rievaux Abbey in Yorkshire, which building it happens to resemble in the
colour of the stone, and I think partly in the style of architecture, but
is much smaller, that is, has been much smaller, for there is not at
Rievaux any one single part of the ruin so large as the remains of the
church at Melrose, though at Rievaux a far more extensive ruin remains.
It is also much grander, and the situation at present much more
beautiful, that ruin not having suffered like Melrose Abbey from the
encroachments of a town.  The architecture at Melrose is, I believe,
superior in the exactness and taste of some of the minute ornamental
parts; indeed, it is impossible to conceive anything more delicate than
the workmanship, especially in the imitations of flowers.

We descended to Dryburgh after having gone a considerable way upon high
ground.  A heavy rain when we reached the village, and there was no
public-house.  A well-dressed, well-spoken woman courteously—shall I say
charitably?—invited us into her cottage, and permitted us to make
breakfast; she showed us into a neat parlour, furnished with prints, a
mahogany table, and other things which I was surprised to see, for her
husband was only a day-labourer, but she had been Lady Buchan’s
waiting-maid, which accounted for these luxuries and for a noticeable
urbanity in her manners.  All the cottages in this neighbourhood, if I am
not mistaken, were covered with red tiles, and had chimneys.  After
breakfast we set out in the rain to the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, which
are near Lord Buchan’s house, and, like Bothwell Castle, appropriated to
the pleasure of the owner.  We rang a bell at the gate, and, instead of a
porter, an old woman came to open it through a narrow side-alley cut in a
thick plantation of evergreens.  On entering, saw the thatch of her hut
just above the trees, and it looked very pretty, but the poor creature
herself was a figure to frighten a child,—bowed almost double, having a
hooked nose and overhanging eyebrows, a complexion stained brown with
smoke, and a cap that might have been worn for months and never washed.
No doubt she had been cowering over her peat fire, for if she had emitted
smoke by her breath and through every pore, the odour could not have been
stronger.  This ancient woman, by right of office, attended us to show
off the curiosities, and she had her tale as perfect, though it was not
quite so long a one, as the gentleman Swiss, whom I remember to have seen
at Blenheim with his slender wand and dainty white clothes.  The house of
Lord Buchan and the Abbey stand upon a large flat peninsula, a green holm
almost covered with fruit-trees.  The ruins of Dryburgh are much less
extensive than those of Melrose, and greatly inferior both in the
architecture and stone, which is much mouldered away.  Lord Buchan has
trained pear-trees along the walls, which are bordered with flowers and
gravel walks, and he has made a pigeon-house, and a fine room in the
ruin, ornamented with a curiously-assorted collection of busts of eminent
men, in which lately a ball was given; yet, deducting for all these
improvements, which are certainly much less offensive than you could
imagine, it is a very sweet ruin, standing so enclosed in wood, which the
towers overtop, that you cannot know that it is not in a state of natural
desolation till you are close to it.  The opposite bank of the Tweed is
steep and woody, but unfortunately many of the trees are firs.  The old
woman followed us after the fashion of other guides, but being slower of
foot than a younger person, it was not difficult to slip away from the
scent of her poor smoke-dried body.  She was sedulous in pointing out the
curiosities, which, I doubt not, she had a firm belief were not to be
surpassed in England or Scotland.

Having promised us a sight of the largest and oldest yew-tree ever seen,
she conducted us to it; it was a goodly tree, but a mere dwarf compared
with several of our own country—not to speak of the giant of Lorton.  We
returned to the cottage, and waited some time in hopes that the rain
would abate, but it grew worse and worse, and we were obliged to give up
our journey, to Kelso, taking the direct road to Jedburgh.

We had to ford the Tweed, a wide river at the crossing-place.  It would
have been impossible to drive the horse through, for he had not forgotten
the fright at Connel Ferry, so we hired a man to lead us.  After crossing
the water, the road goes up the bank, and we had a beautiful view of the
ruins of the Abbey, peering above the trees of the woody peninsula,
which, in shape, resembles that formed by the Tees at Lickburn, but is
considerably smaller.  Lord Buchan’s house is a very neat, modest
building, and almost hidden by trees.  It soon began to rain heavily.
Crossing the Teviot by a stone bridge—the vale in that part very
wide—there was a great deal of ripe corn, but a want of trees, and no
appearance of richness.  Arrived at Jedburgh half an hour before the
Judges were expected out of Court to dinner.

We gave in our passport—the name of Mr. Scott, the Sheriff—and were very
civilly treated, but there was no vacant room in the house except the
Judge’s sitting-room, and we wanted to have a fire, being exceedingly wet
and cold.  I was conducted into that room, on condition that I would give
it up the moment the Judge came from Court.  After I had put off my wet
clothes I went up into a bedroom, and sate shivering there, till the
people of the inn had procured lodgings for us in a private house.

We were received with hearty welcome by a good woman, who, though above
seventy years old, moved about as briskly as if she was only seventeen.
Those parts of the house which we were to occupy were neat and clean; she
showed me every corner, and, before I had been ten minutes in the house,
opened her very drawers that I might see what a stock of linen she had;
then asked me how long we should stay, and said she wished we were come
for three months.  She was a most remarkable person; the alacrity with
which she ran up-stairs when we rung the bell, and guessed at, and strove
to prevent, our wants was surprising; she had a quick eye, and keen
strong features, and a joyousness in her motions, like what used to be in
old Molly when she was particularly elated.  I found afterwards that she
had been subject to fits of dejection and ill-health: we then conjectured
that her overflowing gaiety and strength might in part be attributed to
the same cause as her former dejection.  Her husband was deaf and infirm,
and sate in a chair with scarcely the power to move a limb—an affecting
contrast!  The old woman said they had been a very hard-working pair;
they had wrought like slaves at their trade—her husband had been a
currier; and she told me how they had portioned off their daughters with
money, and each a feather-bed, and that in their old age they had laid
out the little they could spare in building and furnishing that house,
and she added with pride that she had lived in her youth in the family of
Lady Egerton, who was no high lady, and now was in the habit of coming to
her house whenever she was at Jedburgh, and a hundred other things; for
when she once began with Lady Egerton, she did not know how to stop, nor
did I wish it, for she was very entertaining.  Mr. Scott sate with us an
hour or two, and repeated a part of the Lay of the Last Minstrel.  When
he was gone our hostess came to see if we wanted anything, and to wish us
good-night.  On all occasions her manners were governed by the same
spirit: there was no withdrawing one’s attention from her.  We were so
much interested that William, long afterwards, thought it worth while to
express in verse the sensations which she had excited, and which then
remained as vividly in his mind as at the moment when we lost sight of

   Age! twine thy brows with fresh spring flowers,
   And call a train of laughing Hours;
   And bid them dance, and bid them sing,
   And Thou, too, mingle in the Ring!
   Take to thy heart a new delight!
   If not, make merry in despite
   That one should breathe who scorns thy power.
   —But dance! for under Jedborough Tower
   A Matron dwells who, tho’ she bears
   Our mortal complement of years,
   Lives in the light of youthful glee,
   And she will dance and sing with thee.

   Nay! start not at that Figure—there!
   Him who is rooted to his Chair!
   Look at him, look again; for He
   Hath long been of thy Family.
   With legs that move not, if they can,
   And useless arms, a Trunk of Man,
   He sits, and with a vacant eye;
   A Sight to make a Stranger sigh!
   Deaf, drooping, such is now his doom;
   His world is in that single room—
   Is this a place for mirthful cheer?
   Can merry-making enter here?

   The joyous Woman is the Mate
   Of him in that forlorn estate;
   He breathes a subterraneous damp;
   But bright as Vesper shines her lamp,
   He is as mute as Jedborough Tower,
   She jocund as it was of yore
   With all its bravery on, in times
   When all alive with merry chimes
   Upon a sun-bright morn of May
   It roused the Vale to holiday.

   I praise thee, Matron! and thy due
   Is praise, heroic praise and true.
   With admiration I behold
   Thy gladness unsubdued and bold:
   Thy looks, thy gestures, all present
   The picture of a life well spent;
   This do I see, and something more,
   A strength unthought of heretofore.
   Delighted am I for thy sake,
   And yet a higher joy partake:
   Our human nature throws away
   Its second twilight, and looks gay,
   A Land of promise and of pride
   Unfolding, wide as life is wide.

   Ah! see her helpless Charge! enclosed
   Within himself as seems, composed;
   To fear of loss and hope of gain,
   The strife of happiness and pain—
   Utterly dead! yet in the guise
   Of little Infants when their eyes
   Begin to follow to and fro
   The persons that before them go,
   He tracks her motions, quick or slow.
   Her buoyant spirits can prevail
   Where common cheerfulness would fail.
   She strikes upon him with the heat
   Of July suns; he feels it sweet;
   An animal delight, though dim!
   ’Tis all that now remains for him!

   I look’d, I scann’d her o’er and o’er,
   And, looking, wondered more and more:
   When suddenly I seem’d to espy
   A trouble in her strong black eye,
   A remnant of uneasy light,
   A flash of something over-bright!
   Not long this mystery did detain
   My thoughts.  She told in pensive strain
   That she had borne a heavy yoke,
   Been stricken by a twofold stroke;
   Ill health of body, and had pined
   Beneath worse ailments of the mind.

   So be it!—but let praise ascend
   To Him who is our Lord and Friend!
   Who from disease and suffering
   As bad almost as Life can bring,
   Hath call’d for thee a second Spring;
   Repaid thee for that sore distress
   By no untimely joyousness;
   Which makes of thine a blissful state;
   And cheers thy melancholy Mate!

                                * * * * *

_Wednesday_, _September_ 21_st_.—The house where we lodged was airy, and
even cheerful, though one of a line of houses bordering on the
churchyard, which is the highest part of the town, overlooking a great
portion of it to the opposite hills.  The kirk is, as at Melrose, within
the walls of a conventual church; but the ruin is much less beautiful,
and the church a very neat one.  The churchyard was full of graves, and
exceedingly slovenly and dirty; one most indecent practice I observed:
several women brought their linen to the flat table-tombstones, and,
having spread it upon them, began to batter as hard as they could with a
wooden roller, a substitute for a mangle.

After Mr. Scott’s business in the Courts was over, he walked with us up
the Jed—‘sylvan Jed’ it has been properly called by Thomson—for the banks
are yet very woody, though wood in large quantities has been felled
within a few years.  There are some fine red scars near the river, in one
or two of which we saw the entrances to caves, said to have been used as
places of refuge in times of insecurity.

Walked up to Ferniehurst, an old hall, in a secluded situation, now
inhabited by farmers; the neighbouring ground had the wildness of a
forest, being irregularly scattered over with fine old trees.  The wind
was tossing their branches, and sunshine dancing among the leaves, and I
happened to exclaim, ‘What a life there is in trees!’ on which Mr. Scott
observed that the words reminded him of a young lady who had been born
and educated on an island of the Orcades, and came to spend a summer at
Kelso and in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh.  She used to say that in the
new world into which she was come nothing had disappointed her so much as
trees and woods; she complained that they were lifeless, silent, and,
compared with the grandeur of the ever-changing ocean, even insipid.  At
first I was surprised, but the next moment I felt that the impression was
natural.  Mr. Scott said that she was a very sensible young woman, and
had read much.  She talked with endless rapture and feeling of the power
and greatness of the ocean; and with the same passionate attachment
returned to her native island without any probability of quitting it

The valley of the Jed is very solitary immediately under Ferniehurst; we
walked down the river, wading almost up to the knees in fern, which in
many parts overspread the forest-ground.  It made me think of our walks
at Allfoxden, and of _our own_ park—though at Ferniehurst is no park at
present—and the slim fawns that we used to startle from their
couching-places among the fern at the top of the hill.  We were
accompanied on our walk by a young man from the Braes of Yarrow, an
acquaintance of Mr. Scott’s, {266} who, having been much delighted with
some of William’s poems which he had chanced to see in a newspaper, had
wished to be introduced to him; he lived in the most retired part of the
dale of Yarrow, where he had a farm: he was fond of reading, and well
informed, but at first meeting as shy as any of our Grasmere lads, and
not less rustic in his appearance.  He had been in the Highlands, and
gave me such an account of Loch Rannoch as made us regret that we had not
persevered in our journey thither, especially as he told us that the bad
road ended at a very little distance from the place where we had turned
back, and that we should have come into another good road, continued all
along the shore of the lake.  He also mentioned that there was a very
fine view from the steeple at Dunkeld.

The town of Jedburgh, in returning along the road, as it is seen through
the gently winding narrow valley, looks exceedingly beautiful on its low
eminence, surmounted by the conventual tower, which is arched over, at
the summit, by light stone-work resembling a coronet; the effect at a
distance is very graceful.  The hills all round are high, and rise
rapidly from the town, which though it stands considerably above the
river, yet, from every side except that on which we walked, appears to
stand in a bottom.

We had our dinner sent from the inn, and a bottle of wine, that we might
not disgrace the Sheriff, who supped with us in the evening,—stayed late,
and repeated some of his poem.

                                * * * * *

_Thursday_, _September_ 22_d_.—After breakfast, the minister, Dr.
Somerville, called upon us with Mr. Scott, and we went to the manse, a
very pretty house, with pretty gardens, and in a beautiful situation,
though close to the town.  Dr. Somerville and his family complained
bitterly of the devastation that had been made among the woods within
view from their windows, which looked up the Jed.  He conducted us to the
church, which under his directions has been lately repaired, and is a
very neat place within.  Dr. Somerville spoke of the dirt and other
indecencies in the churchyard, and said that he had taken great pains to
put a stop to them, but wholly in vain.  The business of the assizes
closed this day, and we went into Court to hear the Judge pronounce his
charge, which was the most curious specimen of old woman’s oratory and
newspaper-paragraph loyalty that was ever heard.  When all was over they
returned to the inn in procession, as they had come, to the sound of a
trumpet, the Judge first, in his robes of red, the Sheriffs next, in
large cocked hats, and inferior officers following, a show not much
calculated to awe the beholders.  After this we went to the inn.  The
landlady and her sister inquired if we had been comfortable, and lamented
that they had not had it in their power to pay us more attention.  I
began to talk with them, and found out that they were from Cumberland:
they knew Captain and Mrs. Wordsworth, who had frequently been at
Jedburgh, Mrs. Wordsworth’s sister having married a gentleman of that
neighbourhood.  They spoke of them with great pleasure.  I returned to
our lodgings to take leave of the old woman, who told me that I had
behaved ‘very discreetly,’ and seemed exceedingly sorry that we were
leaving her so soon.  She had been out to buy me some pears, saying that
I must take away some ‘Jedderd’ pears.  We learned afterwards that
Jedburgh is famous in Scotland for pears, which were first cultivated
there in the gardens of the monks.

Mr. Scott was very glad to part from the Judge and his retinue, to travel
with us in our car to Hawick; his servant drove his own gig.  The
landlady, very kindly, had put up some sandwiches and cheese-cakes for
me, and all the family came out to see us depart.  Passed the monastery
gardens, which are yet gardens, where there are many remarkably large old
pear-trees.  We soon came into the vale of Teviot, which is open and
cultivated, and scattered over with hamlets, villages, and many
gentlemen’s seats, yet, though there is no inconsiderable quantity of
wood, you can never, in the wide and cultivated parts of the Teviot, get
rid of the impression of barrenness, and the fir plantations, which in
this part are numerous, are for ever at war with simplicity.  One
beautiful spot I recollect of a different character, which Mr. Scott took
us to see a few yards from the road.  A stone bridge crossed the water at
a deep and still place, called Horne’s Pool, from a contemplative
schoolmaster, who had lived not far from it, and was accustomed to walk
thither, and spend much of his leisure near the river.  The valley was
here narrow and woody.  Mr. Scott pointed out to us Ruberslaw, Minto
Crags, and every other remarkable object in or near the vale of Teviot,
and we scarcely passed a house for which he had not some story.  Seeing
us look at one, which stood high on the hill on the opposite side of the
river, he told us that a gentleman lived there who, while he was in
India, had been struck with the fancy of making his fortune by a new
speculation, and so set about collecting the gods of the country, with
infinite pains and no little expense, expecting that he might sell them
for an enormous price.  Accordingly, on his return they were offered for
sale, but no purchasers came.  On the failure of this scheme, a room was
hired in London in which to exhibit them as a show; but alas! nobody
would come to see; and this curious assemblage of monsters is now,
probably, quietly lodged in the vale of Teviot.  The latter part of this
gentleman’s history is more affecting:—he had an only daughter, whom he
had accompanied into Spain two or three years ago for the recovery of her
health, and so for a time saved her from a consumption, which now again
threatened her, and he was about to leave his pleasant residence, and
attend her once more on the same errand, afraid of the coming winter.

We passed through a village, whither Leyden, Scott’s intimate friend, the
author of Scenes of Infancy, was used to walk over several miles of
moorland country every day to school, a poor barefooted boy.  He is now
in India, applying himself to the study of Oriental literature, and, I
doubt not, it is his dearest thought that he may come and end his days
upon the banks of Teviot, or some other of the Lowland streams—for he is,
like Mr. Scott, passionately attached to the district of the Borders.

Arrived at Hawick to dinner; the inn is a large old house with walls
above a yard thick, formerly a gentleman’s house.  Did not go out this

                                * * * * *

_Friday_, _September_ 23_d_.—Before breakfast, walked with Mr. Scott
along a high road for about two miles, up a bare hill.  Hawick is a small
town.  From the top of the hill we had an extensive view over the moors
of Liddisdale, and saw the Cheviot Hills.  We wished we could have gone
with Mr. Scott into some of the remote dales of this country, where in
almost every house he can find a home and a hearty welcome.  But after
breakfast we were obliged to part with him, which we did with great
regret: he would gladly have gone with us to Langholm, eighteen miles
further.  Our way was through the vale of Teviot, near the banks of the

Passed Branxholm Hall, one of the mansions belonging to the Duke of
Buccleuch, which we looked at with particular interest for the sake of
the Lay of the Last Minstrel.  Only a very small part of the original
building remains: it is a large strong house, old, but not ancient in its
appearance—stands very near the river-side; the banks covered with

A little further on, met the Edinburgh coach with several passengers, the
only stage-coach that had passed us in Scotland.  Coleridge had come home
by that conveyance only a few days before.  The quantity of arable land
gradually diminishes, and the plantations become fewer, till at last the
river flows open to the sun, mostly through unfenced and untilled
grounds, a soft pastoral district, both the hills and the valley being
scattered over with sheep: here and there was a single farm-house, or
cluster of houses, and near them a portion of land covered with ripe

Near the head of the vale of Teviot, where that stream is but a small
rivulet, we descended towards another valley, by another small rivulet.
Hereabouts Mr. Scott had directed us to look about for some old stumps of
trees, said to be the place where Johnny Armstrong was hanged; but we
could not find them out.  The valley into which we were descending,
though, for aught I know, it is unnamed in song, was to us more
interesting than the Teviot itself.  Not a spot of tilled ground was
there to break in upon its pastoral simplicity; the same soft yellow
green spread from the bed of the streamlet to the hill-tops on each side,
and sheep were feeding everywhere.  It was more close and simple than the
upper end of the vale of Teviot, the valley being much narrower, and the
hills equally high and not broken into parts, but on each side a long
range.  The grass, as we had first seen near Crawfordjohn, had been mown
in the different places of the open ground, where it might chance to be
best; but there was no part of the surface that looked perfectly barren,
as in those tracts.

We saw a single stone house a long way before us, which we conjectured to
be, as it proved, Moss Paul, the inn where we were to bait.  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.  At Moss Paul we fed our horse;—several
travellers were drinking whisky.  We neither ate nor drank, for we had,
with our usual foresight and frugality in travelling, saved the
cheese-cakes and sandwiches which had been given us by our countrywoman
at Jedburgh the day before.  After Moss Paul, we ascended considerably,
then went down other reaches of the valley, much less interesting, stony
and barren.  The country afterwards not peculiar, I should think, for I
scarcely remember it.

Arrived at Langholm at about five o’clock.  The town, as we approached,
from a hill, looked very pretty, the houses being roofed with blue
slates, and standing close to the river Esk, here a large river, that
scattered its waters wide over a stony channel.  The inn neat and
comfortable—exceedingly clean: I could hardly believe we were still in

After tea walked out; crossed a bridge, and saw, at a little distance up
the valley, Langholm House, a villa of the Duke of Buccleuch: it stands
upon a level between the river and a steep hill, which is planted with
wood.  Walked a considerable way up the river, but could not go close to
it on account of the Duke’s plantations, which are locked up.  When they
ended, the vale became less cultivated; the view through the vale towards
the hills very pleasing, though bare and cold.

                                * * * * *

_Saturday_, _September_ 24_th_.—Rose very early and travelled about nine
miles to Longtown, before breakfast, along the banks of the Esk.  About
half a mile from Langholm crossed a bridge.  At this part of the vale,
which is narrow, the steeps are covered with old oaks and every variety
of trees.  Our road for some time through the wood, then came to a more
open country, exceedingly rich and populous; the banks of the river
frequently rocky, and hung with wood; many gentlemen’s houses.  There was
the same rich variety while the river continued to flow through Scottish
grounds; but not long after we had passed through the last turnpike gate
in Scotland and the first in England—but a few yards asunder—the vale
widens, and its aspect was cold, and even dreary, though Sir James
Graham’s plantations are very extensive.  His house, a large building,
stands in this open part of the vale.  Longtown was before us, and ere
long we saw the well-remembered guide-post, where the circuit of our six
weeks’ travels had begun, and now was ended.

We did not look along the white line of the road to Solway Moss without
some melancholy emotion, though we had the fair prospect of the
Cumberland mountains full in view, with the certainty, barring accidents,
of reaching our own dear home the next day.  Breakfasted at the Graham’s
Arms.  The weather had been very fine from the time of our arrival at
Jedburgh, and this was a very pleasant day.  The sun ‘shone fair on
Carlisle walls’ when we first saw them from the top of the opposite hill.
Stopped to look at the place on the sand near the bridge where Hatfield
had been executed.  Put up at the same inn as before, and were recognised
by the woman who had waited on us.  Everybody spoke of Hatfield as an
injured man.  After dinner went to a village six miles further, where we

                                * * * * *

_Sunday_, _September_ 25_th_, 1803.—A beautiful autumnal day.
Breakfasted at a public-house by the road-side; dined at Threlkeld;
arrived at home between eight and nine o’clock, where we found Mary in
perfect health, Joanna Hutchinson with her, and little John asleep in the
clothes-basket by the fire.

                                * * * * *


                          SEPTEMBER 25TH, 1803.

   Fly, some kind spirit, fly to Grasmere Vale!
   Say that we come, and come by this day’s light
   Glad tidings!—spread them over field and height,
   But, chiefly, let one Cottage hear the tale!
   There let a mystery of joy prevail,
   The kitten frolic with unruly might,
   And Rover whine as at a second sight
   Of near-approaching good, that will not fail:
   And from that Infant’s face let joy appear;
   Yea, let our Mary’s one companion child,
   That hath her six weeks’ solitude beguiled
   With intimations manifold and dear,
   While we have wander’d over wood and wild—
   Smile on its Mother now with bolder cheer!


‘_And think and fear_.’—PAGE 11.

The entire Poem as given in the works of the Poet stands thus:—

after visiting the grave of their father.

    ‘The Poet’s grave is in a corner of the churchyard.  We looked at it
    with melancholy and painful reflections, repeating to each other his
    own verses—

    “Is there a man whose judgment clear,” etc.’

                        _Extract from the Journal of my Fellow-Traveller_.

   ’Mid crowded obelisks and urns
   I sought the untimely grave of Burns;
   Sons of the Bard, my heart still mourns
         With sorrow true;
   And more would grieve, but that it turns
         Trembling to you!

   Through twilight shades of good and ill
   Ye now are panting up life’s hill,
   And more than common strength and skill
         Must ye display;
   If ye would give the better will
         Its lawful sway.

   Hath Nature strung your nerves to bear
   Intemperance with less harm, beware!
   But if the Poet’s wit ye share,
         Like him can speed
   The social hour—of tenfold care
         There will be need;

   For honest men delight will take
   To spare your failings for his sake,
   Will flatter you,—and fool and rake
         Your steps pursue;
   And of your Father’s name will make
         A snare for you.

   Far from their noisy haunts retire,
   And add your voices to the quire
   That sanctify the cottage fire
         With service meet;
   There seek the genius of your Sire,
         His spirit greet;

   Or where, ’mid ‘lonely heights and hows,’
   He paid to Nature tuneful vows;
   Or wiped his honourable brows
         Bedewed with toil,
   While reapers strove, or busy ploughs
         Upturned the soil;

   His judgment with benignant ray
   Shall guide, his fancy cheer, your way;
   But ne’er to a seductive lay
         Let faith be given;
   Nor deem that ‘light which leads astray,
         Is light from Heaven.’

   Let no mean hope your souls enslave;
   Be independent, generous, brave;
   Your Father such example gave,
         And such revere;
   But be admonished by his grave,
         And think, and fear!

Two other Poems on the same subject may fitly be inserted in this place,
though, as appears from the Poet’s notes, one of them at least belongs to
a later date.


   I shiver, Spirit fierce and bold,
   At thoughts of what I now behold:
   As vapours breathed from dungeons cold
         Strike pleasure dead,
   So sadness comes from out the mould
         Where Burns is laid.

   And have I then thy bones so near,
   And thou forbidden to appear?
   As if it were thyself that’s here,
         I shrink with pain;
   And both my wishes and my fear
         Alike are vain.

   Off weight—nor press on weight!—away
   Dark thoughts!—they came, but not to stay;
   With chastened feelings would I pay
         The tribute due
   To him, and aught that hides his clay
         From mortal view.

   Fresh as the flower, whose modest worth
   He sang, his genius ‘glinted’ forth,
   Rose like a star that touching earth,
         For so it seems,
   Doth glorify its humble birth
         With matchless beams.

   The piercing eye, the thoughtful brow,
   The struggling heart, where be they now?—
   Full soon the Aspirant of the plough,
         The prompt, the brave,
   Slept, with the obscurest, in the low
         And silent grave.

   I mourned with thousands, but as one
   More deeply grieved, for He was gone
   Whose light I hailed when first it shone,
         And showed my youth
   How Verse may build a princely throne
         On humble truth.

   Alas! where’er the current tends,
   Regret pursues and with it blends,—
   Huge Criffel’s hoary top ascends
         By Skiddaw seen,
   Neighbours we were, and loving friends
         We might have been;

   True friends though diversely inclined;
   But heart with heart and mind with mind,
   Where the main fibres are entwined,
         Through Nature’s skill,
   May even by contraries be joined
         More closely still.

   The tear will start, and let it flow;
   Thou ‘poor Inhabitant below,’
   At this dread moment—even so—
         Might we together
   Have sate and talked where gowans blow,
         Or on wild heather.

   What treasures would have then been placed
   Within my reach; of knowledge graced
   By fancy what a rich repast!
         But why go on?—
   Oh! spare to sweep, thou mournful blast,
         His grave grass-grown.

   There, too, a Son, his joy and pride,
   (Not three weeks past the Stripling died,)
   Lies gathered to his Father’s side,
         Soul-moving sight!
   Yet one to which is not denied
         Some sad delight.

   For _he_ is safe, a quiet bed
   Hath early found among the dead,
   Harboured where none can be misled,
         Wronged, or distrest;
   And surely here it may be said
         That such are blest.

   And oh for Thee, by pitying grace
   Checked oft-times in a devious race.
   May He who halloweth the place
         Where Man is laid,
   Receive thy Spirit in the embrace
         For which it prayed!

   Sighing I turned away; but ere
   Night fell I heard, or seemed to hear,
   Music that sorrow comes not near,
         A ritual hymn,
   Chanted in love that casts out fear
         By Seraphim.

From the notes appended to the latest editions of Wordsworth’s works, it
appears that the preceding poem, ‘though _felt_ at the time, was not
composed till many years afterwards.’


   Too frail to keep the lofty vow
   That must have followed when his brow
   Was wreathed—‘The Vision’ tells us how—
         With holly spray,
   He faultered, drifted to and fro,
         And passed away.

   Well might such thoughts, dear Sister, throng
   Our minds when, lingering all too long,
   Over the grave of Burns we hung
         In social grief—
   Indulged as if it were a wrong
         To seek relief.

   But, leaving each unquiet theme
   Where gentlest judgments may misdeem,
   And prompt to welcome every gleam
         Of good and fair,
   Let us beside this limpid Stream
         Breathe hopeful air.

   Enough of sorrow, wreck, and blight;
   Think rather of those moments bright
   When to the consciousness of right
         His course was true,
   When Wisdom prospered in his sight,
         And Virtue grew.

   Yes, freely let our hearts expand,
   Freely as in youth’s season bland,
   When side by side, his Book in hand,
         We wont to stray,
   Our pleasure varying at command
         Of each sweet Lay.

   How oft inspired must he have trod
   These pathways, yon far-stretching road!
   There lurks his home; in that Abode,
         With mirth elate,
   Or in his nobly-pensive mood,
         The Rustic sate.

   Proud thoughts that Image overawes,
   Before it humbly let us pause,
   And ask of Nature, from what cause,
         And by what rules
   She trained her Burns to win applause
         That shames the Schools.

   Through busiest street and loneliest glen
   Are felt the flashes of his pen;
   He rules ’mid winter snows, and when
         Bees fill their hives;
   Deep in the general heart of men
         His power survives.

   What need of fields in some far clime
   Where Heroes, Sages, Bards sublime,
   And all that fetched the flowing rhyme
         From genuine springs,
   Shall dwell together till old Time
         Folds up his wings?

   Sweet Mercy! to the gates of Heaven
   This Minstrel lead, his sins forgiven;
   The rueful conflict, the heart riven
         With vain endeavour,
   And memory of Earth’s bitter leaven,
         Effaced for ever.

   But why to Him confine the prayer,
   When kindred thoughts and yearnings bear
   On the frail heart the purest share
         With all that live?—
   The best of what we do and are,
         Just God, forgive!


‘_The Waterfall_, _Cora Linn_.’—PAGE 36.

The following poem belongs to the series entitled _Memorials of a Tour in
Scotland_, 1814.  It is in a later, not better, manner than those of
1803.  Prefixed to it in the later editions of the Poet’s works are these
words: ‘I had seen this celebrated waterfall twice before.  But the
feelings to which it had given birth were not expressed till they
recurred in presence of the object on this occasion.’


    ‘—How Wallace fought for Scotland, left the name
    Of Wallace to be found, like a wild flower,
    All over his dear Country; left the deeds
    Of Wallace, like a family of ghosts,
    To people the steep rocks and river banks,
    Her natural sanctuaries, with a local soul
    Of independence and stern liberty.’—_MS_.

   Lord of the vale! astounding Flood;
   The dullest leaf in this thick wood
   Quakes—conscious of thy power;
   The caves reply with hollow moan;
   And vibrates to its central stone,
   Yon time-cemented Tower!

   And yet how fair the rural scene!
   For thou, O Clyde, hast ever been
   Beneficent as strong;
   Pleased in refreshing dews to steep
   The little trembling flowers that peep
   Thy shelving rocks among.

   Hence all who love their country, love
   To look on thee—delight to rove
   Where they thy voice can hear;
   And, to the patriot-warrior’s Shade,
   Lord of the vale! to Heroes laid
   In dust, that voice is dear!

   Along thy banks, at dead of night,
   Sweeps visibly the Wallace Wight;
   Or stands, in warlike vest,
   Aloft, beneath the moon’s pale beam,
   A Champion worthy of the stream,
   Yon grey tower’s living crest!

   But clouds and envious darkness hide
   A Form not doubtfully descried:—
   Their transient mission o’er,
   O say to what blind region flee
   These Shapes of awful phantasy?
   To what untrodden shore?

   Less than divine command they spurn;
   But this we from the mountains learn,
   And this the valleys show;
   That never will they deign to hold
   Communion where the heart is cold
   To human weal and woe.

   The man of abject soul in vain
   Shall walk the Marathonian plain;
   Or thrill the shadowy gloom,
   That still invests the guardian Pass,
   Where stood, sublime, Leonidas
   Devoted to the tomb.

   Nor deem that it can aught avail
   For such to glide with oar or sail
   Beneath the piny wood,
   Where Tell once drew, by Uri’s lake,
   His vengeful shafts—prepared to slake
   Their thirst in Tyrants’ blood.


‘_Poured out these verses_.’—PAGE 139.


   Child of loud-throated War! the mountain Stream
   Roars in thy hearing; but thy hour of rest
   Is come, and thou art silent in thy age;
   Save when the wind sweeps by and sounds are caught
   Ambiguous, neither wholly thine nor theirs.
   Oh! there is life that breathes not; Powers there are
   That touch each other to the quick in modes
   Which the gross world no sense hath to perceive,
   No soul to dream of.  What art Thou, from care
   Cast off—abandoned by thy rugged Sire,
   Nor by soft Peace adopted; though, in place
   And in dimension, such that thou might’st seem
   But a mere footstool to yon sovereign Lord,
   Huge Cruachan, (a thing that meaner hills
   Might crush, nor know that it had suffered harm;)
   Yet he, not loth, in favour of thy claims
   To reverence, suspends his own; submitting
   All that the God of Nature hath conferred,
   All that he holds in common with the stars,
   To the memorial majesty of Time
   Impersonated in thy calm decay!
   Take, then, thy seat, Vicegerent unreproved!
   Now, while a farewell gleam of evening light
   Is fondly lingering on thy shattered front,
   Do thou, in turn, be paramount; and rule
   Over the pomp and beauty of a scene
   Whose mountains, torrents, lake, and woods, unite
   To pay thee homage; and with these are joined,
   In willing admiration and respect,
   Two Hearts, which in thy presence might be called
   Youthful as Spring.—Shade of departed Power,
   Skeleton of unfleshed humanity,
   The chronicle were welcome that should call
   Into the compass of distinct regard
   The toils and struggles of thy infant years!
   Yon foaming flood seems motionless as ice;
   Its dizzy turbulence eludes the eye,
   Frozen by distance; so, majestic Pile,
   To the perception of this Age, appear
   Thy fierce beginnings, softened and subdued
   And quieted in character—the strife,
   The pride, the fury uncontrollable,
   Lost on the aërial heights of the Crusades!

‘The first three lines were thrown off at the moment I first caught sight
of the ruin from a small eminence by the wayside; the rest was added many
years after.’—_Wordsworth’s Life_.


‘_Loch Leven_.’—PAGE 165.


‘The story was told me by George Mackreth, for many years parish-clerk of
Grasmere.  He had been an eye-witness of the occurrence.  The vessel in
reality was a washing-tub, which the little fellow had met with on the
shore of the loch.’

   Now we are tired of boisterous joy,
   Have romped enough, my little Boy!
   Jane hangs her head upon my breast,
   And you shall bring your stool and rest
         This corner is your own.

   There! take your seat, and let me see
   That you can listen quietly:
   And, as I promised, I will tell
   That strange adventure which befel
         A poor blind Highland Boy.

   A _Highland_ Boy!—why call him so?
   Because, my Darlings, ye must know
   That, under hills which rise like towers,
   Far higher hills than these of ours!
         He from his birth had lived.

   He ne’er had seen one earthly sight,
   The sun, the day; the stars, the night;
   Or tree, or butterfly, or flower,
   Or fish in stream, or bird in bower,
         Or woman, man, or child.

   And yet he neither drooped nor pined,
   Nor had a melancholy mind;
   For God took pity on the Boy,
   And was his friend; and gave him joy
         Of which we nothing know.

   His Mother, too, no doubt, above
   Her other children him did love:
   For, was she here, or was she there,
   She thought of him with constant care,
         And more than mother’s love.

   And proud she was of heart, when clad
   In crimson stockings, tartan plaid,
   And bonnet with a feather gay,
   To Kirk he on the sabbath day
         Went hand in hand with her.

   A dog too, had he; not for need,
   But one to play with and to feed;
   Which would have led him, if bereft
   Of company or friends, and left
         Without a better guide.

   And then the bagpipes he could blow—
   And thus from house to house would go;
   And all were pleased to hear and see,
   For none made sweeter melody
         Than did the poor blind Boy.

   Yet he had many a restless dream;
   Both when he heard the eagles scream,
   And when he heard the torrents roar,
   And heard the water beat the shore
         Near which their cottage stood.

   Beside a lake their cottage stood,
   Not small like ours, a peaceful flood;
   But one of mighty size, and strange;
   That, rough or smooth, is full of change,
         And stirring in its bed.

   For to this lake, by night and day,
   The great Sea-water finds its way
   Through long, long windings of the hills
   And drinks up all the pretty rills
         And rivers large and strong:

   Then hurries back the road it came—
   Returns, on errand still the same;
   This did it when the earth was new;
   And this for evermore will do,
         As long as earth shall last.

   And, with the coming of the tide,
   Come boats and ships that safely ride
   Between the woods and lofty rocks;
   And to the shepherds with their flocks
         Bring tales of distant lands.

   And of those tales, whate’er they were,
   The blind Boy always had his share;
   Whether of mighty towns, or vales
   With warmer suns and softer gales,
         Or wonders of the Deep.

   Yet more it pleased him, more it stirred,
   When from the water-side he heard
   The shouting, and the jolly cheers;
   The bustle of the mariners
         In stillness or in storm.

   But what do his desires avail?
   For He must never handle sail;
   Nor mount the mast, nor row, nor float
   In sailor’s ship, or fisher’s boat,
         Upon the rocking waves.

   His Mother often thought, and said,
   What sin would be upon her head
   If she should suffer this: ‘My Son,
   Whate’er you do, leave this undone;
         The danger is so great.’

   Thus lived he by Loch-Leven’s side
   Still sounding with the sounding tide,
   And heard the billows leap and dance,
   Without a shadow of mischance,
         Till he was ten years old.

   When one day (and now mark me well,
   Ye soon shall know how this befel)
   He in a vessel of his own,
   On the swift flood is hurrying down,
         Down to the mighty Sea.

   In such a vessel never more
   May human creature leave the shore!
   If this or that way he should stir,
   Woe to the poor blind Mariner!
         For death will be his doom.

   But say what bears him?—Ye have seen
   The Indian’s bow, his arrows keen,
   Rare beasts, and birds with plumage bright;
   Gifts which, for wonder or delight,
         Are brought in ships from far.

   Such gifts had those seafaring men
   Spread round that haven in the glen;
   Each hut, perchance, might have its own,
   And to the Boy they all were known—
         He knew and prized them all.

   The rarest was a Turtle-shell
   Which he, poor Child, had studied well;
   A shell of ample size, and light
   As the pearly car of Amphitrite,
         That sportive dolphins drew.

   And, as a Coracle that braves
   On Vaga’s breast the fretful waves,
   This shell upon the deep would swim,
   And gaily lift its fearless brim
         Above the tossing surge.

   And this the little blind Boy knew:
   And he a story strange yet true
   Had heard, how in a shell like this
   An English Boy, O thought of bliss!
         Had stoutly launched from shore;

   Launched from the margin of a bay
   Among the Indian isles, where lay
   His father’s ship, and had sailed far—
   To join that gallant ship of war,
         In his delightful shell.

   Our Highland Boy oft visited
   The house that held this prize; and, led
   By choice or chance, did thither come
   One day when no one was at home,
         And found the door unbarred.

   While there he sate, alone and blind,
   That story flashed upon his mind;—
   A bold thought roused him, and he took
   The shell from out its secret nook,
         And bore it on his head.

   He launched his vessel,—and in pride
   Of spirit, from Loch-Leven’s side,
   Stepped into it—his thoughts all free
   As the light breezes that with glee
         Sang through the adventurer’s hair.

   A while he stood upon his feet;
   He felt the motion—took his seat;
   Still better pleased as more and more
   The tide retreated from the shore,
         And sucked, and sucked him in.

   And there he is in face of Heaven.
   How rapidly the Child is driven!
   The fourth part of a mile, I ween,
   He thus had gone, ere he was seen
         By any human eye.

   But when he was first seen, oh me,
   What shrieking and what misery!
   For many saw; among the rest
   His Mother, she who loved him best,
         She saw her poor blind Boy.

   But for the child, the sightless Boy,
   It is the triumph of his joy!
   The bravest traveller in balloon,
   Mounting as if to reach the moon,
         Was never half so blessed.

   And let him, let him go his way,
   Alone, and innocent, and gay!
   For, if good Angels love to wait
   On the forlorn unfortunate,
         This Child will take no harm.

   But now the passionate lament,
   Which from the crowd on shore was sent,
   The cries which broke from old and young
   In Gaelic, or the English tongue,
         Are stifled—all is still.

   And quickly with a silent crew,
   A boat is ready to pursue;
   And from the shore their course they take,
   And swiftly down the running lake
         They follow the blind Boy.

   But soon they move with softer pace;
   So have ye seen the fowler chase
   On Grasmere’s clear unruffled breast
   A youngling of the wild-duck’s nest
         With deftly-lifted oar;

   Or as the wily sailors crept
   To seize (while on the Deep it slept)
   The hapless creature which did dwell
   Erewhile within the dancing shell,
         They steal upon their prey.

   With sound the least that can be made,
   They follow, more and more afraid,
   More cautious as they draw more near;
   But in his darkness he can hear,
         And guesses their intent.

   ‘Lei-gha—Lei-gha’—he then cried out,
   ‘Lei-gha—Lei-gha’—with eager shout;
   Thus did he cry, and thus did pray,
   And what he meant was, ‘Keep away,
         And leave me to myself!’

   Alas! and when he felt their hands—
   You’ve often heard of magic wands,
   That with a motion overthrow
   A palace of the proudest show,
         Or melt it into air:

   So all his dreams—that inward light
   With which his soul had shone so bright—
   All vanished;—’twas a heart-felt cross
   To him, a heavy, bitter loss,
         As he had ever known.

   But hark! a gratulating voice,
   With which the very hills rejoice:
   ’Tis from the crowd, who tremblingly
   Have watched the event, and now can see
         That he is safe at last.

   And then, when he was brought to land,
   Full sure they were a happy band,
   Which, gathering round, did on the banks
   Of that great Water give God thanks,
         And welcomed the poor Child.

   And in the general joy of heart
   The blind Boy’s little dog took part;
   He leapt about, and oft did kiss
   His master’s hands in sign of bliss,
         With sound like lamentation.

   But most of all, his Mother dear,
   She who had fainted with her fear,
   Rejoiced when waking she espies
   The Child; when she can trust her eyes,
         And touches the blind Boy.

   She led him home, and wept amain,
   When he was in the house again:
   Tears flowed in torrents from her eyes;
   She kissed him—how could she chastise?
         She was too happy far.

   Thus, after he had fondly braved
   The perilous Deep, the Boy was saved;
   And, though his fancies had been wild,
   Yet he was pleased and reconciled
         To live in peace on shore.

   And in the lonely Highland dell
   Still do they keep the Turtle-shell;
   And long the story will repeat
   Of the blind Boy’s adventurous feat,
         And how he was preserved.


‘_Mirrors upon the ceiling and against the walls_.’—PAGE 210.


   What He—who, mid the kindred throng
   Of Heroes that inspired his song,
   Doth yet frequent the hill of storms,
   The stars dim-twinkling through their forms!
   What! Ossian here—a painted Thrall,
   Mute fixture on a stuccoed wall;
   To serve—an unsuspected screen
   For show that must not yet be seen;
   And, when the moment comes, to part
   And vanish by mysterious art;
   Head, harp, and body, split asunder,
   For ingress to a world of wonder;
   A gay saloon, with waters dancing
   Upon the sight wherever glancing;
   One loud cascade in front, and lo!
   A thousand like it, white as snow—
   Streams on the walls, and torrent-foam
   As active round the hollow dome,
   Illusive cataracts! of their terrors
   Not stripped, nor voiceless in the mirrors,
   That catch the pageant from the flood
   Thundering adown a rocky wood.
   What pains to dazzle and confound!
   What strife of colour, shape, and sound
   In this quaint medley, that might seem
   Devised out of a sick man’s dream!
   Strange scene, fantastic and uneasy
   As ever made a maniac dizzy,
   When disenchanted from the mood
   That loves on sullen thoughts to brood!

      O Nature—in thy changeful visions,
   Through all thy most abrupt transitions,
   Smooth, graceful, tender, or sublime—
   Ever averse to pantomime,
   Thee neither do they know nor us
   Thy servants, who can trifle thus;
   Else verily the sober powers
   Of rock that frowns, and stream that roars,
   Exalted by congenial sway
   Of Spirits, and the undying Lay,
   And Names that moulder not away,
   Had wakened some redeeming thought
   More worthy of this favoured Spot;
   Recalled some feeling—to set free
   The Bard from such indignity!

      The Effigies of a valiant Wight
   I once beheld, a Templar Knight; {295}
   Not prostrate, not like those that rest
   On tombs, with palms together prest,
   But sculptured out of living stone,
   And standing upright and alone,
   Both hands with rival energy
   Employed in setting his sword free
   From its dull sheath—stern sentinel
   Intent to guard St. Robert’s cell;
   As if with memory of the affray
   Far distant, when, as legends say,
   The Monks of Fountain’s thronged to force
   From its dear home the Hermit’s corse,
   That in their keeping it might lie,
   To crown their abbey’s sanctity.
   So had they rushed into the grot
   Of sense despised, a world forgot,
   And torn him from his loved retreat,
   Where altar-stone and rock-hewn seat
   Still hint that quiet best is found,
   Even by the _Living_, under ground;
   But a bold Knight, the selfish aim
   Defeating, put the Monks to shame,
   There where you see his Image stand
   Bare to the sky, with threatening brand
   Which lingering NID is proud to show
   Reflected in the pool below.

      Thus, like the men of earliest days,
   Our sires set forth their grateful praise:
   Uncouth the workmanship, and rude!
   But, nursed in mountain solitude,
   Might some aspiring artist dare
   To seize whate’er, through misty air,
   A ghost, by glimpses, may present
   Of imitable lineament,
   And give the phantom an array
   That less should scorn the abandoned clay;
   Then let him hew with patient stroke
   An Ossian out of mural rock,
   And leave the figurative Man—
   Upon thy margin, roaring Bran!—
   Fixed like the Templar of the steep,
   An everlasting watch to keep;
   With local sanctities in trust,
   More precious than a hermit’s dust;
   And virtues through the mass infused,
   Which old idolatry abused.

      What though the Granite would deny
   All fervour to the sightless eye;
   And touch from rising suns in vain
   Solicit a Memnonian strain;
   Yet, in some fit of anger sharp,
   The wind might force the deep-grooved harp
   To utter melancholy moans
   Not unconnected with the tones
   Of soul-sick flesh and weary bones;
   While grove and river notes would lend,
   Less deeply sad, with these to blend!

      Vain pleasures of luxurious life,
   For ever with yourselves at strife;
   Through town and country both deranged
   By affectations interchanged,
   And all the perishable gauds
   That heaven-deserted man applauds;
   When will your hapless patrons learn
   To watch and ponder—to discern
   The freshness, the everlasting youth,
   Of admiration sprung from truth;
   From beauty infinitely growing
   Upon a mind with love o’erflowing—
   To sound the depths of every Art
   That seeks its wisdom through the heart?

      Thus (where the intrusive Pile, ill-graced
   With baubles of theatric taste,
   O’erlooks the torrent breathing showers
   On motley bands of alien flowers
   In stiff confusion set or sown,
   Till Nature cannot find her own,
   Or keep a remnant of the sod
   Which Caledonian Heroes trod)
   I mused; and, thirsting for redress,
   Recoiled into the wilderness.


‘_Three or four times the size of Bowder Stone_.’—PAGE 225.

From the _Tour in Scotland_, 1814:—‘The account of the Brownie’s Cell and
the Ruins was given me by a man we met with on the banks of Loch Lomond,
a little above Tarbet, and in front of a huge mass of rock, by the side
of which we were told preachings were often held in the open air.  The
place is quite a solitude, and the surrounding scenery quite striking.’




   To barren heath, bleak moor, and quaking fen,
   Or depth of labyrinthine glen;
   Or into trackless forest set
   With trees, whose lofty umbrage met;
   World-wearied Men withdrew of yore;
   (Penance their trust, and prayer their store;)
   And in the wilderness were bound
   To such apartments as they found;
   Or with a new ambition raised;
   That God might suitably be praised.


   High lodged the Warrior, like a bird of prey;
   Or where broad waters round him lay:
   But this wild Ruin is no ghost
   Of his devices—buried, lost!
   Within this little lonely isle
   There stood a consecrated Pile;
   Where tapers burned, and mass was sung,
   For them whose timid Spirits clung
   To mortal succour, though the tomb
   Had fixed, for ever fixed, their doom!


   Upon those servants of another world,
   When madding Power her bolts had hurled,
   Their habitation shook;—it fell,
   And perished, save one narrow cell;
   Whither at length, a Wretch retired
   Who neither grovelled nor aspired:
   He, struggling in the net of pride,
   The future scorned, the past defied;
   Still tempering, from the unguilty forge
   Of vain conceit, an iron scourge!


   Proud Remnant was he of a fearless Race,
   Who stood and flourished face to face
   With their perennial hills;—but Crime,
   Hastening the stern decrees of Time,
   Brought low a Power, which from its home
   Burst, when repose grew wearisome;
   And, taking impulse from the sword,
   And, mocking its own plighted word,
   Had found, in ravage widely dealt,
   Its warfare’s bourn, its travel’s belt!


   All, all were dispossessed, save him whose smile
   Shot lightning through this lonely Isle!
   No right had he but what he made
   To this small spot, his leafy shade;
   But the ground lay within that ring
   To which he only dared to cling;
   Renouncing here, as worse than dead,
   The craven few who bowed the head
   Beneath the change; who heard a claim
   How loud! yet lived in peace with shame.


   From year to year this shaggy Mortal went
   (So seemed it) down a strange descent:
   Till they, who saw his outward frame,
   Fixed on him an unhallowed name;
   Him, free from all malicious taint,
   And guiding, like the Patmos Saint,
   A pen unwearied—to indite,
   In his lone Isle, the dreams of night;
   Impassioned dreams, that strove to span
   The faded glories of his Clan!


   Suns that through blood their western harbour sought,
   And stars that in their courses fought;
   Towers rent, winds combating with woods,
   Lands deluged by unbridled floods;
   And beast and bird that from the spell
   Of sleep took import terrible;—
   These types mysterious (if the show
   Of battle and the routed foe
   Had failed) would furnish an array
   Of matter for the dawning day!


   How disappeared He?—ask the newt and toad,
   Inheritors of his abode;
   The otter crouching undisturbed,
   In her dark cleft;—but be thou curbed,
   O froward Fancy! ’mid a scene
   Of aspect winning and serene;
   For those offensive creatures shun
   The inquisition of the sun!
   And in this region flowers delight,
   And all is lovely to the sight.


   Spring finds not here a melancholy breast,
   When she applies her annual test
   To dead and living; when her breath
   Quickens, as now, the withered heath;—
   Nor flaunting Summer—when he throws
   His soul into the briar-rose;
   Or calls the lily from her sleep
   Prolonged beneath the bordering deep;
   Nor Autumn, when the viewless wren
   Is warbling near the BROWNIE’S Den.


   Wild Relique! beauteous as the chosen spot
   In Nysa’s isle, the embellished grot;
   Whither, by care of Libyan Jove,
   (High Servant of paternal Love)
   Young Bacchus was conveyed—to lie
   Safe from his step-dame Rhea’s eye;
   Where bud, and bloom, and fruitage, glowed,
   Close-crowding round the infant god;
   All colours,—and the liveliest streak
   A foil to his celestial cheek!


‘_The bonny Holms of Yarrow_.’—PAGE 254.

In the _Tour in Scotland_, 1814, the Poet writes:—‘I seldom read or think
of this Poem without regretting that my dear sister was not of the party,
as she would have had so much delight in recalling the time when
travelling together in Scotland we declined going in search of this
celebrated stream.’


   And is this—Yarrow?—_This_ the Stream
      Of which my fancy cherished,
   So faithfully, a waking dream?
      An image that hath perished!
   O that some Minstrel’s harp were near,
      To utter notes of gladness,
   And chase this silence from the air,
      That fills my heart with sadness!

   Yet why?—a silvery current flows
      With uncontrolled meanderings;
   Nor have these eyes by greener hills
      Been soothed, in all my wanderings.
   And, through her depths, St. Mary’s Lake
      Is visibly delighted;
   For not a feature of those hills
      Is in the mirror slighted.

   A blue sky bends o’er Yarrow vale,
      Save where that pearly whiteness
   Is round the rising sun diffused
      A tender hazy brightness;
   Mild dawn of promise! that excludes
      All profitless dejection;
   Though not unwilling here to admit
      A pensive recollection.

   Where was it that the famous Flower
      Of Yarrow Vale lay bleeding?
   His bed perchance was yon smooth mound
      On which the herd is feeding:
   And haply from this crystal pool,
      Now peaceful as the morning,
   The Water-wraith ascended thrice—
      And gave his doleful warning.

   Delicious is the Lay that sings
      The haunts of happy Lovers,
   The path that leads them to the grove,
      The leafy grove that covers:
   And Pity sanctifies the Verse
      That paints, by strength of sorrow,
   The unconquerable strength of love;
      Bear witness, rueful Yarrow!

   But thou, that didst appear so fair
      To fond imagination,
   Dost rival in the light of day
      Her delicate creation:
   Meek loveliness is round thee spread,
      A softness still and holy;
   The grace of forest charms decayed,
      And pastoral melancholy.

   That region left, the vale unfolds
      Rich groves of lofty stature,
   With Yarrow winding through the pomp
      Of cultivated nature;
   And, rising from those lofty groves,
      Behold a Ruin hoary!
   The shattered front of Newark’s Towers,
      Renowned in Border story.

   Fair scenes for childhood’s opening bloom,
      For sportive youth to stray in;
   For manhood to enjoy his strength;
      And age to wear away in!
   Yon cottage seems a bower of bliss,
      A covert for protection
   Of tender thoughts, that nestle there—
      The brood of chaste affection.

   How sweet, on this autumnal day,
      The wild-wood fruits to gather,
   And on my True-love’s forehead plant
      A crest of blooming heather!
   And what if I enwreathed my own!
      ’Twere no offence to reason;
   The sober Hills thus deck their brows
      To meet the wintry season.

   I see—but not by sight alone,
      Loved Yarrow, have I won thee;
   A ray of fancy still survives—
      Her sunshine plays upon thee!
   Thy ever-youthful waters keep
      A course of lively pleasure;
   And gladsome notes my lips can breathe,
      Accordant to the measure.

   The vapours linger round the Heights,
      They melt, and soon must vanish;
   One hour is theirs, nor more is mine—
      Sad thoughts, which I would banish,
   But that I know, where’er I go,
      Thy genuine image, Yarrow!
   Will dwell with me—to heighten joy,
      And cheer my mind in sorrow.

It may interest many to read Wordsworth’s own comment on the two
following poems.  ‘On Tuesday morning,’ he says, ‘Sir Walter Scott
accompanied us and most of the party to Newark Castle, on the Yarrow.
When we alighted from the carriages he walked pretty stoutly, and had
great pleasure in revisiting there his favourite haunts.  Of that
excursion the verses “Yarrow Revisited” are a memorial.  Notwithstanding
the romance that pervades Sir Walter’s works, and attaches to many of his
habits, there is too much pressure of fact for these verses to harmonize,
as much as I could wish, with the two preceding poems.  On our return in
the afternoon, we had to cross the Tweed, directly opposite Abbotsford.
The wheels of our carriage grated upon the pebbles in the bed of the
stream, that there flows somewhat rapidly.  A rich but sad light, of
rather a purple than a golden hue, was spread over the Eildon Hills at
that moment; and thinking it probable that it might be the last time Sir
Walter would cross the stream, I was not a little moved, and expressed
some of my feelings in the sonnet beginning

   “A trouble not of clouds,” etc.

At noon on Thursday we left Abbotsford, and on the morning of that day
Sir Walter and I had a serious conversation, _tête-à-tête_, when he spoke
with gratitude of the happy life which, upon the whole, he had led.

                                * * * * *

‘In this interview also it was, that, upon my expressing a hope of his
health being benefited by the climate of the country to which he was
going, and by the interest he would take in the classic remembrances of
Italy, he made use of the quotation from “Yarrow Unvisited,” as recorded
by me in the “Musings near Aquapendente,” six years afterwards. . . .
Both the “Yarrow Revisited” and the “Sonnet” were sent him before his
departure from England.’


   The gallant Youth, who may have gained,
      Or seeks, a ‘winsome Marrow,’
   Was but an Infant in the lap
      When first I looked on Yarrow;
   Once more, by Newark’s Castle-gate
      Long left without a warder,
   I stood, looked, listened, and with Thee,
      Great Minstrel of the Border!

   Grave thoughts ruled wide on that sweet day,
      Their dignity installing
   In gentle bosoms, while sere leaves
      Were on the bough, or falling;
   But breezes played, and sunshine gleamed—
      The forest to embolden;
   Reddened the fiery hues, and shot
      Transparence through the golden.

   For busy thoughts the Stream flowed on
      In foamy agitation;
   And slept in many a crystal pool
      For quiet contemplation:
   No public and no private care
      The freeborn mind enthralling,
   We made a day of happy hours,
      Our happy days recalling.

   Brisk Youth appeared, the Morn of youth,
      With freaks of graceful folly,—
   Life’s temperate Noon, her sober Eve,
      Her Night not melancholy;
   Past, present, future, all appeared
      In harmony united,
   Like guests that meet, and some from far,
      By cordial love invited.

   And if, as Yarrow, through the woods
      And down the meadow ranging,
   Did meet us with unaltered face,
      Though we were changed and changing;
   If, _then_, some natural shadows spread,
      Our inward prospect over,
   The soul’s deep valley was not slow
      Its brightness to recover.

   Eternal blessings on the Muse,
      And her divine employment!
   The blameless Muse, who trains her Sons
      For hope and calm enjoyment;
   Albeit sickness, lingering yet,
      Has o’er their pillow brooded;
   And Care waylays their steps—a Sprite
      Not easily eluded.

   For thee, O SCOTT! compelled to change
      Green Eildon-hill and Cheviot
   For warm Vesuvio’s vine-clad slopes;
      And leave thy Tweed and Teviot
   For mild Sorento’s breezy waves;
      May classic Fancy, linking
   With native Fancy her fresh aid,
      Preserve thy heart from sinking!

   O! while they minister to thee,
      Each vying with the other,
   May Health return to mellow Age,
      With Strength, her venturous brother;
   And Tiber, and each brook and rill
      Renowned in song and story,
   With unimagined beauty shine,
      Nor lose one ray of glory!

   For Thou, upon a hundred streams,
      By tales of love and sorrow,
   Of faithful love, undaunted truth
      Hast shed the power of Yarrow;
   And streams unknown, hills yet unseen,
      Wherever they invite Thee,
   At parent Nature’s grateful call,
      With gladness must requite Thee.

   A gracious welcome shall be thine,
      Such looks of love and honour
   As thy own Yarrow gave to me
      When first I gazed upon her;
   Beheld what I had feared to see,
      Unwilling to surrender
   Dreams treasured up from early days,
      The holy and the tender.

   And what, for this frail world, were all,
      That mortals do or suffer,
   Did no responsive harp, no pen,
      Memorial tribute offer?
   Yea, what were mighty Nature’s self?
      Her features, could they win us,
   Unhelped by the poetic voice
      That hourly speaks within us?

   Nor deem that localised Romance
      Plays false with our affections;
   Unsanctifies our tears—made sport
      For fanciful dejections:
   Ah, no! the visions of the past
      Sustain the heart in feeling
   Life as she is—our changeful Life,
      With friends and kindred dealing.

   Bear witness, Ye, whose thoughts that day
      In Yarrow’s groves were centred;
   Who through the silent portal arch
      Of mouldering Newark enter’d;
   And clomb the winding stair that once
      Too timidly was mounted
   By the ‘last Minstrel,’ (not the last!)
      Ere he his Tale recounted.

   Flow on for ever, Yarrow Stream!
      Fulfil thy pensive duty,
   Well pleased that future Bards should chant
      For simple hearts thy beauty;
   To dream-light dear while yet unseen,
      Dear to the common sunshine,
   And dearer still, as now I feel,
      To memory’s shadowy moonshine!


      A trouble, not of clouds, or weeping rain,
      Nor of the setting sun’s pathetic light
      Engendered, hangs o’er Eildon’s triple height:
      Spirits of Power, assembled there, complain
      For kindred Power departing from their sight;
      While Tweed, best pleased in chanting a blithe strain,
   Saddens his voice again, and yet again.

   Lift up your hearts, ye Mourners! for the might
   Of the whole world’s good wishes with him goes;
   Blessings and prayers in nobler retinue
   Than sceptered king or laurelled conqueror knows,
   Follow this wondrous Potentate.  Be true,
   Ye winds of ocean, and the midland sea,
   Wafting your Charge to soft Parthenope!


[Compare with this Sonnet the poem composed about thirty years earlier on
nearly the same spot of ground, ‘What! you are stepping westward?’  (See
p. 221.)  This earlier poem, one of the most truly ethereal and ideal
Wordsworth ever wrote, is filled with the overflowing spirit of life and
hope.  In every line of it we feel the exulting pulse of the

         ‘traveller through the world that lay
   Before him on his endless way.’

The later one is stilled down to perfect autumnal quiet.  There is in it
the chastened pensiveness of one to whom all things now

         ‘do take a sober colouring from an eye
   That hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality.’

But the sadness has at the heart of it peaceful hope.  This is
Wordsworth’s own comment:—‘As recorded in my sister’s Journal, I had
first seen the Trossachs in her and Coleridge’s company.  The sentiment
that runs through this sonnet was natural to the season in which I again
visited this beautiful spot; but this and some other sonnets that follow
were coloured by the remembrance of my recent visit to Sir Walter Scott,
and the melancholy errand on which he was going.’]

   There’s not a nook within this solemn Pass,
   But were an apt confessional for One
   Taught by his summer spent, his autumn gone,
   That Life is but a tale of morning grass
   Withered at eve.  From scenes of art which chase
   That thought away, turn, and with watchful eyes
   Feed it ’mid Nature’s old felicities,
   Rocks, rivers, and smooth lakes more clear than glass
   Untouched, unbreathed upon.  Thrice happy quest,
   If from a golden perch of aspen spray
   (October’s workmanship to rival May)
   The pensive warbler of the ruddy breast
   That moral sweeten by a heaven-taught lay,
   Lulling the year, with all its cares, to rest!


{2}  NOTE 1.—‘_Hatfield was condemned_.’—PAGE 2.

James Hatfield, indicted for having, in the Lake district, under the
assumed name of Hon. Alexander Augustus Hope, brother of the Earl of
Hopetoun, forged certain bills of exchange.  He was condemned to death at
Carlisle on August 16, 1803.  His atrocious treatment of a beautiful
girl, known in the district as ‘Mary of Buttermere,’ had drawn more than
usual attention to the criminal.

{5}  NOTE 2.—‘_In Captain Wordsworth’s ship_.’—PAGES xxx, 3.

The ‘Brother John’ here alluded to was a sailor.  He was about two years
and eight months younger than the poet, who found in him quite a
congenial spirit.  He perished, with nearly all his crew, in the ‘Earl of
Abergavenny,’ East-Indiaman, which he commanded, and which, owing to the
incompetency of a pilot, was in his last outward voyage wrecked on the
Shambles of the Bill of Portland on the night of Friday, February 5,
1805.  His brother William speaks of him in verse, as ‘a silent poet,’
and in prose describes him as ‘meek, affectionate, silently enthusiastic,
loving all quiet things, and a poet in everything but words.’  Allusions
to this sailor-brother occur in several of the poems, as in those lines
beginning ‘When to the attractions of the busy world,’ to be found among
the ‘Poems on the Naming of Places,’ also in the ‘Elegiac Stanzas
suggested by a Picture of Peele Castle in a Storm,’ and in other poems.

{3}  NOTE 3.—‘_There is no stone to mark the spot_.’—PAGE 5.

‘The body of Burns was not allowed to remain long in this place.  To suit
the plan of a rather showy mausoleum, his remains were removed into a
more commodious spot of the same kirkyard on the 5th July 1815.  The
coffin was partly dissolved away; but the dark curling locks of the poet
were as glossy, and seemed as fresh, as on the day of his death.’—_Life
of Burns_, by Allan Cunningham.

{19}  NOTE 4.—‘They had a large library.’—PAGE 19.

The following account of this library is taken from Dr. John Brown’s
delightful tract, _The Enterkin_.  The author will excuse wholesale
appropriation to illustrate a journal which, I believe, will be dear to
him, and to all who feel as he does:—

    ‘The miners at Leadhills are a reading, a hard-reading people; and to
    any one looking into the catalogue of their “Reading Society,”
    selected by the men themselves for their own uses and tastes, this
    will be manifest.  We have no small gratification in holding their
    diploma of honorary membership—signed by the preses and clerk, and
    having the official seal, significant of the craft of the place—of
    this, we venture to say, one of the oldest and best village-libraries
    in the kingdom, having been founded in 1741, when the worthy miners
    of that day, headed by James Wells and clerked by William Wright,
    did, on the 23d November, “condescend upon certain articles and
    laws”—as grave and thorough as if they were the constitution of a
    commonwealth, and as sturdily independent as if no Earl were their
    superior and master.  “It is hereby declared that no right is hereby
    given, nor shall at any time be given, to the said Earl of Hopetoun,
    or his aforesaids, or to any person or persons whatever, of disposing
    of any books or other effects whatever belonging to the Society, nor
    of taking any concern with the Society’s affairs,” etc.  As an
    indication of the wild region and the distances travelled, one of the
    rules is, “that every member not residing in Leadhills shall be
    provided with a bag sufficient to keep out the rain.”  Here is the
    stiff, covenanting dignity cropping out—“Every member shall (at the
    annual meeting) deliver what he hath to say to the preses; and if two
    or more members attempt to speak at a time, the preses shall
    determine who shall speak first;” and “members guilty of indecency,
    or unruly, obstinate behaviour” are to be punished “by fine,
    suspension, or exclusion, according to the nature of the
    transgression.”  The Westminster Divines could not have made a
    tighter job.’

{31b}  NOTE 5.—‘_The first view of the Clyde_.’—PAGE 31.

This was not their first view of the Clyde.  They had been travelling
within sight of it without knowing it for full twenty miles before this,
ever since coming down the Daer Water from Leadhills to Elvanfoot: they
there reached the meeting-place of that water with a small stream that
flows from Ericstane.  These two united become the Clyde.

{41}  NOTE 6.—‘_I wished Joanna had been there to laugh_.’—PAGE 41.

Joanna Hutchinson, Mrs. Wordsworth’s sister.  Among the ‘Poems on the
Naming of Places’ is one addressed to her, in 1800, in which the
following well-known lines occur:—

               “As it befel,
   One summer morning we had walked abroad
   At break of day, Joanna and myself.
   —’Twas that delightful season when the broom,
   Full-flowered, and visible on every steep,
   Along the copses runs in veins of gold.
   Our pathway led us on to Rotha’s banks,
   And when we came in front of that tall rock
   That eastward looks, I there stopped short and stood
   Tracing the lofty barrier with my eye
   From base to summit; such delight I found
   To note in shrub and tree, in stone and flower
   That intermixture of delicious hues,
   Along so vast a surface, all at once,
   In one impression, by connecting force
   Of their own beauty, imaged in the heart.
   —When I had gazed perhaps two minutes’ space,
   Joanna, looking in my eyes, beheld
   That ravishment of mine, and laughed aloud;
   The Rock, like something starting from a sleep,
   Took up the Lady’s voice and laughed again;
   That ancient woman seated on Helm Crag
   Was ready with her cavern; Hammarscar,
   And the tall Steep of Silverhaw, sent forth
   A noise of laughter; southern Loughrigg heard,
   And Fairfield answered with a mountain tone;
   Helvellyn far into the clear blue sky
   Carried the Lady’s voice,—old Skiddaw blew
   His speaking-trumpet;—back out of the clouds
   Of Glaramara southward came the voice;
   And Kirkstone tossed it from his misty head.’

In his comments made on his Poems late in life, Wordsworth said of this
one:—‘The effect of her laugh is an extravagance; though the effect of
the reverberation of voices in some parts of the mountains is very
striking.  There is, in the “Excursion,” an allusion to the bleat of a
lamb thus re-echoed, and described without any exaggeration, as I heard
it, on the side of Stickle Tarn, from the precipice that stretches on to
Langdale Pikes.’

{68}  NOTE 7.—‘_With two bells hanging in the open air_.’—PAGE 68.

‘When I wrote this account of the village of Luss, I fully believed I had
a perfect recollection of the two bells, as I have described them; but I
am half tempted to think they have been a creation of my own fancy,
though no image that I know I have actually seen is at this day more
vividly impressed upon my mind.’—_MS. note_, _Author_, 1806.

{70}  NOTE 8.—‘_Her countenance corresponded with the unkindness of
denying us a fire in a cold night_.’—PAGE 70.

The writer, inhospitably as she had been treated, was more fortunate than
a distinguished French traveller, who arrived at Luss at night, a few
years earlier.  The hostess made signs to him that he should not speak,
hustled him into a stable, and said solemnly, ‘The Justiciary Lords do me
the honour to lodge here when they are on this circuit.  There is one of
them here at present.  He is asleep, and nobody must disturb him.’  And
forthwith she drove him out into the rain and darkness, saying, ‘How can
I help it?  Make no noise, his Lordship must not be disturbed.  Every one
should pay respect to the law.  God bless you.  Farewell.’  And on they
had to go fifteen miles to Tarbet.—St. Fond’s _Travels_, vol. i. p. 233.

{80b}  NOTE 9.—‘_I could not help smiling when I saw him lying by the
roadside_.’—PAGE 80.

‘The ferryman happened to mention that a fellow-countryman of his had
lately come from America—a wild sort of genius.  This reminded us of our
friend whom we had met at Loch Lomond, and we found that it was the same
person.  He was the brother of the Lady of Glengyle, who had made a
gentleman of him by new-clothing him from head to foot.  “But,” said the
ferryman, “when the clothes are worn out, and his sister is tired of
supplying him with pocket-money (which will probably be very soon), he
will be obliged to betake himself again to America.”  The Lady of
Glengyle has a house not far from the ferry-house, but she now lives
mostly at Callander for the sake of educating her son.’—_Author’s MS._,

{100}  NOTE 10.—‘_In a word_, _the Trossachs beggar all description_.’
PAGE 100.

The world believes, and will continue to believe, that Scott was the
first ‘Sassenach’ who discovered the Trossachs, as it was his Poem which
gave them world-wide celebrity.  It would probably be as impossible to
alter this impression, as it would be to substitute for Shakespeare’s
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth the very different versions of the facts and
characters which historical research has brought to light.  And yet it
would be interesting, to those who care for truth and fact, to inquire,
did time allow, what first brought the Trossachs into notice, and who
first did so.  That they had, as I have said in the Preface, some fame
before Scott’s Poem appeared, is clear, else a stranger like Wordsworth
would never have gone so far out of his way to search for them.  Pending
a thorough examination of the question, it may be worth while here to
note the following facts.  Miss Wordsworth refers in the text to some
work on the Trossachs, from which the words at the head of this note are

I was under the impression that the work referred to was the well-known
‘Sketches descriptive of Picturesque Scenery on the Southern Confines of
Perthshire,’ by the Rev. Patrick Graham, minister of Aberfoyle, but it is
satisfactory to find that Mr. Graham was not alone in his admiration of
Highland scenery in those early days.  A neighbour of his, the Rev. James
Robertson, who was presented to the parish of Callander in 1768, wrote a
description of the Trossachs in Sir John Sinclair’s Statistical Account,
and from the fact of his using the very sentence quoted by Miss
Wordsworth, I have no doubt he was the author of the little pamphlet.
Miss Spence in her ‘Caledonian Excursion,’ 1811, says that the Honourable
Mrs. Murray told the minister of Callander that Scott ought to have
dedicated ‘The Lady of the Lake’ to her as the discoverer of the
Trossachs—‘Pray, Madam,’ said the good doctor, ‘when did you write your
Tour?’  ‘In the year 1794.’ {314}  ‘Then, Madam, it is no presumption in
me to consider that I was the person who in 1790 made the Trossachs first
known, for except to the natives and a few individuals in this
neighbourhood, this remarkable place had never been heard of.’  Mr.
Robertson died in 1812.  There were thus at least two notices of the
Trossachs published before Mr. Graham’s Sketches: these were not
published till 1806.  _The Lady of the Lake_ was first published in 1810.

{101}  NOTE 11.—‘Dutch myrtle.’—PAGE 101.

This seems to be the name by which Miss Wordsworth knew the plant which
Lowlanders generally call _bog myrtle_, Border men _gale_, or _sweet
gale_, and Highlanders _roid_ (pronounced as _roitch_).  Botanists, I
believe, know it as _Myrica Gale_, a most fragrant plant or shrub,
growing generally in moist and mossy ground.  Perhaps nothing more surely
brings back the feeling that you are in the very Highlands than the first
scent of this plant caught on the breeze.

{116}  NOTE 12.—‘_Bonnier than Loch Lomond_.’—PAGE 116.

As an illustration of local jealousy, I may mention that when Mr.
Jamieson, the editor of the fifth edition of Burt’s Letters, was in the
Highlands in 1814, four years after the publication of Scott’s Poem, and
eleven after the Wordsworths’ visit, he met a savage-looking fellow on
the top of Ben Lomond, the image of ‘Red Murdoch,’ who told him that he
had been a guide to the mountain for more than forty years, but now ‘a
Walter Scott’ had spoiled his trade.  ‘I wish,’ said he, ‘I had him in a
ferry over Loch Lomond; I should be after sinking the boat, if I drowned
myself into the bargain, for ever since he wrote his “Lady of the Lake,”
as they call it, everybody goes to see that filthy hole, Loch Ketterine.
The devil confound his ladies and his lakes!’

{145}  NOTE 13.—‘_For poor Ann Tyson’s sake_.’—PAGE 145.

The dame with whom Wordsworth lodged at Hawkshead.  Of her he has spoken
with affectionate tenderness in the ‘Prelude:’—

    ‘The thoughts of gratitude shall fall like dew
    Upon thy grave, good creature!’

Her garden, its brook, and dark pine tree, and the stone table under it,
were all dear to his memory, and the chamber in which he

    ‘Had lain awake on summer nights to watch
    The moon in splendour couched among the leaves
    Of a tall ash that near our cottage stood.’

She lived to above fourscore; unmarried, and loving her young inmates as
her children, and beloved by them as a mother.

    ‘Childless, yet by the strangers to her blood
    Honoured with little less than filial love.’

                                          _Wordsworth’s Life_, vol. i. 39.

{196}  NOTE 14.—‘_The woman said it had been a palace_.’—PAGE 196.

A mistake.  The old mansion here described was the building formerly used
as a prison-house of the Regality of Athole in which the Dukes, and
formerly the Earls, of Athole confined their criminals during the ages
when they, in common with all the other Scottish Barons, exercised the
right of heritable jurisdiction.  This right was abolished after the ’45,
and then this, like all other baronial prison-houses, fell into disuse
and decay.  Nearly entire seventy years ago, it has now wholly
disappeared, having been used up, no doubt, as material for the
neighbouring buildings.  There was, however, at Logierait, a Royal
Castle, from which the place itself and the large adjacent parish take
their name—Lag-an-raith, the hollow of the Castle,—while the neighbouring
small hamlet and railway station on the other side of the Tummel are
called Balla-na-luig—the town of the hollow.  The Castle stood on a high
knoll overlooking the church and inn of Logierait, commanding a view of
the junction of the Tummel and the Tay immediately underneath, and of the
whole of southern Athole, as far as Dunkeld.  This knoll is now crowned
by a high Celtic cross, memorial of the late Duke of Athole.  Immediately
around it are seen lying here and there blocks of solid masonry, the sole
remnants of the Castle in which Robert II. is said to have dwelt during
his visits to Athole.  Traces of the Castle moat are still discernible.

{229}  NOTE 15.—‘_Rob Roy’s grave was there_.’—PAGE 229.

Regarding this Wordsworth says, ‘I have since been told that I was
misinformed as to the burial-place of Rob Roy; if so, I may plead in
excuse that I wrote on apparent good authority, namely, that of a
well-educated lady who lived at the head of the lake, within a mile or
less of the point indicated as containing the remains of one so famous in
that neighbourhood.’

The real burial-place of Rob Roy is the Kirkton of Balquhidder, at the
lower end of Loch Voil.  The grave is covered by a rude grey slab, on
which a long claymore is roughly engraved.  The Guide-book informs us
that the arms on his tombstone are a Scotch pine, the badge of Clan
Gregor, crossed by a sword, and supporting a crown, this last to denote
the relationship claimed by the Gregarach with the royal Stuarts.  When I
last saw the tombstone, as far as I remember, I observed nothing but the
outline of the long sword.

{237}  NOTE 16.—‘_Thomas Wilkinson’s_ “_Tour in Scotland_.”’—PAGE 237.

Probably one of Wilkinson’s poems, of which Wordsworth speaks
occasionally in his letters.  ‘The present Lord Lonsdale has a neighbour,
a Quaker, an amiable, inoffensive man, and a little of a poet too, who
has amused himself upon his own small estate upon the Emont, in twining
pathways along the banks of the river, making little cells and bowers
with inscriptions of his own writing.’—_Letter to Sir G. Beaumont_,
_Oct._ 17, 1805.

Wordsworth wrote the poem ‘To a Spade of a Friend,’ composed ‘while we
were labouring together in his pleasure-grounds,’ commencing—

   ‘Spade with which Wilkinson hath tilled his land,
   And shaped these pleasant walks by Emont’s side,’

in memory of this friend.—See _Life_, vol. i. pp. 55, 323, 349.


                                   MILES                         MILES

Grasmere to Keswick                   13  Suie (road                13

Hesket Newmarket (road very           15  Killin                     7
bad)                                      (tolerable)

Carlisle (bad road)                   14  Kenmore                   15

Longtown (newly mended, not            8  Blair (bad)               23

Annan (good)                          14  Fascally                  18

Dumfries (good)                       15  Dunkeld (bad)             12

Brownhill (pretty good)               12  Ambletree                 10

Leadhills (tolerable)                 19  Crieff                    11

Douglass Mill (very bad)              12  Loch Erne Head            20

Lanark (baddish)                       9  Callander (most           14

Hamilton (tolerable)                  15  Trossachs                 16

Glasgow (tolerable)                   11  Ferryman’s                 8
                                          House (about 8)

Dumbarton (very good)                 15  Callander to              27

Luss (excellent)                      13  Edinburgh                 24

Tarbet (not bad)                       8  Roslin (good)              6

Arrochar (good)                        2  Peebles (good)            16

Cairndow (middling)                   12  Clovenford                16

Inverary (very good)                  10  Melrose                    8

Dalmally (tolerable)                  16  Dryburgh (good)            4

Taynuilt (excellent)                  13  Jedburgh                  10

Portnacroish (tolerable)              15  Hawick (good)             12

Ballachulish (part most               12  Langholm (very            24
excellent)                                good)

King’s House (bad)                    12  Longtown (good)           12

Tyndrum (good)                        18  Carlisle                   8

                                          Grasmere                  36


{0a}  See Essays of R. H. Hutton, Esq., vol. ii.

{0b}  See Appendix, pp. 304, 307.

{0c}  The following is the entry referred to:—

    ‘October 4th, 1832.—I find that this tour was both begun and ended on
    a Sunday.  I am sorry that it should have been so, though I hope and
    trust that our thoughts and feelings were not seldom as pious and
    serious as if we had duly attended a place devoted to public worship.
    My sentiments have undergone a great change since 1803 respecting the
    absolute necessity of keeping the Sabbath by a regular attendance at

                                                                   ‘D. W.’

{9a}  Criffel.

{9b}  Annandale.

{11}  See Appendix A.

{20}  There is some mistake here.  The Hopetoun title was not taken from
any place in the Leadhills, much less from the house shaped like an

{27}  Probably the Rev. John Aird, minister of the parish, 1801–1815.

{30}  Ragweed.

{31a}  Tinto.

{33}  New Lanark, Robert Owen’s mills.

{36a}  Lady Mary Ross.

{36b}  Corehouse.

{36c}  See Appendix B.

{45}  The house belonging to the Earls of Hopetoun at Leadhills, not that
which bears this name about twelve miles from Edinburgh.—Ed.

{53}  Glasgow Green.

{56}  No doubt Erskine House, the seat of Lord Blantyre.—_Ed._

{61}  A huge isolated rock in Borrowdale, Cumberland, which bears that

{63}  The inscription on the pillar was written by Professor George
Stuart of Edinburgh, John Ramsay of Ochtertyre, and Dr. Samuel Johnson;
for Dr. Johnson’s share in the work see Croker’s Boswell, p. 392.—_Ed._

{67}  Camstraddan House and bay.—_Ed._

{80a}  This distinction between the foot and head is not very clear.
What is meant is this: They would have to travel the whole length of the
lake, from the west to the east end of it, before they came to the
Trossachs, the pass leading away from the east end of the lake.—_Ed._

{93}  There is a mistake here.  His bones were laid about fifteen or
twenty miles from thence, in Balquhidder kirkyard.  But it was under the
belief that his ‘grave is near the head of Loch Ketterine, in one of
those pinfold-like burial grounds, of neglected and desolate appearance,
which the traveller meets with in the Highlands of Scotland,’ that the
well-known poem on ‘Rob Roy’s Grave’ was composed.  See Note 15 at the
end of volume.—_Ed._

{97}  Goblins’ Cave.

{113}  To a Highland Girl.  At Inversneyde upon Loch Lomond.

{124}  I should rather think so!—_Ed._

{131}  ‘Capability’ Brown.

{134}  _Quære_, Cladich.—_Ed._

{139a}  Not very probable.

{139b}  See Appendix C.

{142}  The Pass of Awe.—_Ed._

{155}  Lochnell House.

{160}  Castle Stalker.

{161}  George, seventh Marquis of Tweeddale, being in France in 1803, was
detained by Bonaparte, and died at Verdun, 9th August 1804.—_Ed._

{165}  See Appendix D

{177}  Buchal, the Shepherd of Etive.

{186}  _Quære_, Luib.

{187}  The burial-place of Macnab of Macnab.

{190}  In this interval her dear brother, Captain Wordsworth, had been
drowned, as stated in note to page 3, in the wreck of the ‘Abergavenny,’
on February 5, 1805.

{210}  See Appendix E.

{215}  Monzie probably.

{216}  Glen Ogle.

{218}  Ardhullary.

{225a}  This is none other than the well-known Scottish word
‘_gey_,’—indifferently, tolerable, considerable.—_Ed._

{225b}  See Appendix F.

{246}  See Lockhart’s _Life of Scott_ for an account of this visit, vol.
i. pp. 402–7.  Mr. L. says, ‘I have drawn up the account of this meeting
from my recollection, partly of Mr. W.’s conversation, partly from that
of his sister’s charming “Diary,” which he was so kind as to read to me
on the 16th May 1836.’—_Ed._

{254}  See Appendix G.

{266}  W. Laidlaw.  See Scott’s _Life_, vol. i.

{295}  On the banks of the River Nid, near Knaresborough.

{314}  If this is not a misprint, the Lady had antedated her tour by two
years, as she made it in 1796 and published it in 1799.

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