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Title: Highways and Byways in The Border - Illustrated
Author: Lang, Andrew, Lang, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Highways and Byways in The Border - Illustrated" ***

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HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS IN THE BORDER

By Andrew Lang and John Lang

With Illustrations by Hugh Thomson


[Illustration: 0008]

[Illustration: 0009]



PREFACE

At the time of his death, my brother had proceeded but a little way
in this task which he and I began together, and I must frankly own my
inability to cope with it on the lines which he would doubtless have
followed. It is probable, for example, that his unrivalled knowledge of
"the memories, legends, ballads, and nature of the Border" would have
led him to show various important events in a light different from that
in which my less intimate acquaintance with the past has enabled me to
speak of them; whilst, as regards the Ballad literature of the Border,
I cannot pretend to that expert knowledge which he possessed, I do not
think, therefore, it is fitting that I should attempt to carry out his
intention to deal more fully with those of the Ballads which are most
closely connected with places treated of in this volume.

To him, more perhaps than to any other Borderer, every burn and stream,
every glen and hill of that pleasant land was

                        ". . . lull ot ballad notes,

                        Borne out of long ago."

It is many a year since he wrote those verses wherein he spoke of

                   " Old songs that sung themselves to me,

                   Sweet through a boy's day-dream."

But it was not alone in a boy's day-dream that they sounded. To the end,
they echoed and re-echoed in his heart, and no voice ever spoke to
him so eloquently as that of Tweed,--by whose banks, indeed, in a spot
greatly loved, had it been permitted he would fain have slept his long
sleep.

JOHN LANG.

_The artist wishes to call attention to the fact that his drawings
were made during the long drought of 1911, when all the rivers were
exceptionally low._



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


     KELSO abbey....................................Frontispiece

     HALIDON HILL AND THE TWO BRIDGES, BERWICK...............003

     OLD BRIDGE AT BERWICK...................................006

     BUTTRESSES WITH CANOPIED NICHES AT EDROM................014

     AT CHIRNSIBE........................................... 015

     DOORWAY IN GRAVEYARD AT EDROM...........................016

     NORHAM CASTLE...........................................046

     LADY KIRK...............................................047

     FORD CASTLE FROM THE ROAD...............................049

     LOOKING UP THE TILL FROM TWIZEL BRIDGE..................050

     THE RIDGE ON WHICH THE SCOTTISH ARMY WAS ENTRENCHED
     BEFORE THE BATTLE OF FLODDEN............................051

     TWIZEL BRIDGE...........................................052

     THE SLOPES AT BRANXTON ON WHICH THE
     BATTLE OF FLODDEN WAS FOUGHT............................053

     SYBIL GREY'S WELL AT FLODDEN............................055

     BRIDGE OVER THE LEET, COLDSTREAM........................057

     THE CHEVIOTS FROM COLDSTREAM FERRY......................060

     FLOORS CASTLE FROM KELSO................................072

     KELSO...................................................073

     KELSO ABBEY.............................................075

     KELSO. TEVIOT IN FOREGROUND.............................076

     MEETING OF TWEED AND TEVIOT NEAR KELSO..................077

     RUINS OF ROXBURGH CASTLE................................079

     JEDBURGH FROM THE PARK..................................091

     JEDBURGH ABBEY..........................................103

     QUEEN MARY'S HOUSE, JEDBURGH............................105

     FERNIHIRST CASTLE.......................................131

     CATCLEUCH RESERVOIR LOOKING SOUTH.......................142

     BRIDGE OVER JED WATER AT OLD SOUDEN KIRK.
     THE CHEVIOTS BEHIND.....................................148

     OTTERBURNE..............................................162

     OTTERBURNE..............................................163

     SOUDEN KIRK.............................................166

     JOHN LEYDEN'S BIRTHPLACE, DENHOLM.......................179

     CAVERS..................................................185

     HAWICK..................................................186

     THE TOWER INN, HAWICK...................................187

     HORNSHOLE BRIDGE........................................188

     ST. MARY'S, HAWICK......................................189

     VALE OF THE BORTHWICK WATER LOOKING TOWARDS HAWICK......191

     A GLIMPSE OF HARDEN.....................................192

     GOLDIELANDS TOWER AND THE TEVIOT........................193

     BRANKSOME...............................................194

     BRANKSOME...............................................196

     LOOKING DOWN TEVIOTDALE FROM CAERLANRIG.................197

     TEVIOTHEAD KIRK.........................................202

     TOMB OF SIR WALTER SCOTT, DRYBURGH......................207

     SMAILHOLME TOWER........................................210

     THE EILDONS FROM BEMERSYDE HILLS........................211

     EARLSTON................................................218

     THE RIVER AT DRYBURGH ABBEY.............................221

     EILDON HILLS AND GORGE OF THE TWEED FROM LESSUDDEN......223

     MELROSE FROM NEWSTEAD...................................224

     MELROSE CROSS...........................................225

     EAST WINDOW, MELROSE ABBEY..............................226

     DARNICK TOWER...........................................228

     ABBOTSFORD..............................................230

     THE RHYMER'S GLEN.......................................232

     GALASHIELS, THE EILDONS IN THE DISTANCE.................238

     THE TWEED FROM THE FERRY, ABBOTSFORD....................241

     TOR WOOD LEE............................................243

     ABBOTSFORD FROM THE LEFT BANK OF THE TWEED.
     THE EILDON HILLS BEHIND.................................244

     WHERE TWEED AND ETTRICK MEET............................245

     SELKIRK FROM THE HEATHERLIE.............................250

     THE ETTRICK FROM THE OUTSKIRTS OF SELKIRK...............260

     SELKIRK.................................................264

     THE ETTRICK AT BOWHILL..................................274

     OAKWOOD TOWER...........................................277

     KIRKHOPE TOWER..........................................279

     LOOKING UP ETTRICKDALE FROM HYNDHOPE....................280

     ETTRICK WATER AT THE DELORAINES.........................281

     THE BRIDGE AT TUSHIELAW.................................283

     ETTRICK VALE FROM HYNDHOPE..............................284

     BUCCLEUCH...............................................285

     A GLIMPSE OF CLEARBURN LOCH.............................286

     ETTRICK KIRK............................................288

     MILL GANG AT ETTRICK....................................290

     HYNDHOPE BURN...........................................291

     ST. MARY'S LOCH AND THE LOCH OF THE LOVERS..............293

     ST. MARY'S LOCH.........................................295

     SITE OF ST. MARY'S CHURCH...............................296

     THE DOUGLAS BURN AND BLACKHOUSE TOWER...................297

     COCKBURNE'S GRAVE.......................................299

     COPPERCLEUCH POST-OFFICE AND A GLIMPSE UP MEGGETDALE....301

     TIBBIE SHIEL'S..........................................302

     DRYHOPE TOWER...........................................304

     THE GORDON ARMS.........................................306

     VALE OF YARROW--THE GORDON ARMS IN THE DISTANCE.........307

     DEUCHAR BRIDGE..........................................310

     THE DOWIE DENS..........................................311

     NEWARK..................................................315

     YAIR BRIDGE.............................................317

     FAIRNILEE...............................................320

     CADDONFOOT LOOKING TOWARDS YAIR.........................321

     THE INN AT CLOVENFORDS..................................322

     THOMAS PURDIE'S GRAVE, MELROSE ABBEY....................323

     THE TWEED AT ASHIESTEEL.................................325

     THE TWEED BETWEEN ASHIESTEEL AND THORNILEE..............326

     TOWER OF ELIBANK........................................328

     INNERLEITHEN............................................329

     A ROAD BESIDE THE TWEED, NEAR CADDONFOOT................331

     THE CLOSED GATES AT TRAQUAIR HOUSE......................332

     TRAQUAIR HOUSE..........................................333

     WHERE THE QUAIR ENTERS THE TWEED ABOVE INNERLEITHEN.....335

     ON THE ROAD TO PEEBLES..................................336

     NELDPATH CASTLE.........................................341

     PEEBLES FROM NEIDPATH...................................343

     THE "BLACK DWARF'S COTTAGE IN THE MANOR VALLEY..........344

     LOOKING UP THE MANOR VALLEY.............................346

     BRIDGE OVER THE LYNE WATER..............................348

     LOOKING UP TALLA FROM TWEEDSMUIR POST-OFFICE............360

     BRIDGE OVER TWEED AT TWEEDSMUIR.........................361

     TWEEDSMUIR..............................................363

     TALLA RESERVOIR FROM TALLA LINN.........................366

     A SKETCH ON THE GAMESHOPE BURN..........................368

     THE DEVIL'S BEEF TUB....................................376

     HERMITAGE CASTLE........................................384

     MEETING OF THE HERMITAGE AND LIDDEL.....................386

     MILLHOLME OR MILNHOLM CROSS.............................389

     ON THE LIDDEL AT MANGERTON..............................390

     CARLISLE CASTLE.........................................393

     CARLISLE AND THE RIVER EDEN.............................394

     CARLISLE FROM THE CASTLE RAMPARTS.......................395

     A BYWAY IN CARLISLE.....................................396

     THE MARKET CROSS, CARLISLE..............................397

     DICK'S TREE. THE BLACKSMITH'S SHOP WHERE
     KINMONT WILLIE'S FETTERS WERE TAKEN OFF.................399

     THE REPUTED GRAVE OF KINMONT WILLIE IN SARK GRAVEYARD...400

     SARK BRIDGE AND TOLL-BAR................................402

     THE BLACKSMITH'S SHOP, GRETNA GREEN.....................403

     SOLWAY MOSS.............................................404

     ANCIENT CROSS, ARTHURET.................................405

     GORGE ON THE LIDDEL.....................................406

     STUDY IN CARLISLE CATHEDRAL.............................407

     BRAMPTON................................................408

     BEWCASTLE CHURCH AND CASTLE.............................410

     BEWCASTLE CROSS.........................................411

     NAWORTH CASTLE..........................................412

     BEWCASTLE CROSS.........................................414

     KIRK ANDREWS TOWER, NETHERBY............................417

     THE ARMSTRONG TOWER ON THE ESK..........................419

     GILNOCKIE BRIDGE........................................420

     ON THE ESK AT HOLLOWS...................................422

     LANGHOLM................................................424

     MAP--THE ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH BORDER..........End of Volume


{001}



HIGHWAYS AND BYWAYS IN THE BORDER



CHAPTER I BERWICK, TWEED, WHITADDER

|The "Border" is a magical word, and on either side of a line that
constantly varied in the course of English and Scottish victories and
defeats, all is enchanted ground, the home of memories of forays and
fairies, of raids and recoveries, of loves and battles long ago. In the
most ancient times of which record remains, the English sway, on the
east, might extend to and include Edinburgh; and Forth, or even Tay,
might be the southern boundary of the kingdom of the Scots. On the west,
Strathclyde, originally Cymric or Welsh, might extend over Cumberland;
and later Scottish kings might hold a contested superiority over
that province. Between east and west, in the Forest of Ettrick, the
place-names prove ownership in the past by men of English speech, of
Cymric speech, and of Gaelic speech. From a single point of view you may
see Penchrise (Welsh) Glengaber (Gaelic) and Skelfhill (English). Once
the Border, hereabouts, ran slantwise, from Peel Fell in the Cheviots,
across the Slitrig, a water which joins Teviot at{002}Hawick, thence
across Teviot to Commonside Hill above Branksome tower, to the Rankle
burn, near Buccleuch, an affluent of Ettrick. Thence, across Ettrick
and Yarrow, over Minchmuir, where Montrose rode after the disaster at
Philiphaugh, across Tweed, past the camp of Rink, to Torwoodlee, goes
that ancient Border, marked by the ancient dyke called the Catrail,
in which Sir Walter Scott once had a bad fall during his "grand
rides among the hills," when he beat out the music of _Marmion_ to the
accompaniment of his horse's hooves. The Catrail was a Border, once,
and is a puzzle, owing to its ditch between two ramparts. There are many
hill forts, mounds even now strong and steep in some places, on the
line of the Catrail. The learned derive the word from Welsh _cad_,
Gaelic _Cath_, "a battle," and some think that the work defended
the Border of the Christian Cymric folk of Strathclyde from the pagan
English of Northumbria. In that case, Sir Herbert Maxwell has expressed
the pious hope that "the Britons were better Christians than they were
military engineers." Is it inconceivable that the word Catrail is a mere
old English nickname for a ditch which they did not understand, _the
cat's trail_, like Catslack, the wild cat's gap, and other local cat
names? I am no philologist!

Once when taking a short cut across a hill round which the road runs
from Branksome to Skelfhill, I came upon what looked like the deeply
cut banks of an extinct burn. There was no water, and the dyke was not
continued above or below. Walking on I met an old gentleman sketching
a group of hill forts, artificial mounds, and asked him what this
inexplicable deep cutting might be. "It is the Catrail," he said: I had
often heard of it, and now I had seen it. The old man went on to show
that the Border is still a haunted place. "Man, a queer thing happened
to me on Friday nicht. I was sleeping at Tushielaw Inn, (on the Upper
Ettrick) I had steikit the door and the windows: I woke in the middle o'
the nicht,--there {003}was a body in the bed wi' me!" (I made a flippant
remark. He took no notice of it.) "I got up and lit the candle, and
looked. There was naebody in the bed. I fell asleep, and wakened again.
The body was there, it _yammered_. I canna comprehend it." Nor can I,
but a pah of amateur psychical researchers hastened to sleep a night
at Tushielaw. _They_ were undisturbed; and the experience of the old
antiquary was "for this occasion only."

"My work seeks digressions," says Herodotus, and mine has already
wandered far north of the old Border line of Tweed on the east, and
Esk on the western marches, far into what was once the great forest of
Ettrick, and now is mainly pasture land, _pastorum loca vasta_. In
the old days of the Catrail and the hill forts this territory, "where
victual never grew," must have been more thickly populated than it has
been in historic times.

[Illustration: 0023]

We may best penetrate it by following the ancient natural tracks, by the
sides of Tweed and its tributaries. We cross the picturesque bridge of
Tweed at Berwick to the town which first became part of the kingdom
of Scotland, when Malcolm II, at Carham fight, won Lothian from
Northumbria. That was in 1018, nine centuries agone. Thenceforward
Berwick was one of the four most important places of Scottish
{004}trade; the Scots held it while they might, the English took it
when they could; the place changed hands several times, to the infinite
distress of a people inured to siege and sack. They must have endured
much when Malcolm mastered it; and again, in 1172, when Richard de Lacy
and Humphrey de Bohun, at war with William the Lion, burned the town.
William, after he inadvertently, in a morning mist, charged the whole
English army at Alnwick, and was captured, surrendered Berwick to
England, by the Treaty of Falaise, when he did homage for his whole
kingdom. The English strongly fortified the place, though the fragments
of the girdling wall near the railway station, are, I presume, less
ancient than the end of the twelfth century. William bought all back
again from the crusading Richard of the Lion Heart: the two kings were
"well matched for a pair of lions," but William the Lion was old by this
time.

In 1216, Alexander II attacked England at Norham Castle, but King John,
though seldom victorious, was man enough to drive Alexander off, and
brute enough to sack Berwick with great cruelty, setting a lighted torch
to the thatch of the house in which he had lain; and "making a jolly
fire," as a general of Henry VIII later described his own conduct at
Edinburgh. Fifty years later the woman-hating friar who wrote _The
Chronicle of Lanercost_ describes Berwick as the Alexandria of the
period; the Tweed, flowing still and shallow, taking the place of the
majestic river of Egypt. One is reminded of the Peebles man who, after
returning from a career in India, was seen walking sadly on Peebles
Bridge. "I'm a leear," he said, "an unco leear. In India I telled them
a' that Tweed at Peebles was wider than the Ganges!" And he had believed
it.

However, Berwick _was_ the Scottish Alexandria, and paid into the
coffers of the last of her "Kings of Peace," Alexander III, an almost
incredible amount of customs dues. After three peaceful reigns, Scotland
was a wealthy country, and Berwick was her chief emporium. But then came
the death of the {005}Maid of Norway, the usurpation by Edward I, the
endless wars for Independence: and Berwick became one of the cockpits
of the long strife, while Scotland, like St. Francis, was the mate of
Poverty.

While Edward was in France, his "toom tabard," King John, (Balliol)
renounced his allegiance. Edward came home and, in the last days of
March 1296, crossed Tweed and beleaguered Berwick, in which were many
trading merchants of Flanders. The townsfolk burned several of his
ships, and sang songs of which the meaning was coarse, and the language,
though libellous, was rather obscure. Edward was not cruel, as a rule,
but, irritated by the check, the insults, and the reported murder by the
Scots of English merchants, he gave orders for a charge. The ditch
and stockade were carried, and a general massacre followed, of which
horrible tales are told by a late rhyming chronicler. Hemingburgh, on
the English side, says that the women were to some extent protected.
The Scots avenged themselves in the same fashion at Corbridge, that old
Roman station, but the glory and wealth of Berwick were gone, the place
retaining only its military importance. To Berwick Edward II fled after
Bannockburn, as rapidly as Sir John Cope sought the same refuge after
Prestonpans.

Berwick is, for historically minded tourists, (not a large proportion
of the whole), a place of many memories. In July, 1318, Bruce took
the castle after a long blockade; an English attempt to recover it was
defeated mainly through the skill of Crab, a Flemish military engineer.
Guns were not yet in use: "crakkis of war," (guns) were first heard in
Scotland, near Berwick, in 1327. In 1333, after a terrible defeat of the
Scots on the slopes of Halidon Hill, a short distance north of Berwick,
the place surrendered to Edward III, and became the chief magazine of
the English in their Scottish wars.

By 1461, the Scots recovered it, but in 1481, the nobles of James III
mutinied at Lauder bridge, hanged his favourites, and made no attempt
to drive Crook-backed Richard from his {006}siege of Berwick. Since then
the town has been in English hands, and was to them, for Scottish wars,
a Calais or a Gibraltar. The present bridge of fifteen arches, the most
beautiful surviving relic here of old days, was built under James VI and
I.

[Illustration: 0026]

They say that the centre of the railway station covers the site of the
hall of the castle of Edward I, in which that prince righteously awarded
the crown of Scotland to John Balliol. The town long used the castle as
a quarry, then came the railway, and destroyed all but a few low walls,
mere hummocks, and the Bell Tower.

Naturally the ancient churches perished after the Blessed Reformation:
indeed the castle was used as a quarry for a new church of the period of
the Civil War.

Immediately above Berwick, and for some distance, Tweed flows between
flat banks, diffusely and tamely: the pools are locally styled "dubs,"
and deserve the title. The anti-Scottish satirist, Churchill, says,
{007}

               "Waft me, some Muse, to Tweed's inspiring stream

               Where, slowly winding, the dull waters creep

               And seem themselves to own the power of sleep."

"In fact," replies a patriotic Scot, "'the glittering and resolute
streams of Tweed,' as an old Cromwellian trooper and angler, Richard
Franck, styles them, are only dull and sleepy in the dubs where England
provides their flat southern bank."

Not flat, however, are the banks on either side of Whitadder, Tweed's
first tributary, which joins that river two or three miles above
Berwick. From its source in the Lammermuirs, almost to its mouth, a
distance of between thirty and forty miles, the Whitadder is quite
an ideal trouting stream, "sore fished" indeed, and below Chirnside,
injured, one fears, by discharge from Paper Mills there, yet full of
rippling streams and boulder-strewn pools that make one itch to throw a
fly over them. But most of the water is open to the public, and on days
when local angling competitions are held it is no uncommon sight to see
three, or maybe four, competitors racing for one stream or pool, the
second splashing in and whipping the water in front of the first,
regardless of unwritten sporting law; a real case of "deil tak the
hindmost."

"Free-fishing" no doubt, from some points of view, is a thing to be
desired, but to him who can remember old times, when the anglers he met
in the course of a day's fishing might easily be counted on the fingers
of one hand, the change now is sad. Yet men, they say, do still in the
open stretches of Whitadder catch "a pretty dish" now and again. They
must be very early birds, one would suppose--and perhaps they fish with
the lure that the early bird is known to pick up.

On both sides of Whitadder are to be seen places of much interest.
First, Edrington Castle, on the left bank a few miles from the river's
mouth, once a place of great strength, now crushed by the doom that has
wrecked so many of the old strongholds in this part of the country--it
was for ages used as {008}a convenient quarry. Then, on the right bank,
higher up, on an eminence overhanging the stream, stands Hutton Hall, a
picturesque old keep of the fifteenth century, with additions of later
date. The original tower was probably built by the Lord Home, who
obtained the lands in 1467 by his marriage with the daughter of George
Ker of Samuelton. Nearly opposite Hutton, about a mile away, are the
ruins of an old castle at Edington. It is remarkable the number of names
in this district, all beginning with "Ed":--Edrington, Edington, Ednam,
Eden, Edrom, Edinshall, all probably taking their origin from Edwin,
king of Northumbria, 626-633. Or does the derivation go still further
back, to Odin?

Higher up, we come to Allanton and the junction of Whitadder with
its tributary, Blackadder. Near this lies Allanbank, haunt for many
generations of that apparition so famous in Scotland, "Pearlin Jean."
Jean, or rather Jeanne, it is said, was a beautiful young French lady,
in Paris or elsewhere loved and left by a wicked Baronet of Allanbank,
Sir Robert Stuart. The tale is some hundreds of years old, but "Pearlin
Jean" and her pathetic story still retain their hold on the imagination
of Border folk. The legend goes that when the false lover, after a
violent scene, deserted his bride that should have been, the poor lady
accidentally met her death, but not before she had vowed that she would
"be in Scotland before him." And sure enough, the first thing that
greeted the horrified gaze of the baronet as he crossed the threshold
of his home, bringing another bride than her he had loved and left, wras
the dim form of Jeanne, all decked, as had ever been her wont, in the
rich lace that she loved, and from which the apparition derived the name
of Pearlin Jean, "pearlin" being the Scottish term for lace. Tradition
says nothing as to the end of the false lover, but the ghost was still
known--so say the country people--to have haunted the house until it was
pulled down sometime early in last century. Sir Thomas Dick Lauder
in his "Scottish Rivers" tells how {009}an old woman then anxiously
enquired: "Where will Pearlin Jean gang noo when the house is
dismolished?"

That is the tale of "Pearlin Jean" as it is generally told. There is
another story, however, less known but much more probable.

When the reckless extravagance of succeeding generations ended as it
always must end; when cards and dire and the facile aid of wine and
women had sent bit after bit of the broad lands of an old family into
alien keeping, and not tardily the day had come when the last acre
slipped through heedless fingers, and even the household furniture--all
that remained to the last Baronet of Allanbank--was brought to the
hammer, there was one room in the old house into which, ere the
gloaming fell, the country folk peered with awe greater even than their
curiosity. It was a room in which for near on two generations the dust
had been left to lie undisturbed on table and chair and mantel-shelf,
a room whose little diamond shaped window panes the storms of more than
fifty winters had dimmed, and on whose hearth still lay the ashes of
a fire quenched half a century back. Here it was that Pearlin Jean had
passed those few not unhappy months of her life, while yet a false lover
was not openly untrue to her. But into this chamber, since Jean quilted
it for the last time no servant would venture by day or by night,
unaccompanied, lest in it might be seen the wraith of that unfortunate
and much wronged lady.

It is a story common enough, unhappily, that of Jeanne. She was
the daughter of a Flemish Jew, very beautiful, very young, very
light-hearted and loving, and unsuspecting of evil, of a disposition
invincibly generous and self-sacrificing. In an evil hour the Fates
threw across her path Sir Robert Stuart of Allanbank, then visiting the
Hague during his travels on the Continent. Sir Robert was a man now no
longer in his first youth, self-indulgent, callous of the feelings and
rights of others where they ran athwart his own wants or desires, one
{010}to whom the seamy side of life had long been as an open book. His
crop of wild oats, indeed, was ere now of rankest growth, and already on
the face of the sower were lines that told of the toil of sowing. But he
was a handsome man, with a fluent, honeyed tongue, and it did not take
him long to steal the heart from one who, like the poor little Jeanne,
suspected no evil.

To the Merse and to Allanbank there came word that the land was
returning to his home. The house was to be put in order, great
preparations to be made. No doubt, folk thought, all pointed to a
wedding in the near future; the wild young baronet was about to settle
down at last--and not before it was time, if what folk said regarding
his last visit to Allanbank might be trusted. But the local newsmongers
were wrong, in this instance at least of the home-coming and what might
be expected to follow. When Sir Robert's great coach lumbered up to the
door of Allanbank, there stepped down, not the baronet alone, but a
very beautiful young woman, a vision all in lace and ribbons, whom
the wondering servants were instructed to regard in future as their
mistress. And though neighbours--with a few male exceptions--of course
kept severely aloof, steadily ignoring the scandalous household of
Allanbank, yet after a time, in spite of the fact that no plain gold
band graced the third finger of Jeanne's left hand, servants, and
the country folk generally, came to have a great liking, and even an
affection, for the kindly little foreign lass with the merry grey eyes
and the sunny hair, and the quaintly tripping tongue. And for a time
Jeanne was happy, singing gaily enough from morning to night some one or
other of her numberless sweet old French _chansons._ She had the man she
adored; what mattered neighbours? And so the summer slid by.

But before the autumn there came a change. The merry lass was no longer
so merry, songs came less often from her lips, tears that she could not
hide more and more often {011}brimmed over from her eyes; and day by day
her lover seemed to become more short in the temper and less considerate
of her feelings, more inclined to be absent from home. In a word, he was
bored, and he was not the man to conceal it. Then when April was come,
and the touch of Spring flushed every bare twig in copse or wooded bank
down by the pools where trout lay feeding, when thrush and blackbird,
perched high on topmost hough, poured out their hearts in a glory of
song that rose and fell on the still evening air, a little daughter lay
in Jeanne's arms, and happiness again for a brief space was hers. But
not for long. The ardour born anew in her man's self-engrossed heart
soon died down. To him now it seemed merely that a squalling infant had
been added to his already almost insufferable burden of a peevish woman.

More and more, Jeanne was left to her own society and to the not
inadequate solace of her little child. Then "business" took Stuart to
Edinburgh. Months passed, and he did not return; nor did Jeanne once
hear of him. But there came at last for her a day black and terrible,
when the very foundations of her little world crumbled and became as
the dust that drives before the wind. From Edinburgh came a mounted
messenger, bearing a letter, written by his man of business, which told
the unhappy girl that Sir Robert Stuart was about to be married to
one in his own rank of life; that due provision should be made for the
child, and sufficient allowance settled on herself, provided that she
returned to her own country and refrained from causing further scandal
or trouble. She made no outcry, poor lass; none witnessed her bitter
grief that night. But in the morning, she and the child were gone, and
on her untouched bed lay the lace and the jewels she once had liked to
wear because in early days it had pleased her to hear the man she loved
say that she looked well in them.

Time went by, and Stuart, unheeding of public opinion, brought his
bride to Allanbank. Of Jeanne he had had {012}no word; she had
disappeared--opportunely enough, he thought. Probably she had long ago
gone back to her own land, and by this time the countryside had perhaps
found some other nine days' wonder to cackle over. So he returned,
driving up to the house in great state--as once before he had driven up.

Surely an ill-omened home-coming, this, for the new bride! As the
horses dashed up the avenue, past little groups of gaping country people
uncertain whether to cheer or to keep silence, suddenly there darted
from a clump of shrubbery the flying figure of a woman carrying in
her arms a little child, and ere the postilions could pull up, or any
bystander stop her, she was down among the feet of the plunging horses,
and an iron heel had trodden out the life of the woman. It was the
trampled body of that Jeanne whom he had lightly loved for a time and
then tossed aside when weary of his toy, that met the horrified gaze
of the white-lipped, silent man who got hurriedly down from inside that
coach, leaving his terrified bride to shrink unheeded in her corner.
And perhaps now he would have given much to undo the past and to make
atonement for the wrong he had done. At least, he may have thought,
there was the child to look after; and his heart--what there was of
it--went out with some show of tenderness towards the helpless infant.
But here was the beginning of strife, for Jeanne's baby did by no means
appeal to the new-made bride. Nor was that lady best pleased to find
in her withdrawing room a fine portrait in oils of her unlawful
predecessor.

And so there was little peace in that house; and as little comfort as
peace, for it came to pass that no servant would remain there. From the
day of her death Pearlin Jean "walked", they said, and none dared enter
the room which once she had called her own. That, of all places, was
where she was most certain to be seen. For one day, when the master
entered the room alone, they that were near heard his {013}voice
pleading, and when he came out it was with a face drawn and grey, and
his eyes, they said, gazed into vacancy like those of one that sees not.
So the place got ever an increasingly bad name, and the ghost of the
poor unhappy Jeanne could get no rest, but went to and fro continually.
And long after that day had arrived when her betrayer, too, slept with
his fathers, the notoriety of the affair waxed so great that seven
learned ministers, tradition says, united vainly in efforts to lay the
unquiet spirit of Pearlin Jean. So long as the old house stood, there,
they will tell you, might her ghost be seen, pathetically constant to
the place of her sorrow. And there may not be wanting, even now, those
who put faith in the possibility of her slender figure being seen as it
glides through the trees where the old house of Allanbank once stood.

Some miles above Allanton, on the left bank of Whitadder, stands
Blanerne, home of a very ancient Scottish family. And farther back from
the river are the crumbling fragments of Billie Castle--"Bylie," in
twelfth century charters,--and of Bunkle, or, more properly, Bonkyll,
Castle. All these have met the fate assigned to them by the old local
rhyming prophecy:

                   "Bunkle, Billie, and Blanerne,

                   Three castles Strang as aim,

                   Built whan Davy was a bairn;

                        They'll a' gang doun

                        Wi' Scotland's crown,

               And ilka ane sail be a cairn."

A cairn each has been, without doubt, or rather a quarry, from which
material for neighbouring farm buildings has been ruthlessly torn.
Of Blanerne, I believe the Keep still exists, as well as some other
remains, to tell of what has been; but Billie Castle is now little more
than a green mound at foot of which runs a more or less swampy burn,
with here and there a fragment of massive wall still standing; whilst
Bunkle is a mere rubble of loose stones. AH these were destroyed in
Hertford's {014}raid in 1544, when so much of the Border was "birnd and
owaiertrown."

[Illustration: 0034]

More ruthless than Hertford's, however, was the work at Bunkle of our
own people in 1820. They pulled down an eleventh century church in order
to build the present edifice. Only a fragment of the original building
remains, but many of its carved stones may be seen in the walls of the
existing {015}church. Possibly the old structure was in a bad state of
repair. One does not know for certain; but at date of its demolition the
building appears to have been entire.

[Illustration: 8035]

Our ancestors of a hundred years ago were not to be "lippened to" where
ecclesiastical remains were concerned. They had what amounted to a
passion for pulling down anything that was old, and where they did not
pull down, they generally covered with hideous plaster any inside wall
or ornamental work, which to them perhaps might savour of "papistry."
Parish ministers, even late in the eighteenth and early in the
nineteenth centuries, appear to have taken no interest in those
beautiful Norman remains, numerous fragments of which even now exist in
Berwickshire; of all those ministers who compiled the old Statistical
Account of this county, but one or two make any mention of such things.
One fears, indeed, that to some of those reverend gentlemen, or to
others like them of later date, we are indebted for the destruction of
priceless relics of the past. At Duns, for instance, as late as 1874 the
original chancel of an old Norman church was pulled down by order of
the incumbent, "to improve the church-yard." Then, as already mentioned,
there is Bunkle, an instance of very early Norman work, pulled down in
1820. At Chirnside, the tower of its Norman church was sacrificed in
1750. though great part of the old church walls remain; in the south
side is a Norman doorway six feet ten inches in height to the lintel
and two feet ten and three-quarter inches wide. Of Edrom church, a
very beautiful Norman doorway, said to be "the finest of its style in
Scotland," has been preserved, entirely owing, apparently, to {016}the
fact that it had been made the entrance to a burial vault. At Legerwood,
near Earlstoun, where stands the chancel of a Norman church, the arch is
still entire but is defaced with plaster. Berwickshire, however, is not
the only part of the Border where such things have been done.

[Illustration: 0036]

Higher up Tweed, at Stobo in Peeblesshire, there is an interesting
old church of Norman structure, with sixteenth and seventeenth century
alterations; roof and interior fittings are modern, and the building
is still used as the Parish Church. Sixteenth and seventeenth century
alterations have now at least age to commend them, but it is difficult
to see what plea can be advanced for some of those of comparatively
recent date. According to "Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland," the
most serious injury inflicted on the building was the entire destruction
of the Norman chancel arch, in order to insert a modern pointed one, at
the restoration of the church in 1868.

Over in Teviotdale, too, the same passion for altering, or for sweeping
away relics of old times, ran its course. In 1762, the Town Council of
Hawick gave orders for the destruction of the Town's Cross. So Popish a
thing as a Cross could not be {017}tolerated by those worthy and "unco"
pious persons. The treasurer's accounts of the time show that tenpence
per day was paid to two men for the work of taking down the Cross, and
the carved stones seem to have been sold afterwards for eleven shillings
and sixpence. No doubt the worthy bailies congratulated themselves on
having not only rid the town of an emblem of Popery, but on having made
quite a handsome monetary profit over the transaction.

But to return to Whitadder. In his "Scottish Rivers," Sir Thomas Dick
Lauder writes of Billy Castle as the scene of a grisly tale connected
with the Homes. He tells how, to the best of his reckoning about a
century prior to the date at which he wrote, an old lady of that family
resided here in a somewhat friendless condition, but with a considerable
household of servants, chief of whom was a butler who had been in
her service for many years, and in whose integrity she had entire
confidence. This old lady, it seems, was in the habit of personally
collecting rents from her tenants, and as there were then no country
banks in which to deposit the money, it was her custom to count it in
presence of the butler, prior to locking the guineas away in a strong
cupboard in her bedroom. The door of this room was secured by an
ingenious arrangement, whereby a heavy brass bolt, or cylinder, was
allowed to fall by its own weight into an opening made exactly to fit
it. To an eye in the head of the cylinder was attached a cord which
worked through a pulley fastened to the ceiling, and thence by a series
of running blocks passed to the bedside. Thus the old lady, without
troubling to get out of bed, could bolt or unbolt her door at will, and
so long as the cylinder was down, no one could possibly enter the room.
Now, the butler had for years witnessed this counting and stowing away
of the rent monies, and temptation had never yet assailed him. He might,
indeed, plume himself on his honesty, and say with Verges: "I thank God
I am as honest as any man living that is an old {018}man and no honester
than I." But alas! there came a night when the guineas chinked too
seductively, and the devil whispered in the butler's ear. Perhaps some
small financial embarrassment of his own was troubling the man. Anyhow,
it came to his mind that if he could quietly fill up the hole into which
the bolt of his mistress's bedroom door dropped, he might help himself
to as much money as he needed. The time of year was the cherry season.
What so easy as to fill up the bolt hole with cherry stones? The "geans"
grew thick in Scotland, and they were black ripe now. "At midnight,"
says Sir Thomas, "he stole into his mistress's chamber, cut her throat
from ear to ear, broke open her cabinet, and possessed himself of her
money; and although he might have walked down stairs and out at the door
without exciting either alarm or suspicion, he opened the window and let
himself down nearly two stories high, broke his leg, and lay thus among
the shrubbery till morning, without ever attempting to crawl away. He
was seized, tried, condemned, and executed."

It is grisly enough, but hardly so grisly as the real story of what
happened. The scene of the murder, however, was not Billy Castle--which,
indeed, had then been dismantled and in ruins for two hundred years--but
Linthill House, a fine old mansion standing on a "brae" overhanging
Eye-water, five or six miles from Billy. Linthill is now inhabited by
families of work-people, but it is still in good preservation, and
at date of Sir Thomas Dick Lauder's story (1752), must have been a
very-fine specimen of the old Scottish château.

The old lady's room was entered as Sir Thomas describes, but the butler
did not immediately cut her throat. She was awakened by the sound of the
stealthy rifling of the cupboard, or strong iron-bound box, in which her
valuables were kept, and with that pluck which is characteristic of the
old-time Scottish lady, she jumped up to grapple with the robber. Then
he cut her throat, and leaving her for dead on the bed, {019}proceeded
with his rifling. A slight noise, nowever, disturbed him, and, looking
round, a terrifying sight met his gaze; the woman whom he had believed
to be dead was on her feet, blindly groping her bloody way along the
wall to the bell. Before he could seize her and complete his work, she
had pulled the rope with all the strength left to her, and had alarmed
the other servants. Thus the murderer had no opportunity to leave by way
of the stairs. He jumped from the window--no great feat for an active
man with his wits about him. But the butler was flurried; perhaps, also,
he was stout, as is not uncommon with pampered servants. In any case,
he missed his footing, came down badly, and broke his leg. He did not,
however, lie where he fell, inert and helpless. With painful, effort
the man dragged himself to a field near by, where, amongst sweet-scented
flowering beans, he lay concealed for some days. On the fourth day, as
he lay groaning beside a tiny spring of water which still flows near the
middle of the field, he chanced to be seen by some children, who gave
information. The wretched man was taken, tried, and executed--the last
instance in Scotland of a criminal being hung in chains. The blood of a
murdered person, they say, refuses to be washed clean from any wood-work
into which it may have soaked--witness that ghastly dark patch that
disfigures a floor in Holyrood. Here at Linthill at least there is no
doubt of the fact that those marks remain; in spite of very visible
attempts to remove the stains from the wood-work by planing them out,
the prints of the poor lady's bloody hands still cling to the oak
wainscoting of the gloomy old room where the deed was committed. About
house and grounds there hangs now an air of dejection and decay, though
Eye ripples cheerily just beyond the garden foot and the surrounding
landscape is bright with pleasant woods and smiling fields.

Surely if ever ghost walked, it should be here at Linthill; that
midnight bell should clang, a window be thrown open, the thud be heard
of a heavy body falling on the ground. {020}But it is not mistress or
man that haunts that house. It is of other things they tell who have
been there; of an upper chamber, to which nightly comes the shuffling
tramp of men bearing from a vehicle which is heard to drive up to
the house door, a heavy weight, which they deposit on the floor. More
shuffling, a room door quietly closed, the sound of retreating steps,
then silence. "Hout!" say the womenfolk of those who now inhabit part of
the old house, "it'll no be naething." But they look behind them with a
glance not too assured, and the voice that says t is "naething" is not
over-steady in tone.

A little higher up the river than Blanerne we come to Broomhouse, where
also once stood a castle. In a field on this estate is a spot, still
called "Bawtie's Grave," where the body of Sir Anthony Darcy--"Le Sieur
de la Beauté"--Warden of the Marches in 1517, is said to lie buried.
Darcy, or de la Bastie (or de la Beauté), as he was generally
called, was a Frenchman, a man possessed of great personal beauty
and attraction; but the fact that he had been appointed Warden of the
Marches and Captain of Dunbar Castle in room of Lord Home, who had been
treacherously put to death in Edinburgh, rendered him very obnoxious
to the inhabitants of that part of Berwickshire in which the Homes
held sway. It was through Darcy that Lord Home and his brother had been
decoyed to Edinburgh, said the kin and supporters of the Home family.
Vengeance must be taken.

Nor was time wasted over it. An occasion soon arose when Darcy in his
capacity of Warden had to visit Langton Tower, (no great distance from
Duns), in order to settle some family feud of the Cockburns, relatives
by marriage of the Homes. Here, outside the tower, Sir David Home, with
a party of horsemen, came up, and speedily picked a quarrel with the
Sieur. Swords were out in a minute, and Home's band was too strong for
Darcy and his men. Several of the French attendants of the Sieur fell,
and as the rest of his party were mostly Borderers, and therefore not
very eager to fight for him, the Warden found himself {021}compelled to
ride for it. He headed in the direction of Dunbar. But the ground over
which he had to gallop was swampy, and de la Beauté's heavy horse
sank fetlock deep at every stride, finally "bogging" in a morass some
distance to the east of Duns. Darcy is said to have continued his flight
on foot, but the chase did not last long; Home and his followers bore
down upon him--a well-mounted "little foot-page," they say, the first
man up.

                   "The leddies o' France may wail and mourn,

                   May wail and mourn fu' sair,

               For the Bonny Bawtie's lang broun lucks

                   They'll never see waving mair."

They were on him at once; his head was fiercely hewn off, carried in
triumph to Home Castle, and there fastened to the end of a spear on the
battlements, to gaze blind-eyed over the wide Merse, the land he had
tried to govern. Pitscottie says that Sir David Home of Wedderburn cut
off Darcy's long flow ing locks, and plaiting them into a wreath, knit
them as a trophy to his saddle bow.

Perhaps the Sieur in the end got no more than his deserts, or at least
no more than he may frequently have dealt out to others. He came of a
stock famed in France for cruelty and oppression; and the peasants round
Allevard, in the Savoie,--where stand the fragments of what was once
his ancestral home--still tell of that dreadful night when Messire Satan
himself wras seen to take his stand on the loftiest battlement of the
castle. And they relate how then the walls rocked and swayed and
with hideous crash toppled to the ground. Perhaps it was this very
catastrophe which sent the "Bonny Bawtie" to Scotland.

A cairn once marked the spot where the Sieur's body found a resting
place. But, unfortunately, such a ready-made quarry of stones attracted
the notice of a person who contracted to repair the district roads.
It is many years ago now, and there was no {022}one to say him nay. He
carted away the interesting land-mark and broke up the cairn into road
metal.

Home Castle still dominates this part of the Border, but no longer is it
the building of "Bawtie's" day. That was pulled down in the time of
the Protector, by Cromwell's soldiers under Colonel Fenwick. Thomas
Cockburn, Governor in 1650 when Fenwick summoned the castle to
surrender, was valiant only on paper; a few rounds from the English guns
caused his valour to ooze from his fingers' ends, and sent up the white
flag. That was the end of the old castle. Fenwick dismantled it and
pulled down the walls; the present building, imposing as it seems,
standing grim and erect on its rocky height, is but a dummy fortress,
built in the early eighteenth century on the old foundations, from the
old material, by the Earl of Marchmont. The original building dated
from the thirteenth century, and a stormy life it had, like many Border
strongholds alternately in Scottish and in English hands. In 1547, after
a gallant defence by the widow of the fourth Lord Home, it was taken by
the English under Somerset; two years later it was recaptured by that
lady's son, the fifth Lord Home.

"Too old at forty," is the cry raised in these days--presumably by those
who have not yet attained to that patriarchal age--but when a state of
war was the chronic condition of the Border-land, men of vastly greater
age than forty were not seldom able to show the way to warriors young
enough to be their grandsons. At this taking of Home Castle in the
closing days of December 1548, it was a man over sixty, one of the name
of Home, who was the first to mount the wall. The attack was made at
night, on the side where the castle was both naturally and artificially
strongest, and where consequently least vigilant guard might probably be
kept. As Home, ahead of his comrades, began to slide his body cautiously
over the parapet, the suspicions of a sentry pacing at some little
distance were roused, and he challenged and {023}turned out the guard.
This man had not actually _seen_ anything, the night was too dark for
that, but he had, as it were, _smelt_ danger, with that strange extra
sense that sometimes in such circumstances raises man more nearly to the
level of his superior in certain things--the wild animal. However,
in this case the sentry got no credit, but only ridicule, from his
comrades, for examination showed that there was no cause whatever for
his having brought the guard out into the cold, looking for mares' nests
over the ramparts. Home and his party had dropped hurriedly back, and
during the time that the Englishmen were glancing carelessly over the
wall, they lay securely hidden close at its base. As soon, however,
as the English soldiers had returned to the snug warmth of their
guard-room, and the mortified sentry was once more pacing up and down,
Home was again the first of the Scots to clamber up and to fall upon
the astonished Englishman, whom this time he slew, a fate which overtook
most of the castle's garrison. "Treachery helped the assailants,"
said the English. "Home Castle was taken by night, and treason, by the
Scots," is the entry in King Edward's Journal.

Again, in 1569, it was battered by the heavy siege guns of the Earl of
Sussex and once more for a time was held by-England; finally in 1650
came its last experience of war. It was at Home Castle that Mary of
Gueldres, Queen of James II of Scotland, lay whilst her husband besieged
Roxburgh in 1460. One hundred and six years later, Mary Queen of Scots
was there on her way to Craigmillar from Jedburgh.

In days when the bale-fire's red glare on the sky by night, or its heavy
column of smoke by day, was the only means of warning the country of
coming invasion from the south, Home Castle, with its wide outlook, was
the ideal centre of a system of beacon signals on the Scottish border.
The position was matchless for such purpose; nothing could escape
the watchful eyes of those perched on the lofty battlements of
this "Sentinel of the Merse," no flaming signal from the fords over
{024}Tweed fail to be seen. In an instant, at need, fires would be
flashing their messages over all the land, warning not only the whole
Border, but Dunbar, Haddington, Edinburgh, and even the distant shores
of life. "A baile is warnyng of ther cumyng quhat power whatever thai
be of. Twa bailes togedder at anis thai cumyng in deide. Four balis,
ilk ane besyde uther and all at anys as four candills, sal be suthfast
knawlege that thai ar of gret power and menys." So ran part of the
instructions issued in the fifteenth century. But almost in our own
day--at least in the days of the grandfathers of some now living--Home
Castle flashed its warning and set half Scotland flying to arms. Britain
then lived under the lively apprehension of a French invasion. With
an immense army, fully equipped, Napoleon lay at Boulogne waiting a
favourable opportunity to embark. Little wonder, therefore, that men
were uneasy in their minds, and that ere they turned in to bed of a
night country folk cast anxious glances towards some commanding "Law" or
Fell, where they knew that a beacon lay ready to be fired by those who
kept watch. In the dull blackness of the night of 31st January, 1804,
the long-looked-for summons came. All over the Border, on hill after
hill where of old those dreaded warnings had been wont to flash, a tiny
spark was seen, then a long tongue of flame leaping skyward. The French
were coming in earnest at last!

Just as ready as it had been in the fiercest days of Border warfare
was now the response to the sudden call to arms. Over a country almost
roadless, rural members of the various Yeomanry corps galloped through
the mirk night, reckless of everything save only that each might reach
his assembly point in time to fall in with his comrades. Scarce a man
failed to report himself as ready for service--in all the Border I
believe there were but two or three. And though it turned out that the
alarm fires had been lit through an error of judgment on the part of
one of the watchers, there is no doubt that to the bulk of the men
who turned out so full of courage and enthusiasm that night, the
{025}feeling at first, if mixed with relief, was one of disappointment
that they had had no chance of trying a fall with "Boney" and his
veterans. The man who was the first to fire his beacon on that 31st
of January was a watcher at Home Castle. Peering anxiously through the
gloom, he imagined that he saw a light flare up in the direction
of Berwick. It was in reality only a fire lit by Northumbrian
charcoal-burners that he saw, and its locality was many points to the
south of Berwick, but as the blaze sprang higher, and the flames
waxed, the excited watcher lost his head, and, forgetting to verify the
position, feverishly set a light to his own beacon and sent the summons
to arms flying over the Border. Had it not chanced that the watcher by
the beacon on St. Abb's Head was a man of cool temperament, all Scotland
had been buzzing that night like a hornets' nest. This man, however,
reasoned with himself that news of an invasion, if it came at all, must
necessarily come from a coastal, and not from an inland station, and
therefore he very wisely did not repeat the signal.

The spirit shown on the occasion of this false alarm, and the
promptitude with which yeomanry and volunteers turned out, are things of
which Borderers are justly proud. Many of the yeomanry rode from forty
to fifty miles that night in order to be in time; and even greater
distances were covered. Sir Walter Scott himself was in Cumberland when
word of the firing of the beacons came to him, but within twenty-four
hours he and his horse had reached Dalkeith, where his regiment was
assembled, a distance of one hundred miles from his starting point. In
one or two instances, where members of a corps chanced to be from home,
in Edinburgh on private business, mother or wife sent off with the troop
when it marched, the horse, uniform, and arms of husband or son, so that
nothing might prevent them from joining their regiment at Dalkeith. The
substance of the message then sent to her son by the widowed mother of
the writer's grandfather, will be found in Sir Walter's Notes to _The
Antiquary_. If in our day {026}like cause should unhappily arise, if the
dread shadow of invasion should ever again fall on our land, no doubt
the response would be as eager as it was in 1804; the same spirit is
there that burned in our forefathers. But of what value now-a-days
are half-trained men if they come to be pitted against the disciplined
troops of a Continental Power? Of no more avail than that herd of
wild bulls that the Spaniards in 1670 tried to drive down on Morgan's
Buccaneers at Panama.

Many a tale is still told of the events of that stirring night of 31st
January, 1804. One of the Selkirk volunteers, a man named Chisholm, had
been married that day; but there was no hesitation on his part. "Weel,
Peggy, my woman," he said in parting with his day-old bride, "if I'm
killed, ye'll hear tell o't. And if I'm no killed, I'll come back as
sune as I can." A particularly "canny" Scot was another volunteer, whose
mother anxiously demanded ere he marched if he had any money with him
in case of need. "Na, na!" he said, "they may kill me if they like, but
they'll get nae siller off _me_."

A few cases of the white feather there were, of course; in so large a
body of undisciplined men there could hardly fail to be some who had no
stomach for the fight, but instances of cowardice were surprisingly few.
One or two there were who hid under beds; and one youth, as he joined
the ranks, was heard to blubber, "Oh, mother, mother, I wish I'd been
born a woman." But of those who should have mustered at Kelso, only two
out of' five hundred failed to answer to their names, and possibly they
may have had legitimate cause for their absence. Many of the members of
foot regiments were long distances away when the alarm was given. Of the
Duns volunteers, for instance, two members were fifteen miles distant
when the beacons blazed up. Yet they made all speed into the town, got
their arms and accoutrements, marched all through the night, and fell in
alongside their comrades at Haddington next forenoon. Many--all the men
of Lessudden, for example--marched without uniforms. An{027}unpleasant
experience had been theirs had they fallen, in civilian dress, into the
hands of the enemy.

To return to Whitadder.--Some miles above Broomhouse we come to Cockburn
Law, a conical hill of about 1100 feet in height, round three sides of
which the river bends sharply. On the northern slope of the hill is the
site, and what little remains to be traced, of Edinshall, a circular
tower dating probably from the seventh century. According to the oid
Statistical Account of the Parish, the walls of this tower,--Edwin's
Hall,--measured in diameter 85 feet 10 inches, and in thickness 15
feet 10 inches, enclosing in their depths many cells or chambers. Their
height must once have been very considerable, for even at date of the
Statistical Account--the end of the eighteenth century--they stood about
eight feet high, and were surrounded on all sides by a scattered mass of
fallen stones. The ground around shows traces of having been fortified,
but the tower itself probably was never a place of strength. The stones
of which the building was constructed were large, and close fitting, but
not bound together with mortar, which indeed was not in use in Scotland
so early as the date of the building of Edinshall,--hence the tower was
a quarry too convenient to be respected by agriculturists of a hundred
years ago. Most of the material of the ancient build ing has been taken
to construct drains, or to build "dry stane dykes." The "rude hand of
ignorance" has indeed been heavy on the antiquities of Scotland.

Where the stream bends sharply to the left as one fishes up those
glorious pools and boulder-strewn rapids, there stands a cottage not far
removed from Edinshall, which on the Ordnance Survey maps bears the very
un-Scottish name of Elba. It has, however, not even a remote connection
with the place of exile of an Emperor. The learned would have us believe
that the name is derived from the Gaelic "Eil," a hill, and "both,"
a dwelling. It may be so; but it seems much more likely that "Elba" is
merely the Ordnance Survey people's spelling of the {028}word "elbow,"
as it is pronounced in Scotland; the river here makes an extremely sharp
bend, or elbow. Near Elba is an old copper mine which was worked to
advantage by an English company midway in the eighteenth century.
Abandoned after a time, it was reopened in 1825, but was soon again
closed. Copper was not there in sufficient quantity to pay; probably
it had been worked out before. Four or five miles from here we come
to Abbey St. Bathans, a name which conjures up visions of peaceful old
ruins nestling among whispering elms by clear and swift flowing waters.
There is now, however, little of interest to be found. St. Bathans was
originally a convent of Cistercian Nuns, with the title of a Priory, and
was founded towards the end of the twelfth century by Ada, daughter of
William the Lion. As late as 1833, the then recently written Statistical
Account of the Parish says that the north and east walls of the church
"still bear marks of antiquity," and that in the north wall is "an
arched door which communicated with the residence of the Nuns"; but,
says the Account, this door "is now built up."

"Adjoining the church, and between it: and the Whitadder, remains of
the Priory were visible a few years ago." Where are they now? Built into
some wall or farm building, no doubt, or broken up, perhaps, to repair
roads or field drains. And where is the font, with its leaden pipe,
that stood "in the wall near the altar"? Perhaps--if it still exists,
unbroken,--it may now be used as a trough for feeding pigs, as has been
the fate of many another such vessel. It is hard to forgive the dull,
brutish ignorance that wilfully wrecked so much of the beauty and
interest that the past bequeathed to us.

It is not easy to say who was the saint from whom Abbey St. Bathans
inherited its name. Probably it was Bothan, Prior of Old Mailros in the
seventh century, a holy man of great fame in the Border. There is a
well or spring not far distant from the church of St. Bathans, whose
miraculous powers of healing all sickness or disease were doubtless
derived {029}from the good Father. These powers have now long decayed,
but as late as 1833--possibly even later--some curious beliefs regarding
the well were held in the neighbourhood, and its waters, it was well
known, would "neither fog nor freeze" in the coldest weather.

Shortly after leaving Abbey St. Bathans, as we gradually near the
Lammermuirs, the land on both sides of Whitadder begins more to partake
of the hill-farm variety, where grouse and blackgame swarm thick on
the stooked corn in late autumn. From the south side, a little above
Ellemford, there enters a considerable stream, the water of Dye, said to
be of good repute as regards its trout. One of these high, round backed
hills here is probably the scene of some great battle of old times.
"Manslaughter Law" is the satisfying name of the hill. There is a
tumulus still remaining on the north side of it, and near at hand
weapons have been dug up, says the Statistical Account. One wonders what
their fate may have been. They, at any rate, would surely be preserved?
It is by no means so sure. One sword, at least, that was found many
years ago on the west side of Manslaughter Law, met with the fate one
might expect from the kind of people who used to quarry into beautiful
old abbeys in order to get material to build a pig-stye. It was taken
to the village smithy, and there "improved" out of existence--made into
horseshoes perhaps, or a "grape for howkin' tatties." Had it been a
helmet that was then unearthed, no doubt a use would have been found for
it such as that which the Elizabethan poet sadly suggests for the helmet
of the worn out old man-at-arms:

               "His helmet now shall make a hive for bees."

Eastward from the spot where this sword was found is a barrow which,
says the Statistical Account, "probably covers more arms"; and on a hill
by Waich Water, a tributary of the Dye, are the Twin-Law Cairns,
which are supposed to mark the resting place of twin brothers who fell
here,--perhaps in pre-historic {030}times. Tradition says that these two
were commanders of rival armies, Scottish and Saxon, and that, neither
at the time being aware of their relationship, they undertook to fight
it out, as champions of the rival hosts. When both lay dead, some old
man, who had known the brothers in their childhood, gazing on them, with
grief discovered the relationship of the slain men; and to commemorate
the tragedy, the soldiers of both hosts formed lines from Waich Water
to the hill's summit, and passed up stones wherewith they built these
cairns.

At Byrecleuch Ridge, towards the head of Dye Water, is another enormous
and very remarkable cairn called the Mutiny Stones. This great mass
of piled up stone measures two hundred and forty feet in length; where
broadest, seventy-five feet; and its greatest height is eighteen feet.
What does it commemorate? A great fight, say some, that took place in
1402 between the Earl of Dunbar and Hepburn of Hailes, in which the
latter was killed. A prehistoric place of sepulture, hazards Sir Herbert
Maxwell. But it was not here that Hepburn fell; that was elsewhere in
the Merse. And they were little likely in the fifteenth century to
have taken such titanic pains to hand his memory down to posterity. The
prehistoric place of sepulture sounds the more probable theory. But
why "Mutiny Stones"? There must surely be some local tradition more
satisfying than that of the Hepburn-Dunbar fight.

The upper part of Whitadder must once have been well fitted to check
hostile raids from the south whose object was to strike the fat Lothians
through the passes over the Lammermuirs. In the few miles of wild hill
country that sweep from its source on Clint's Dod down to its junction
with Dye Water, there formerly stood no fewer than six castles, Chambers
tells us,--John's Cleuch, Gamelshiel, (the lady of which was killed by a
wolf as she walked near her home one evening in the gloaming) Penshiel,
Redpath, Harehead, and Cranshaws. Except in the case of Cranshaws, there
are now {031}few traces left standing of these strongholds. Cranshaws,
a building of the sixteenth century, is in good preservation; of
Gamelshiel there remains a bit of wall, of Penshiel a fragment of
vaulting; of the others no stone. Cranshaws of old, it is said, was long
the haunt of one of those Brownies, or familiar spirits, that were wont
in the good old days of our forefathers mysterious ly to do by night,
when the household slept, all manner of domestic or farm work for those
who humoured them and treated them well in the matter of food, or other
indulgence affected by their kind. There was nothing a Brownie would not
do for the family he favoured, provided that he was kept in good humour;
otherwise, or if he were laughed at or his work lightly spoken of, it
were better for that family that it had never been born; their sleep was
disturbed o' nights, malevolent ill-luck dogged them by day, until he
was propitiated. But leave out for him each night a jug of milk and
a barley bannock,--they were not luxurious in their tastes, those
Brownies,--and at dawn you would find

                   ".... how the drudging goblin sweat

               To earn his cream bowl duly set;

               When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,

               His shadow'y flail hath threshed the corn

               That ten day-lab'rers could not end;

               Then lies him down, the Lubber-fiend,

               And stretched out all the chimney's length,

               Basks at the tire his hairy strength;

               And crop-full out of doors he flings

               Ere the first cock his matin rings."

They tell that this particular Brownie at Cranshaws, being offended at
some reflection made on his work, the following night took up an entire
crop that he had thrashed, curried it to the Raven Craig, two miles down
the river, and threw it over the cliff. Belief in the Brownie died hard
in the Border I am not sure that in remote "up the water" districts he
did not survive almost till the advent of motor cars and bicycles.



CHAPTER II BLACKADDER, NORHAM, FLORDEN, COLDSTREAM, WARR, AND THE EDEN

|But {032}a step over the moor from Waich Water, across by Twin-Law
Cairns and down by the Harecleuch Hill we come to the head-waters of the
most considerable of Whitadder's tributaries--Blackadder, "vulgarly
so pronounced," says the old Statistical Account. Its real name is
"Blackwater," according to that authority, because it rises out of peaty
swamps that impart to its waters a look of sullen gloom. I am unable to
say what now may be its reputation as a trout stream, but long years ago
it abounded with "a particular species of trout, much larger than the
common burn trout, and remarkably fat." The Statistical Account mentions
a notable peculiarity of Blackadder, on the accuracy of which one would
be inclined to throw doubt. It says that though every other stream in
the country which eventually mingles its waters with Tweed, swarms with
salmon in the season, yet into Blackwater they do not go; or if they
enter at all, it is found that they die before they can ascend many
miles. The swampy source of the stream "is commonly ascribed as the
reason why the fish cannot frequent the river," says the Account.
Drainage, one would be inclined to think, has long ago removed that
fatal nature from the water, if it ever existed. Trout throve on it,
at all events, red-fleshed beauties, "similar," says the clerical
{033}writer of the Statistical Account of the Parish of Fogo--a man and
a fisher, surely--"to those of Eden Water, which joins Tweed three miles
below Kelso. The Eden rises also in a marshy district, which may be
the cause of this similarity of the fish." But most Border streams take
their rise in more or less marshy districts, though they may not flow
direct from a swamp.

Was it in the Eden that Thomson, author of "The Seasons," learned to
fish? Or was it in Jed? He was born at Ednam,--Edenham,--a village on
the Eden, and he may have loved to revisit it in later years, and to
catch the lusty speckled trout for which the stream has always been
famous. Probably, however, he learned to throw a fly on Jed, for he
passed his boyhood at Southdean--to which parish his father had been
transferred as Minister long ere the son was fit to wield a rod--and he
himself got his early education at Jedburgh. In Jed or in Eden, then,
and perhaps in Teviot and Ale--he was much at Ancrum--he learned the
art; and not unskilled in it indeed must he have been. Where in all
literature can one find a description of trout-fishing so perfect as the
following?

               "Just in the dubious point, where with the pool

               Is mix'd the trembling stream, or where it boils

               Around the stone, or from the hollow'd bank

               Reverted plays in undulating flow,

               There throw, nice judging, the delusive fly;

               And, as you lead it round in artful curve,

               With eye attentive mark the springing game.

               Strait as above the surface of the flood

               They wanton rise, or, urged by hunger, leap,

               There fix, with gentle twitch, the barbed hook;

               Some lightly tossing to the grassy bank

               And to the shelving shore slow dragging some

               With various hand proportion'd to their force.

               If yet too young, and easily deceived,

               A worthless prey scarce bends your pliant rod,

               Him, piteous of his youth, and the short space

               He has enjoy'd the vital light of heaven,

               Soft disengage, and back into the stream {034}

               The speckled captive throw; but, should you lure

               From his dark haunt, beneath the tangled roots

               Of pendent trees, the monarch of the brook,

               Behoves you then to ply your finest art.

               Long time he, following cautious, scans the fly,

               And oft attempts to seize it, but as oft

               The dimpled water speaks his jealous fear.

               At last, while haply o'er the shaded sun

               Passes a cloud, he desperate takes the death

               With sullen plunge: at once he darts along,

               Deep struck, and runs out all the lengthen'd line,

               Then seeks the farthest ooze, the sheltering weed,

               The cavern'd bank, his old secure abode,

               And (lies aloft, and flounces round the pool,

               Indignant of the guile. With yielding hand

               That feels him still, yet to his furious course

               Gives way, you, now retiring, following how,

               Across the stream, exhaust his idle rage,

               Till floating broad upon his breathless side,

               And to his fate abandon'd, to the shore

               You gaily drag your unresisting prize."

Many a long day of Spring and Summer must the man who could paint so
perfect a picture have passed, rod in hand and creel on back, by the
hurrying streams and quiet pools of some Border Water, many a time have
listened to the summer breeze whispering in the leafy banks, and heard,
as in a dream, the low murmur of Jed or Ale. And what sport must they
have had in the old days when Thomson fished--and even in the days when
Stoddart fished--when farmers were ignorant, or careless, of the science
of drainage, and rivers ran for days, nay, for weeks after rain, clear
and brown, dimpled with rising trout. What sport indeed of all kinds
must there have been here in the south of Scotland in very ancient days
when the country was mostly forest or swamp, and wild animals, now long
extinct, roamed free over hill and dale. It has been mentioned a page or
two back how the lady of Gamelshiel Tower was killed by a wolf. Here, at
the bead waters of Blackadder--as the crow flies not a dozen miles from
Gamel{035}shiel--we are in the midst of a district once infested
by wolves. Westruther, through which parish Blackadder runs, was
originally "Wolfstruther," the "swamp of the wolves." And all over the
surrounding country, place names speak of the beasts of the field. An
MS. account of Berwickshire tells how Westruther was "a place of old
which had great woods, with wild beasts, fra quhilk the dwellings and
hills were designed, as Wolfstruther, Raecleuch, Hindside, Hartlaw and
Harelaw."

                   "There's hart and hynd, and dae and rae,

                   And of a' wilde hestis grete plentie,"

as we read in the "Sang of the Outlaw Murray.

The last-mentioned name, Harelaw, calls up visions of another chase
than that of the hare. Sir Thomas Dick Lauder in his "Scottish Rivers,"
(written sometime about 1848), mentions that one of the most curious
facts connected with Harelaw Moor was that a man, who, Sir Thomas says,
died "not long ago," recollected having seen Sir John Cope and his
dragoons in full flight across it from the battle of Prestonpans,
breathlessly demanding from all the country people they met information
as to the shortest road to Coldstream.

               "Says the Berwickers unto Sir John,

                   'O what's become o' all your men?'

                   'In faith,' says he, 'I dinna ken;

               I left them a' this morning.'"

He must have been a very aged man, but if "not long ago" meant any time,
as late, say, as the Twenties of last century, no doubt it would
be possible that as a boy of eight or ten, he might have seen the
panic-stricken dragoons spurring over the moor. Such a sight would
remain vivid in the memory of even a very old man. Childhood's incidents
outlive all others.

Above Harelaw Moor, on a feeder of the Blackadder, is Wedderlie,
formerly an old Border keep of the usual pattern, but towards the close
of the seventeenth century embodied with a fine building in the Scottish
style of that day. It is {036}said to have belonged originally to that
family, the Edgars, the graves of two members of which are commemorated
by the Twin-Law Cairns. The family name lives still in that of the
neighbouring Edgar-burn, near to which streamlet is Gibb's Cross, said
to be the scene of a martyrdom for sake of the Reformed Faith; and
hard by is Evelaw Tower--a house apparently without a history--still in
tolerable preservation. At Wedderlie, of old time, says Sir Thomas Dick
Lauder, there stood a very ancient chapel, of which some traces of a
vault remain, or remained at a recent date. Local tradition had it that
at time of the Reformation the monks hid in this vault all their church
plate and other precious possessions, meaning at the first convenient
opportunity to remove them to a place of greater safety. The convenient
opportunity, it was thought in more modern times, had never come, for in
a cave hard by the vault there was one day discovered a great
quantity of coins--all of which, by the way, speedily and mysteriously
disappeared. It is said, however, that they were not of dates that
could in any degree connect this _cache_ with the Reformation, and it
is suggested in Sir Thomas's book that they were concealed there by the
inhabitants of Wedderlie during the Religious wars of the seventeenth
century. Those "in the know" may all have been killed, of course; the
secret of the hiding place was not likely to be within the ken of more
than one or two.

These finds of coins of all dates are by no means rare in the Scottish
border counties. One would fain know something of those who hid them,
and of the events which were passing at the time when they were buried.
Were they the spoil of some reiver, ravished from a roof-tree blackened
and left desolate south from Cheviot and Tweed; spoil for convenience
sake thus put away by one to whom the chance of a more convenient season
to recover it was ended by a bloody death? Or were they, sometimes,
store, of coins hastily secreted by quiet country folk fleeing in terror
from the violence of English {037}soldiery--men such as they who came
north with Hertford in 1544, whose orders were to put man, woman, and
child to fire and the sword, without exception, if any resistance should
be met with? What wonder if the harmless country people then left all,
and fled for their lives and the honour of their women! For what so easy
as to find excuse to carry out such orders? A child ill treated, a
woman outraged; and a man--husband, father, lover--mad with horror and
impotent rage, "resisting!"

Coins, in greater or less number, are continually turning up in all
sorts of unlikely spots. Sometimes in a marshy field (where one would
least expect buried treasure), the spade of an Irish drainer has been
known to throw out Elizabethan crowns. How did _they_ get there? Perhaps
it might have been when the horse of some rider, bogged and struggling
to get clear, in its violent efforts burst the fastenings of a saddle
bag or wallet, or unseated its rider, emptying whatever may have been
the equivalent of a trousers' pocket in days when men wore mail. Some
of these Elizabethan coins, perhaps, found their resting place in 1570,
when the English under the Earl of Sussex harried and burnt the border,
in "Tyvydale bernyng on bothe hands at the lest two myle, levyng neyther
castell, towne, nor tower unbrent, tyll we came to Jedworth." And so on,
across by Hawick and Branxholm, up by Oxnain Water and Kale and Bowmont,
and round about Kelso, burning and destroying homes, and hanging
prisoners. "Thus," says Lord Hunsdon in a letter to Sir W. Cecil, "Thus
hathe hyr Majesty had as honorable a revenge of the recevars of hyr
rebels, and of all such as have byn common spoylars of hyr pepoll, and
burners of her cuntrey, as ever any of hyr predecessors had." They were
not weakly addicted to half measures in those days, whichever side was
"top dog."

"And so we pray to God to send youre Majestie a longe and prosperowse
raigne, and all youre enemyes to feare youe as moch as the Scottish
Borderers feare youe at this present," {038}ended Lords Sussex and
Hunsdon in a despatch written by them to the Queen from "Barwick" on
23rd April, 1570.

The lost Pay-chest of Montrose's army at Philiphaugh has given rise to
many a story of treasure hunted for or recovered. Sir Walter Scott
tells how on the day of the battle the Earl of Traquair and one of his
followers, a blacksmith, carrying with them a large sum of money, the
pay of the troops, were on their way across the hills to join Montrose
at Selkirk. When as far away as Minchmuir, they heard the sound of heavy
firing, to which Lord Traquair attached little importance, believing
it to be merely Montrose exercising his men, but which, from the long
continued and irregular nature of the firing, the blacksmith made
certain was an engagement. By the time they reached Broadmeadows, there
was no question as to whose conjecture was the correct one. By ones and
twos, like the first heavy drops, forerunners of a deluge to follow from
some ink-black cloud, came men flying for their lies, on horses pushed
beyond the utmost limits of their speed; then more fugitives, and more,
and hard on their heels, Leslie's troopers thundering. Lord Traquair
and the blacksmith turned and fled with the throng. But the money was in
Lord Traquair's saddle-bags, and the weight was great; he was like to be
captured, for his horse thus handicapped could not face the hill and
the heavy ground. Whether the blacksmith offered to sacrifice himself to
save his master, or the master ordered the servant to dismount, one does
not know, but the outcome was that Lord Traquair fled over the moor on
the blacksmith's comparatively fresh horse, and the blacksmith, on a
spent animal, was left to make the best of his way with the silver.
Leaving the press of fugitives, he fled up Yarrow at the top speed of
his tired horse, but finding himself closely pursued, to save himself
and to lighten the animal's load, he flung away the bags of money. He
said afterwards that he threw them into a well or pond near Tinnis, a
little above Hangingshaw, and many a well and many a pond has since been
vainly dragged for the lost treasure. No man {039}has yet recovered it.
Probably that blacksmith knew a thing or two, and he was not likely
to give away the show. Whether or no, however, it is certain that many
silver coins having dates of about the time of the battle were in Sir
Walter's day ploughed up on the river haughs of Tinnis. And at a much
later date, a quantity of coins and some silver plate were unearthed
nearer Philiphaugh, on the actual scene of the fight. These coins were
claimed by the Exchequer. A dozen wine bottles, also, of old pattern,
were found buried here, but what had been the liquor contained in them
it was not possible to say; the bouquet had entirely perished, and even
the colour.

There is a pool in Yarrow, near Harehead, into which tradition says that
Montrose flung his treasure chest, telling the Devil to keep it till
he should return to claim it. Up to the present the Foul Fiend has
not released his care, for when--as is said,--the pool was run dry, or
nearly dry, a good many years ago, only a Lochabar-axe was found in it.
A somewhat more probable story of the chest is that the bearer, as he
hurried past, flung it into a cottage, near Foulshiels, and then rode
for his life. Some of Leslie's men got it there, and looted it.

Whose is the portrait that is contained in the little locket which was
found, years ago, on the field of Philiphaugh? On the one side is the
representation of a heart pierced by darts, and the motto "I dye for
Loyalty"; on the other, a long straight sword is engraved. Inside is a
portrait, and opposite the portrait, the words "I mourne for Monarchie."

Sometimes coins have been found, too, as at Blackcastle Rings, on
Blackadder, at its junction with the Faungrist Burn. Here, on the
northern bank of the river, is what must once have been a strongly
fortified camp; opposite, on the southern side, and running along the
river's bank for fully half a mile, after which it branches to the
south, is a well marked line of entrenchment. Eighty years ago, or
thereabouts, an old silver chain was unearthed in the camp; and in the
{040}trench, a little distance away, when turf was being removed, they
came upon quite a number of gold and silver coins of the reign of Edward
III. It was somewhere in this neighbourhood, (though probably nearer
Duns,) that Lord Percy the English Warden, at the head of seven thousand
men, lay encamped in the year 1372, when (as is mentioned by Redpath),
his host was dispersed, or at least was said to have been compelled to
retire across the Tweed, on foot and without their baggage, owing to
a simple stratagem of the Scots. To scare away from their poor little
crops the deer and wild cattle that were wont when night fell to ravage
the ill-cultivated patches, the country folk of that district were
accustomed to sound at frequent intervals a primitive kind of drum. To
the ends of long poles were fixed what may best be termed huge rattles,
made of dried skins tightly stretched over semi-circular ribs of wood.
Inside each skin were put a few round pebbles. Obviously, when shaken
vigorously, these rattles would give out a noise quite terrifying to
any four footed animal, especially when heard in the stillness of night.
Accordingly, one pitchy night, in the hour before dawn when sleep lay
heavy on the invading force, a certain number of the Scots, bearing with
them those unwarlike instruments, stole quietly through the tangled
growth to the heights on either side of the English camp.

Then broke out a din truly infernal. Picketed horses, mad with terror,
strained back on their head-ropes, and breaking loose, stampeded through
the camp, trampling over the recumbent forms of men wearied and even yet
but halt-awake, many of the younger among them more than ready to share
the panic of their horses. If the tale be not exaggerated, daylight
showed an army deprived of its transport animals, its horsemen compelled
to foot it, their steeds the prey of the wily Scots; a baggageless force
compelled to fall back in disorder across Tweed.

In this part of Berwickshire you may still faintly trace here and there
the outline of a ditch and earthen rampart called {041}Herrits Dyke,
which, local tradition says, once ran from Berwick inland to near
Legerwood on Leader Water,--a work not dis-similar to the Catrail,
(which cuts across something like fifty miles of the Border, from Peel
Fell in the Cheviots to Torwoodlee on Gala), but without the double wall
of Catrail. There are various sections of defensive works of this nature
in the Border--if they were defensive, for instance, on the hill less
than half a mile from the old castle of Holydean, near St. Boswells,
in Roxburghshire, there is a particularly well-marked ditch and double
rampart running for some distance across the moor. It can scarcely be a
continuation of Herrits Dyke, for its construction is different, and its
course must run almost at a right angle to Herrits, which is, indeed,
many miles away from Holydean. This ditch points almost directly towards
Torwoodlee, but it is out of the accepted Catrail track, unless the
latter, instead of stopping at Torwoodlee, (as one has been taught),
turned sharply and swept down the vale-of Gala, and once more crossed
Tweed. It is curious, if these works are defensive, that no ancient
weapons have ever been found in or near them.

Down the water a few miles from Blackcastle Rings stands the little town
of Greenlaw, a settlement which dates from very early times, but not on
its present site. Originally the village stood about a mile and a half
to the south east, on the isolated green "law" or hill from which it
takes its name. The history of the present town goes no farther back
than the end of the seventeenth century, a date about contemporaneous
with that of its Market Cross, which stands now on the west side of the
place. This cross is said to have been erected by Sir Patrick Home of
Polwarth (afterwards created Earl of March-mont) in the year 1696.
In 1829 it was pulled down, to make room for something else--in the
maddening fashion that possessed our ancestors of the period--and, in
the usual manner, it was chucked aside as "auld world trash." In 1881,
however, the cross, or at least the greater part of it, minus the
top, which {042}originally bore a lion rampant, was discovered in the
basement of the old church tower, and was then re-erected where it now
stands.

Still farther down the river is the Roman camp at Chesters. But even as
long ago as 1798, the writer of the Statistical Account of the Parish of
Fogo complained that the old camp was "very much defaced," and that the
stones had mostly been "removed to make room for the plough." The rage
for agricultural improvement was in 1798 but in extreme infancy; and as
no Society for the preservation of ancient monuments came into existence
for many a long year afterwards, and interest in such things was
confined to the very few, it is safe to infer that not a great deal of
this camp now exists.

From Chesters to Marchmont is but a step. Marchmont House dates from
about 1754, and was built by the third Earl of Marchmont, near the site
of Redbraes, the residence of his grandfather, that Sir Patrick Home of
Polwarth who erected the cross in Greenlaw. The village and church of
Polwarth are at no great distance. The original church was consecrated
in the tenth century, and was restored in 1378, from which date it stood
till 1703, when Sir Patrick Home (then Earl of Marchmont) rebuilt it. In
the family vault of this church, Sir Patrick lay in hiding for several
weeks in 1684, when the search for him was hot and discovery would have
cost him his head. The secret of his whereabouts was known to three
persons--to his wife, his daughter Grisell (whose name as Lady Grisell
Baillie, lives still in the affectionate remembrance of the Scottish
Border), and to Jamie Winter, a faithful retainer. Grisell Home, then a
girl of eighteen, during all the time of his concealment contrived,
with very great risk and difficulty, to convey food to her father in
his gruesome lodging. Each night, she slipped stealthily from the house,
and--sorest trial of all to the nerves of an imaginative Scot,--made her
cautious way in the darkness across the "bogle"-haunted churchyard to
her father's lair. Many a shift were she and her {043}mother put to
in order to get food sufficient for their prisoner without rousing
suspicion among the servants, and more than once the situation was all
but given away by the innocent hut embarrassing comments of young and
irresponsible members of the family. Sometimes the servants cannot have
been present at meals, one would think; or else they smelt a rat, and
were discreetly blind. One day at dinner, Grisell had with careful
cunning succeeded in smuggling an entire sheep's head off the dish on to
her own lap, thence presently to be borne surreptitiously from the room,
when her young brother, with the maddening candour and persistency of
childhood, called the company's attention to his sister's prodigious
appetite, which not only enabled her to gobble up in next to no time
so much good meat, but even rendered her able to make the very bones
vanish.

But the scent at length began to grow hot; they had nearly run the fox
to his earth. Suspicion hovered over the neighbourhood of the church,
and no longer could the vault be deemed even a moderately safe hiding
place. A new den was necessary; and a new den was found, one perhaps
even more cramped than the old quarters, if a trifle less insanitary. A
large deal box was made by the faithful Jamie Winter, and was secretly
conveyed into a cellar at Redbraes, of which Lady Home kept the key. But
to get the "muckle kist" snugly into its resting place, it was necessary
to scrape away the earthen floor of the cellar under the flooring
hoards, so that the box might be entirely hidden when the boards were
re-laid. This work could not be done with pick and shovel, lest the
noise should betray what was going on. Grisell, therefore, and Jamie
Winter literally with their own hands carried out the arduous job;
the earth was _scraped_ away, and poor Grisell Home's nails had almost
entirely disappeared ere the work wyas finished and the hiding
place made ready for her father. It was scarcely an ideal place of
concealment; water oozed in so quickly that one night when Sir Patrick
was about {044}to descend into his narrow lodging, it was found that
the bedding on which he was used to lie was afloat. And, with its other
drawbacks, it had not even the advantage, as a hiding place, of being
above suspicion. Had it not been, indeed, for the presence of mind of
a kinsman and namesake, Home of Halyburton, a party of dragoons had
certainly captured Sir Patrick one day. But Halyburton's liquor was
good, and after their thirty mile march from Edinburgh, the temptation
to wet their whistle could not be resisted. It did not take long, but it
was long enough; a groom on a fast, powerful horse slipped away over
the moor to Redbraes, bearing with him no word of writing, but a
letter addressed to Lady Home, of which the contents were nothing but a
feather,--a hint sufficiently well understood. Ere the dragoons arrived
at Redbraes, Sir Patrick was clear away and well on the road to the
coast and Holland, and safety.

As we travel down Blackadder towards its junction with the Whitadder,
about equidistant between the two rivers we come to the only town of
any importance in the district--Duns, or Dunse as it used, not very
appropriately, to be spelled from 1740 to 1882, in which latter year the
ancient spelling was revived. The original hamlet or settlement stood on
the Dun or Law which adjoins the present town. But Hertford wiped that
pretty well out of existence in 1545, as he wiped out many another
stronghold and township in the south of Scotland. What was left of the
place soon fell into utter decay and ruin, and a new settlement on the
present site, then guarded On three sides by a more or less impassable
swamp, sprung up in 1588. Duns is one of several places which claim
the honour of having been the birthplace of the learned Duns Scotus
(1265-1338), but even though she be unable quite to substantiate this
claim, her record of worthy sons is no short one. And was not that
woman, famed in the seventeenth century, she who was possessed of an
evil spirit which caused her, an illiterate person, to talk fluently in
the Latin tongue, a {045}native of Duns! The Privy Council Record, under
date 13th July, 1630, contains an order for bringing before it Margaret
Lumsden, "the possessed woman in Duns," along with her father-in-law and
her brother, that order might be taken in the case, "as the importance
and nature of such a great cause requires." A fast for her benefit was
even proposed by sundry clergymen; interest in her case was acute and
widespread. Twenty-nine years later, an account of the circumstances
was written by the Earl of Lauderdale, and was published in Baxter's
"Certainty of the World of Spirits." Lord Lauderdale was a schoolboy in
1630, but he was accustomed to hear the case very fully discussed by his
father and the minister of Duns, the latter of whom, at least, firmly
believed that the woman was possessed by an evil spirit. The Earl wrote
as follows to Baxter: "I will not trouble you with many circumstances;
one only I shall tell you, which I think will evince a real possession.
The report being spread in the country, a knight of the name of Forbes,
who lived in the north of Scotland, being come to Edinburgh, meeting
there with a minister of the north, and both of them desirous to see
the woman, the northern minister invited the knight to my father's house
(which was within ten or twelve miles of the woman), whither they came,
and next morning went to see the woman. They found her a poor ignorant
creature, and seeing nothing extraordinary, the minister says in Latin
to the knight: '_Nondum audivimus spiritum loquentem_.' Presently
a voice comes out of the woman's mouth: '_Andis loquentem, audis
loquentem_.' This put the minister into some amazement (which I think
made him not mind his own Latin); he took off his hat, and said:
'_Misereatur Deus peccatoris!_' The voice presently out of the woman's
mouth said: '_Dic peccatricis, dic peccatricis_'; whereupon both of
them came out of the house fully satisfied, took horse immediately,
and returned to my father's house at Thirlestane Castle, in Lauderdale,
where they related this passage. This I do exactly remember. Many more
particulars {046}might be got in that part of the country; but this
Latin criticism, in a most illiterate ignorant woman, where there was
no pretence to dispossessing, is enough, I think." It was, of course,
an infallible sign of demoniac possession that the victim, mostly an
illiterate person, should break out into Latin or Greek, Hebrew or what
not. That was how the devil usually betrayed himself; he could by no
means control his weakness for talking--generally very badly--in foreign
tongues.

[Illustration: 0066]

The wonders of Duns in the seventeenth century by no means ceased,
however, with this demon-possessed Margaret Lumsden. In 1639, when
Leslie camped on Duns Law with the Covenanting army and its superfluity
of ministers, there occurred a remarkable land-slide which the excited
imaginations of those witnessing its effects could not fail to interpret
as an assured sign that Providence meant to fight on their side. A bank
on the slope of the hill near to the camp slid down,--it had
probably become water-logged as the result of heavy rain.--disclosing
"innumerable stones, round, for the most part, in shape, and perfectly
spherical,... like ball of all sizes, from a pistol to fixed pieces,
such as sakers or robenets, or battering pieces upwards." Men looked on
them with awe, and bore {047}about with them specimens in their pockets,
gravely showing them to excited throngs. "Nor wanted there a few who
interpreted this stone magazine at Duns Hill as a miracle, as if God had
sent this by ane hid providence for the use of the Covenanters."

[Illustration: 0067]

We return now to Tweed, where on a steep slope stand the mighty ruins of
Norham Castle, guarding the ford; we all know the scene, castle and ford
in the gloaming, from Turner's beautiful plate in _Liber Studiorum_.
Bishop Flambard of Durham built the castle to bridle the wild Scots, in
1121; some twenty years later it was taken, under David; but the eastern
side shows the remains of the warlike prelate's work. "The {048}Norman
Keep still frowns across the Merse," and few of the castles of the age
of chivalry display more of their ancient strength than Norham. Yet it
yielded promptly to James IV. in the first week of the campaign which
closed in the terrible defeat of Flodden Edge. In this castle, in the
Lent of 1200, William the Lion kept his fast on fourteen kinds of fish,
including salmon; he certainly "spelled his fasts with an e." While
Berwick yielded to the Scots in the dark days of Edward II., good Sir
Thomas de Grey, of that ancient Northumbrian house, held Norham
stoutly, with pretty circumstances of chivalry, as his son tells in
_Scalacronica_.

Over against Norham is Ladykirk, with its ancient church, dedicated,
tradition says, by James IV. to the Virgin Mary, in gratitude for his
narrow escape from death here when fording the swollen Tweed. A field to
the east of the village shows some, remains of military works, ramparts
for guns probably, from which to fire on Norham. In a line between this
spot and the castle there was found in the river a stone cannon-ball,
fifty-seven inches in girth, probably one fired from "Mons Meg" when she
was here in 1497.

Following the light bank of Tweed we reach Carham burn, where Malcolm
II. won Lothian in battle; from Carham to the sea the right bank is
English. The next important tributary on the English side, as we ascend
the stream is Till, formed by Bowmont and Breamish Waters, which rise in
the "Cheeviots," as the Scots pronounce the name.

                   "T weed says to Til'

                        'What gars ye rin sae still?'

                   Says Till to Tweed,

                        'Though ye run wi' speed,

                   And I rin slaw,

                        Whaur ye droon ae man,

                        I droon tw'a.'"

The ominous rhyme sounds with the slow lap of the green-grey waters of
Till among her alders, and appears to hint at {049}the burden of the
ruinous fight of Flodden.

[Illustration: 0069]

On August 22nd, James IV., "a fey man," kept his plighted word to
France, which Henry VIII. was invading, and led the whole force of
Highlands and Lowlands across the Border. He made his quarters at Ford
Castle, where he did not, as legend says, dally with Lady Heron, still
less did his young son, the Archbishop of St. Andrews, fleet the
time carelessly with her daughter. {050}James cleared his position by
capturing Wark (now scarcely visible in ruin), Chillingham, and Eital
castles.

[Illustration: 0070]

Surrey with the English levies, including the Stanleys, sent a challenge
from Alnwick. On September 3rd, the Scots are said to have wrecked Ford
Castle, now a substantial and comfortable home, still containing the
king's rooms. James crossed the Till by a bridge at Ford, as the tourist
also does, if he wishes to see the field of the famous battle. We climb
to the crest of Flodden Edge; look south to the wooded hills beyond the
Till, and northwards note three declivities like steps in a gigantic
staircase.

The Scots were well provisioned, and should easily have held the
hill-crest against Surrey's way-worn and half-starved mutinous men.

[Illustration: 0071]

They pitched their camp on the wide level of Wooler haugh, six miles to
the right of Flodden; and on this plain Surrey challenged James to
meet him, "a fair field and no favour." For once chivalry gave place to
common sense in James's mind: "he would take and keep his ground at his
own pleasure." But he neglected his scouting, though he had hundreds of
Border riders under Home, who should never have lost touch of Surrey.
That wily "auld decrepit carl in a chariot" as Pitscottie calls him,
disappeared; James probably thought that he was retiring to
Berwick. Really, he was throwing himself, unseen, on James's line
of communication with the north: he camped at Barmoor wood, and then
recrossed Till by Twizel bridge. Scott, in _Marmion_ and elsewhere,
blames the king for failing to see this manouvre and discuss Surrey
before his men could deploy after crossing by Twizel bridge and at
Millford. But Twizel bridge you cannot see from Flodden Edge; Sir Walter
had forgotten the lie of the ground. Unseen, the English crossed and
formed, advancing from the north towards the second of the three great
steps in the declivity, called Branxton hill. In the early evening,
_Angli se ostentant_, the English come into view. In {072}place of
holding his ground, which he is said to have entrenched, James yielded
to his impetuous temper, fired his camp, and his men throwing off their
boots, for the ground was wet and slippery, rushed down to the Branxton
plateau.

[Illustration: 0072]

"The haggis, Cott pless her, could charge down a hill," like Dundee's
men at Killiecrankie, but the expected impetus must have been lost
before James's Highlanders under Lennox and Argyll, his right wing,
could come to sword-strokes. James's right, in addition to the clans,
had a force led by d'Aussi and Both well, with whom may have been the
ancestors of John Knox, as the Reformer told the wild Earl, Queen
Mary's lover. The main body, the centre, under the flower of Scottish
_noblesse_, were with the king; who "always fought before he had given
his orders," says Ayala, the ambassador of Spain. His left was led by
Crawford and Errol; his extreme left by Huntly with the gay Gordons; and
Home with his Border spears, mounted men. {053}The English front appears
to have been "refused" so that Edward Howard was nearest to Home, and,
slanting back wards to the right of James, were the forces of Edmund
Howard, the Admiral, the Constable, Dacre, Surrey with the rear, and the
large body of Cheshire and Lancashire, led by Stanley.

[Illustration: 0073]

The Admiral sent a galloper to bring Surrey forward; and Home and Huntly
charged Edward Howard, while Dacre's Tyneside men ran, as he advanced to
support Howard. The Borderers, fond of raiding each other, could
never be trusted to fight each other in serious war; they were much
intermarried. Brian Tunstal fell, Dacre stopped Huntly; Home's men
vanished like ghosts, no man knew whither; for they appeared on the
field next morning. Probably they were plundering, but "Down wi' the
Earl o' Home," says the old song of the Souters of Selkirk. In the
centre of the vanguard the Admiral and the Percys clashed with Crawford
and Errol. Both leaders fell, and James threw the weight of his centre
against Surrey. To slay that general with his own hand was the king's
idea of the duty of a leader. But the English guns {054}mowed down his
ranks, and the Scots could not work their French artillery. The king
pressed in with Herries and Maxwell at his side; the ranks of England
reeled, but the Admiral and Dacre charged James's men in flank. "Stanley
broke Lennox and Argyll" on the king's right; the noble leaders fell,
and the nimble Highlanders rapidly made a strategic movement in the
direction of safety. Stanley did not pursue them, but fell on James's
right, which now had the enemy on each flank and in front.

               "The stubborn spearmen still made good

                   Their dark impenetrable wood"

under a rain of arrows, against the charging knights, and the terrible
bill strokes of the English infantry.

The king was not content to remain within the hedge of spears. Running
out in advance, he fought his way to "within a lance's length" of
Surrey, so Surrey wrote; his body was pierced with arrows, his left arm
was half severed by a bill-stroke, his neck was gashed, and he fell.
James was not a king to let his followers turn his bridle-rein; he
fought on foot, like a Paladin, and died with honour. His nobles
advanced; the spears defended the dead, and the bodies of thirteen of
his peers and of two Bishops who, like Archbishop Turpin at Roncesvaux,
died in harness, lay round him. An episcopal ring with a great sapphire,
found at Flodden, is in the Gold Room at the British Museum.

Such was the great sorrow of Scotland; there is perhaps not a family of
gentle blood in the Lowlands which did not leave a corpse on Branxton
slope, where

               "Groom fought like noble, Squire like Knight,

                        As fearlessly and well."

As matter of plain history, this honourable defeat was to my country
what, as matter of legend, the rear-guard action of Roncesvaux has
been to France. It was too late in literary times for an epic like the
_Chanson de Roland_; the burden of {055}the song was left for the author
of Marmiott. But Flodden, till my own boyhood, left its mark on Scottish
memories. When any national trouble befell us, people said, "There has
been nothing like it since Flodden."

[Illustration: 0075]

My friend the late Lord Napier and Ettrick told me that when his father
took him to Flodden in his boyhood, tears stood n the eyes of the
senior.

This is the difference between us of the north, and you of the south.
Along the Border line, my heart, so to speak, bleeds at Halidon and
Homildon hills, where our men made a {056}frontal attack, out-flanked
on either hand by lines of English archers, and left heaps as high as
a lance's length, of corpses on corpses, (as at Dupplin); but an
Englishman passes Bannock burn "more than usual calm," and no more
rejoices on the scene of the victories ol his ancestors, than he is
conscious of their defeats. Pinkie is nothing to him, and a bitter
regret to us! Dunbar to him means nothing; to us it means the lost
chance which should have been a certainty, of annihilating Cromwell's
force. Our preachers ruined our opportunity, bidding Leslie go down,
in accordance with some Biblical text, from his safe and commanding
position, after they had purged our army of the Royalist swords.

Surrey "had his bellyful" at Flodden. In Edinburgh

                   "The old men girt on their old swords,

                        And went to man the wall,"

which was hastily erected. But the English general had enough, and
withdrew southwards. I visited Flodden Edge on my return from the west
of Ireland, where I found the living belief in Fairies. I picked up a
trifle of the faith at Flodden. The guide, a most intelligent elderly
man, named Reidpath, told me this yarn: "A woman came to my brother," (I
knew that he meant a woman of the Faery), "and told him to dig in such
a place. He would find a stone, below it a stone pillar; and another
stone, and beneath it a treasure. My brother and my father dug, found
the stone, and the pillar, and the stone below--but no treasure!"
Probably you will not find even this last trace of the fairy belief on
the Border, but, from notes of my grandfather, it was not quite dead in
his day.

Here we leave Till to those who choose to fish it up towards the
Cheviots, and move up the right bank of Tweed towards its junction with
Teviot.

Before reaching that point, however, there are one or two places to
notice on both sides of the river--Coldstream, for {057}example, where
Leet water enters Tweed; Eden water, a few miles higher up; and, on the
English side, Wark Castle.

[Illustration: 0077]

Regarding the Leet, in order to find oneself filled with envy and with
longing unutterable, it is only necessary to read Stoddart's account of
the fishing to be had in his day in that curious little stream. "Of
all streams that I am acquainted with," says Stoddart, "the Leet, which
discharges itself into the Tweed above Coldstream, was wont, considering
its size, to contain the largest trout. During the summer season it is
a mere ditch, in many places not above four or five span in width, and,
where broadest, still capable of being leapt across. The run of water
is, comparatively speaking, insignificant, not exceeding on the average
a cubic foot. This, however, as it proceeds, is every now and then
expanded over a considerable surface, and forms a pool of some depth;
in fact, the whole stream, from head to foot, pursuing, as it does,
a winding course for upwards of twelve miles, is a continued chain of
{058}pools, fringed, during the summer, on both sides, with rushes and
water-flags, and choked up in many parts with pickerel weed and other
aquatic plants. The channel of Leet contains shell marl, and its banks,
being hollowed out beneath, afford, independent of occasional vines and
tree roots, excellent shelter for trout. Not many years ago the whole
course of it was infested with pike, but the visit of some otters,
irrespective of the angler's art, has completely cleared them out,
and thus allowed the trout, which were formerly scarce, to become more
numerous. On the first occasion of my fishing Leet, which happened to
be early in April 1841, before the sedge and rushes had assumed the
ascendency, I captured, with the fly, twenty-six trout, weighing in
all upwards of twenty-nine pounds. Of these, five at least were
two-pounders, and there were few, if any, small-sized fish." On another
occasion, in June 1846, Stoddart caught in the same water, in four
hours, three dozen and five fish, the biggest of which weighed 3
lbs., and a dozen of the others 1 lb. apiece. This stream, in its
characteristics so unlike the usual Scottish burn, is not open to the
public, but it may be assumed that no such fishing is now obtainable
there, any more than it is to be got elsewhere in Scotland. Once they
establish themselves and make unchecked headway, pike are very hard
to extirpate; it is not in every stream that one finds otters so
accommodating, and so careful of the interests of anglers, as they
appear to have been in Leet in Stoddart's day.

Coldstream, where Leet joins Tweed, was of old chiefly known for its
ford, the first of any consequence above Berwick. It was here that the
invading army of Edward the First crossed the river into Scotland
in 1296; here, indeed, it was that most armies, English or Scottish,
plunged into country hostile to them once they had quitted their own
bank of the river; it was here that all Scottish travellers, from
royalty to peasant, must halt when southward bound, and await the
falling of the waters should Tweed chance to be in flood. Consequently,
at {059}a very early date a settlement sprang up, and in it many an
historical personage has temporarily sojourned. Sir Thomas Dick Lauder
says that as late as his own day an old thatched two storied building
in the village was pointed out as the house in which "many persons of
distinction, including kings and queens of Scotland, are enumerated by
tradition as having resided.... occasionally several days at a time,"
waiting till the river was fordable. It was not till 1766, when Smeaton
completed his fine bridge, that any other crossing of the stream than by
the ford was possible. In pre-Reformation times, there was in Coldstream
a rich Priory of Cistercian Nuns, not a stone of which, however, now
remains. But in its little burial ground, between the river and what
used to be the garden of the Priory, in 1834 there was dug up a great
quantity of human bones, and a stone coffin. The bones were supposed
to be probably those of various Scottish persons of rank who fell but
a short five or six miles away on the fatal field of Flodden. Tradition
tells that the Abbess of that day, anxious to give Christian burial to
her slain countrymen, caused the bodies of many Scots of rank and birth
to be borne from the field of battle to the Priory, and there laid them
to rest in consecrated ground.

Till about 1865 there stood in the village another interesting old
house, and on the building which now occupies its site may be read the
following inscription: "Headquarters of the Coldstream Guards, 1659;
rebuilt, 1865." Here it was that General Monk formed that famous
regiment, than which there is but one in the British army whose history
goes further back, none which in achievements can surpass it. In one
of his works on England at the period of the Restoration of Charles the
Second, M. Guizot, the French historian, records that Monk "spent about
three weeks at Coldstream, which was a favourable spot for the purpose,
as the Tweed was there fordable; but he seems to have found it a dismal
place to quarter in. On his first arrival, he could get no provisions
for his own {060}dinner, and was obliged to content himself with a quid
of tobacco. His chaplains, less easily satisfied, roamed about till they
obtained a meal at the house of the Earl of Home, near by." This place,
to which the fine instinct of those preachers guided them, was no doubt
The Hirsel, which is at no great distance from Coldstream.

[Illustration: 0080]

There is yet another thing for which this little town was famed in
former days. In the time of our grandsires, and indeed, down to as late
a date as 1856, when clandestine weddings were prohibited by Act of
Parliament, it was a common sight to see a post-chaise come racing
over Coldstream Bridge, or, in days before a bridge existed, splashing
through the water from the English side, bearing in it some fond couple
(like Mr. Alfred Jingle and the Spinster Aunt), flying on love's wings
from stony-hearted parent or guardian. Coldstream was almost as famous
a place for run-away marriages as was Gretna Green itself. At the former
place, the ceremony was usually performed in the toll-house at the
Scottish end of the bridge, where "priests" were always in readiness
to tie up the run-away {061}couples, and to issue to them thereafter a
Certificate of Marriage, such as the following, which is a copy of one
issued in 1836: "This is to certify that John Chambers, Husbandman, from
the Broomhouse, in the Parish of Chatton, with Mary Walker from Kelso,
in the Parish of Kelso, in Roxboroughshire, was married by me this Day.
As witness to my hand, William Alexander, Coldstream, 15th Dec., 1836.
Witnesses' names: Miss Dalgleish, Miss Archer."

But though for convenience' sake, and probably for speed of dispatch,
the toll-house was chiefly patronised, those who had command of money
and were not unduly pressed for time could arrange to have their
nuptials celebrated in less public fashion than would probably be the
case at the bridge-end. It is I believe an undoubted fact that in 1819
Lord Brougham was married in the chief inn of the village.

Those irregular marriages were in the eighteenth century a great source
of trouble and annoyance to the Kirk Session of Kelso. A good many of
them at one time were celebrated by a certain Mr. Blair, whom the Privy
Council had ejected from the incumbency of Coldstream in 1689 because
he had refused to pray for the King and Queen, (William and Mary),
and would neither read the proclamation of the Estates nor observe
the national thanksgiving. Mr. Blair, however, after the loss of his
incumbency continued to live in the village, and, it was alleged,
was, in the matter of these marriages sometimes over accommodating and
good-natured regarding dates; in his certificates he did not always
rigidly adhere to the true day of month or year in cases where it might
be represented to him that a fictitious date would be less compromising
to the contracting parties. Mr. Blair was "sharply rebukit" by the
Session. The reverend gentleman was not in Coldstream later than 1728,
and he died at Preston, in Northumberland, in 1736, {062}at the age of
eighty-five. The following is the epitaph composed on him:

               "Here lies the Reverend Thomas Blair,

                   A man of worth and merit,

               Who preached for fifty years and mair,

                   According to the spirit.

               He preached off book to shun offence,

                   And what was still more rare,

               He never spoke one word of sense--

                   So preached Tammy Blair."

In examining Scottish Border records of those times, nothing strikes one
more than the power of the Kirk Sessions; it is indeed hard to imagine a
country more priest ridden than Scotland in the eighteenth century. The
"Sabbath" was then as easy to break as a hedge-sparrow's egg, and there
were a thousand--to modern eyes not very heinous--ways of breaking it.
What in the way of punishment may have been meted out to the unfortunate
who fell asleep under the infliction of a long, dull, prosy sermon in a
stuffy, ill-ventilated church on a warm summer's day, one hardly cares
to conjecture, so rigidly enforced was the duty of listening to sermons;
whilst to be abroad "in time of sermon" was sin so heinous that Elders
were, so to speak, specially retained to prowl around and nose out
offenders. Walking on the Sabbath day--"vaguing," they called it,--was
looked on with horror, and called for stern reprimand. In 1710, it was
observed that sundry persons in Kelso were "guiltie of profaning the
Sabbath by walking abroad in the fields after sermons," and the Session
called on the parish minister to "give them a general reproof out of the
pulpit the next Loird's Day, and to dehort them from so doing in time
coming, with certification that the Session will take strict notice of
any one guiltie of it." For less than "vaguing," however, a man might be
brought before the Session. In 1710, Alexander Graemslaw of Maxwellheugh
was "dilated for bringing in cabbage to his house the last Lord's Day
between sermons," {063}and was "cited to the next Session." ("Dilate" is
probably less painful than it sounds). He was only "rebuked" about the
cabbages: but then they fell on him and demanded an explanation of his
not having been at church. Altogether they made things unpleasantly warm
for Alexander. In 1708, Alexander Handiside and his son, and a woman
named Jean Ker were had up for "walking to and fro on the Sabbath."
At first they "compeared not" on being cited, but on a second citation
Handiside "compeared," and vainly advanced the plea that his walking to
and fro was occasioned by the fact that he had been attending a child
who had broken a leg or an arm. He "was exhorted to be a better observer
of the Sabbath." A Scot, apparently, might not upon the Scottish Sabbath
draw from a pit his ox or his ass which had fallen in. This same year,
"those who searched the town" discovered two small boys "playing on
the Sabbath day in time of sermon." The Session dealt sternly with the
hardened ruffians. Amongst other cases that one reads of there is that
of Katherine Thomson. One's sympathies rather go with Katherine, who
when reproved by a sleuth-hound Elder for "sitting idly at her door in
time of sermon," abused her reprover. But the Session made it warm for
a woman who thus not only, as they said, "profaned the Sabbath," but was
guilty of "indescreet carriage to the Elder." One trembles to think how
easy it was to slip into sin in those days.

But over and above this Juggernaut power of the Session, there was
another weapon much used by eighteenth century ministers, whereby they
kept a heavy hand on the bowed backs of their congregations. It was
their habit, where the conduct, real or fancied, of any member of
their flock offended them, to speak _at_ the culprit during service
on Sundays, and to speak at him in no uncertain voice. The practice is
probably now dead, even in remote country parishes, but fifty years ago
it was still a favourite weapon in the hands of old-fashioned
ministers, and in the eighteenth century it seems to have been in almost
{064}universal use. The Reverend Mr. Ramsay, minister of Kelso from 1707
till his death in 1749, was a dexterous and unsparing wielder of this
ecclesiastical flail. It chanced once that there "sat under" him--as we
say in Scotland--a Highlander, a man who had deserted from the ranks of
the rebel army in the '15, and had afterwards managed to get appointed
to a post in the Excise at Kelso. This man's seat in church was in the
front pew of the gallery, immediately facing Mr. Ramsay, and his every
movement, therefore, was likely to catch the minister's eye. Now, the
exciseman had a habit which greatly annoyed Mr. Ramsay. As soon as
the sermon commenced, the Highlander produced a pencil, with which he
proceeded to make marks on a slip of paper. He may, perhaps, have been
making calculations not unconnected with his duties as exciseman,--a
scandalous proceeding when he should have been all ears for the Word as
expounded by the minister; or, again, on the other hand he may really
have been devoutly attentive to the sermon, and engaged in making notes
on it,--a thing perhaps not over and above likely in an ex-Highland
rebel. In any case he annoyed Mr. Ramsay, and one day the irritation
became acute. Pausing in his discourse in order to give emphasis to his
words, and looking straight at the exciseman, he cried: "My brethren, I
tell ye, except ye be born again, it is as impossible for you to enter
the Kingdom of Heaven as it is for a Hielander no to be a thief! Man wi'
the keel-o-vine," he thundered, "do ye hear _that?_" (For the benefit of
non-Scottish readers it may be necessary to explain that a "keel-o-vine"
is a pencil).

A few miles above Coldstream, after a course of about four and twenty
miles, the beautiful little Eden Water joins Tweed. Its capabilities as
a trout stream are spoken of elsewhere in this volume, and the little
river is now mentioned only to record a tragedy of unusual nature which
occurred in it in the earlier half of the nineteenth century. Two young
ladies, sisters of the then proprietor of Newton Don, a beautiful estate
on the right bank of Eden, had come from Edinburgh to {065}pass the
summer and autumn at their brother's house. With them was a friend, a
Miss Ramsay. It chanced that one afternoon these three young ladies were
walking along the banks of the river, on the side opposite to Newton
Don. They had strolled farther than at starting had been their
intention, and time had slipped past unnoticed, and while they still
had some distance to go on their return way, they were surprised by the
sound of the house bell ringing for dinner. Now, a little below the spot
where they then were, it was possible to cross the river by stepping
stones, an easy, and to every appearance a perfectly safe way by which
anybody beyond the age of childhood might gain the other side, without
much risk even of wetting a shoe. The three girls, accordingly, started
to go over by these stones. The water was low and clear, the weather
fine; there had been no thunderstorm that might have been capable of
bringing down from the hills a sudden spate; the crossing could have
been made a million times in such circumstances without peril greater
than is to be met with in stepping across a moorland drain. Yet now the
one thing happened that made it dangerous.

At some little distance up stream there stood a mill, the water power
of which was so arranged, that if the sluice of the mill should for any
reason be suddenly closed, that body of water which normally flowed down
the mill dam after turning the wheel, was discharged into the river some
way above the stepping stones. In the narrow channel of the Eden at this
point, this sudden influx of water was quite sufficient to raise the
stream's level to a height most dangerous to anyone who at the time
might be in the act of crossing by these stones. Unhappily, at the exact
moment when the three poor girls were stepping cautiously and with
none too certain foot from stone to stone, and had reached to about
mid-channel, the miller, ignorant of their situation and unable from
where he stood to command a view to any distance down stream, closed his
sluice. Down Eden's bed surged a wave crested like some inrushing sea
that sweeps far up a shingly beach. In an instant the three girls,
{066}afraid to make a dash for the safety of the hank, were swept off
the stones where they clung, and were carried shrieking down the swollen
stream. One, Miss Ramsay, buoyed to a certain extent by the nature of
her dress, floated until she was able to grasp the overhanging branch of
a tree, and she succeeded in getting out. The other two, rolled over
and over, buffeted by the sudden turmoil of waters, were swept away and
drowned. No one was near to give help; none even heard their cries.

On the southern bank of Tweed, a mile or two up the river from
Coldstream and Cornhill, stands all that is left of Wark Castle, a place
once of formidable strength, and greatly famed in Border history. Except
a few green mounds, and portions of massive wall, there remains now but
little to speak of its former greatness, or to remind one of the mighty
feats that were performed here during its countless sieges and bloody
fights. But the old Northumbrian saying still tells its tale with grim
simplicity:

                   "Auld Wark upon the Tweed

                   Has been mony a man's dead."

Regarding this couplet, the following comment is made in the _Denham
Tracts_: "Mark's history, from the twelfth down to at least the
sixteenth century, is perhaps without a parallel for surprises,
assaults, sieges, blockades, surrenders, evacuations, burnings,
restorations, slaughters. These quickly recurring events transformed the
mount on which the castle stood into a Golgotha, and gave a too truthful
origin to the couplet which still occurs on the Borders of the once
rival kingdoms." The castle was erected during the reign of King Henry
I., by Walter d'Espec, somewhere about the year 1130; and before it had
been many years in existence, in 1135, David I. of Scotland captured it.
From that time onwards, at least down to 1570, when Sussex spent a night
within its walls on his way to harry Teviotdale, there is not one item
of that formidable list of "surprises, assaults, sieges, blockades,
surrenders, {067}evacuations, burnings, restorations, slaughters," that
has not been amply borne out by its history, many of them again
and again. David took it in 1135, but restored it to England in the
following year. Twice afterwards, the same monarch vainly attempted to
take it by storm, but finally, after the fall of Norham, he reduced
it by means of a long blockade. After this it remained in Scottish
possession till 1157, when England again seized, and at great expense
rebuilt, the castle. In 1216 it was destroyed by fire; in 1318, reduced
by King Robert the Bruce; in 1385, taken by storm by the Scots. Then in
1419, William Halliburton of Fast Castle surprised the English and took
the castle, putting all the garrison to the sword. But the same fate was
dealt out to the Scots themselves a few months later; Sir Robert Ogle
and his men gained access to the building by way of a sewer from the
kitchen, which opened on the bank of Tweed. Creeping up this unsavoury
passage, they in their turn surprised and slew the Scotsmen. Again in
1460, after the widow of James II. had dismantled Roxburgh and razed it
almost to the foundations, the Scots forded Tweed and retook Wark. But
they did not hold it long. More valuable now to the English than ever
it had been before, owing to the loss of Roxburgh, it was partially
repaired by them, only, however, to be again pulled down by the Scots
before the battle of Flodden; after which Surrey for the last time
restored and strengthened it. After the accession of James VI to the
throne of England, Wark, like other Border strongholds, began to fall
into decay; the need for them was gone. Buchanan, the historian, has
left a description of Wark as it was in 1523, when he was with the
Scottish army at Coldstream, which then besieged it. "In the innermost
area," he says, "was a tower of great strength and height; this was
encircled by two walls, the outer including the larger space, into which
the inhabitants of the country used to fly with their cattle, corn, and
flocks in time of war; the inner of much smaller extent, but fortified
more strongly by ditches and {068}towers. It had a strong garrison,
good store of artillery and ammunition, and other things necessary for
defence."

On this occasion the Scottish commander sent against the castle a picked
force of Scottish and French troops, supported by heavy siege artillery,
all under the command of Ker of Fernihurst. "The French," says Sir
Walter Scott, "carried the outer enclosure at the first assault, but
were dislodged by the garrison setting fire to the corn and straw laid
up in it. The besiegers soon recovered their ground, and by their
cannon effected a breach in the inner wall. The French with great
intrepidity mounted the breach, sustaining great loss from the shot
of that part of the garrison who possessed the keep; and being warmly
received by the forces that defended the inner vallum, were obliged to
retire after great slaughter. The attack was to have been renewed on the
succeeding day, but a fall of rain in the night, which swelled the Tweed
and threatened to cut off the retreat of the assailants to the main
army, and the approach of the Earl of Surrey, who before lay at Alnwick
with a large force, obliged the Duke [of Albany] to relinquish his
design and return into Scotland."

Wark, it is said, once belonged to the Earl of Salisbury, and the tale
is told how, in the time of King David Bruce, a gallant deed was done
by Sir William Montague, Lord Salisbury's governor of the castle. King
David, returning from a successful foray into England, passed close to
Wark, making for the ford over Tweed at Coldstream, and his rear-guard,
heavily laden with plunder, was seen from the castle walls by
Montague's garrison. The rear was straggling. Such an opportunity was
not to be wasted. The Governor, with forty mounted men, made a sudden
dash, slew a great number of the Scots, cut off one hundred and sixty
horses laden with booty, and brought them safely into the castle. David
instantly assaulted the place, but without success; and he thereupon
determined to take it by siege. There was but one way whereby the place
might be saved; a message must be conveyed to King Edward III., {069}who
was then on his way north with a great army. The risk was great; failure
meant death, and the castle was closely invested. Sir William himself
took the risk. In a night dark and windy, with rain falling in torrents,
the Governor dashed out on a swift horse and cut his way through the
Scottish lines before almost the alarm had been raised; and so rapidly
did Edward advance on hearing of the plight of the garrison, that the
rear of the Scottish force was barely over the ford before the English
van had reached the southern bank of Tweed. It is of this occasion
that the more or less mythical tale of King Edward and the Countess of
Salisbury's Garter is told. In the great Hall of Wark Castle the story
finds a dubious resting place.

The countless war-like events that have taken place in and around Wark
give to the place an interest which is perhaps hardly appreciated by the
majority of us, and that interest is largely added to when one thinks
of the many characters noted in history who from time to time sojourned
within its walls. King Stephen lay here with a large army in 1137; Henry
III remained in the castle for some time with his queen in 1255; in
1296 Edward I paid it a visit: Edward II mustered here his army in
1314 before his crushing defeat at Bannockburn, and, as already stated,
Edward III, after he had driven off the Scottish marauding force, was
entertained here for a time by the Countess of Salisbury.

Wark, one thinks, would be an ideal place in which to conduct
excavations,--though, indeed, a little in that line has already been
undertaken. In the volume for 1863-68 of the "Proceedings of the
Berwickshire Naturalists' Club," it is recorded that a good many years
ago Mr. Richard Hodgson had traced a wide sewer to the north of the
castle, opening on to the river bank. This sewer is said to be so wide
that it might easily have been used for the passage of men or material.
Probably it was by this bidden way that Sir Robert Ogle in 1419 forced
his way into the interior. But if the opening was so wide, {070}how
came it to be undefended? Was there a traitor inside who kept guard that
night, a Northumbrian perhaps, masquerading as a Scot, whose burr did
not betray him? In the course of his investigations Mr. Hodgson came
also on a "long flight of stone steps leading from the keep to the outer
court, with a portcullis about half way." Quantities of cannon balls
have also been found, but there must surely be unlimited scope for the
discovery of such like treasure trove in the fields surrounding the
castle, and down by the ford where so many armies of both nations have
crossed Tweed. They did not always make a leisurely and altogether
unmolested passage.



CHAPTER III KELSO, ROXBURGH, TEVIOT, KALE, AND OXNAM

|Coming{071} now to Kelso,--with Melrose the most pleasing of the towns
on Tweed,--we pass the meeting of the waters of Tweed and its largest
affluent, Teviot. Kelso has a fine airy square, good streets, and an air
of quiet gentility, neighboured as it is by Floors, the palatial seat
of the Duke of Roxburghe, and by the trees of Springwood Park, the
residence of Sir George Douglas.

We are now in the region of the clan of Ker of Cessford, from which the
ducal family descends: while the Lothian branch descends from the Kers
of Fernihurst. The name, Ker, is said to mean "left handed," and like
the left handed men of the tribe of Benjamin, the Kers were a turbulent
and grasping-clan, often at deadly feud with their neighbours and
rivals, the Scotts of Buccleugh. These, with the Douglases, for long
predominant, were the clans that held the Marches, and freely raided the
English Borderers, while they fought like fiends among themselves.

It is in the early sixteenth century that the chiefs of the two branches
of Ker, or Kerr, and of the Scotts, become more and more prominent in
history, both as warriors and politicians. From these Houses the Wardens
of the Border were often chosen, and were not to be trusted to keep
order; being more disposed to use sword and axe. Within a century the
chiefs {072}throve to Earl's estate, and finally "warstled up the brae"
to Dukedoms.

[Illustration: 0092]

Meanwhile the Douglases, for long the most powerful House in Scotland,
the rivals of the Crown, were crushed by James II, and of the Douglases,
Sir George, of Springwood Park, is descended from the House of Cavers,
(on Teviot, below Hawick), scions sprung from Archibald, natural son of
the Earl of Douglas who fell at Otterburne (1388) and is immortal in the
ballad. The whole land is full of scenes made famous by the adventures
of these ancient clans; they may be tracked by blood from Hermitage
Castle to the dowie dens of Yarrow and the Peel Tower on the Douglas
burn.

Sir Herbert Maxwell, in "The Story of the Tweed" (p. 139) not
unnaturally laments the "sadly suburban" name of Springwood Park,
standing where it ought not, in place of the {073}ancient name of
Maxwell, originally "Maccus whele," "the pool of Maccus," on Tweed.

[Illustration: 0093]

Maccus was a descendant of the primeval Maccus, who, before the Norman
Conquest, signed himself, or was described, as Maccus Archipirata, "the
leading pirate." To a later Maccus David I gave the salmon fishing at
Kelso; the pool, called "Maccus whele" became Maxwell, and the lairds
"de Maxwell." The Maxwells moved to the western Border to Caerlaverock
and into Galloway; and of all {074}this history only the name, "Max
wheel," of a salmon cast below the pretty bridge of Kelso, is left.

The name Kelso is of Cymric origin: _calch myadd._ "Chalk hill." To be
sure, as the man said of the derivation of _jour_ from _dies_, the name
is _diablement change en route_. The ruins of Kelso Abbey are the chief
local remains of the Ages of faith. When David I, not yet king, brought
French Bénédictines to Scotland, he settled them in Ettrick Forest. Here
they raised the schele chirche--the Monastery, on a steep hill above
Ettrick (now Selkirk), and here they "felt the breeze down Ettrick
break" with its chill showers, and wept as they remembered pleasant
Picardy; the climate of Selkirk being peculiarly bitter. David, when
king, moved his Benedictines to the far more comfortable region of
Kelso, or "Calkow," where they began to build in 1128. The style of
their church is late Norman, and the tower was used in war as a keep in
the fierce wars of Henry VIII. The place was gutted and the town
burned by Dacre, in 1523; and suffered again from Norfolk, in 1542, and
Hertford in 1545. Henry VIII chivalrously destroyed this part of the
border from the cottage to the castles of the Kers and the pleasant
holy places of the Church, during the childhood of his kinswoman, Mary
Stuart, Queen of Scots. His aim was always to annex Scotland; and, of
course, to introduce the Gospel. In 1545, after overcoming the garrison
of the church tower, Hertford's men wrecked the whole place, leaving
little more than we see to day; though that little is much compared with
what the Reformers have left of St. Andrews and Lindores.

Kelso saw more than enough of very ugly fighting in those days; not
even her monks stood aloof when blows fell fast and their cloisters were
threatened. In 1545, twelve monks and ninety laymen gallantly held the
Abbey against the English, and when at length Hertford's guns created
a practicable breach, they retreated to the church tower. Hill Burton
says, in his History of Scotland, that then "the assault was given to
the Spaniards, but, when they rushed in, they found the place Kelso
Abbey. {075}cleared.

[Illustration: 0095]

The nimble garrison had run to the strong square tower of the church,
and there again they held out. Night came before they could be dislodged
from this their last citadel, {076}so the besiegers had to leave the
assault till the morning, setting a good watch all night about the
house, which was not so well kept but that a dozen of the Scots in the
darkness of the night escaped by ropes out at back windows and corners,
with no little danger of their lives.

[Illustration: 0096]

When the day came, and the steeple eftsoons assaulted, it was
immediately won, and as many Scots slain as were within." So may Kelso
Abbey be said to have been finally wrecked; though, fifteen years later,
the Reformers did their own little bit of work in the same line.

The Abbey buildings, however, or part of them, continued to be used long
after this date; from 1649 to 1771 the transept, roughly ceiled over,
served as the parish church, but it was given up in the year last
mentioned owing to a portion of the roof falling in whilst service was
being held. The kirk "skailed" that day in something under record
time; Thomas the Rhymer's prediction that "the kirk should fall at the
fullest" was in the people's mind, and they stood not much upon the
order of their going.

Kelso was the most southern point reached by Montrose in {077}his
efforts to join hands w ith Charles the First after his year of
victories. The Border chiefs who had promised aid all deserted him; the
Gordons and Colkitto had left him, and he marched north to the junction
of Ettrick and Tweed and the fatal day of Philiphaugh.

[Illustration: 0097]

In 1745, Kelso for two days saw Prince Charlie, in his feint against
General Wade; from Kelso he turned to Carlisle, his actual, and by no
fault of his, hopeless line of invasion of England. The Prince's own
strategy, as he wrote to his father, was "to have a stroke for't," as
near the Border and as promptly as possible He therefore wished to cross
the Tweed near Kelso, and beat up the quarters of the senile Marshal
Wade at Newcastle. If he discussed Wade to the same tune as he had
settled Cope, English Jacobites might join him. Holding Newcastle, he
could thereby admit French reinforcements, while, if defeated, he was
near the sea, and had a better route of retreat than if he were defeated
going by Carlisle and the western route, in the heart of England. His
council of chiefs, unhappily, forced him to take the western route.
Halting at Kelso, he sent the best of the Border {078}cavaliers, Henry
Ker of Graden, to make a feint on Wade; he rode as far as Wooler, near
Flodden. Next day the Prince marched up Teviot, and up Jed, to Jedburgh,
with the flower of the fighting clans; then up Rule water, another of
the tributaries of Tweed, to Haggiehaugh on the Liddell, and so into
England near Carlisle. Of old he would have picked up the Kers, Elliots,
and Scotts; Haggiehaugh, where he slept, is Larriston, the home of the
Elliot chief, "the Lion of Liddes-dale." But the tartans waved and the
bagpipes shrilled in vain, and the Blue Bonnets did not go over the
Border. One of the writers of this book possesses the armchair in which
the Prince rested at Haggiehaugh.

It was at Kelso, one remembers, that Sir Walter Scott first met James
Ballantyne, with whose fortunes his own were afterwards to become so
inextricably blended. Scott was then but a growing boy f his health
had been giving trouble, and he was sent by his father to stay for
six months with an aunt "who resided in a small house, situated very
pleasantly in a large garden to the eastward of the churchyard of Kelso,
which extended down to the Tweed." During the time of Scott's stay,
Ballantyne and he were class-mates under Mr. Lancelot Whale, master of
the Kelso Grammar School. The acquaint ance then formed was never quite
broken off, and all the world knows the story of its outcome.

We now follow Prince Charles into

               "Pleasant Teviotdale, a land

                   Made blithe with plough and harrow,"

a rich, well-wooded grassy land, cultivated of old under the
Benedictines of Kelso.

Little more than a mile from that town, by the road leading to St.
Boswells up Tweed's southern bank, on a wooded ridge overhanging Teviot
and separated from Tweed by but a narrow flat haugh, stands all that
is left of Roxburgh Castle,--a few isolated portions of massive wall
defended on the north and, {079}east sides by a ditch.

[Illustration: 0099]

At the west end a very deep cutting divides this ridge from the high
ground farther to the west.

Ditch and cutting apparently were in former times flooded with water run
in from Teviot, for even as late as the end of the eighteenth century
remains of a weir or dam could still be {080}seen stretching across the
river. No trace of it now remains. Those who razed the castle took care
that the dam should be broken beyond repair, and countless winter floods
have long since swept away the little that may have been left. Close to
the castle probably stood the once important town of Roxburgh, with its
streets and churches, its convent and schools, and its Mint, where many
of our Scottish coins were struck. Where are those streets and churches
now? Not a trace of them is to be found. The houses were of wood, no
doubt, and easily demolished, but the churches, the convent, and the
Mint, one would expect to have been of build substantial enough to leave
some indication of where they had stood. Roxburgh, more than any other
Border town, experienced the horrors of war. Her castle was one of four
great Scottish strongholds--Edinburgh, Stirling, Berwick, Roxburgh--and
it mattered little whether it were temporarily held by England or
by Scotland, on the inhabit ants of the town fell the brunt of those
horrors. Castle and town were continually being besieged, continually
changing hands, sometimes by stratagem--as when on Shrove Tuesday, 1314,
the Good Sir James Douglas, with sixty men, surprised the garrison and
took the castle from the English;--sometimes by siege and assault, as
when James II was killed by the bursting of "the Lion," one of
his own clumsy pieces of ordnance, a gun similar to that ancient weapon,
"Mons Meg," which is still to be seen in Edinburgh Castle. To the
Queen of James II was due the complete destruction of Roxburgh as a
stronghold. The castle had been for something like a hundred years
continuously in England's hands,--a rankling sore in Scotland's body.
The knife must be used unflinchingly. Under her orders, therefore, when
the castle was captured after James's death, the place was thrown down
and made entirely untenable; and probably at this time also the dam
across Teviot was cut, thus permanently emptying fosse and ditch.
Roxburgh ceased then almost entirely to be a place of {081}strength,
and time and decay have wiped her out; no man may-say where stood any
portion of a town which, in point of population, was once the fourth
most important burgh in Scotland. Of the last siege, and the death
of James, the historian Pitscottie writes: "The King commanded the
souldeouris and men of weir to assault the castell, but the Inglischemen
défendit so walieiantlie within, the seige appeirlt so to indure langer
nor was beleiffit, quhairthrow the King déterminât to compell them
that was within the house be lang tairrie to rander and gif it ower."
Reinforcements at this time arrived, "which maid the King so blyth
that he commanded to chairge all the gunnis to gif the castell ane
new wollie. But quhill this prince, mair curieous nor becam him or the
majestie of ane King, did stand neir hand by the gunneris quhan the
artaillyerie was dischargeand, his thie bane was doung in twa with ane
piece of ane misframit gun that brak in the schutting, be the quhilk he
was strickin to the grund and dieit haistilie thereof, quhilk grettumlie
discuragit all his nobill gentlemen and freindis that war stand aboot
him." Near at hand on the farther bank of Tweed stands, or until lately
stood, an old thorn tree which is said to mark the spot where the King
fell.

The ancient Roxburgh has utterly disappeared;

               "Fallen are thy lowers, and where the palace stood

               In gloomy grandeur waves yon hanging wood;

               Crushed are thy halls, save where the peasant sees

               One moss-clad ruin rise between the trees."

But there lingers yet one relic of the days when her Markets and Trysts
were famed throughout the country. St. James's Fair, which w-as held
at Roxburgh as long ago as the days of King David I, is still kept each
August in the pleasant haugh by the ruins of the castle, between Teviot
and Tweed. There, on a little eminence, the Town Clerk of Jedburgh each
year reads this Proclamation: "OYEZ, OYEZ, OYEZ." {082}Whereas the Fair
of St. James is to be held this ----th day of August 19----, and is to
continue for the space of eight days from and after this proclamation.
Therefore, in name and authority of Our Sovereign King George V, by the
Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King,
Defender of the Faith, and in name and authority of the Honourable the
Provost and Bailies of the Royal Borough of Jedburgh, and in name and
authority of a High and Potent Prince the Duke of Roxburgh, and his
Bailie of Kelso, I make due and lawful proclamation that no person or
persons shall presume to trouble or molest the present Fair, or offer
any injury one to another, or break the King's peace,--Prohibiting all
old Feuds and new Feuds, or the doing of anything to disquiet the said
Fair, under the highest pains of law. As also--that no person or persons
make any private bargains prejudicial to the customs and Proprietors
of said Fair,--Certifying those who contravene any part of said customs
that they will be prosecuted and fined according to law. "GOD SAVE THE
KING."

In these degenerate days, the Fair lasts but one day in place of eight,
and Feuds, new or old, are unknown. But not so very long ago the rivalry
at this Fair of the neighbouring towns of Kelso and Jedburgh was very
bitter. Roxburgh had ceased to be, indeed, but the Fair survived, and it
chanced that the Provost and Bailies of Jedburgh--like Roxburgh, a Royal
burgh,--having under some old charter acquired a right to "proclaim"
the Fair and collect the market dues, duly came in state each August in
order to exercise this privilege at the ancient stance. Now, Kelso
in the course of time became a larger and more important town than
Jedburgh; it is, moreover, in close proximity to the ground on which the
Fair is held, whereas Jedburgh was no better than a foreign land, miles
removed--ten, at least,--from Roxburgh. Hence Kelso resented what it
considered to be an outrage on the part of her officious neighbour. What
was Jedburgh that she should oust them from those market tolls and dues!
A beggarly interloper, no less! The outcome of such a frame of mind was
generally what might be expected amongst men whose forebears for many
{083}hundreds of years had been fierce fighters. As the procession of
Jedburgh magistrates, all in their robes and escorted by a compact
body of townsmen, advanced towards the place of proclamation, taunts of
"Pride and Poverty!"--"Pride and Poverty!" were hurled at their ears
by the irritated men of Kelso. "Doo Tairts an' Herrin' Pies!" fiercely
retorted Jedburgh's inhabitants. It is difficult now-a-days to see where
came in the sting of the original taunt, or the appositeness of the
"Countercheck Quarrelsome." But in those old days they were amply
sufficient. Some man, more hasty, or less sober, than his neighbour
would follow up the taunt by a push or a blow, and St. James's Fair
was speedily as lively a spot as now could be any Fair even in Ireland.
Kelso and Jedburgh were "busy at each other"; and sometimes one
prevailed, sometimes the other. An attempt that Kelso once made to hold
the Fair on its own side of the river was utterly defeated; Jedburgh
marched across the bridge and made things so warm that the experiment of
shifting the venue of St. James's Fair has never been repeated.

No doubt, when Roxburgh ceased to be a Royal Burgh, its rights naturally
devolved on Jedburgh, the only other Royal Burgh in the country. But
Jedburgh tradition tells of a time when the English, taking advantage of
heavy floods which prevented Kelso men from crossing the river, raided
the Fair and carried off rich plunder. Then Jedburgh, coming to the
rescue, smote the English and recaptured the booty, and for their
gallant conduct were awarded those privileges which they still exercise.

The Kelso taunt of "Pride and Poverty" may possibly have originated from
a custom to which the economical burgesses of Jedburgh seem to have been
addicted. In a letter written in 1790, Sir Walter Scott mentions that
when he himself visited the Fair in that year, he found that, there
not being in possession of the men of Jedburgh enough riding boots to
accommodate all the riders in the procession, the magistrates had ruled
that only the outside men of each rank should wear boots, or, rather
{084}each a boot on his _outer_ leg. Thus, as the men rode in threes,
one pair of boots would be sufficient to maintain the dignity of each
rank,--a device worthy of Caleb Balderstone himself. It is easy enough
to assign an origin to "Pride and Poverty," but the local custom which
gave occasion for the bitter taunt of "Doo tairts and Herrin' Pies" is
baffling. There are many such taunts in the Border, hurled by town at
rival town. "Selkirk craws," is the reproach flung at that burgh by its
neighbour, Galashiels; and

               "Galashiels Herons, lockit in a box,

               Daurna show their faces, for Selkirk gamecocks,"

is, or was, the jibe that stung Gala lads to fury.

Before quitting the subject of Roxburgh, it may be of interest to
mention that in the churchyard of the present village of that name there
is a gravestone to the memory of the original of Edie Ochiltree, the
bluegown of Sir Walter's _Antiquary_. Andrew Gemmels was his name. He
died in 1793 at Roxburgh Newtown, a farm on the banks of Tweed a few mi
es from Roxburgh, at the great age of one hundred and six.

The first tributary received by Teviot on the right bank is the Kale
Water, running through the parish of Linton, which was in King David's
time an appanage of Kelso Abbey. The church has been restored, but the
walls are, like those of Kelso, Norman work, and in the porch is an
enigmatic piece of sculptors' work; apparently somebody is fighting a
dragon--Sir Herbert Maxwell suggests St. George, but St. Michael was
the more orthodox dragon slayer. About the object grew an aetiological
myth; a Somerville of old times

                   "Slew the Worm of Worrnes glen

                   And wan all Lintoun parochine."

The dragon-slaying story is found in most parts of the world, from Troy
to Dairy in the Glenkens. Here the Worm twisted himself round the Mote,
or tumulus (apparently the basis of an old fort), and was killed by the
local blacksmith. {085}In 1522-1533, Linton tower was among the scores
of such Border Keeps which the English destroyed. They could hold
their own against a Border raid; not in face of a regular English army.
Roxburghshire was not so deeply tainted by Covenanting principles as
Galloway, Lanarkshire, and the south-west, Ayrshire and Renfrewshire.
Covenanters needed wild hills and wild wastes. They are said to have
held coil venticles in a deep glen of Kale; but, as a rule, they knew
enough to preach in places of wide outlook, where they could detect the
approach of parties of dragoons. In the bed of a burn they would be at
great disadvantage.

A tower more interesting than that of Linton, namely Ormistoun, fell
when Linton fell; but it must have been rebuilt, for here, in Mary
Stuart's day, dwelt the Black Laird of Ormistoun, James, with Hob, his
brother, two of Bothwell's most cruel and desperate "Lambs." The Black
Laird was with Bothwell, Hay of Talla (on upper Tweed), and one of
Bothwell's own clan, Hepburn of Bowton, when they placed the powder
under Darnley's chamber in Kirk o'-Field (February 9-10, 1567), and so,
in the feeling words of Bothwell, "sent him fleeing through the air."
After doing another deed as treacherous as this murder, the Black Laird
was taken, tried, and hanged in 1573. Bothwell was Warden of the Border,
which he ruled from Hermitage Castle on the Liddel water, and all these
loose Border lairds rode and slew at his bidding. They had probably, in
that twilight of faith, no religion in particular; Catholicism lingered
in the shape of oaths, Calvinism was not yet well settled in these
regions. But, probably in prison, the Black Laird "got religion." He
professed to be of the Elect, and confident of his salvation, while he
drew a dark enough picture of life among lairds of his quality. On the
day of his hanging he said, "With God I hope this night to sup....
Of all men on the earth I have been one of the proudest and most
high-minded, and most filthy of my body. But specially, I have shed
innocent blood {086}of one Michael Hunter with my own hands. Alas,
therefore, because the said Michael, having me lying on my back, having
a pitchfork in his hand, might have slain me if he pleased, but did it
not, which of all things grieves me most in conscience. Within these
seven years I never saw two good men, nor one good deed, but all kinds
of wickedness."

This wretch, once on his feet, must have butchered some poor hind
who had spared him. In reading Pitcairn's _Criminal Trials_, and the
Register of Privy Council for the period of the Reformation, we find
private war, murder, and rapine to have been almost weekly occurrences,
from the Upper Tweed to the Esk. The new Gospel Light made the darkness
visible, and we see robberies and vendettas among the dwellers in the
peel towers, of which the empty shells stand beside every burn in the
pleasant lands then clouded with smoke from blazing barn and tower and
cottage. The later Ormistouns had "particularly deadly feud" with the
Kers of Cessford; the Kers annexed their lands, and the last Ormistoun
was a public hangman; the ancestral Orm was a flourishing and pious
gentleman of the twelfth century, a benefactor of the early monks of
Melrose. Meanwhile, the castle of Cessford, the ancestral hold of that
line, is not far from a place called Morbattle in the Black Laird's day,
and now, more pleasantly, Morebattle. The name has no connection either
with festivity or feud, and "More" is not the Celtic _mor_, "great."
"More" is "mere," a lake, and "botl" is Anglo-Saxon, "a dwelling."
Cessford Castle had the name to be only second to Bothwell's castle of
Dunbar, and Logan of Restalrig's eyrie on a jutting rock above the sea,
Fastcastle. In the great English raid of 1523, "Dand Ker," Sir Andrew,
the head of the clan, rather feebly surrendered the place, which was
secure in walls fourteen feet thick.

An interesting find was made at Cessford in 1858. Whilst excavating, a
few yards from the north wall of the castle, a workman unearthed a very
fine old sword, and a dagger, both in fair preservation. The dagger
measured about twenty-six inches, and bore on its blade the Scottish
Thistle, surmounted by a crown. The sword was basket hilted, richly
carved and embossed in silver. It measured forty inches in length; on
one side of the blade was the Scottish Crown; on the other, the date
1511.

It was a Ker of Cessford, tradition tells, who in 1622 tried to carry
off the goods and gear of Hobbie Hall of Haughhead, father of the famous
Covenanter, Henry Hall. Hobbie, apparently, was quite able to take care
of himself, as is testified by a large stone which stands on a knoll
amid trees, near Kale water, on which is carved:

               Here Hoby Hall boldly maintained his right

               'Gainst reef plain force armed w. lawless might

               For twenty pleughs harnessed in all their gear

               Could not this valiant noble heart make fear

               But w. his sword he cut the formost soam

               In two: hence drove both pleughs and pleughmen home."

                        1622.

The stone was repaired and restored in 1854 by Lady John Scott.

Higher up than Kale comes Oxnam (locally, Ousenam) Water, which joins
Teviot hard by Crailing. Once a nice trout stream, there is not left at
this day much to tempt the angler whose dreams are of giant fish, though
doubtless many a "basket" can be caught of fingerlings. In none of the
Border streams, unhappily, is any restriction made as regards the size
of the fish that may be taken. Everything goes into the creel of the
fisher with worm in "drummly" waters, and of the holiday sportsman;
moved by no compunctions, trammelled by no absurd qualms,--to them a
fish is a fish; and as the latter, at least, probably never even sees
a big trout, he attaches vast importance to the capture of a "Triton of
the minnows." The writer, who had one day fished a Border river with all
the little skill at his command, and had succeeded neither with dry fly
nor with wet in capturing anything worthy to be kept, once came upon
a sportsman of this holiday breed, rigged out with all the latest
appliances which should inevitably lure the wiliest of trout from
his native element. He "had had a splendid day," he said, in reply to
enquiries. "What had he got them with? Oh-h, Fly." but what fly, he
would not say. It was just "fly."

"Might he see the basket?" the baffled enquirer asked Proudly the lid
was thrown back, and the contents displayed--a basket half filled with
parr, and with trout, not one of which could have been six inches in
length. Thus are the streams depleted.

It is a pleasant valley, that of the Oxnam. Across it runs the old
Roman Road,--in days not very remote a favourite camping place of
gipsies,--and up the valley to the south lies that noble sweep of blue
hills, the Cheviots, smiling and friendly enough in summer, but dour and
forbidding when the north east blast of winter strikes their blurred and
gloomy faces.

Did those "muggers" and "tinklers," who of old frequented the Roman
Road that runs south over Teviot and Jed and Oxnam, and away over the
Cheviots down into Rede valley past Bremenium (High Rochester), did they
ever come upon buried treasure or hoarded coins, one wonders. It is not
many years since a well-known Professor, as he sat resting one day by
the side of the old Road a little farther south than Oxnam valley,
idly pushed his walking stick into a rabbit hole close to where he was
seated. A few scrapes with the point of the stick, and something chinked
and fell; then another, and another. But this buried treasure consisted
only of copper coins, a vast number, none very rare; and no farther
search revealed anything of value. Yet there must be plenty along
that route, if one could but chance upon the proper spots. And surely,
wherever there befell one of those countless fights or skirmishes that
were for ever taking place in these Border hills, both in the days of
the Romans and since, there must lie buried weapons. At Bloodylaws,
up Oxnam, for instance. The {89}name is suggestive; but what occurred
there, one cannot say--though there is the vague tradition of a mighty
battle that left Oxnam for three days running red with blood. The
country people, if you enquire from them the name of that hill,
pronounce it with bated breath;--"Bluidylaws," they say in lowered
voice. But I doubt that their tone is less the effect of old unhappy
tradition telling how some great slaughter took place here, than the
fact that "bluidy" is a word banned by the polite. This "three days red
with blood," too, is an expression curiously common in the account given
by country folk of any battle of which they may have local tradition.
You will rind it used in connection with at least half a dozen other
places in the Border-land besides Bloodylaws; and in the ballad of "The
Lads of Wamphray" there occurs the line: "When the Biddes-burn ran three
days blood." Wamphray is in Annandale, and the fight alluded to was
between the Johnstons and the Crichtons in 1593. But the affair was a
mere skirmish; "three days blood" is but a figure of speech in this and
probably in most other instances. Still, on a spur of Bloodylaws there
exists a well-defined circular camp, and there may be foundation for the
local tradition of some grim slaughter.



CHAPTER IV JEDBURGH, AND THE JED

|Two{090} or three miles up Teviot from the junction of Oxnam Water,
we come to Jed, a beautiful stream, on whose banks dreams the pleasant
county town where, close on ninety years ago, they cried that cry of
which they do not now like to think--"Burke Sir Walter!"

In all the Border there stands no place more picturesquely situated than
Jedburgh, nor in historical interest can any surpass it. And though its
ancient castle, and the six strong towers that once defended the town,
have long since vanished, there remain still the noble ruins of its
magnificent abbey, and other relics of the past, less noticeable but
hardly less interesting; whilst the surrounding countryside brims over
with the beauty of river, wood, and hill.

History gives no very definite information as to the date at which first
took place the building of a castle at Jedburgh, but it appears certain
that as early as the year 950 a.d. there existed in these parts some
great stronghold, if, at least, "Judan-byrig"--where, when he had
suppressed an insurrection in Northumbria, King Edred of England
confined the rebel Archbishop of York--may be identified with
"Jedburgh." Probably, however, there was in this neighbourhood a castle
of sorts long prior to the date above mentioned, for both "Gedde-wrdes,"
or "Jedworths," the old and the new, were known {091}settlements before
the expiry of the earlier half of the ninth century, and in those
turbulent days no community was rash enough to plant itself in hamlet
or town except under the protecting shield of castle or strong place of
arms.

[Illustration: 0111]

In any case, before the end of the eleventh century, there certainly
existed at Jedburgh a castle of formidable strength, which at frequent
intervals continued to be used by the Scottish kings as a royal
residence. Here, in 1165, died Malcolm the Maiden. From Jedvvorth was
issued many a Charter by Malcolm's predecessor, David I, by William the
Lion, by Alexander II. Here, too, the queen of Alexander III bore him
a son in the year 1264; and here at a masque held after Alexander's
second marriage in 1285, appeared and vanished the grizzly skeleton that
danced a moment before the king, threading its ghastly way through the
ranks of dismayed guests; frightened women shrank screaming from its
path, men brave to face known dangers yet fell back from this horror,
hurriedly crossing themselves. An evil omen, they said, a presage
of misfortune or of death to the highest in the land. And surely the
portent was borne out, for less than six months saw Scotland mourning
the violent death of her King.

Like its not distant neighbour, the more famed castle of Roxburgh,
Jedburgh castle as time went on became a stronghold continually changing
hands; to-day garrisoned by Scots, to-morrow held by English, taken and
retaken again and again, too strong and of importance too great to be
anything but a continuous bone of contention between the two nations,
yet more often, and for longer periods, in English than in Scottish
keeping. When in the summer of the year 1316, King Robert the Bruce
went to Ireland, Sir James Douglas was one of the wardens left by him
in charge of the Scottish Kingdom. Jedburgh Castle, probably with
a garrison far from strong, was then in English keeping. Douglas
established himself at Lintalee, little more than a mile up the river
from Jedburgh, where, by throwing across the neck of a promontory
between the river and a precipitous glen, fortifications which even now
are not quite destroyed, he converted a post of great natural strength
into a position almost unassailable. Here, or in the immediate
neighbourhood, in 1317 he inflicted two severe defeats on separate
bodies of English troops, detachments from a larger army under the
Earl of Arundel. As the outcome of these victories, Jedburgh Castle was
probably regained by the Scots, for the English monks in Jedburgh Abbey
were expelled by their Scottish brethren in February, 1318, a step they
would scarcely have dared to attempt had an English garrison still been
in the castle. In 1320 town and castle were bestowed by the Bruce on
Sir James Douglas, and five years later the grant was confirmed, with
further additions of land. But in 1334 Edward Baliol, who two years
earlier had assumed the Crown of Scotland, handed over to King Edward
III, to remain for ever in the possession of England, amongst other
places, the town, castle, and forest of Jedworth. These Edward now
bestowed on Henry Percy, thus providing ground for a very pretty quarrel
between the Douglases and {093}Percies. From now onward, practically for
seventy-five years, Jedburgh Castle remained in English hands.

Ultimately, its fate was as that of a land wilfully devastated by its
own people to hamper the march of an invading army. If the Scots could
not permanently hold it, neither, they resolved, should it any more
harbour those vermin of England. Accordingly, when in 1409 the men of
Teviotdale, fierce progenitors of the more modern reiving Border Elliots
and Scotts, wiping out the English garrison, retook the castle, they at
once set about its final destruction. Burnt, so far as it would burn,
cast down bit by bit to its very foundations, with strenuous toil riven
asunder stone from stone, ere their work was ended little part of its
massive walls remained to speak of former glories. Walter Bower, Abbot
of Inchcolm, who was a young man at the time of its destruction writes
in the "Scotichronicon" that: "Because the masonry was exceedingly
holding and solid, not without great toil was it broken down and
demolished."

Perched above the town on a commanding eminence that on one side
sloped steeply to the river, and on the other to a deep glen or ravine,
defended also, doubtless, on the side farthest from the burgh by a deep
fosse, the castle must once have been of great strength--how strong as
regards position may best be judged from the bird's-eye view of it to
be gained if one climbs at the back of Jedburgh the exceedingly steep
direct road that runs to Lariton village. From this point, too, one sees
to advantage the venerable Abbey nestling among the surrounding houses,
and can best appreciate the wisdom of the old monks, who chose for their
abode a site so pleasant. A valley smiling in the mellow sunshine; a
place to which one may drop down from the heights above where bellows
and raves a north westerly gale, to find peace and quiet, undisturbed
by any blustering wind; a valley rich in the fruits of the earth, and
wandering through it a trout stream more beautiful than almost any of
the many beautiful Border "Waters," a stream {094}that once was, and now
should be, full of lusty yellow trout rising under the leafy elms in the
long, warm, summer evenings. An ideal water for trout in Jed, and many
a pretty dish must those old monks have taken from it, by fair means or
foul; pity that woollen-mills below, and netting, and the indiscriminate
slaughter of fingerlings, above the town, should have so greatly damaged
it as a sporting stream.

Possibly upper Jed is not now quite so bad as it was a few years ago,
but what of the lower part of that beautiful river? The same may be said
of it that may be said of Teviot immediately below Hawick, or of Gala,
and, alas! of Tweed, below Galashiels. The waters are poisoned by dyes
and by sewage, rendered foul by sewage fungus, reeking with all manner
of uncleanness, an offence to nostril and to eye. Five and thirty years
ago Ruskin wrote: "After seeing the stream of the Teviot as black as
ink, a putrid carcase of a sheep lying in the dry channel of the Jed,
under Jedburgh Abbey, the entire strength of the summer stream being
taken away to supply a single mill, I know finally what value the
British mind sets on the beauties of nature." What, indeed, are the
'beauties of nature' that they should interfere with the glories of
commerce! Truly we are a Commercial Nation. Here is the condition of
things that Ruskin found in the Borderland in the mid-seventies of last
century, as described by him in a lecture delivered at Oxford in 1877.

"Two years ago," he said, "I went, for the first time since early
youth to see Scott's country by the shores of Yarrow, Teviot, and Gala
Waters." Then to his hearers he read aloud from "Marmion" that picture
of the Border country which is familiar to everyone:

                   " Oft in my mind surh thoughts awake,

                   By lone St. Mary's silent lake;

                   Thou know'st it well,--nor fen, nor sedge,

                   Pollute the clear lake's crystal edge;

                   Abrupt and sheer, the mountains sink

                   At once upon the level brink; {095}

                   And just a trace of silver sand

                   Marks where the water meets the land.

                   Far in the mirror, bright and blue,

                   Each hill's huge outline you may view;

                   Shaggy with heath, but lonely bare,

                   Nor tree, nor bush, nor brake is there,

                   Save where, of land, yon slender line

                   Bears thwart the lake the scatter'd pine.

                   Yet even this nakedness has power,

                   And aids the feeling of the hour:

                   Nor thicket, dell, nor copse you spy,

                   Where living thing conceal'd might lie;

                   Nor point, retiring, hides a dell,

                   Where swain, or woodman lone, might dwell;

                   There's nothing left to fancy's guess,

                   You see that all is loneliness:

                   And silence aids--though the steep hills

                   Send to the lake a thousand rills;

                   In summer tide, so soft they weep,

                   The sound but lulls the ear asleep;

                   Your horse's hoof-tread sounds too rude,

                   So stilly is the solitude.

                   Nought living meets the eye or ear,

                   But well I ween the dead are near;

                   For though, in feudal strife, a foe

                   Hath laid Our Lady's chapel low,

                   Yet still, beneath the hallow'd soil,

                   The peasant rests him from his toil,

                   And, dying, bids his bones be laid,

                   Where erst his simple fathers pray'd."

"What I saw myself, in that fair country," continued Ruskin, "of which
the sight remains with me, I will next tell you. I saw the Teviot
oozing, not flowing, between its wooded banks, a mere sluggish
injection, among the poisonous pools of scum-covered ink. And in front
of Jedburgh Abbey, where the foaming river used to dash round the sweet
ruins as if the rod of Moses had freshly cleft the rock for it, bare
and foul nakedness of its bed, the whole stream carried to work in
the mills, the dry stones and crags of it festering unseemly in the
{096}evening sun, and the carcase of a sheep, brought down in the last
flood, lying there in the midst of the children at their play, literal
and ghastly symbol, in the sweetest pastoral country in the world, of
the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

That is how these once fair scenes struck the outraged eye of one who
was a sincere lover of our beautiful Border land. What might he say of
these rivers now that five and thirty years have passed? Compared to
Teviot, ink is a fluid that may claim to be _splendidior vitro_, and Jed
below the town is in little better case.

However, to return to Jedburgh. Of the old castle no trace now remains;
but early in the nineteenth century a small portion of one wall yet
stood, some outline of foundations yet met the eye. Probably the fosse
was filled up when the buildings were razed--it was a convenient place
to shoot rubbish; indeed, when about 1820 the site was being cut down
preparatory to the erection of a new "castle" (until recent years used
as a County Prison), charred oaken beams and blackened stones were
unearthed, relics certainly of the ancient building. A few coins have
also been found, and at various dates an iron lock, a key of curious
design, a rusty dagger, arrowheads, and portions of a gold chain.

Jedburgh, deprived of her castle, was yet a strong place; but if her
townsmen and the fierce men of Teviotdale imagined that by harrying and
destroying the nest that so long had sheltered them, the English birds
of prey would be permanently-scattered down the wind, they made a vast
mistake. No more than a year had passed ere the English returned under
Sir Robert Umphraville and burned the town about their ears; and in 1416
the same commander repeated the performance of six years earlier.
Again and again as the years rolled on were fire and sword the fate
of Jedworth. The town, with its flanking towers, was strong, strong in
natural position, and, owing to the manner of building of its houses,
difficult of access except by one or other of its four ports; but it
had no walls or {097}defending fosse, and however brave its men, however
skilled in the use of arms, their numbers were generally too meagre to
cope with the formidable bands the English could bring against
them. Time and again the place was sacked, and on each occasion her
magnificent Abbey suffered grievously at the hands of the stormers.

Founded about the year 1118, the ancient Abbey occupies the site of a
building more ancient still by probably two or three hundred years, a
church built in the ninth century by Ecgred, Bishop of Lindisfarne,
who died A.D. 845. Osbert was the first Abbot of Jedburgh (1152-1174);
previous to his day the establishment ranked merely as a Priory. In the
troublous times between 1297 and 1300, the Abbey suffered much. Sacked
and partially destroyed, the lead stripped from its roof, the conventual
buildings to such an extent gutted that the brethren, fleeing, were
forced to seek refuge for a time in Abbeys and Monasteries south of
the Border, it can have been but the massiveness of its walls that then
preserved it from total destruction.

But compared to the treatment later meted out to Abbey and town by the
Earl of Surrey, all former chastenings were as a comparatively mild
scourging with whips; Surrey chastised with scorpions. In this matter,
his little finger was thicker than the loins of those who had preceded
him. In 1523, an English force--compared to the meagre number of
defenders, a vast army--marched on the town. All that human power
could do in defence of hearth and home was done that day by the men of
Jedworth. When, since history began, has it ever been recorded of them
that they shrank from battle?

                   "And how can man die better

                   Than facing fearful odds,"

summed up their creed, then and ever. There were of them, now, but two
thousand at the most, opposed to an army many times their number one man
as against four, or perhaps even {095}as one to five. Yet so stubborn
was their resistance, so fiercely they fought, that at the last it was
only by the aid of fire that this wasps' nest was laid waste. Driven
back at length by superior numbers, forced to retire to the towers and
to the Abbey, the attack could be pushed home no farther till Surrey
gave orders to set fire to the town. Even then, Jedworth held out
till far in the night, when the entire place was little more than a
smouldering heap of embers. "I assure your Grace," wrote the Earl to his
King, "I fownd the Scottis at this tyme the boldest men and the hottest
that ever I sawe any nation, and all the journey upon all parts of
the armye kepte us with soo contynual skyrmish that I never sawe the
like."... "Could 40,000 such men be assembled," he says in the same
letter, "it would bee a dreadful enterprise to withstand them." If
valour alone could have won the day, to the men of Jedburgh had now been
the victory. They fought like fiends incarnate. The Devil himself, in
truth, must have been amongst them, for, says Surrey farther: "I dare
not write the wonders that my Lord Dacre and all hys company doo
saye they sawe that nyght six tyms of sperits and fereful syghts. And
universally all their company saye playnly the devyl was that nyght
among theym six tyms."

Thus was Jedburgh wiped out, "soo surely brent that no garnysons nor
none others shal bee lodged there unto the tyme it bee newe buylded."
And to rebuild equal to what it had been, would surely be no light
undertaking, for, says Surrey, "the towne was much better than I went
(weened) it had been, for there was twoo tymys moo houses therein than
in Berwicke, and well buylded, with many honest and faire houses therein
sufficiente to have lodged a thousand horsemen in garnyson, and six good
towres therein, which towne and towres be clenely destroyed, brent, and
throwen downe." The slaughter of Jedworth's defenders no doubt must also
have been great. But that the inhabitants were not indiscriminately put
to the sword is evidenced by the fact that some time during {099}the
night, wlien Lord Dacre's picketed horses--terrified no doubt by the
same Scottish devil that had troubled the hearts of the storniers in the
town--suddenly stampeding, galloped wildly through Surrey's camp, over
two hundred of them, bursting in amongst the still burning houses, were
caught and carried off by the Scottish women who still clung to the
place--"keening," probably, over their devastated hearths. In all,
before this stampede ended, Surrey lost upwards of eight hundred horses;
for when the maddened beasts came thundering through his camp, the
English soldiers, imagining that they were being attacked by a fresh
army of Scots, loosed off into the mob flights of arrows, and fired
into the terrified animals with musketry. It is scarcely the method
best suited to calm a maddened mob of horses; little wonder that many in
their helpless terror plunged over the great "scaurs," or cliffs, that
near the town overhang Jedwater, and were dashed to pieces.

In his letter of 27th September, to Henry VIII, Surrey thus describes
the incident: "And he [Lord Dacre] being with me at souper, about viij
a clok, the horses of his company brak lowse, and sodenly ran out of his
feld, in such nombre, that it caused a marvellous alarome in our field;
and our standing watche being set, the horses cam ronnyng along the
campe, at whome were shot above one hundred shief of arrowes, and dyvers
gonnys, thinking they had been Scotes that wold have saulted the camp;
fynally, the horses w'ere so madde that they ran like wilde dere into
the feld, above xv c at the leest, in dyvers companys; and in one place
above felle downe a gret rok, and slew theymself, and above it ran
into the towne being on fire, and by the women taken, and carried awaye
right evill brent, and many were taken agayne. But, fynally, by that
I can esteme by the nombre of theym that I sawe goe on foote the next
daye, I think there is lost above viij c horses, and all with foly
for lak of not lying within the campe." {100}So, for a time, Jedburgh
perished. But the recuperative power of settlements in those days was
great--like the eels, they were used to the process of skinning--and
in no long time a rejuvenated township sprang from the ashes of the
old burgh. When Surrey gave orders that the towers should be "throwen
downe," possibly his commands were not obeyed to the letter. In a
district where a plentiful supply of stone is not lack ing, doubtless
these defending towers would be massive buildings constructed of
that material, run together--as was the custom in those days--with a
semi-liquid mortar, or kind of cement, which, when it hardened, bound
the entire mass into a solid block that clung stone to stone with
extraordinary tenacity. Probably the towers may not have been so
"clenely destroyed" as he supposed them to be. In any case, in twenty
years' time the place was again formidable, its men as prone as had been
their fathers to shout the old battle-cry of "Jethart's here," and fly
at the throat of their hereditary foe.

Nor was the hereditary foe in any way reluctant to afford them
opportunity. In 1544 Lord Evers stormed and captured the town; and again
the roar and crackle of flaming houses smote on the ears of Jedburgh's
women. According to an Englishman's account of "The late Expedition
in Scotland made by the King's Highness' Army under the Conduct of the
Right Honourable the Earl of Hertford, the year of owr Lord God 1544,"
an account "Sent to the Right Honourable Lord Russell, Lord Privy Seal;
from the King's Army there, by a Friend of his," the men of Jedburgh
on this occasion did not behave with their wonted valour. But if this
writer is to be trusted, nowhere during Hertford's entire campaign of
1544 did the Scots make a stand. It was a sort of triumphal English
progress; everywhere the Scots fled almost without striking a blow,
everywhere they were cut down. Only occasionally, and almost as it were
by accident, was an Englishman hurt, whilst the slaughter among the
Scots was prodigious. They "used for their defence their light feet,
and fled in so much haste that divers {101}English horses were tired in
their pursuit: but overtaken there was a great number, whereof many were
slain, partly by the fierceness of the Englishmen, partly by the guilty
cowardice of the Scots.... And yet in this skirmish, not one Englishman
taken, neither slain: thanks be to God." Everywhere it is the
same story--a pleasant picnic for Hertford and his men; death and
destruction, and panic flight for the Scots. Men, women, and children,
it was all the same apparently in that campaign, if one may judge by
incidents such as this at Dunbar: "And by reason that we took them
in the mornynge, who, having wautched all nyghte for our comynge and
perceyvynge our Army to dislodge and depart, thoughte themselves safe of
us, were newly gone to their beds; and in theyr fyrste slepes closed
in with fyre, men, women, and children were suffocated and burnt.... In
these victories," comments this pious and humane scribe, "who is to
bee moste highest lauded but God?" But war is a rough game, and such
happenings were the natural outcome at that time of Henry's orders anent
the giving of quarter, and to the "putting man, woman and child to fire
and sword, without exception, when any resistance shall be made against
you."

Here, at Jedburgh, "upon the approachment of the men to their entries,
the Scots fled from their ordnance, leaving them unshot, into the woods
thereabout, with all other people in the same town." Thereafter, having
caught and slain something over one hundred and sixty Scots, with "the
loss of six English men only," Abbey, and Grey Friars, the town, and
"divers hostel and fortified houses" were sacked and given to the
flames, "the goods of the same toune being first spoyled, which laded,
at their departing, five hundred horses." Again, in his notice of the
capture of Skraysburgh, "the greatest towne in all Teviotdale," we are
told that "it is a marvellous truth.... not one Englishman was either
hurt or wounded." A craven band, those Scots, it would appear, fallen
strangely from the level at which Surrey had found them so few years
before--{102} "the boldest men and the hottest that ever I sawe
any nation"; far sunk, too, beneath the level of their immediate
descendants, the men who turned the day in the fight of the Redeswire in
1575. And yet one remembers to have heard of a certain fight about this
period, in the near neighbourhood of Jedburgh, at a place called
Ancrum Moor, when Angus, Arran, and Scott of Buccleuch, with a force
numerically very inferior, turned the tables on the "auld enemy" to a
lusty tune. It may all be quite accurate, of course, this story told to
Lord Russell, but it smacks somewhat of a tale told by one who himself
was not a very bold fighting man. The warrior whose place is ever the
forefront of the battle is not the man who belittles his enemies, nor is
he usually one who regards with complacency the sufferings of helpless
women and children. Accurate, or not, however, Hertford seems to have
had a partiality for harrying this district and slaying its hapless
people, for he returned the following year with a larger following--a
mongrel gang, in which Turks and Russians were almost the only European
nations unrepresented--and completed his work of destruction so far as
it lay in his power. He could not utterly destroy the glorious Abbey,
but the Brethren were scattered, never to return, and so far as it could
be done, the building that for four hundred years had sheltered them was
wrecked. Mute now the solemn chants that had been wont to echo through
its dim lit aisles, gone for ever the day of matins and vespers; in
Jedburgh the sway of the Church was over. Black with the smoke of
sacrilegious fires, stained by the flames that had licked its desecrated
walls, still a rudely fitted fragment of the great Abbey for a little
time continued to be used by worshippers; for the rest, the building
would appear to have been regarded chiefly as an excellent and useful
outlook or watch tower.

It was the followers of the Reformed Faith that next held public worship
there. Did no one of the old-time Abbots who lie asleep within its
ancient walls turn in his grave, one wonders, {103}when in 1793 the
south aisle was pulled down, and "a wall built between the pillars to
make the church more comfort able"?

[Illustration: 0123]

They had no room in their compositions for any sentiment of reverence,
little use for such a thing as respect for historical buildings, those
eighteenth century Scottish ancestors of ours. Our old foes of England
at least had the excuse that what they did was done in the heat
of conflict; it was left to our own people in cold blood to lay
sacrilegious hands on a glorious relic of the past; like monkeys to
deface and tear to pieces something the beauty and value of which they
had not wit to recognise. All that could be done, however, to atone
for past misdeeds was done in 1875 by the Marquess of Lothian. The
"comfortable church" of 1793 has {104}been removed, and what remains of
the Abbey is reverently cared for. Safe now from further desecration,

                   "The shadows of the convent towers

                   Slant down the snowy sward;"

and in the peace of long-drawn summer twilights only the distant cries
of children, the scream of swift or song of thrush, may now set the
echoes flying through those ruined aisles. The Presbyterian Manse that
once stood in the Abbey grounds--itself no doubt, like other houses
in the town, built wholly or in part of stone quarried from the Abbey
ruins--has long since been removed, and little now remains which
may break the tranquil sadness that broods over these relics of past
grandeur.

A few hundred yards from the Abbey, down a back street, there stands a
picturesque old house, robbed now of some of its picturesqueness by the
substitution of tiles for the old thatched roof that once was there. It
is the house where, in a room in the second story whose window overlooks
a pleasant garden and the once crystal Jed, Mary, Queen of Scots lay
many days, sick unto death,--a house surely that should now be owned and
cared for by the Burgh. Local tradition (for what it may be worth) has
it that the Queen lodged first in the house which is now the Spread
Eagle Hotel, but that a fire breaking out there, she was hastily removed
to that which now goes by the name of "Queen Mary's House." It stands in
what must in her day have been a beautiful garden, sloping to the river.
Hoary, moss-grown apple trees still blossom there and bear fruit. "With
its screen of dull trees in front," says Dr. Robert Chambers, "the house
has a somewhat lugubrious appearance, as if conscious of connection with
the most melancholy tale that ever occupied the page of history." In
those long past days, however, its appearance must have been far from
lugubrious; and indeed even now, on a pleasant sunny evening of late
spring when thick-clustered {105}apple and pear blossom drape the
boughs, and thrushes sing, and Jed ripples musically beneath the worn
arches of that fine

[Illustration: 0125]

{106}old bridge near at hand, (across which they say that the stones for
building the Abbey were brought these many centuries agone), it is more
of peace than of melancholy that the place speaks.

Yet there is sadness too, when one thinks of the--at least on _this_
occasion--sorely maligned woman who lay there in grievous suffering in
the darkening days of that October of 1566. "Would that I had died at
Jedworth," she sighed in later years. She had been spared much, the
Fates had been less unkind, if death had then been her part. And
not least, she might have been spared the malignant slanders of the
historian Buchanan, who, at any rate in this matter, showed himself a
master of the art of suppressing the true and suggesting the false.

When, according to Buchanan, news was brought to Mary at Borthwick
Castle of the wounding of Bothwell by "a poor thief, that was himself
ready to die,"--how, one wonders, would the famous "Little Jock Elliot"
have relished that description of himself?--"she flingeth away in
haste like a mad woman, by great journeys in post, in the sharp time of
winter." As a matter of fact, when the news of Bothwell's mishap reached
the Queen, she was already on her way to Jedburgh, to hold there a
Circuit Court; and the time, of course, was not winter, but early
October, not unusually one of the pleasantest times of the whole year in
the south of Scotland.

Arrived at Jedburgh, says Buchanan, "though she heard sure news of his
life, yet her affection, impatient of delay, could not temper herself,
but needs she must bewray her outrageous lust, and in an inconvenient
time of the year, despising all discommodities of the way and weather,
and all danger of thieves, she betook herself headlong to her journey,
with such a company as no man of any honest degree would have adventured
his life and his goods among them." Buchanan's estimate of the Queen's
escort on this occasion is not flattering to the Earl of Moray, (the
"Good Regent," Mary's half-brother,) the Earl ol Huntly, (Bothwell's
brother-in-law,) {107}and Mr. Secretary Lethington, who formed part of
that escort. These, one would suppose, were scarcely the men most likely
to have been selected to accompany her had it been "outrageous lust"
that prompted her journey. And as to this "headlong" dash to the side of
the wounded Bothwell, of which Buchanan makes so much, they would call
now by an ugly name such statements as his if they chanced to be made
on oath. Buchanan must have known very well that the Queen transacted
business for a week in Jedburgh before she set out to visit her wounded
Warden of the Marches,--a visit which, after all, was official, and
which under any circumstances it had been ungracious in her to refrain
from making. There was no justification for speaking of her visit as
"headlong," there is no warrant for such words as "hot haste," and "rode
madly," which have been employed by other writers in speaking of her
journey. If she made "hot haste" there, (at the end of a week devoted to
business,) she made equally hot haste back again that same day. When one
has to ride fifty or sixty miles across trackless hills and boggy moors
in the course of a day in mid-October, when the sun is above the horizon
little more than ten hours, there is not much time for loitering by the
way; the minutes are brief in which one may pause to admire the view.

Suppose that she left Jedburgh soon after sunrise, (that is to say, at
that time of year in Scotland, a few minutes before 7 o'clock) going,
as she certainly must have done, across Swinnie Moor into Rule Water,
thence across Earlside Moor and over the Slitrig some miles above
Hawick, then up and between the hills whose broad backs divide Slitrig
from Allan Water, up by the Priesthaugh Burn and over the summit between
Cauldcleuch Head and Greatmoor Hill, thence by the Braidlee Burn into
Hermitage Water, and so, skirting the Deer Park, on to the Castle,--she
would do well, in those days when draining of swamp lands was a thing
unknown, and the way, therefore, not easy to pick, if she did the
outward journey in{108} anything under five hours. Hawick local
tradition claims that the Queen on her way to Hermitage visited that
town, and rested for a time in what is now known as the Tower Hotel;
and, as corroborative evidence, a room in that inn is said to be known
as "Queen Mary's Room." It may be that she did pay a flying visit to
Hawick, but the chances are against her having made such a detour. It
would have considerably added to the length of her journey, and there
can have been small time to spare for resting.

In mid-October the sun sets a few minutes after 5 o'clock. Therefore,
in returning, the Queen and her escort must have made a reasonably early
start; for to find oneself, either on horseback or afoot, among peat
bogs and broken, swampy ground after dark is a thing not to be courted.
As it was, Mary and her horse were bogged in what has ever since been
called the Queen's Mire, where years ago was found a lady's spur of
ancient design--perhaps hers. The day had turned out wet and windy,--it
is a way that October days have, after fine weather with a touch
of frost,--and the Queen and her escort were soaked to the skin,
bedraggled, and splashed to the eyes with black peaty mud from the
squelching ground through which their horses had been floundering.

Even in these days, when the Border hills are thoroughly drained,
you cannot ride everywhere across them in "hot haste" without having
frequently to draw rein. What must they have been like in the sixteenth
century, when, in addition to the rough, broken surface, and the steep
braes, every hillock was a soaking mossy sponge, every hollow a possibly
treacherous bog, when spots such as the "Queen's Mire" were on every
hand, and every burn brimmed over with the clear brown water that the
heart of the ardent trout fisher now vainly pants after? Going
and coming, between Jedburgh and Hermitage, a party in Mary's day,
travelling as she travelled, could not well have done the journey
in less that nine hours. Truly it does not leave much time for the
dalliance suggested by Buchanan,--{109}more especially as the Privy
Seal Register of that date testifies that the Queen transacted a not
inconsiderable amount of public business whilst at the castle. But, poor
lady, she could do no right in the eyes of certain of her subjects.
She was a Catholic; and that was sufficient; even her very tolerance of
other people's religion was an offence, a trap set for the unwary. Every
suggestion of evil with regard to her conduct was eagerly seized on and
greedily swallowed by her enemies and ill-wishers. It is so fatally easy
to take away character. Especially, for some reason, in the case of
one high in rank are certain people prone to believe evil, strangely
gratified if they may be the first to unfold to a neighbour some new
scandal against their betters. Away to the winds with Christian charity!
All is fish that comes to _their_ net; to them every scandalous tale
is true, and needs no enquiry, provided only it be told against one of
exalted station.

Queen Mary rode that day in the wind and the wet a matter of fifty or
sixty miles. She was used to long rides, no doubt,--there was indeed no
other means for her to get about the country,--and she was never one who
shrank from rough weather. But wet clothes, if worn for too long a time,
have a way of finding out any weak spot there may chance to be in one's
frame, and the exposure and the wetting dealt hardly this time with the
Queen. She was never physically strong, and of late a world of anxiety,
worry, and sorrow, caused by the conduct of her husband, had drained
the strength she possessed. Moreover, ever since her confinement three
months earlier, she had been subject to more or less severe attacks of
illness, accompanied by much pain. In her normal condition, probably the
fatigue and exposure might have affected her not at all; now, it brought
on a serious malady. By the morning of the 17th--the day following her
long ride--she was in a high fever, and in great pain. As the disease
progressed, she was seized with violent paroxysms, vomiting blood; and
day by day her condition gave rise to ever more grave fear. She herself,
believing that {110}her end was at hand, took leave of the Earl of
Moray and of other noblemen, expressing at the same time great anxiety
regarding the affairs of the kingdom and the guardianship of her infant
son after her death. But never throughout the illness did her courage
falter. Lack of courage, at least, is a thing of which not even her
bitterest enemies can accuse Mary Stuart.

On the evening of the ninth day of this severe illness, after a
particularly acute attack of convulsions, the Queen sank, and her whole
body became cold and rigid. "Every one present, especially her domestic
servants, thought that she was dead, and they opened the windows. The
Earl of Moray began to lay hands on the most precious articles, such
as her silver plate and jewels. The mourning dresses were ordered, and
arrangements were made for the funeral." * John Leslie, Bishop of Ross,
writing from Jedburgh at the time, says that on the Friday "her Majesty
became deid and all her memberis cauld, her Eene closit, Mouth fast, and
Feit and Armis stiff and cauld."

     * MS. in British Museum, by Claude Nau, Secretary to Queen
     Mary, 1575-1587.

Buchanan's account is that, after leaving Hermitage, "she returneth
again to Jedworth, and with most earnest care and diligence provideth
and prepareth all things to remove Bothwel thither. When he was once
brought thither, their company and familiar haunt together was such as
was smally agreeing with both their honours. There, whether it were
by their nightly and daily travels, dishonourable to themselves and
infamous among the people, or by some secret providence of God, the
Queen fell into such a sore and dangerous sickness that scarcely there
remained any hope of her life." It would be hard to conceive anything
more poisonous than this, or anything less in accord with the facts.
Buchanan's zeal outran his love of the truth; with both hands he flung
mud at the Queen. In his eyes, any story against her was worthy of
credence--or at least he wished it to appear so. As a matter of
{111}fact, before Bothwell reached Jedburgh the Queen had been
dangerously ill, and incapable of making any preparation to receive him
had she wished to do so, for close on ten days, and the day after his
coming she lay for several hours unconscious, and as one dead. Writing
on 24th October to the Archbishop of Glasgow, M. Le Groc, the French
Ambassador, can only say that he hopes "in five or six days the Queen
will be able to sign" a dispatch; but on the following day her illness
again took an unfavourable turn.

She left Jedburgh within fifteen days of the date of M. Le Croc's
letter, not an excessive time in which to recover from an illness which
admittedly had brought her to the point of death, and which must have
left her in a condition of extreme weakness. Yet, according to Buchanan,
this time of convalescence was devoted to "their old pastime again,
and that so openly, as they seemed to fear nothing more than lest their
wickedness should be unknown." His conscience must have been of an
elastic nature, if, having any knowledge of the facts, he could so
write; and if he had no knowledge of the farts, one wonders how it is
possible that a man of his position and ability should commit himself to
statements so foul and uncharitable.

But at any cost, and by any means, he wanted to make out his case; and
he knew his audience.

Buchanan's bias against the unfortunate Queen was very great. It even
caused him to lend himself here to the task of bolstering up the case of
that petulant, contemptible creature, Darnley. In view of the latter's
known degrading habits and evil practices, as well as of his general
conduct towards the Queen, the following sentence from the historian's
waitings is almost grotesque: "When the King heard thereof," [Mary's
illness] "he hasted in post to Jedburgh to visit the Queen, to comfort
her in her weakness by all the gentle services that he could, to declare
his affection and hearty desire to do her pleasure." Of course Darnley
did nothing of the sort. When he did come, (twelve days after her
illness began,) he came {112}most reluctantly and tardily from his
"halkand and huntand" in the west country. He "has had time enough if
he had been willing; this is a fault which I cannot excuse," wrote M. Le
Croc on the 24th October.

According to Buchanan, Darnley, when he did reach Jedburgh, found no one
ready to receive him, or "to do him any reverence at all"; the Queen, he
says, had "practised with" the Countess of Moray to feign sickness and
keep her bed, as an excuse for not receiving him. "Being thus denied
all duties of civil kindness, the next day with great grief of heart
he returned to his old solitary corner." A pathetic story, if it were
wholly true; a heart-stirring picture, that of the "solitary corner."
But all the King's horses and all the King's men could not have set
Darnley back again in the place he had forfeited in the esteem of the
Nobles, and in the esteem of the country at large. If the nobles were
not pleased to welcome him, if he was forsaken of all friends, whose
fault was that but Darnley's? "The haughty spirit of Darnley, nursed up
in flattery, and accustomed to command, could not bear the contempt into
which he had now fallen, and the state of insignificance to which he saw
himself reduced." * Darnley was an undisciplined cub. It was the sulky
petulance of a spoilt child, that delayed his visit to Jedburgh; it was
the offended dignity of an unlicked schoolboy that took him out of it
again so hurriedly. The Queen's sufferings were as nought, weighed in
the scale against a petty dignity offended by the lack of "reverence"
with which he was received in Jedburgh. Truly, Queen Mary at her
marriage had "placed her love on a very unworthy object, who requited it
with ingratitude and treated her with neglect, with violence, and with
brutality." **

     * Robertson's History of Scotland.

     ** Robertson.

Buchanan, the historian, Queen Mary's traducer, died in September, 1582.
His contemporary, Sir James Melville of Halhill, in writing of him says
he was "a man of notable endowments for his learning and knowledge in
Latin poesy, {113}much honoured in other countries, pleasant in
conversation, rehearsing at all occasions moralities short and
instructive, whereof he had abundance, inventing where he wanted. He was
also religious, but was easily abused, and so facile that he was led by
every company that he haunted, which made him factious in his old days,
for he spoke and wrote as those who were about him informed him; for he
was become careless, following in many things the vulgar opinion; for he
was naturally popular, and extremely revengeful against any man who had
offended him, which was his greatest fault." Truly these phrases: "he
spoke and wrote as those who were about him informed him"; "inventing
where he wanted"; "easily abused, and so facile that he was led by every
company that he haunted"; "extremely revengeful against any who had
offended him," seem to be not without application to much of what he
wrote regarding Mary Stuart.

On 9th November Jedburgh saw its last of this most unfortunate among
women. On that day the Queen and her Court set out for Craigmillar,
travelling on horseback by way of Kelso, Home Castle, Berwick, and
Dunbar. But the effects of that grievous sickness at Jedburgh long
remained with her.

Many, in the days that are long dead, were the Burgh's royal visitors;
but no figure more romantic in history has ever trod its streets
than his who in 1745 passed one night there on his disastrous march
southward. At no great distance from the house where Mary lay ill,
stands a fine old building, occupied once by a being no less ill-fated
than was the unfortunate Queen of Scots. In a "close" leading from the
Castle gate you find the door of this house--on its weather-beaten
stone lintel the date 1687. The sorely worn stone steps of a winding old
staircase lead to rooms above, all panelled in oak. But as in the case
of the "comfortable church" that once took away from the beauty and
dignity of the grand old Abbey, so here the ruthless hand of modern
"improvement" has been at work. The tenants of the building--there are
several--pre{114}sumably finding the sombre oak all too gloomy to meet
their view of what is fitting in mural decoration, have remedied this
defect by papering the panels, and in some instances by giving them what
is call "a lick of paint." Sadly altered, therefore, is the interior of
the building from what it was that night in November, 1745, when Bonnie
Prince Charlie slept within its massive walls. But the outside, with
its quaint double sun-dial set in the wall facing the Castle-gate, is no
doubt now as it was then.

Of this visit, local tradition has not much to tell. There is the story
that the advance guard of that section of the Prince's army which he
himself led, marching from Kelso, reached Jedburgh on the Sunday when
the entire community was at church, and it is said that a message was
sent to the minister of the Abbey church requiring him to close the
service and send his congregation home to prepare rations for the main
body of the army. The order, if it were really given, was apparently not
resented, for when the Prince himself marched in, the women of Jedburgh,
at least, flocked into the street to kiss his hand. The regard and
homage of the women he got here, as elsewhere, but of that of which he
stood most in need, the swords of the men, he got none. As at Kelso, not
a single recruit followed him. One, indeed, a neighbouring farmer, did
ride in to join the Royal standard, but he was a day after the fair;
the army had already marched. Did the sound that tradition says Jedburgh
heard long ere the Prince's arrival, the sound as of an army on the
march, the distant rumble of moving artillery, the tramp of innumerable
feet, and the dull throb of drums pulsing on the still night air, scare
Borderers away from his enterprise? Was it superstition, or was it a
real lack of interest, or was it merely "canniness," that so effectually
damped the ardour of recruits both at Kelso and at Jedburgh? Whatever
the cause, no man followed him; only the blessings and good wishes of
the women were his wherever he went.

After leaving Jedburgh, the Prince's army made over the {115}hills in
two divisions, one following the old Whele-Causeway (over which the main
Scottish army marched on Carlisle in 1388, what time Douglas's flying
column made a dash into England down the Rede valley from Froissart's
"Zedon"); the other marching by Note o' the Gate, the neighbouring pass
that runs between Dog Knowe and Rushy Rig. These were then the only
two practicable ways over the hills into Upper Liddesdale. "Note o' the
Gate" is a puzzle. What does the name mean? "Note" may be merely the
Cumberland "Knot" or "Knote," a knob or projection on a hillside. I
understand the term is common enough in that part of the country, as in
Helmside Knot, Hard Knot, etc. But even if this word, though differently
spelled, does bear the same meaning both in Cumberland and in
Liddesdale, I do not know that it gets us any nearer the "Gate." There
is no rugged pass here, no Gate between precipitous mountains. One
explanation--for what it may be worth--comes from a tradition that the
name was given by Prince Charlie himself, through his misunderstanding
a remark made by one of his officers. As they tramped over the moorland
pass, the Prince overheard this officer say to another: "Take note of
the gait," _i.e._, "Take note of the way." That night, when they were
at Larriston, the Prince puzzled everyone by referring to something that
had taken place back at "Note of the Gate." The story seems far fetched.

Many a tale survives of the doings and iniquities of the Prince's
wild Highlanders as they straggled over these lonely Border moors.
"Straggled," seems to be a more appropriate term than "marched," for,
according to the testimony of eyewitnesses, the men appear to have kept
no sort of military formation. Or at least what formation they did
keep was of the loosest, and no check on plundering. It is a lonely
countryside at best; human habitations were few and widely separated,
but from the infrequent cottages, property of an easily portable nature
took to itself wings as the army passed, {116}and sheep grazing on the
hills melted from sight like snow before the softening breath of spring.
Once they caught and killed some sheep in a "stell," and they cooked one
of them in an iron pot that lay in the stell, Unfortunately, they did
not take the precaution to cleanse the pot, and the resulting brew
disagreed so sorely with one of the thieves that the spot is called the
Hielandman's Grave to this day. Some others, that evening when they were
encamped, forced a man to kill and cut up sheep for them, and for this
work he was given a guinea. The pay did not benefit him much; for a part
of Highlanders, as the man went towards home, put a pistol to his head
and made him refund. They tried the same game on a man named Armstrong,
down on the Liddel at Whit-haugh Mill. But Armstrong was too much for
them; one who shared the old reiver blood was not to be intimidated,
and he knocked the pistol out of the hand of the threatening Highlander,
secured it himself, and turned the tables most unpleasantly.

One unlooked-for result of the Prince's march through those desolate
regions, was a very great increase in the number of illicit stills, and
in the consumption of whisky that had paid no revenue to King George.
So impressed were the Highlanders with the wild solitude of the glens on
all sides of their line of march, and with the facilities presented by
the amber-clear burns that tinkle through every cleuch, that when the
rebels were returning from Derby, numbers of the men got no farther
north than the hills of Liddesdale and the Border, but entered there on
the congenial pastime of whisky-making.

Though the proportion of Borderers who followed Prince Charlie down into
England, or throughout his campaign, was so very meagre, yet there lived
among those solemn Border hills many faithful hearts, whose King he was
to the end.

          "Follow thee! Follow thee! Wha wadna follow thee?

               King o' our Highland hearts,

                   Bonnie Prince Charlie,"

{117}They were not only Highland hearts that were true to him. In her
_Border Sketches_, Mrs. Oliver mentions a Hawick man, named Millar, who
accompanied his master, Scott of Gorrenberry, all through the campaign
of 1745-46, and who to the end of his days had an undying devotion to
his Prince, and till the day of the latter's death, an imperishable
faith that he would come to his own again. Long after the '45, Miller
became "minister's man" in one of the Hawick churches, and his grief,
one Sunday morning in 1788, was overwhelming when the news was told to
him that the Prince was dead. "E-eh! Doctor," he cried brokenly to his
* reverend informant, "if I'll get nae good o' your sermon the day; I
wish ye hadna telled me till this afternoon. If it had been the German
Lairdie, now, there wad hae been little mane made for _him_ But there'll
be mony a wae heart forby mine this day." Indeed, who even now can read
of Bonnie Prince Charlie's end, and _not_ have "a wae heart"?

Few of the Scottish Border towns in 1745 showed open hostility, or
indeed anything but a luke-warm friendship, for the gallant young
Pretender. Dumfries, however, was an exception. The inhabitants of that
town, with men from Galloway, Nithsdale, and Annandale, full of zeal
for King George and secure in the belief that the fighting men of the
Prince's army were all safely over the March into England, hurried
to intercept the rebel baggage train as it passed near Lockerbie, and
carried off thirty-two carts to Dumfries. The Highlanders, however,
getting word of this affair before the army marched from Carlisle,
detached a party to Dumfries to demand the return of the waggons or
the payment of an indemnity, "the notice of which has put Dumfries in
greater fear and confusion than they have since the rebellion broke out,
and expect no mercy." But the Prinnce's party was recalled before it
had reclaimed the lost baggage-carts or exacted this alternative sum
of £2,000, and Dumfries imagined that now all was weil. They had the
waggons; and for a little {118}time they triumphed. So triumphant,
indeed, were they, and so filled with confidence in their own warlike
powers, that when false rumours reached them that the Highlanders had
been utterly routed and cut to pieces at Lancaster, not only were there
"great rejoicings in Dumfries by ringing of bells and illuminating their
windows," but "a considerable party of our light horse were sent off
immediately, after the Chevalier," and "about three hundred militia,
composed of townspeople and the adjacent paroches... are to go to the
water of Esk to stop their passing and to apprehend any small parcels of
them flying." Dumfries was not so warlike a couple of weeks or so later,
when Lord Elcho at the head of five hundred men of the Prince's advance
guard marched in and demanded the immediate payment of £2,000 in money
and the delivery of a thousand pairs of shoes, two hundred horses, and
a hundred carts. Not all that the Prince demanded was paid before the
northward march was resumed, but his visit cost the town something like
£4,000--irrespective of what the Highlanders took. Whilst he remained
in Dumfries, the Prince lodged in the Market Place, in a private house
which is now the Commercial Inn. It is said that when his army marched
up Nithsdale, halting for the night at the Duke of Queensberry's
property, Drumlanrig, the Highlanders in the morning, to show their
loyalty to King James, slashed with their swords portraits of King
William and Queen Mary which had been presented to the Duke by Queen
Anne,--an inconvenient method of declaring allegiance.

Though of minor interest, there are other houses in Jedburgh besides
Queen Mary's and that in which Prince Charlie lodged, in which the
townsfolk take some pride. There is the building in which Sir David
Brewster was born in 1781; that where Burns lodged when he visited
Jedburgh in 1787; that in Abbey Close in which Wordsworth and his sister
had lodgings in 1803, when Sir (then Mr.) Walter Scott visited them
and read to them part of the then unpublished "Lay of the Last
{119}Minstrel"; there is the old Black Bull Inn,--no lunger an inn,--and
interesting only as the place where in 1726 Sir Gilbert Eliott of Stobs
stabbed Colonel Stewart of Stewartfield with his sword one evening as
they sat at supper. Claret was plentiful and good in. Scotland in those
days, and Colonel Stewart had not given his vote to Sir Gilbert, who
was candidate for the county. Swords flew out on slender excuse in the
eighteenth century. This particular sword was long kept in the family
of Sir Gilbert Elliot's butler, and after passing through the hands of a
resident in the village of Denholm, became the property of Mr. Forrest,
the well-known gun-maker of Jedburgh, by whom it was finally deposited
in the Marquess of Lothian's museum at Monteviot.

Jedburgh, of course, amongst other claims to distinction was famed for
its witches--as what place was not, indeed, in times when harmless
old women were adjudged innocent or guilty of the charge of witchcraft
according as they sank or floated when thrown into deep water. If they
sank--well and good, that meant that they were innocent, and they went
to Heaven, having at any rate the satisfaction of knowing beforehand
that, in such case, at least their memory would be cleared of the
suspicion under which they had lain; if they floated--again well and
good; that proved conclusively that the charge against them was a true
one, and they were rescued from the water only to be burned alive. "Thou
shalt not suffer a witch to live," was the text which our ancestors
regarded as the Eleventh Commandment. We were not a whit better even at
as late a date as the seventeenth century, than are those West African
tribes of the present day whose medicine-men still "smell out" witches.
Only, the West Africans practise the art now more or less in secret, and
they are more humane in the death they inflict than were our ancestors;
they do not burn.

Jedburgh's testing place for witches was a pool below the spot where
now the Townfoot Bridge crosses the river. There is a story told of
a notorious witch who was ducked here along with {120}a batch of her
sinful associates. No doubt _they_ all floated right enough; their
reputation as witches of the most mischievous description had long been
almost too well established to need such a test as that of the river.
But this is what led to their final overthrow. The chief witch of this
"covine" had a husband, the village pedagogue, a man of repute for piety
and for the rigour of his Sabbath keeping, and it was notorious that
in season and out of season this good man would remonstrate with his
wife--without doubt, people said, endeavouring to wean the woman from
her sinful habits.

Now, one must of course admit that such continued efforts to save could
not fail to be excessively irksome to any witch, and must goad not only
her, but also her accomplices, as well as her Master, the Devil, to
revenge. Hence, when the schoolmaster's dead body was found one fine
morning floating in the river, the majority of the drowned man's
neighbours had no hesitation in believing that his wife and her partners
in iniquity had dragged him in the night from his hard-earned rest,
and had thrown him into the deepest pool in Jed. And this was the more
certain, because the deceased man had several times confided to friends
a pitiful tale of how he stood in terror of his life, and how his wife
and her "covine," had already more than once hauled him through the
roughest streams of Jed. Sundry pious elders, moreover, affirmed
that they had attended with him a sederunt of their church rulers the
previous evening--when, perhaps, a trifle of something may have been
taken in a quiet way to keep out the cold--and that at a late hour
afterwards they accompanied him to his own door, whence, they admitted,
they had come away in a hurry because of the wrathful and threatening
tones in which they heard this witch addressing her husband. And this
evidence was to some extent corroborated by the neighbours, who told how
they had been awakened from sound sleep that night by the noise made
by the poor victim loudly singing the twenty-third Psalm as the horrid
troupe hurried him down the street towards the river--a rope {121}about
his neck, said some. Moreover, it was told, on evidence which people saw
no reason to doubt, that at the time this poor man was being hurried to
his death, a company of fairies was seen dancing on the top of the
tower of Jedburgh Abbey, where after the drowning of the unfortunate
schoolmaster by the witches, the whole company regaled themselves
liberally with wine and ale. Certainly, both wine and ale _were_ found
to be missing from a neighbouring cellar the following day; and as the
door of the cellar had been locked, obviously the loss could only be
attributed to the schemes of fairies or witches. The one tale lent
an air of truth to the others; therefore people were not backward in
crediting both. He who accepted the story of the dancing fairies could
have little difficulty in giving credence to that of the witches'
"covine" dragging their unresisting prey through the streets. And so
another wretched victim or two went to her long home by a fiery death.
The schoolmaster was probably insane on some points, and trumped up the
story of the witches having repeatedly ducked him. Our ancestors could
swallow anything in the way of marvel. This story of the Jedburgh
schoolmaster is told in "Historical Notices of the Superstitions of
Teviotdale"; and it is added therein that popular tradition says that "a
son of Lord Torpichen, who had been taught the art of witchcraft by his
nurse," was of the party of witches, and that it was he who first gave
information regarding the murderers.

The Ettrick Shepherd must have known this story well. Perhaps it
suggested some of the verses in "The Witch of Fife," in "The Queen's
Wake."

               "Where have ye been, ye ill woman,

                   These three lang nichts frae hame?

               What gars the sweit drap frae yer brow, '

                   Like clots o' the saut sea faem?

               "It fears me muckle ye have seen

                   What guid man never knew;

               It fears me muckle ye have been

                   Where the grey cock never crew."  {122}

               "Sit down, sit down, my leal auld man,

                   Sit down and listen to me;

               I'll gar the hair stand on yer crown

                   And the cauld sweit blind yer e'e.

               "The first leet nicht, when the new moon set,

                   When all was douf and mirk,

               We saddled our naigs wi* the moon fern leaf,

                   And rode frae Kilmorran Kirk.

               "Some horses were of "the broom-cow framed,

                   And some of the green bay tree:

               But mine was made of a hemlock-shaw,

                   And a stout stallion was he.

               "We rode the tod doon on the hill,

                   The martin on the law;

               And we hunted the hoolit out o' breath,

                   And forcit him doon to fa'."

               "What guid was that, ye ill woman?

                   What guid was that to thee?

               Ye wad better have been in yer bed at hame

                   Wi' yer dear little bairns and me."

               "And aye we rade and sae merrylie we rade,

                   Through the merkist gloffs o' the night;

               And we swam the flood, and we darnit the wood,

                   Till we cam to the Lommond height.

               "And when we cam to the Lommond height,

                   Sae blythlie we lighted down;

               And we drank frae the horns that never grew

                   The beer that was never brewin.

               "And aye we danced on the green Lommond

                   Till the dawn on the ocean grew,

               Nae wonder I was a weary wicht

                   When I cam hame to you.

                And we flew ow'r hill, and we flew ow'r dale,

                   And we flew ow'r firth and sea,

               Until we cam to merry Carlisle,

                   Where we lightit on the lea.  {123}

               "We gaed to the vault beyond the tow'r

                   Where we entered free as air,

               And we drank, and we drank of the Bishop's wine,

                   Until we could drink nae mair."

If, however, our forbears were drastic in their manner of dealing with
witches and warlocks, and rigid in the infliction of capital punishment
on criminals guilty of very minor offences, they were extraordinarily
lax as regards the condition in which they kept their prisons. It is
told that, sometime during the eighteenth century, the chief magistrate
of Jedburgh was waited on by the burgh gaoler, who complained that the
main door of the gaol had parted company with its hinges--which, in
fact, had long been eaten through with rust. He had no means of securing
his prisoners. What was he to do? It was a question calculated to puzzle
any ordinary person. But the magistrate was a man of resource. "Get
a harrow," said he. "And set it on end in the doorway, wi' its teeth
turned inwards. If that winna keep them in,--'deed then they're no
worth the keepin'." To as late a date as 1833, Selkirk also was not
much better off than this, as regards its prison. The writer of the
Statistical Account of the Parish at that date complains that prisoners
"_have been frequently in the practice of coming out in the evening, and
returning again before the jailor's visit in the morning._"

If by chance there was ever a period of his life when the Poet Burns
was _not_ susceptible, it certainly was not at the time when he visited
Jedburgh in 1787. Regarding that visit he has left in his diary some
very characteristic notes. He was "waited on by the magistrates and
presented with the freedom of the burgh," he records; he meets and dines
with "a polite soldier-like gentleman, a Captain Rutherfurd, who had
been many years in the wilds of America, a prisoner among the Indians,"
and who apparently rather bored the poet. Captain Rutherfurd's
adventures were assuredly such as could not fail to be well worth
listening to, but what between Burns' respectful {124}admiration of an
armchair that the old soldier possessed, which had been the property of
James Thomson, author of "The Seasons," and his latest attack of love's
sickness, host and guest do not seem to have been quite in accord.
Perhaps the old soldier prosed, and told his battles o'er again to too
great an extent--it is a failing not unknown in old gentlemen; perhaps
the poet wanted to compose a sonnet to his new mistress's eyebrows.--or
whatever may have been Burns' equivalent. (He had just met by the
"sylvan banks" of Jed a young lady possessed of charms that ravished
his too tender heart). Anyhow, he left the district in a very despondent
frame of mind, relieved only by such consolation as might be gleaned
from presenting the lady with a copy of his latest portrait. In his
diary is the following entry: "Took farewell of Jedburgh with some
melancholy, disagreeable sensations. Jed, pure be thy crystal streams
and hallowed thy sylvan banks! Sweet Isabella Lindsay, may peace dwell
in thy bosom uninterrupted, except by the tumult throbbings of rapturous
love! That love enkindling eye must beam on another, not on me; that
graceful form must bless another's arms, not mine." Burns' loves were
almost as many in number as the birds of the air, and scarcely less
trammelled.

As one proceeds up Jed from the ancient royal burgh, probably the first
thing that forces itself on the mind is that the old coach road was not
constructed for present-day traffic. In less than a couple of miles the
river is crossed no fewer than four times by bridges which are curiously
old fashioned, turning blindly across the stream in some instances
almost at right angles to the road, and in the steepness of their ascent
and descent conveying to the occupant of a motor car a sensation similar
to that given to a bad sailor by a vessel at sea when she is surmounting
"the league-long rollers." Nor are some of the gradients on the road a
few miles farther out such as entirely commend themselves to motorists,
two or three of them being as abrupt as one in twelve, and one in
thirteen. {125}Nevertheless the beauties of road and country are great,
especially if it should chance that a visit is paid to the district when
the tender flush of early Spring lies sweet on Jed's thick-wooded banks,
and the trout have begun to think at last of rising again freely to
the natural fly. Or better still, perhaps, when the green and gold, the
russet and yellow, the crimson of Autumn combine with and melt into the
crumbling red cliffs,--surely more generous tinted than ever were cliffs
before. Above, a sky of tenderest blue, an air windless yet brisk, and
just a leaf here and there fluttering leisurely into the amber clear
water that goes wandering by; and from the hushes the sweet thin pipe
of a robin, or the crow of pheasant from some copse. That is the Indian
Summer of Scotland, her pleasantest time of year,--if it were not for
the shortening days, and the recollection that trout fishing is dead
till another season.

It was a heavily wooded district this in former days, and one or two of
the giants of old still survive,--the widespreading "Capon tree,"
for instance, that you pass on the road a mile from Jedburgh (but why
"Capon" it passes the knowledge of man to decide); and the "King of
the Woods," near Fernihirst, a beautiful and still vigorous oak, with a
girth of 17 feet, four feet from the ground.

On the right, across the river, as you begin to quit the precincts of
the town, there hangs the precipitous red "scaur" over which, that
grim night in 1523, Surrey's horses came streaming, an equine cascade.
Farther on, a mile or so, there perches Douglas's camp at Lintalee. But
his "fair manor" is gone, and that great cave in the face of the cliff
where he kept stock of provisions "till mak gud cher till hys men"; a
fall of rock swept away that, or most part of it, in 1866. It was to
this cave, within Douglas's camp, that in 1317 a priest named Ellis
brought a body of three hundred English soldiers, whilst Douglas was
elsewhere, dealing with Sir Thomas Richmond and his men. But, (as the
song says), Father Ellis "had better have left that beggar alone."
Douglas returned {126}while yet the holy man and his unruly flock were
feasting in the cave. And "then"--it is needless to say,--"there began
a slaughter grim and great," and whatever else Father Ellis and his men
had feasted on, at least they got now a bellyful of fighting. It was the
last meal of which the most part of those Englishmen partook. The
cave is gone, but there still remain, guarding the neck of the
promontory--ruined indeed, and partially filled up, but still prominent
to the eye--the double wall and fosse that Douglas threw across it six
hundred years ago.

Of caves, such as this Douglas cave at Lintalee, there is a vast number
scattered along the cliffy banks of Jed and Teviot, and by some of their
tributary waters or burns. At Mossburn-foot, on Jed, there is a cave,
others are at Hundalee, and elsewhere. Near Cessford Castle, on a small
affluent of the Kale there is one, Habbie Ker's Cave, the same wicked
Habbie--"a bloodie man in his youth"--whose ghost to this day walks by
the old draw-well at the ruined castle of Holydene; on Kale itself there
are several of considerable size; in the cliff overhanging Oxnam, near
Crailing, are others, and at Ancrum, on the Ale; whilst at Sunlaws,
near Roxburgh, in the red sandstone cliffs of Teviot, is a group of
five caves, arranged in two tiers, some of them of fair dimensions, the
largest about twenty six feet long, with a height of eight feet and a
width of eight and a half feet. Another in the upper tier has a length
of twenty three feet, but at the mouth is no more than three feet
in height. In the lower tier, in one of the caves it is said in the
Statistical Account that horses were hid in 1745, to save them from
being taken for the use of the rebel army, when the detachment under
Prince Charlie's own command marched from Kelso to Jedburgh. Many of
the caves in different parts of the country are so well concealed that
a stranger might pass very near to the mouth without suspecting their
existence; some, on the other hand, force themselves on the eye. But
probably in olden times thick undergrowth shut them from view. There
{127}is no doubt that most of them at various times have been used as
places of concealment; probably during the cruel old English wars they
were much resorted to; certainly some of them were places of refuge in
Covenanting times. Very efficient places of refuge no doubt they were,
so long as the entrance was not discovered, but many of them would
probably be easy enough to smoke out. It is mentioned in Patten's
"Account of Somerset's Expedition into Scotland," how "a gentleman of
my Lord Protector's... happened upon a cave in the grounde, the mouth
whereof was so worne with fresh printe of steps, that he seemed to be
certayne thear wear some folke within; and gone doune to trie, he was
redily receyved with a hakebut or two. He left them not yet, till he had
known wheyther thei wold be content to yield and come out, which they
fondly refusing, he went to my Lord's grace, and upon utterance of the
tbynge, gat licence to deale with them as he coulde; and so returned to
them with a skore or two of pioners. Three ventes had that cave, that we
wear ware of, whereof he first stopt up one; another he fill'd full of
strawe, and set it a fyer, whereat they within cast water apace; but it
was so wel maynteyned without, that the fyer prevayled, and thei within
fayn to get them belyke into anoothur parler. Then devysed we (for
I hapt to be with him) to stop the same up, whereby we should eyther
smoother them, or fynd out their ventes, if thei hadde any mor: as this
was done at another issue, about XII score of, we moughte see the fume
of their smoke to come out: the which continued with so great a force,
and so long a while, that we coulde not but thinke they must needs get
them out, or smoother within: and forasmuch as we found not that they
did the tone, we though it for certain thei wear sure of the toother."

Who first made and used those caves, one wonders. The stone is soft, and
easy to work, and I do not think it was beyond the skill and the tools
of our very remote forbears to have patiently hollow'ed them out, in
suitable places, from the {128}solid face of the cliff. Tool marks may
yet be plainly seen in some of them, marks not such as would be made by
anything in the nature of a chisel, but such as are more suggestive of
a pick, of sorts, an implement--single pointed--not unknown to even very
primitive races.

Scattered all over the Jedburgh district are many ancient camps--hoary
even in the day when Douglas fortified Lintalee; many old castles and
peel-towers, all, or nearly all, now in ruins, some indeed with very
little left save tradition to indicate where once they stood; and here
and there are found vestiges of chapels or shrines, of which possibly
there may remain hardly more in some instances than the green mounds
which cover their fallen walls. The monks wandered far up this pleasant
vale of Jed, carrying the Gospel of Peace through a land that knew of
little save war, but the history of their resting places is even more
vague than is now the outline of their chapel walls. At Old Jed ward,
however, five miles up stream from Jedburgh, you may still in some
measure trace the line of foundations of that venerable little building
which is said to have been built here away back in the ninth century. Of
camps, the number is legion. That near Monklaw, the writer has not seen,
but it is said to be Roman, and its measurements are something like one
hundred and sixty yards each way. At Scraesburgh there is a circular
camp, with a diameter of about one hundred and eighty feet, and with
ramparts still nearly twenty feet in height,--surely that "Skraysburgh,
the greatest towne in all Teviotdale," which, according to the English
version, seems in 1544 to have fallen almost as fell Jericho of old,
when the enemy shouted and blew their trumpets.

Of castles and peel-towers the most are utterly ruined, but Fernihirst
(to which we come presently), still stands, and, over the hill towards
Teviot, Lanton Tower, the latter now incorporated with a comfortable
modern dwelling. Lanton in the twelfth century was the property of
Richard Inglis, who also owned the adjacent tower of Hunthill. Both
these towers {129}were sacked and burned in 1513, after Flodden, by an
English flying column under Sir Roger Fenwicke, and its existence at the
present day Lanton Tower may owe to the fact that when Evers swept
the country side in 1544, and Hertford brought fire and sword in the
following year, it had possibly neither been repaired nor was inhabited.
It was over near Jedburgh, too, to have escaped the notice of Surrey
in 1523. Hunthill was burned again in 1549, and had Lanton then been
anything but dismantled, it could scarcely have escaped the attentions
of the party sent from Jedburgh by the Earl of Rutland to attack
d'Essé's rear-guard at Ancrum ford. A force coming over the hill from
Jedburgh and making for Ancrum would necessarily pass within easy hail
of Lanton. In any case, however, there it stands, its solid walls of
a tenacity not shared by buildings put together with modern mortar.
Strange are the vicissitudes of places and of people. Over this Forest
of Jedworth, and here at Lanton, where of old too often were heard the
blast of trumpet, shouts and oaths of fiercely striving men, the roar
and crackle of burning houses, you will hear now no sound more startling
than the "toot-toot" of the Master's horn and the babble of fox hounds;
for at Lanton Tower are the kennels of the Jedforest Hunt, and many
a glorious run is had with this pack, sometimes in enclosed country,
sometimes among the great round backed Border hills towards Carterfell,
over country that will tail off all but the best of men and horses.

{130}



CHAPTER V JED (continued), FERNIHIRST, RAID OK THE REDESWIRE, OTTERBURNE

|Across Jed, on a high and leafy bank nearly opposite to Lintalee,
stands the picturesque old stronghold of Fernihirst. The original castle
was erected by Sir Thomas Ker probably about the year 1476, and the
present building dates only from 1598. Its predecessor "stode marvelous
strongly within a grete woode," as Daere and Surrey found to their
cost in 1523; yet they took it, after "long skirmyshing and moche
difficultie," as Surrey reported. Brief and stormy was the existence of
this original Fernihirst, stirring, and in some instances horrible, the
deeds done within and around its walls. In 1548 the English held it,
Shrewsbury, when he returned to the south in that year, having left
there a garrison of something like eighty or ninety men. At this period
Scotland, still dazed and stricken under the stunning blow of Pinkie in
1547, was in a deplorable, and apparently a very helpless, condition.
Most of her strongholds were in English hands; her chief men for the
greater part had come in and made submission to Somerset; the poorer
sort in most parts of the Border were at the mercy of the hated invader.
Here, at Fernihirst, the English garrison was under the command of one
whose oppression and cruel lust were devilish, and whose treatment
of unprotected country-folk was such as would justify almost any
conceivable form of revenge {131}on the part of the men of Jedforest.
M. de Beaugué, a French officer who was then in Scotland, and who in
his "_Histoire de la Guerre d'Ecosse_" chronicles the campaigns of
1548, 1549, says that during all the time this savage licentious
devil remained near Jedburgh "he never came across a young girl but
he outraged her, never an old woman but he put her to death with cruel
torture."

[Illustration: 0151]

And, as the proverb has it: "Like master, like man"; where their captain
forgot his manhood, and disgraced the name of Englishman, how were the
men under his command likely to conduct themselves? The people of the
Forest of Jedworth thus had ghastly wrongs to wipe out; and when their
chance came, they seized on it with avidity.

The cruelties inflicted on each other by both nations at this period
were detestable and revolting. "Put men, women, and children to fire and
sword without exception, when any {132}resistance shall be made against
you," wrote Henry VIII. to Lord Hertford in 1544, instructions which
were most faithfully carried out. Here at Femihirst our countrymen went,
if possible, "one better," and their treatment of prisoners was of the
most inhuman and savage nature. Yet if their wrongs were such as are
depicted by de Beaugué, can one wonder that, like wild beasts, they tore
and mangled?

Early in 1549 there came to Jedburgh a large body of French troops under
the Sieur d'Essé, sent to recapture that town, which at the moment was
held for the English by a force chiefly composed of Spanish mercenaries.
The Spaniards made no great stand, and for the moment the Sieur and his
little army were left with time on their hands. To the Sieur went Sir
John Ker, then laird of Fernihirst, suggesting that the French general
should aid him in recapturing the castle. French and Scots--a small body
of the latter, the personal following of Sir John Ker--accordingly
made a combined attack and quickly carried the outwork, the garrison
retreating to the keep. Here, whilst a party laboured hard to effect a
breach in the wall, French arquebusiers were so planted that no man of
the garrison could show his face with impunity, or dared to attempt to
interfere with the working party, who already in little over one hour
had made a practicable breach, large enough at least to admit a man's
body. About this time the main French force had come up, and the English
garrison could not but see that their position was now desperate.
Accordingly they showed a flag of truce, and the English commander, on
receiving assurance that he would be allowed to return, came out through
the hole in the wall and offered to give up the castle, provided that
the lives of the garrison were spared. The Sieur d'Essé, however, would
listen to no conditions; the surrender, he said, must be unconditional,
and the Englishman therefore returned to his men.

Meantime, news of the attack on Fernihirst had flown abroad over the
countryside, and men of Jedforest came {133}hurrying to the scene,
breathless with the lust of slaughter, panting with unquenchable thirst
for a bloody vengeance. Letting their horses go, and, regardless of
everything, rushing in, they burst open and swarmed through the doors of
the lower court. And now the bowels of the English leader turned indeed
to water, for well he knew what fate would be his were he once to fall
into the hands of those frenzied men. Therefore once more hurriedly
pressing through the breach, he surrendered himself to two French
officers, MM. Dussac and de la Mothe-Rouge. Scarcely, however, had he
done so, and even as they led him away, a prisoner, there rushed up a
Scot, a dweller in the neighbouring forest of Jed, one who had only too
terrible a reason to remember the face of this fiend who had outraged
his wife and his young daughter. He said no word, but with a roar as of
a wounded beast that charges, he smote with all his strength. And the
head of a man went trundling and bumping loosely over the trampled
grass, as the knees doubled under a headless trunk that sank almost
leisurely to the ground. Then those Scots who most had foul reason to
execrate the memory of this treacherous brute, joyfully plunged their
hands into his blood as it gushed, and with shouts of exultation seizing
his head, they placed it on a long pole and stuck it up by a stone cross
that stood by the parting of three ways, that all might see and rejoice
over their vengeance.

That was but the beginning of a scene long drawn and terrible in its
ferocity. Prisoners were ruthlessly butchered, and when the Scots had
murdered all whom they themselves had taken, their lust for blood was so
far from slaked that they brought others from the Frenchmen--bartering
even some of their arms in exchange--and slew these also with extreme
barbarity. "I myself," writes M. de Beaugué, "sold them a prisoner for a
small horse. They tied his hands and feet and head together, and placed
him thus trussed in the middle of an open space, and ran upon him with
their lances, armed as they were and on horseback.... until he was dead
and his {134}body hacked in a thousand pieces, which they divided among
them and carried away on the iron points of their spears."

"I cannot," naively adds the chronicler, "greatly praise the Scots for
this practice, but the truth is the English tyrannised over the Borders
in a most barbarous manner, and I think it was but fair to repay them,
as the saying goes, in their own coin."

So Sir John Ker got back his strong castle. But it did not long remain
undisturbed in the family possession. In 1570 there came into Scotland
that English expedition under the Earl of Sussex and Lord Hunsdon which
played such havoc in the Border, and once more the Merse and Teviotdale
were burned and laid waste. "Apon Monday last," writes Lord Hunsdon from
Berwick to Sir W. Cecil, under date 23rd April, 1570, "beyng the 17th of
thys ynstant, we went owt of thys towne by 6 a cloke at nyght and rode
to Warke, where we remayned tyll three or four yn the mornyng; and
then sett forward the hole army that was with us att that present,
ynto Tyvydale bernyng on bothe hands at the lest two myle; levyng
neythercastell, towne, nortowerunburnt tyllwecametojedworth. Many of the
townes beyng Bukklews, and a proper tower of hys, called the Mose Howse,
wythe three or four caves, wheryn the cuntrey folk had put such stufe as
they had: and was very valyantly kept by serten of the cuntrey for two
or three owars, but at last taken.... The next day we marchyd to Hawyke;
wher by the way we began with Farnhurst and Hunthylle, whose howsys we
burnt, and all the howsys about them. We could nott blow up Farnhurst,
but have so torne ytt with laborars, as ytt wer as goode ley flatt."
The building must have been of remark able solidity, for in spite of its
being burnt, and left roofless and dismantled, "torne with laborars," in
1570, there can belittle doubt that in less than two years it was again
at least tenable, for in 1572 Lord Ruthven, after dispersing at Hawick
the forces of Buccleuch and Fernihirst, (who supported the cause of the
abdicated Queen,) on his return march to Jedburgh "tuik the {135}housses
of Pherniherst, and put men in them," and the place was held for some
time after this by the King's troops. Possibly it was more thoroughly
knocked about in 1593 than it had been at any other period of its
existence. Sir Andrew Ker, then head of the house, when summoned to
appear before James and his Privy Council at Jedburgh to answer for his
part in aiding the schemes of the Earl of Both well, and for other acts,
had failed to put in an appearance, and had consequently been outlawed
and declared a rebel. It was also proposed to render him homeless, for
on 16th October of that year Carey reports to Burghley that "the King
has proclaimed to remain at Jedworth fifteen days, and summoned the
barons, gentlemen and freeholders to attend him, minding this day or
tomorrow to pull down the lairds of Fernhirst and Hunthill's houses,
and all others who have succoured Bothwell." Probably the threat was
carried into execution, to a greater or less extent. In any case, 1598
saw a renovated Fernihirst, much as it stands at the present day, when,
according to "Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland," it
presents "a charming example of a Scottish mansion of the period." Built
into the wall above the main doorway of the mansion, (as may be seen in
Mr. Hugh Thomson's sketch,) are two panels, that to the left showing the
armorial bearings of the Kers, and above, on a scroll, the words:

S. SOLIDEO

"forward in y" name of god"; at the foot, a.k. 1.5.9.8 On the panel to
the right is the word "forward"; in the centre of the panel the arms of
Sir Andrew's wife, Dame Ann

D. SOLIDEO

Stewart, and beneath, a.s. 1.5.9.8.

As late as 1767 the house seems to have been occasionally used by
the Lord Lothian of that day, but it was even then showing signs of
dilapidation. It was, however, occupied by farming tenants down to a
recent date, as late, I believe, as 1889. About that year extensive
repairs were carried out; {136}the ivy which--however picturesque it may
have been--was slowly throttling the old walls, was removed, the panels
were refaced, the roof made wind and weather proof, and the interior to
a great extent restored.

At Smailcleuchfoot, a little higher up the river, and nearly opposite to
Fernilhirst Mill, almost, as one might say, within a stone's cast of the
castle, stood once the house of a man greatly famed in Jedforest,--Auld
Ringan Oliver. No vestige of the house now remains, but the memory of
Ringan and the story of the siege he stood within his cottage here still
live in Border lore, and were sung of in James Telfer's "Border Ballads"
close on a century ago.

               "The crystal Jed by Smailcleuchfoot

                   Flows on with murmuring din;

               It seems to sing a dowie dirge

                   For him that dwelt therein."

Ringan's forebears, men of mark all of them in their day, dwelt here at
Smailcleuchfoot for many a generation. They were there, no doubt, when
the Sieur d'Essé recaptured Ferni-hirst for Sir John Ker; there when
Dacre stormed it in 1523; there perhaps, helping Douglas, when Father
Ellis and his Englishmen were caught feasting on the good fare at
Lintalee in 1317. With ancestors such as these, whose whole lives were
passed in the midst of endless strife, men ever ready, and glorying in
their readiness, to turn out against invading Southern bands, or to
slip over Carterfell into Redesdale to plunder those same Southrons, how
could Ringan fail to be, what he was, a born fighter! With his enormous
frame, immense personal strength, and dauntless courage, there was none
in the Border so famed as he. Endless were the tales told of him,--how
he could take "a ten half-fou boll of barley in the wield of his arm and
fling it across a horse's back with the utmost ease"; how in his youth
he raided Newcastle Jail, and rescued two of his friends, who had been,
as he thought, unjustly imprisoned therein. The stories of him are
endless. {137}Ringan lived in the stirring times of the Covenant, and
with a disposition such as his, dourly religious, it is almost needless
to say that he was prominent among the more militant section of the
Covenanters of the seventeenth century. He was probably present at
Drumclog, and he was certainly present at Both well Brig, in 1679,
fighting as few fought that bloody day. His home was in caves and among
rocks, beneath dripping peat-hags, and in holes in the ground, for many
a day after this, but in 1680 he joined the outlawed Hall of Haughhead,
and was in the tussle when that Champion of the Covenant was taken
at Queensferry what time "those two bloody hounds the Curates of
Borrowstonness and Carriden smelled out Mr. Cargill and his companion."
Hall was killed, or at least died of his wounds before he could be
brought to Edinburgh; but Ringan Oliver and "worthy Mr. Cargill"
escaped the net of the fowler. Then, in 1689, he was with Mackay
at Killicrankie; and the following day though exhausted with the
precipitate flight from the battlefield, he fought at Dunkeld his famous
duel with the Highland champion, Rory Dhu Mhor, whom he slew after a
most desperate and bloody fight. Bleeding from half a score of wounds,
Ringan had been beaten to his knees, and the affair seemed a certain
victory for the Highlander. But the latter was over-confident; he
thought he had a beaten man at his mercy, and one instant's carelessness
gave Ringan his chance. Before his adversary could recover, the point
of the Borderer's sword was out between the Highlander's shoulders, and
with a roar of astonishment and wrath he fell dead.

But perhaps it was for the siege he stood at Smailcleuchfoot when he was
now an old man, that Ringan is best remembered. After a stormy youth and
middle age, he had at length settled down in his ancestral home, where
he was leading the quiet life of a farmer. As the story is told, it
seems that Ringan's strict integrity and high sense of honour had
gained for him the respect and friendship of his powerful neighbour
at Fernibirst--probably either the first or the second Marquess of
{138}Lothian. Perhaps, too, there may have been something in the mutual
belief and manner of thought of the two men that drew them together.
(There was a Ker of about that date, or a little earlier, who was a
zealous Covenanter.) In any case, the friendship was of such a nature
that when Lord Lothian found himself, towards the close of his life,
compelled to undertake what was then the long and trying journey to
London, he left Ringan in charge of his private papers, and entrusted
him with the key of a locked room in which valuable documents were
kept, and into which he desired that no one should be permitted to enter
whilst he himself was absent in the south. As it chanced, after Lord
Lothian had started on his journey, his heir, considering, as a matter
of course perhaps, that the old lord's prohibition did not apply to him,
sent to Ringan demanding the key of the room, into which he had, or
said he had, occasion to go. Ringan naturally, but perhaps not very
deferentially or even politely, refused to give it up. Thereupon arose
hot words, and bitter enmity on the part at least of the younger man,
who, with that rather irrational form of vanity not uncommon in youth,
imagined himself to be slighted.

And hence came serious consequences to the old Covenanter. For the
Marquess died, and the man whom Ringan had offended succeeded to the
title and estates. He had always--so the story goes--nursed his wrath to
keep it warm, and he might be depended on to pay off, with interest, all
old scores against him whom he talked of as that "dour old Cameronian
devil." So it happened one day, towards the time of harvest, when corn
lay waiting for the sickle in the smiling haughs of Jed, the young lord
and his friends, attended by servants in charge of several dogs, came
on horseback across the river and began to ride up and down through
Ringan's crop, ostensibly looking for hares. The old man remonstrated in
vain; no heed was paid to him, and at length, goaded to fury as he saw
the havoc being played among his good oates and bere, he snatched up
an old musket (that perhaps had seen service at Bothwell Brig) {139}and
shot one of the dogs dead. That was enough; the old man had put himself
now in the wrong. For the Marquess could plead that, after all, he had
only been riding on his own land; and he and his friends could assert
that the harm they had done, if any, had been infinitesimal. So the
young lord rode off to Jedburgh, and had a summons issued by the Sheriff
against Ringan.

It was one thing, however, to issue the summons, quite another to serve
it, or afterwards to get Ringan to obey the call. If he persisted in
ignoring the summons, there were not many to be found bold enough to go
to Smailcleuehfoot for the purpose of haling him before the Court; old
as he now was, Ringan's reputation for strength and courage, and for
reckless daring, was still great enough to keep the wolves of the law
at bay. "But," said the Sheriff, "the law cannot thus be flouted; if
he does not come willingly, then he must be _made_ to come." Which of
course was quite the right thing to say, especially if he had at hand
the force necessary to carry out his threat. But that was where the
difficulty came in. Finally, the Sheriff had to go himself to arrest old
Ringan, impressing on his way everybody whom he could find capable of
helping, including the Marquess himself.

Ringan was warned of their coming, and advised to fly. "No!" said the
old man. "I've dune no wrong. Let them touch me wha daur!" But he set
about barricading his house, and when the Sheriff and his parry came on
the scene they found a building with doors fast and windows shuttered,
and no one visible. At their knock, Ringan appeared at a small upper
window, but entirely declined to be taken, or to open the door.
Then commenced a vigorous assault by the Sheriff and his party. They
attempted to break in the door and to rush the building. Ringan opened
fire on them with his old musket, and drove them back.

And then for a time there occurred nothing more than a fruitless
exchange of shots, as one or other of the Sheriff's {140}men left cover
or Ringan showed himself at one of the windows. It appears, however,
that there was in the house with the old man a young girl, either his
adopted daughter or a domestic who looked after household affairs. This
girl had been told to keep out of harm's way, to shelter in a "press"
or cupboard well out of any possible range of bullet; but in the heat of
battle the old man did not notice that curiosity had drawn her from the
safety of this hiding place, and had brought her right behind him at the
moment that he fired a shot through the window. It was a good shot,
for it clipped away a curl from the Sheriff's wig, and perhaps in his
satisfaction at going so near to his mark the old man may have showed
himself a little too openly. Anyhow, at that moment two or three muskets
replied, the heavy bullets coming with sullen "phut" into the woodwork
of the little window-frame. But one flew straighter than the others;
Ringan heard behind him a sound, half gasp, half sob, and turned just in
time to see the lass sink on the floor, blood pouring from her throat.
The old man tried to stanch the wound, but it needed hardly more than a
glance to tell that it was far beyond his simple skill, and that she was
past hope.

Then the lust of battle seized him, blind fury filled his breast, and
he thought only of revenge. He forgot his age, forgot that his fighting
days should have been long over, forgot everything but the mad desire
to clutch the throats of his foes and to choke the life out of them. So,
tearing down the barricades of his door, he rushed out on his enemies
like a wild bull charging. But alas for Ringan! part of the discarded
barricade caught his foot as he burst over the threshold, and down he
came with a crash. Before he could struggle even to his knees, the enemy
was on him, and he was down again on his face, half a dozen men swarming
over him. Even yet, however, old and hopelessly outnumbered as he was,
the fight for a time was not so very unequal, and he might in the end
have cast off the crowd that strove to hold and bind him. {141}An
ill day it would have been for some of them had he succeeded. But
a treacherous pedlar, who had joined the fray for the sake of hire,
watching his chance, came behind, and with a blow from a hammer smashed
Ringan's jaw and brought him to the ground, stunned. The old man was
taken then, bound hand and foot, and carted off to Edinburgh. There,
in the foul air of the Tolbooth he lay for eight weary years, suffering
tortures great part of the time, not only from the broken jaw, but from
old wounds which had broken out afresh, and which from the insanitary
condition of the prison now refused to heal. It was a broken, frail old
man who came out from that long imprisonment. And he never got back to
his beloved Jed. Ringan Oliver died in Edinburgh in 1736; his huge frame
sleeps in Greyfriars Churchyard.

As one travels up Jed by the old coach road--whose windings do not
invariably desert even the abruptest elbow of the stream--road and river
finally part company at the bridge below Camptown. Here the latter's
course swings gradually to the right, through leafy banks and under
spreading trees, whilst the former, following a straighter route, enters
on a long, steady bit of collar-work up the side of a pine-clad brae
where, on one hand, lies the old camp from which the adjacent little
settlement derives its name, and, on the other, Edgerston, sleeping in
its woods. Here once stood Edgerston Castle, which Hertford's men took
"by pollicie" in 1544;--someone sold the Rutherfurd of that day. Castle
and lands then belonged to the Rutherfurds, one of the most ancient
families in Scotland, and still the lands are theirs.

A little way past Edgerston the road begins its long two mile climb to
an elevation of close on 1500 feet near the summit of Catcleuch Shin.
There, immediately after passing the Carter Bar, it crosses the Border
line, and drops steadily down into Redesdale, past the new Catcleuch
Reservoir that supplies Newcastle with water, a work which has wiped
out of existence one of the pleasantest bits of fishing in the kingdom,
where trout were many and game, and of enviable size. Perhaps the trout
are there still--for those who may take them--but the capture of a dozen
fish in still water cannot match the joy experienced in fighting one
good Rede trout in the strong rushing stream where he has passed all his
days.

[Illustration: 0162]

Beyond the Catcleuch Reservoir, a road of easy gradients sweeps down the
delightful Rede valley, past innumerable old camps, British and Roman;
past Rowchester, into whose little school house, that stands solitary in
the angle of two ways, are built numerous stones (carved and otherwise)
handily quarried from the adjacent old Roman station of Bremenium; and
high up, on the roof of the building, from the same source are various
large round stone balls that may have formed part of the ammunition for
a Roman ballista. It was this route that the Roman legions followed
over the Cheviots in their northward march from the mighty wall they
had stretched across England from sea to sea. A few miles east from
Catcleuch Shin, their military road bursts suddenly into view of that
glorious sweep of country where the triple-peaked Eildons dominate the
scene, a landmark that no doubt led them first to the site of their
famous Newstead camp. {143}In early nineteenth century days, when His
Majesty's mail coaches between Newcastle and Edinburgh came jangling
over the crest of this bleak, unprotected bit of road at Catcleueh
Shin, taking at a gallant trot the long, stiff gradient that faced them
whether they were heading to the south or to the north, the trials of
outside passengers in winter time must not seldom have been of a nature
truly unenviable. Bitter sleet, driving before a westerly gale, lashed
their faces and stole chill wet fingers inside their wraps and upturned
collars; drifting, blinding snow, swirling on the wings of a wild
north-easter, blurred the guiding line of snow-posts, and even at times
hid his leaders from the coachman's sight, so that his first warning
of being off the road and on the moor, was a heavy lurch as the coach
buried its side in some blind hollow; frost, and a thermometer in the
neighbourhood of zero, nipped from ears and nose and toes every vestige
of feeling, and chilled to the very bone those whom duty or business
forced to travel. It was truly a large assortment of evils that our
ancestors had to choose from, in the winter, on that road over into
England by the Carter Bar.

But if winter was bad, surely in the better time of year there were
pleasures that atoned for all they had suffered. In the long twilight of
a summer's evening, when moorland scents fill all the air and the crow
of grouse echoes from the heathery knolls, what pleasure more satisfying
could there be in life than to sit behind a free-going team of bays,
listening lazily to the rhythm of the chiming hoofs, to the ring of
steel bitts and the merry jingle of the splinter-bars? And as the coach
breasted the summit, and began to make up time on the down gradient,
the glorious view that broke on the eye of the north bound passenger of
itself would make amends for halt the ills of life. Away to the west,
stretched ever more dim in the fading sunset glow, the long-flung line
of Cheviots--Carterfell, the Carlin's Tooth (where springs the infant
Jed), Peel Fell, Hartshorn Pyke, all blending, far down, into the round
green {144}hills of Liddesdale; then, more to the north-westward, set in
the wide expanse, the Windburgh Hill and Cauldcleuch Head; farther off,
away over the high land of upper Teviotdale,

                   "The far grey riot of the Ettrick hills,"

and the dim shapes of the mighty "Laws" of Peeblesshire--Broad Law,
Dollar Law, Black Law. Then far below this vantage point on Catcleuch
Shin, in middle foreground Edgerston's darkening woods; beyond,
Ruberslaw, Minto Crags,--"where falcons hang their giddy nest,"--and the
Dunion; then, to the right, Eildon's cloven peak, and, near-by, the Blac
k Hill at Earlston, with the Lammermuirs in dimmest background; to the
right again, Smailholme Tower, erect and watchful; east of that, the
green Merse, wide-spread like a map, stretched almost to the sea, and on
the extreme right, far off, Cheviot himself, blocking the view. What a
truly magnificent sweep of country it is! A sense of space, and room to
breathe, such as one finds seldom in this country.

Three hundred and thirty-eight years ago, however, there were Scots and
English assembled on that Catcleuch ridge one summer's day, who had no
eyes for the view;

               "The seventh of July, the suith to say,

                   At the Reidswire the tryst was set;

               Our Wardens they affixed the day,

                   And, as they promised, so they met.

               Alas! that day I'll ne'er forget!"

As was customary, the English and Scottish Wardens of the Marches had
met for the discussion and settlement of Border claims and disputes, and
for the redressing of wrongs. Sir John Carmichael in this instance acted
for Scotland, Sir John Forster for England. The former was accompanied
by the young Scott of Buccleuch,--according to Sir Walter the same who,
twenty-one years later, was famous for the rescue of Kinmont Willie
from Carlisle Castle,--by sundry Armstrongs, {145}Elliots, Douglases,
Turnbulls of Rule Water, and other wild Borderers.

               "Of other clans I cannot tell

               Because our warning was not wide."

But it was a turbulent band, one would think, and not easy of control.
Forster had at his back Fenwicks--"five hundred Fenwicks in a flock,"
says the ballad,--Shaftoes, Collingwoods, and other of the great English
Border families, the men from Hexham and thereabout, and many of the
fiercest fighters of Redesdale and Tynedale, the two latter said to
be then the most lawless people of the North of England. Indeed, their
reputation was so evil that the merchants of Newcastle passed a by-law
in the year 1564 that no apprentices should be taken "proceeding from
such leude and wicked progenitors."; Thus it may be seen that both
nations were strongly represented, and that on both sides there was
superabundance of most inflammable material waiting but for a spark
to set it ablaze. In most promising and peaceful fashion, however, the
proceedings opened:

               "Yett was our meeting meek eneugh;

                   Begun wi' merriment and mowes.

                   Some gaed to drink, and some stude still,

               And some to cards and dice them sped."

And all went smoothly and well, till the case of one Robson, a notorious
Redesdale horse and cattle-thief, came up for discussion. The Scottish
warden, following the usual Border custom in such cases, demanded that
the culprit, having been guilty of theft on the northern side of
the March, should be given into Scottish custody till such time as
reparation be made to the parties robbed by the Redesdale man. Sir John
Forster demurred, giving as his reason for evading the usual practice
in such cases, that Robson had fled and could not be captured. "Oh!
Play fair!" cried Carmichael contemptuously. Whereupon Forster not
unnaturally lost his temper, and made a fierce and insulting reply. Hot
words leapt from angry lips, and {146}swords, which in those days were
never long idle, began to flash in the warm sunshine as they left the
scabbards. And then the Tynedale men--"Fy, Tyndale, to it!"--eager to
take time by the forelock, and determined not to stand out of what fray
might be going, loosed off a flight of arrows among the Scots. And all
the fat was in the fire. Like fiercest wolves, the two sides flew at
each other's throats, trampling over the heathery ground, cursing,
slashing, stabbing.

The Scots at first were getting rather the worst of the affray;
Carmichael was down, and a prisoner; others were disabled. The English
had the slope of the hill slightly in their favour and made the most of
their advantage, gradually forcing their foes to fall back in tardy
and sullen retreat. Then came to the hot headed Tynedale men the
irresistible temptation to plunder. It was customary at those Wardens'
Meetings for pedlars or small tradesmen to erect on the ground selected
for the meeting, tents, or, as we say in Scotland, "crames," sort
of temporary shop-counters sheltered by canvas, in or on which they
displayed the wares they had for sale. So it had been at this Reidswire
Meeting. And as the Scots were forced back past those "crames," the
desire for loot proved too strong for some of the English combatants. By
ones and twos, as opportunity offered, they edged away from the fight,
and, like marauding wasps to crop of ripe plums, made for this booty
that might be had for the taking. Fighting and plunder were equally
congenial to the men of Tynedale.

At that very moment, however, in which a large number had so withdrawn
themselves, unfortunately for them reinforcements arrived for the Scots.
"Jethart's here!" rang out over the roar and stress of the fight, and
into the "tulzie" plunged the men of Jedburgh, hot off their ten mile
march.

               "Bauld Rutherfurd, he was fou stout,

               Wi' a' his nine sons him about;

               He led the toun o' Jedburgh out,

                   All bravely fought that day."

{147}The tables were badly turned on the English; now they in turn began
to give way, and to be forced back up the hill down which till now they
had been successfully pressing the Scots. Too late the Tynedale men
tried to retrieve their error; the Scots got them on the run and gave
no breathing space; speedily the run became a rout. Over the crest into
Redesdale fled the discomfited English, dropping here a man, there a
man, as they fled. "Sir George Hearoune of Schipsydehouse," (Sir George
Heron Miles of Chipchase Castle,) fell early in the fight, and four
and twenty dead bowmen kept him company. The wounded on both sides
were many; and among the prisoners taken by the Scots were the English
Warden, Sir James Ogle, Sir Cuthbert Collingwood, Sir Francis Russell
(son of the Earl of Bedford), several Fenwicks, and other leading men
from the English side of the Border. Carmichael took his prisoners to
Edinburgh--not greatly to the comfort of the Scottish Regent, the Earl
of Morton; for England and Scotland were then, for once in a way, at
peace, and such an incident as this Raid of the Reidswire was but too
likely to result in further war between the nations. Therefore, after
a day or two's detention, or rather, perhaps, after a day or two's
entertainment, Morton, with every expression of regret and of regard,
sent all the prisoners back to England, apparently not ill pleased with
their treatment. No international complications followed the affair.
Carmichael was sent to York to explain matters, and he seems to have
been able to show satisfactorily that the Scots were within their rights
throughout; that, in fact, as the ballad says:

               " . . . . pride, and breaking out of feuid

               Garr'd Tindaill lads begin the quarrel."

Some years ago, a very handsome silver mounted sword, and a fine
specimen of a dagger, were unearthed by a man employed in cutting drains
on the hillside where the battle was fought that July day of 1575.
The sword was a beautiful {148}weapon, of fine temper, and it probably
belonged to one of the English leaders. Unfortunately it has been lost.
Both it and the dagger have, as I understand, mysteriously disappeared
from the house in which they were kept. Somebody too greatly admired
them, one may suppose, and followed the example set by the men of
Tynedale in the heat of battle that day.

[Illustration: 0168]

The scene of the fight is that fairly level bit of moorland to the left
of the road just after you quit the Carter Bar, going south.

Harking back now for a moment to Jed,--five or six miles above the
bridge at Camptown where we quitted the line of river to follow the old
coach road over Carter Fell, we come to Southdean. Here are the ruins of
an ancient church, (the foundations, at least, and part of the walls and
tower,) which have lately been dug out from the great green mound with
its big ash trees atop, which lay these two hundred years and more
between hillside and river, down by the little grey {149}bridge. This is
the "churche in a fayre launde called Zedon," wherein, says Froissart,
Douglas and the other Scottish leaders met on the eve of that expedition
into England which ended with the glorious fight of Otterbourne. "I
never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas," wrote Sir Philip Sidney,
"that I found not my heart more moved than with a trumpet;" and who
is there to-day, in spite of lapse of centuries, whose blood does not
quicken at the very sound of the word "Otterbourne."

It used to be said that the "Zedon" of Froissart was more applicable to
Yetholm than to Southdean. Some, indeed, still maintain that, as far
at least as _sound_ is concerned, "Zedon" (the "Z", as was formerly not
uncommon, being treated as a "Y") bears a much greater resemblance
to "Yethoim" than to "Southdean." One may readily admit that as it is
spelled, "South-dean" is not in the least like "Zedon." But it is
an entirely different affair when we come to a matter of local
pronunciation. In this case the pronunciation is, as near as may be,
"Seuden." If we very slightly soften the sound of the letter "Z," and
allow for the fact that the "e" of Zedon would naturally be used by
Froissart with the same value that it bears in his own language, we
arrive absolutely at the local pronunciation of the name--"Seuden."

In any case, it seems most unlikely that the point of assembly could
have been Yetholm, if only for the reason that when marching from there
into England,--presumably by way of the Bowmont valley, and so past
Wooler and through Northumberland,--Douglas would have exposed himself
to be struck in rear and on his left flank from the adjacent vantage
points of Roxburgh and Wark, both of which formidable strongholds were
then in English hands, and, (seeing that the intention of the Scots to
make an invasion had long been known in Northumberland,) probably held
in force. And certainly, if the column came by way of Ottercops and
Rothely Crags, as it is said to have done, its starting point was not
{150}Yetholm. Obviously, too, a Scottish army concentrated at Southdean
was in a much better strategical position than any that it could have
occupied in the neighbourhood of Yetholm. From Southdean it could strike
either way at will, either over the easy, and necessarily well known,
pass by Catcleuch Shin, or across the hills by the old Roman way, the
Whele Causeway, into Liddesdale, and thence on to Carlisle.

This Scottish plan, to assemble an army here at Southdean, was the
outcome of a meeting held some time previously at Aberdeen, a city "on
the fronter of the Wylde Scottes," and, so far as was possible, the
business had been kept secret; even to the King himself no hint was
given of what the Nobles designed, "for," said they among themselves,
"the King is no manne of warre." But "the Scottes coude nat do their
maters so secretly, but the lords of Englande knewe howe men rose in
Scotland, and how they shulde mete agayne at Gedeours." Spies brought
word to Northumberland of what was afoot, and the English took all
necessary steps to upset the Scottish plan of campaign. If the Scots
decided to come by way of Carlisle, then the English resolved that
they, on their part, would burst into Scotland by way of Berwick, or by
Dunbar. Thus, said they, "we shall do them more dommage than they can
do us, for their countrey is all open; we maye go where we lyst, and our
countre is strong, and the townes and castelles well closed."

Now the Scots had gathered at Southdean this August of 1388 so vast an
army that "in threscore yere before there was nat assembled toguyder in
Scotlande suche a nombre of good men; there were xii hundred speares
and xl thousande men besvde with their archers; but in tyme of nede
the Scottes can lytell skyll with their bowes; they rather beare axes,
wherwith they gyve great strokes." And this army, "whan they were thus
mette togyder in the marchesse of Gedours.... were mery, and sayd, they
wolde never entre againe into their owne houses tyll they had ben in
Englande, and done suche dedes there that it shulde be spoken of xx yere
after." {151}To this gathering at Southdean came an English spy, one who
"knewe right well the marchesse of Scotlande, and specially the forest
of Gedeours." Without arousing suspicion, this man made his way into the
church, and overheard the Scottish leaders discuss their plans. And when
he had picked up information enough for his purpose, he withdrew quietly
from the building and went to get his horse, which he had left in a
convenient spot, tied to a tree. But never a trace of horse nor of harness
was there now, "for a Scotte, who be great theves, had stollen hym
awaye." It was a very tight corner for the spy. He durst make no great
outcry, lest he betray himself; so, in default, he started "forthe
afote, boted and spurred," thinking maybe to slip out of the camp
unobserved and make over the Cheviots into Rede valley. In any other
place but the Border, perhaps he might have got clear away. But the
Borderers have ever been horse lovers, and now the unwonted sight of a
man, booted and spurred, footing it, at once drew eyes to him that might
have taken little heed had he been mounted. "A filthie thing," says
Bishop Leslie, writing of the Borderers in the sixteenth century, "a
filthie thing thay estcime it, and a verie abjecte man thay halde him
that gangis upon his fete, ony voyage. Quhairthrough cumis that al are
horsmen." So the spy had not gone many furlongs ere he was stopped by
two mounted men.

"Felowe," said one of the two to the other, "I have sene a marveyle;
beholde yonder a man goeth alone, and as I thynke, he hath lost his
horse, for he came by and spake no worde; I wene he be none of
our company; lette us ryde after him to prove my saying." So, says
Froissart, they went after him. And "whane he sawe them commynge, he
wolde gladly have ben thens." The spy's answers to questions not being
satisfactory, "they brought hym againe to the church of Zedon and
presented him to the Erle Duglas and to other lordes." And there "they
handled hym in suche wise that he was fayne to shewe all the mater."
Their methods were not gentle in {152}those days; one wonders what they
did. Anyhow, "they knew by hym that the lordes of Northumberland had
sent hym thyder, to know the estate of their enterprise, and whiche waye
they wolde drawe. Hereof the Scottes were right joyous, and wolde nat
for a great good but that they had spoken with this squyer."

Scottish arguments proved too strong for the unhappy Englishman: "Sirs,"
said he at last, "sithe it behoveth me to saye the truthe, I shall."
So he gave information of the whereabouts of the English army, and
disclosed the whole of the English plans, telling how, the force at the
disposal of the Northumbrian lords not being strong enough to stand up
against the Scottish host, the intention of the English leaders was that
if the Scots should "take the waye into Gales [Cumberland] they wyll
go by Berwike, and so to Dunbare, to Edinborowe, or els to Alquest
[Dalkeith]; and if ye take nat that waye, then they wyll go by Carlyle,
and into the mountayns of the countrey. Whan the lordes herde that, eche
of them regarded other." As indeed they had excellent cause, for this
information put into their hands a card that could most effectually
trump their adversary's strongest suit. They were "ryght joyfull," says
Froissart, and "demannded counsayle what way was best for them to take."

Accordingly, the main army was despatched over the hills, probably, and
most naturally, up Jed and the Raven Burn, and across into Liddesdale
by the old Roman road that leaves Carlin Tooth and Wheelrig Head on its
left, and follows down Peel Burn to Liddel Water; thence down the Liddel
Valley the marching would be easy to Longtown and on to Carlisle; whilst
Douglas, with a flying column consisting of "thre hundred speares of
chosen men, and of two thousande other men and archers," went up the
Carter Burn and over the easy pass at Catcleuch Shin into Redesdale,
with intent to "drawe towardes Newcastell upon Tyne, and passe the
ryver and entre into the bysshoprike of Durham, and burne and exyle the
country." {153}"Thus these two hoostes departed eche from other, echo
of them prayenge other, that if the Englysshmen folowed any of their
armyes, nat to fyght with them tyll bothe their armyes were joyned
toguyder. Thus in a mornyng they departed fro Gedeours, and toke the
feldes."

Down the Rede valley--all fairly easy going in the dry August weather,
even at that day, one may suppose; Froissart says the weather was
"fayre and temperate,"--and across Tyne, Douglas pushed rapidly, pausing
neither to burn nor to slay, until he came into Durham, "where they
founde a good countrey. Than they beganne to make warre, to slee people,
and to brinne vyllages, and to do many sore displeasures." Everyone
knows what happened after this; how at length, having skirmished right
up to the walls of Durham, and beyond, Douglas and his men turned again
northward and halted two days before Newcastle, where lay Percy, and
English knights so many that "they wyst not where to lodge"; how, wjilst
the Scots remained here, Douglas and Percy fought, and Douglas overthrew
Percy and took from him a trophy which the latter swore to redeem before
it could be carried from Northumberland; and how Percy, coming up with
the Scots at Otterburne, strove to regain that which he had lost at
Newcastle, and was defeated and made prisoner; how the fight raged
throughout the moon lit night far into the morning, and the trampled
heath lay red with more than the bloom of heather; and how Earl Douglas
was slain. It is all told in the ballad, and how valiantly each fought
where cowards had no place.

               It fell about the Lammas tide,

                   When the muir-men win their hay,

               The doughty Douglas bound him to ride

                   Into England to drive a prey.

               He chose the Gordons and the Graemes,

                   With them the Lindsays, licht and gay,

               But the Jardines wald not with him ride,

                   And they rue it to this day.  {154}

               And he has harried the dales o' Tyne

                   And half o' Bambroughshire;

               And three good towers on Reidswire fells,

                   He left them a' on fire.

               And he march'd up to New Castel,

                   And rade it round about:

               "O, wha is the lord o' this castel,

               Or wha is the ladie o't?"

               But up spak proud Lord Percy then,

                   And O but he spak hie!

               "It's I am the lord o' this castel,

                   My wife's the ladie gay."

               "If thou art the lord o' this castel,

                   Sae weel it pleases me!

               For ere I cross the Border fells,

                   The ane o' us shall dee."

               He took a lang spear in his hand,

                   Shod with the metal free;

               And forth to meet the Douglas there,

                   He rade right furiouslie.

               But O, how pale his ladie look'd

                   Frae aff the castel wall,

               When down before the Scottish spear

                   She saw proud Percy fa'!

               "Had we twa been upon the green,

                   And never an eye to see,

               I wad hae had you, flesh and fell,

                   But your sword shall gae wi' me."

               "But gae ye up tae Otterbourne,

                   And bide there dayis three;

                   And gin I come not ere they end,

               A fause knight ca' ye me."

                   "The Otterboume's a bonny burn,

               'Tis pleasant there to be;

                   But there is nought at Otterbourne

               To feed my men and me.  {155}

               "The deer rins wild on hill and dale,

                   The birds fly wild frae tree to tree;

               But there is neither bread nor kail

                   To fend my men and me.

               "Yet I will stay at Otterbourne,

                   Where you shall welcome be;

               And, if you come not at three dayis end,

                   A fause knight I'll ca' thee."

               "Thither will I come," proud Percy said,

                   "By the micht of Our Ladye!"

               "There will I bide thee," said the Douglas,

                   "My troth I plight to thee."

               They lichted high on Otterbourne,

                   Upon the brent sae brown;

               They lichted high on Otterbourne,

                   And threw their pallions down.

               And he that had a bonnie boy,

                   Sent out his horse to grass;

               And he that had not a bonnie boy,

                   His ain servant he was.

               Then up and spak a little page,

                   Before the peep of dawn:

               "O waken ye, waken ye, my good lord,

                   For Percy's hard at hand."

               "Ye lie, ye lie, ye liar loud!

                   Sae loud I hear ye lie;

               For Percy had not men yestreen

                   To fight my men and me.

               "But I hae dreamed a dreary dream,

                   Beyond the Isle of Skye:

               I saw a dead man win a fight,

                   And I think that man was I."

               He belted on his gude braid sword,

                   And to the field he ran;

               But he forgot the helmet good

                   That shou'd have kept his brain.  {156}

               When Percy with the Douglas met,

                   I wat he was fu' fain!

               They swakkit swords till sair they swat,

               And the blood ran down like rain.

               But Percy, wi' his good braid sword,

                   That could sae sharply wound,

               Has wounded Douglas on the brow,

                   Till he fell till the ground.

               Then he call'd on his little foot-page,

                   And said--"Run speedilie,

               And fetch my ain dear sister's son,

                   Sir Hugh Montgomerie."

               "My nephew good," the Douglas said.

                   "What recks the death o' ane!

                   Last nicht I dream'd a dreary dream,

                   And I ken the day's thy ain.

               "My wound is deep; I fain would sleep;

                   Take thou the vanguard of the three,

               And hide me by the bracken bush

                   That grows on yonder lily lee.

               "O, bury me by the bracken bush,

                   Beneath the blooming brier;

               Let never living mortal ken

                   That a kindly Scot lies here."

               He lifted up that noble lord,

                   With the saut tear in his ee;

               He hid him in the bracken bush,

                   That his merrie men might not see.

               The moon was clear, the day drew near,

                   The spears in flinders flew

               But mony a gallant Englishman

                   Ere day the Scotsmen slew.

               The Gordon's gude, in English bluid

                   They steep'd their hose and shoon;

               The Lindsays flew like fire about,

                   Till a' the fray was dune.  {157}

               The Percy and Montgomerie met,

                   That either of other was fain;

               They swakkit swords, and they twa swat,

                   And aye the bluid ran down between.

               "Now yield thee, yield thee, Percy," he said,

                   "Or else I vow I'll lay thee low!"

               "To whom must I yield," quoth Earl Percy,

                   "Sin' I see that it maun be so?"

               "Thou shall not yield to lord or loun,

                   Nor yet shalt thou yield to me;

               But yield ye to the brarken bush

                   That grows upon yon lilye lee!"

               "I will not yield to a bracken bush,

                   Nor yet will I yield to a brier;

               But I would yield to Earl Douglas,

               Or Sir Hugh Montgomerie if he were here."

               As soon as he knew it was Montgomerie,

                   He stuck his sword's point in the gronde;

               Montgomerie was a courteous knight,

               And quickly took him by the hond.

               This deed was done at Otterbourne,

                   About the breaking o' the day;

               Earl Douglas was buried by the bracken bush,

               And the Percy led captive away.      Froissart says he was told by
two English squires who took part in the fight, "how this batayle was
as sore a batayle fought as lyghtly hath been harde of before of such
a nombre, and I believe it well. For Englysshmen on the one partye and
Scottes on the other party are good men of warre: for whan they mete
there is a hard fight without sparvnge; there is no hoo bytwene them as
long as speares, swordes, axes, or dagers wyll endure, but lay on eche
upon other, and whan they be well beaten, and that the one parte hath
optaygned the victory, they than glorifye so in their dedes of armes
and are so joyfull, that suche as be taken they shall be raunsomed
or {158}they go out of the felde, so that shortly eche of them is so
contente with other that at their departynge curtoysly they wyll saye,
God thanke you. But in fyghtynge one with another there is no playe
nor sparynge; and this is trewe, and that shall well apere by this sayd
rencounter, for it was as valyauntly foughten as coulde be devysed."

With hand to hand fighting so close and so fierce as here befell at
Otterburne, the slaughter could not fail to be very great. According to
Godscroft, the English alone lost one thousand eight hundred and forty
killed, and over a thousand wounded. The total Scottish loss in killed,
wounded and missing appears to have been less than half that of the
enemy in killed alone. The English lost also over a thousand men who
were captured by the Scots; indeed, the latter had so many prisoners
that they were greatly put to it to know what to do with them at the
moment when the Bishop of Durham with his ten thousand fresh troops
came on the scene and seemed likely to renew the battle. Many of the
prisoners were men of distinction. Percy himself was taken by the
Earl of Montgomery; his brother, Ralph Percy, by Sir John Maxwell; Sir
Matthew Reedman, governor of Berwick, by Sir James Lindsay. And many
another Scottish knight or squire held his brother of England to ransom.

Froissart describes more than one picturesque incident of the fight, and
none, surely, is more vivid and alive than that in which he tells how
Sir Matthew Reedman, Governor of Berwick, fled From the field, pursued
by Sir James Lindsay. When all was done that man could do, and all was
done in vain, Sit Matthew turned to save himself. Lindsay chanced to
be near at hand, and saw him gallop out from the stress of battle. "And
this Sir James to wyn honour, followed in chase.... and came so nere hym
that he myght have stryken him with his speare if he had lyst. Than he
said, 'Ah, sir knyght, tourne, it is a shame thus to flye: I am James of
Lindsay: if ye wyll nat tourne I shall stryke you on the backe {159}with
my speare.' Sir Matthew spake no worde, but strake his horse with the
spurrs sorer than he dyde before. In this manner he chased hym more than
thre myles, and at lasts sir Mathue Reedman's horse foundred and fell
under hym. Than he stept forth on the erthe, and drewe oute hys swerde,
and toke corage to defende hymselfe; and the Scotte thought to have
stryken hym on the brest, but sir Mathewe Reedman swerved fro the
stroke, and the speare poynt entered into the erthe: than sir Mathue
strake asonder the speare with his swerde. And whan sir James Lynsay
sawe howe he had loste his speare, he caste awaye the trounchon and
lyghted afote, and toke a lytell batayle axe that he caryed at his
backe, and handeled it with his one hande, quiekely and delyverly,
in the whiche feate Scottes be well experte. And than he sette at sir
Mathue, and he defended hymselfe properly. Thus they tourneyed toguyder,
one with an axe, and the other with a swerde, a longe season, and no man
to lette them. Fynally, sir James Lynsay gave the knyght suche strokes,
and helde hym so shorte, that he was putte out of brethe, in such wyse
that he yelded hymselfe, and sayde: 'Sir James Lynsay, I yelde me to
you.' 'Well,' quod he, 'and I receyve you, rescue or no rescue.' 'I am
content,' quod Reedman, 'so ye deale with me lyke a good campanyon.'
'I shall not fayle that,' quod Lynsay, and so put up his swerde. 'Well,
sir,' quod Reedman, 'what wyll you nowe that I shall do? I am your
prisoner, ye have conquered me; I wolde gladly go agayn to Newcastell,
and within fyftene dayes I shall come to you into Scotlande, where as
ye shall assigne me.' 'I am content,' quod Lynsay: 'ye shall promyse by
your faythe to present yourselfe within this iii wekes at Edenborowe,
and wheresoever ye go, to repute yourself my prisoner.' All this sir
Mathue sware and promysed to fulfyll. Than eche of them toke their
horses and toke leave eche of other."

They were to meet again, however, in less than the stipulated time. Sir
James turned his horse towards Otterburne, {160}intent on rejoining
his friends. But a mist came down over the hills and blotted out the
moorland; he could only feel his way in the direction he desired to go.
And when at length through the haar and thickness there came to his ears
the muffled sound of voices, the ring of bridles and snort of horses, in
full assurance that the sounds came from a body of his own men returning
from pursuit of the broken English, he rode confidently forward, it was
to find himself face to face with five hundred horse under the Bishop
of Durham. And said the Bishop to Lindsay: "'Ye shall go with me to
Newcastell.' 'I may nat chose,' quod Lynsay, 'sithe ye wyll have it so;
I have taken, and I am taken, suche is the adventures of armes.'

"'Whom have ye taken': quod the bysshop. 'Sir,' quod he, 'I toke in the
chase sir Malhue Redman.' 'And where is he?' quod the bysshop. 'By my
faythe, sir, he is returned to Newcastell; he desyred me to trust hym
on his faythe for thre wekes, and so have I done.' 'Well,' quod the
bysshop, 'lette us go to New castell, and there ye shall speke wyth
hym.' Thus they rode to Newcastell toguyder, and sir James Lynsay was
prisoner to the Bysshop of Durham." So the twain met again, and "'By my
faythe, sir Mathewe,' said Lindsay, 'I beleve ye shall nat nede to come
to Edenborowe to me to make your fynaunce: I thynke rather we shall
make an exchaunge one for another, if the bysshoppe be so contente.'"
Whereupon, Reedman---as has ever been the wont of Englishmen--proposed
that they should mark the occasion by a dinner; and, says Froissart,
"thus these two knyghts dyned toguyder in Newcastell."

He was not a valiant person, apparently, this Bishop of Durham. Had he
been a very militant Prince of the Church, it had surely gone hard now
with the Scots, for, outnumbered as they had been throughout the fight,
they were sore spent ere ever the Bishop hove in sight with his ten
thousand fresh troops, and it could scarcely have taken very much to
drive them from the field in headlong rout. But the English leader was
not a very intrepid man; and when he found the Scots {161}drawn together
in a position so defended by swamp and morass that entry could be forced
only by the one way, the Bishop hesitated. Then the Scottish leaders
ordered their "mynstrels to blowe up all at ones, and make the greatest
revell of the worlde"; for, as Froissart says, "whan they blowe all at
ones, they make suche a noyse that it may be herde nighe iiii myles of;
thus they do to abasshe their enemyes, and to rejoyse themselfes."

The instruments used were horns, we are told. Had they been bagpipes,
one might perhaps have understood the consternation of the English. Says
Froissart: "Whan the bysshoppe of Durham, with his baner, and XM men
with hym, were aproched within a leage, than the Scottes blew their
homes in suche wise that it seemed that all the devyls in hell had been
amonge them, so that such as herde them, and knewe nat of their usage,
were sore abasshed." Nevertheless, the Bishop, with his host in order
of battle, advanced to within about two bow-shot of the Scots, and
there came to a halt in order to reconnoitre their position. The more
he looked at it, the less he liked it; losses were certain to be heavy,
victory by no means assured. So the English drew off; and the Scots, we
are told, "wente to their lodgynges and made mery."

Then, the next day, having burned their camp, they marched unmolested
back up the Rede valley into Scotland; and with them they bore the
honoured bodies of Douglas and of others who had fallen in the fight.
Percy went with them, a captive, and many another distinguished
Englishman against his will sadly followed the victors. But those
prisoners who were too badly hurt to endure the march into Scotland were
sent under parole back to Newcastle, among them Sir Ralph Percy, who was
returned in a horse litter. Huge sums are mentioned as having been
paid in ransom by the English prisoners, the estimate of some writers
reaching the extravagant figure of £600,000, a sum that in those days
would have enriched the entire Scottish nation beyond the dreams of
avarice. Even that number of pounds {162}Scots (equal to £50,000) seems
beyond reason. Froissart's 200,000 francs (£8,000 in our money) is
probably about what was paid--in that day a most handsome sum.

[Illustration: 0182]

A cheerful little village is the Otterburne of the present day,--even
though there are not wanting evidences that some part of it, down by the
inn, for example,-has planted itself in too close proximity to a river
and a burn which still, as in those early eighteenth century days of
"Mad" Jack Hall, are capable of sudden and vindictive flood. As
regards the battlefield, however, there is not a great deal to see. The
so-called Percy's Cross, which stands in a thin clump of trees to the
east of the road three-quarters of a mile on the Scottish side of
the village, is a comparatively modern erection. The true site ot the
original "Battle Stone," according to maps of date 1769, was about a
couple of hundred yards more to the east, and there it stood, or
rather, lay, till 1777, when the then proprietor of the land, a {163}Mr.
Ellison, put up the cross now standing, within view of the new turnpike
road which was then being made up the valley of the Rede. Mr. Ellison
used the ancient socket of the original cross, but the rough pedestal on
which the socket stands has nothing to do with the old memorial.

[Illustration: 0183]

Nor has the present shaft, which, says Mr. Robert White in his "History
of the Battle of Otterburne" (1857), was nothing but "an old
architrave which had been removed from the kitchen fireplace at
Otterburne Hall. This stone, the cross-section of which is fifteen and
a half by eight inches, still shows a bevelled corner throughout its
length; besides, two small pieces of iron project from one of its sides,
which, in its former period of usefulness, were probably connected with
some culinary apparatus. On its top is another stone, tapering to a
point, which completes the erection. The entire length of the
shaft above the base is nine and a half feet. The socket is a worn,
weather-beaten {164}sandstone, about two feet square, without any
tool-marks upon it, and appears to have been in use much longer than any
of the stones connected with it."

A still more modern memorial of the battle is a large semicircular
seat cut in freestone, bearing on darker coloured panels various
inscriptions, which stands by the road-side a little farther to the
north. This was erected in 1888 by Mr. W. H. James, then M.P. for
Gateshead. It may be noted that one of the panels gives the date of the
battle as _tenth_ August, 1388, which is almost certainly a mistake.

Douglas, of course, had satisfactory reasons for camping that night
where he did,--reasons not unconnected probably with the question of
shelter from English arrows. A wood protected him, it is said. Had he
gone four or five miles farther on up the valley, he might have occupied
the old Roman camp of Bremenium, a strong position, not sheltered from
arrow-flight by trees, it is true, but protected on two sides by what
in old days must have been swamps, and surrounded by a heavy wall
which, even in its present condition, would be, to a defending force,
a considerable protection in hand to hand fighting. Five hundred years
ago, before the day of agricultural improvement and the custom of using
ancient monuments as a quarry, such a defence must have made the camp
a place of very considerable strength. Portions only now remain of the
formidable wall which originally protected Bremenium, but enough stands
to show what its strength must have been in the days when the Roman
Legions manned it. The face is composed of great blocks of hewn
freestone, accurately fitted; in height it must have been about fourteen
feet, in thickness something like seventeen,--the inner portion, of
course, being rubble work; outside there were two or more fosses. One of
the gateways is still intact to a very considerable height, but the camp
as a whole has to a most pitiable extent been used as a quarry, perhaps
for hundreds of years. Even yet, one doubts if it is held quite
sacred from vandal raids. As late as 1881, when {165}members of the
Berwickshire Naturalists' Club visited the camp they found masons
deliberately quarrying stones from one corner of the wall, in order to
build a hideous modern cottage, and I daresay some of the houses in the
immediate neighbourhood may be composed entirely of stones taken from
the old walls. The writer has not seen the Roman tombs which exist about
half a mile to the east of the camp. The largest of these is said to
have still two courses of stones standing, besides the flat stones of
the foundation. This tomb has in front a small carving, regarding which
Dr. Collingwood Bruce, in "The Roman Wall," suggests that it may have
been intended to represent "the head of a boar--the emblem of the
twentieth legion." The writer is given to understand that the carving
bears no resemblance whatever to the head of a boar. A coin of the
Emperor Alexander Severus was found in this tomb, together with a jar
containing calcined bones, and a coin of the Emperor Trajan was found in
the camp.

How many of Douglas's wounded, one wonders, were carried from the field
of battle over to Southdean, and, succumbing there to their wounds, were
buried at the church? Two or three years ago, when the ash-trees were
cut down and the grassy mound carted away that had so long concealed the
ruins of the old building, quantities of human bones were dug up within
and about the walls, some of the skulls showing unmistakably that
the owners had died no peaceful death. No doubt the main body of the
Scottish army would follow the dead Douglas to his tomb in Melrose
Abbey, and would therefore never come so far west as Southdean, but the
severely wounded would naturally be left wherever they could be attended
to. It is certain that the Southdean district was in old days much less
sparsely populated than is now the case; two important yearly fairs, for
instance, used formerly to be held at Lethem, (three miles nearer the
Border than Southdean,)--where also, on a knoll still called the Chapel
Knowe, was a chapel, subsidiary to the church of Southdean. These fairs
were for the sale of {166}"horse, nolt, sheep, fish, flesh, malt, meal,"
and all sorts of merchandise, and in the permit to hold the Fairs
Lethem is described as being "by reason of its situation, lying near the
Border, a very convenient and fit place for traffic and trade."

[Illustration: 0186]

The church of Southdean, therefore, as its ruins indicate, was probably
of considerable importance, surrounded by a settlement of some size,
where wounded men might well be left to take their chance of recovery.
Whether the Scots returned from Otterburne up Rede valley and over the
pass by way of Catcleuch Shin, or (as is more probable) followed the
Roman Road which passes Bremeirum Camp and runs over the Cheviots some
miles to the east of Carter-fell, and thence crossing Kale, Oxnam,
Jed, and Teviot, goes in more or less direct line towards Newstead and
Melrose, it would be easy and natural for them to detach a party with
the wounded, and perhaps with the bodies of some of the more notable
dead, to {167}Southdean. And those of them who died there would of
course be buried in or close to the church.

During the excavations, it is of interest to note that numbers of skulls
were found all together at one spot, pointing to the probability of many
bodies having been, from some common cause, buried in a common grave.
The inference seems not illegitimate that this cause was the fight at
Otterburne. The English appear to have carried away from the field many
of their dead, as well as their wounded:

               "Then on the morne they mayde them beerys

                   Of birch and haysell graye;

               Many a wydowe, with wepynge teyrs

                   Ther makes they fette awaye."

It is not unlikely that the Scots also brought away some, at least, of
their dead, and, as Southdean was the nearest spot in their own country
where they could find consecrated ground, the probability is that these
bodies, as well as those of the wounded who died later, would find rest
there.

In his "History and Poetry of the Scottish Border," Professor Veitch
mentions that "a recent discovery made at Elsdon Church, about three
miles from the scene of conflict, may be regarded as throwing some light
on the slaughter. There skulls to the amount of a thousand have been
disinterred, all lying together. They are of lads in their teens, and
of middle-aged men; but there are no skulls of old men, or of women. Not
improbably these are the dead of Otterburne."

The length of the old building at Southdean, including tower and
chancel, was ninety-seven feet, and the nave was about twenty-three
feet in width. Many notable things were unearthed during the work of
excavation, those of most interest possibly being a massive octagonal
font, cut from one block of stone, and a small stone super-altar incised
with the usual five crosses.

At Southdean, as elsewhere, the old church has for generations been used
as a quarry. The retaining wall of the adjacent {168}Newcastle road is
full of dressed stones taken from the building, and others, some of them
carved, have been built into the walls of an adjoining barn. Certainly
our ancestors in this instance had more excuse than usual to offer for
their depredations, for the building was a hopeless ruin. The roof
of the church fell in one Sunday in the year 1689, and the walls--not
unhelped by human hands--speedily followed suit. Stones from the
principal doorway seem to have been used in 1690 in the building of a
new church at Chesters. That too is now in ruins.

{169}



CHAPTER VI ALE, RULE WATER, TEVIOT, HAWICK

|As we ascend Teviot, after Jed its next important tributary is the
Ale, not so named from the resemblance of its waters, when flooded, to
a refreshing beverage. Sir Herbert Maxwell says that the name was
originally written "Alne" (as in Aln, Alnwick) and this form survives in
the place-name in Ale, Ancrum, the site of a desirable Scottish victory.
The word would at first be Alne crumb, the crook of Alne or "Ale." Crom
does mean "crook" in Gaelic, I understand, and Ale does make a crook or
bend round Ancrum, so the names are tokens of the possession of the dale
by Gaelic-speaking people, very long ago. In Timpendean, the name of
a ruined tower opposite the point where Ale enters Teviot, we have the
English "dene" or "den," as in the neighbouring Hassendoan The places
of most historical interest on lower Ale are Ancrum Moor and Lilliard's
Edge, the scene of a battle in which the Scots partly avenged the
incessant burnings and slayings by the men of Henry VIII, inflicted
while the prince was furious at his failure to secure the hand of the
baby Queen, Mary Stuart, for his puny son, later Edward VI. Henry
first hoped, by the aid of these professional traitors, chiefs of the
Douglases,--the Earl of Angus and his brother, Sir George--to obtain
the Royal child and the great castles, and the {170}Crown of Scotland,
without drawing sword. Baffled in this by the adroitness and patriotic
courage of Cardinal Beaton, he sent his forces to rob, burn, and slay
through all the eastern and central Marches. In February 1545, Hertford
had finished his own work of ruin, despite which the Earl of Angus
declared that he loved Henry VIII "best of all men." There followed
a breach in this tender sentiment, _amantium irai._ Hertford's
lieutenants, Evers and Laiton, with "assured Scots" of Teviotdale,
wearing St George's cross, were harrying the Border. The Scottish
Regent, the fickle, futile, good-humoured Earl of Arran, called for
forces, but met little response, for, as a contemporary diarist writes,
all men suspected the treachery of Henry's lover, and of the Douglases,
"ever false, as they alleged." Yet Scott, in his ballad of "The Eve
of St John," speaks of "the Douglas true and the bold Buccleugh"; the
Scotts of Buccleuch, in fact, were ever loyal. The Laird, approached
with bribes in English gold, rejected them in language of such
pardonable profanity as frightened and astonished the English envoy,
accustomed to buy Scottish traitors by the gross.

So mixed were affairs that while Wharton was trying to kidnap Sir George
Douglas for Henry, Sir George was endeavouring to betray Arran to the
English. They worsted the pacific Regent near Melrose, burned town and
abbey, and desecrated the ancestral graves there of the Douglases, among
them the resting place of the Earl who fell, when "a dead man won a
fight," at Otterburne. The English clearly did not understand that Angus
and his brother were eager to make their peace with Henry by relieving
their treacheries to their country.

The ruining of his ancestors' tombs aroused the personal fury of
Angus, moreover Henry had made large gifts of Angus's lands to Evers and
Laiton. Angus therefore gathered his forces, breathed out threats, and
joined hands with Arran, who was also supported by a very brave man,
Norman Leslie, {171}presently to be one of the assassins of Cardinal
Beaton--in Henry's interest. Norman, however, was patriotic for the
moment, and the bold Buccleuch was ever trusty. As Angus and Arran
followed the English, Leslie and Buccleuch "came lightly riding in" and
the Scots united on the wide airy moor of Ancrum.

The English saw their approach, and saw their horses moving to the rear.
Supposing that the Scots were in retreat, (they meant to fight on foot,
and only sent their mounts to the rear,) the lances of Evers and
Laiton galloped gaily in pursuit. But what they found was "the dark
impenetrable wood" of stubborn spears. With the sun and the wind and
blown smoke in their faces, the English cavalry charged, and were
broken on the _schiltroms_ or serried squares as they were broken at
Bannockburn. Hereon the clan Ker, the men of Cessford and Ferniehirst,
"assured Scots," tore off their crosses of St. George, and charged
with Leslie, the Douglases, and Buccleuch. The English were routed, the
country people rose against them; Evers and Laiton lost their new lands
with their lives, eight hundred of the English were slain, and two
thousand were taken alive--which is rather surprising. The English
evacuated Jedburgh, and the Scots recovered Coldingham.

Meanwhile the good-natured, false, feckless Regent Arran wept over the
dead body of Sir Ralph Evers. "God have mercy on him, for he was a fell
cruel man, and over cruel. And welaway that ever such a slaughter and
blood shed should be among Christian men," sobbed the Regent. His heart
was better than his head. Even George Douglas had warned Henry VIII of
what would result from "the extreme war that is used in killing women
and young children." In my childhood I heard and never forgot, the
country rhyme on an Amazon of a girl, who, to avenge her lover, took
arms at Ancrum moor. She fell, and on her tomb, which has been many
times restored, the following epitaph is {172}engraved:

               "Fair Maiden Lilliard

                   Lies under this stane;

               Little was her stature,

                   But muckle was her fame.

               Upon the English loons

                   She laid many thumps,

               And when her legs were cuttit oft

                   She fought upon her stumps."

Clearly this is a form of

          "For Widrington I must bewail as one in doleful dumps,

          For when his legs were cutten off he fought upon his stumps."

Lilliard's Edge, the ancient name of the scene of this fair lady's fall,
must have suggested the idea of a girl styled Lilliard, and her story
was thus suggested to the rhymer and became a local myth.

About Ancrum the Ale, like the Jed, and, over the Border, the Eden and
Coquet, beautifies itself by cutting a deep channel through the fine
red sandstone of which Melrose Abbey is built. These channels are always
beautiful, but Ale, otherwise, as we ascend its valley, is a quiet trout
stream "that flows the green hills under." In my boyhood, long, long
ago, Ale abounded in excellent trout, and was my favourite among all
our many streams. It does not require the angler to wade, like Tweed and
Ettrick; it is narrow and easily commanded. The trout were almost as
guileless as they were beautiful and abundant; but I presume that they
are now almost exterminated by fair and unfair methods. The Scot, when
he does not use nets, poisons, and dynamite, is too often a fisher with
the worm, and, as I remember him, had no idea of returning even tiny
fish to the water, as James Thomson, author of The Seasons, himself a
Border angler, advises us to do.

Guileless, indeed, since old time has been the character of the trout of
Ale. Sir Thomas Dick Lauder tells how in his boyhood he went once with
a chance-met "souter" from Selkirk to the long pool in Ale above Midlem
bridge, and how there, {173}by a most unsporting device, they captured
the innocent trout almost by the sack-load. "We came," he says, "to a
very long gravelly-bottomed pool, of an equal depth all over of from
three to four feet. Here the souter seated himself; and, shortening both
our rods, and fitting each of them with the three hooks tied back to
back, he desired us to follow him, and then waded right into the middle
of the pool. The whole water was sweltering with fine trouts, rushing in
all directions from the alarm of our intrusion among them. But after we
had stood stock still for a few moments, their alarm went off,
and they began to settle each individually in his own place.
'There's a good one there,' said the souter, pointing to one at about
three yards from him; and throwing the hooks over him, he jerked him
up, and in less than six seconds he was safe in his creel. We had many a
failure before we could succeed in catching one, whilst the souter never
missed; but at length we hit upon the way; and so we proceeded with our
guide, gently shifting our position in the pool as we exhausted each
particular spot, until the souter's creel would hold no more, and
ours was more than half filled with trouts, most of which were about
three-quarters of a pound in weight; and very much delighted with the
novelty of our sport, we made our way back to Melrose by the western
side of the Eildon hills, and greatly astonished our companion with the
slaughter we had made, seeing that he had been out angling for a couple
of hours in the Tweed, without catching a single fin." A slaughter of
the innocents, indeed! But the most inveterate poacher could not now,
in any Border stream, hope to rival a feat so abominable in the eyes of
present-day fishers. Nor, if he did attempt it, would he be likely to
find trout so utterly devoid of guile as to submit thus quietly to be
hooked out of the water one by one till the pool was emptied. Trout
are better educated, if fewer in number, than they appear to have been
eighty or ninety years ago. It is difficult, too, to see where the fun
of this form of fishing comes in, after the rather {174}cheap excitement
of catching the first one or two. But they did curious things in the
name of Sport in the earlier half of last century. Many of the methods
of catching salmon that are written of approvingly by Scrope, that great
angler of Sir Walter's day, are now the rankest of poaching, and are
prohibited by law.

The mid course of Ale is through "ancient Riddel's fair domain," as
Scott says in the great rhymes of William of Deloraine's midnight ride
from Branksome Tower to Melrose. There is now no Riddel of Riddel.

Here I shall mercilessly quote the whole of William of Deloraine's
Itinerary from Branksome Tower till he rides Ale when "great and muckle
o' spate."

                   "Soon in his saddle sate he fast

                   And soon the steep descent he past,

                   Soon cross'd the sounding barbican,

                   And soon the Teviot side he won.

                   Eastward the wooded path he rode,

                   Green hazels o'er his basnet nod;

                   "He pass'd the Peel of Goldiland,

                   And cross'd old Borthwick's roaring strand;

                   Dimly he view'd the Moat-hill's mound.

                   Where Druid shades still flitted round;

                   In Ilawick twinkled many a light;

                   Behind him soon they set in night;

                   And soon he spurr'd his coarser keen

                   Beneath the tower of hazeldean.

                   "The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark:--

                   'Stand, ho! thou courier of the dark.'--

                   'For Branksome, ho!' the knight rejoin'd,

                   And left the friendly tower behind.

                   He turn'd him now from Teviotside,

                   And guided by the tinkling rill,

                   Northward the dark ascent did ride,

                   And gained the moor at Horslichill;

                   Broad on the left before him lay,

                   For many a mile, the Roman way.  {175}

                   "A moment now he slack'd his speed,

                   A moment breathed his panting steed;

                   Drew saddle-girth and corslet-band,

                   And loosen'd in the sheath his brand.

                   On Minto-crags the moonbeams glint,

                   Where Barnhill hew'd his bed of flint;

                   Who flung his outlaw'd limbs to rest,

                   Where falcons hang their giddy nest,

                   Mid cliffs, from whence his eagle eye

                   From many a league his prey could spy;

                   Cliffs, doubling, on their echoes borne,

                   The terrors of the robbers' horn;

                   Cliffs, which, for many a later year,

                   The warbling Doric reed shall hear,

                   When some sad swain shall teach the grove,

                   Ambition is no cure for love!

                   "Unchallenged, thence pass'd Deloraine,

                   To ancient Riddel's fair domain,

                   Where Aill, from mountains freed,

                   Down from the lakes did raving come;

                   Each wave was crested with tawny foam,

                   Like the mane of a chestnut steed.

                   In vain! no torrent, deep or broad,

                   Might bar the bold moss-trooper's road.

                   At the first plunge the horse sunk low,

                   And the water broke o'er the saddlebow;

                   Above the foaming tide, I ween,

                   Scarce half the charger's neck was seen;

                   For he was barded from counter to tail,

                   And the rider was armed complete in mail;

                   Never heavier man and horse

                   Stemm'd a midnight torrent's force.

                   "The warriors very plume, I say,

                   Was daggled by the dashing spray;

                   Yet, through good heart, and Our Ladye's grace,

                   At length he gained the landing place."

Above the point where William rode the water, the scenery is quiet and
pastoral; about Ashkirk and Synton we are in the {176}lands of lairds
whose genealogies are recounted in the rhymes of old Satchells, who

                        "can write nane

                   But just the letters of his name."

Further up, Ale rests in the dull deep loch of Alemuir, which looks as
if it held more pike than trout. And so we follow her into the hills and
the water-shed that, on one side, contributes feeders to the Ettrick.
It is a lofty land of pasture and broken hills, whence you see the airy
peaks of Skelfhill, Penchrise, the Dumon, and the ranges of "mountains"
as Scott calls the hills through which the Border Waters run, Yarrow,
Ettrick, Borthwick Water and Ale Water. A "water" is larger than a
"burn," but attains not to the name of a river.

Rule, the next tributary as we ascend Teviot, is but a "Water," a pretty
trout stream it would be if it had fair play. The question of fishing
in this country is knotted. Almost all the trout streams were open to
everybody, in my boyhood, when I could fish all day in Tweed or Ale, and
never see a rod but my own. The few anglers were sportsmen. "Duffer" as
I was, I remember a long summer day on Tweed at Yair, when, having come
too late for the ten o'clock "rise" of trout, I had an almost empty
creel. Just before sunset I foregathered with old Adam Linton, his large
creel three-quarters full of beauties. "What did you get them with?"
I asked. At the moment he was using the tiniest midges, and the finest
tackle. "Oh, wi' ae thing and another, according to the time o' day,"
he answered. I daresay he used the clear water worm, fished up stream;
deadly sin m Hampshire, but not in the Forest. Since these days the
world has gone wild on angling, the waters are crowded like the Regent's
canal with rods. Now I am all for letting every man have his cast; but
the only present hope for the survival of trout is in the associations
of anglers who do their best to put down netting and dynamiting. A
close time when trout are out of season, we owe to Sir Herbert Maxwell,
opposed as he was by the Radical Member for the Border Burghs. I {177}am
not sure that there is a rule against slaying trout under, shall we say,
seven inches? However it may be, I had my chance and wasted it; being a
duffer. Trout may become extinct like the Dodo; it makes no odds to
me. I never cast fly in Rule, nor even examined "the present spiritless
parish church," on the site of a Norman church of the early twelfth
century. The few relics of carved stone fill Sir Herbert Maxwell's
heart with bitterness against the dull destroyers. Our Presbyterian
forefathers, as far as in them lay, destroyed every vestige of the noble
art whereof these glens were full, when, in the twelfth century, the
Border was part of a civilised country. For all that I know, they were
innocent of ruin at Bedrule; the English of Henry VIII may here, as all
through this region, have been the destroyers. They were Protestants of
a sort. Moreover in Rule dwelt the small but fierce clan of Turnbull,
who, between Scotts and Kers, fought both of these great clans, and
now, as a power, "are a' wede awa'." Perhaps an enemy of theirs took
sanctuary in the church, and they "burned the chapel for very rage," as
the Scotts burned St. Mary of the Lowes shortly before the Reformation.

Somewhere about 1620, Rule Water had her minstrel, named Robin,
nick-named "Sweet-milk," from the place of his residence. In my opinion
these singers of the late days of James VI and I, were the survivors of
the Border minstrels who, says Queen Mary's Bishop of Ross, Lesley, the
historian, made their own ballads of raids and rescues, such as _Jock o'
the Cow_, and as much as is not Scott's of _Kinmont Willie_. There was
a rival minstrel, Willie Henderson, whom I take to have sided with the
Scotts, while Robin was the Demodocus of the Eliotts of Stobs. The pair
met, drank, fought, and Willie pinked "Sweet-Milk" Robin, the Eliotts'
man.

               "Tuneful hands with blood were dyed,"

says Sir Walter, but what was the cause of the quarrel? I have
a hypothesis. The famous ballad of _Jamie Telfer_ exists in two
{178}versions. In one the Scotts are covered with laurels, while Martin
Eliott plays the part of a cur. In the other, the Eliotts gain all the
glory, while Scott of Buccleuch acts like a mean dastard. One of these
versions is the original, the other is a perversion. The ballad itself,
which takes us all through the Border, from Bewcastle on the English
side, to the fair Dodhead on Upper Ettrick, is not of the period of the
incidents described. As far as these are historical, the date is about
1596. The author of the ballad does not know the facts, and makes
incredible statements. Consequently he is late, writes years after the
Union of the Crowns (1603) and the end of Border raids. I guess that
either Will Henderson was the author of the ballad in favour of the
Scotts, and that Robin, the minstrel of the Eliotts, perverted it into
the Eliott version, or _vice versa_, Robert was the original author,
Will the perverter. Here, in any case, was infringement of copyright and
deadly insult. The poets fought. Certainly, Robin fell, and the Eliotts
hanged Will, gave him "Jeddart justice." To the ballad we shall return;
it is, though inaccurate, full of the old Border spirit, and is in
itself an itinerary of the Marches.

These high powers, the Scott and Eliott clans, like the States of
Europe, were now allies, cementing their federacy by intermarriages; and
again were bitter foes. The strength of the chief of the Eliotts was
in Liddesdale, of the Scotts, in Teviotdale. They were allies for young
James V against his Keepers, the Douglases,

               "When gallant Cessford's life-blood dear

               Reeked on dark Eliott's Border spear"

at "Turn Again," a spot on Scott's estate of Abbotsford. They were foes
in 1564-66, in Queen Mary's reign, when Martin Eliott, chief of his
clan, plotted with the Armstrongs to betray her strong fortress of
Hermitage to the English.

In this feud the Eliotts attacked Scott of Hassendean in his tower on
Hassendean burn, the next tributary of Teviot, but {179}the ballad
of _Kinmont Willie_ makes Gilbert Eliott of Stobs ride with the
bold Buccleuch to the rescue of Willie from Carlisle Castle (1596).
Unluckily, in 1596 Gilbert Eliott was not yet the Laird of Stobs.

[Illustration: 0199]

This Gilbert, at all events, married the daughter of the Flower of
Yarrow, the wife of Auld Wat Scott of Harden, himself the neighbour
and foremost fighting man of the laird of Branksome in Teviot, the
bold Buccleuch. His descendant, Sir Walter, has made Auld Wat's name
immortal, and, in Jamie Telftr, has certainly interpolated a spirited
stanza.

In the village of Denholm, on Teviot, opposite to Hassendean, was born
John Leyden, the great friend of Scott, a poet in his way, but much more
remarkable as a man of amazing energy of character, an Orientalist, and
a collector of ballads. But few now know what

                   "distant and deadly shore

               Holds Leyden's cold remains,"

His memory is twined with that of Sir Walter, and he is one of {180}the
most living figures in Lockhart's Life of Scott. Leyden had the poetic
quality, not judiciously cultivated, of the old Border minstrels,
while the energy which the clans expended in war was given by him to
omnivorous studies.

Below Denholm, but on the other side of the river, nearly opposite the
junction of Rule Water with Teviot, is Minto, in the fourteenth century
a property owned by one of that unruly clan, the Turnbulls. Later,
it passed to the family of Stewart, and finally, somewhere about the
beginning of the eighteenth century, it was bought by Sir Gilbert
Elliot, ancestor of the Minto branch of that family. The present house
dates only from 1814, but it has a curious legend attached to it, which
is mentioned in Sir Walter Scott's diary, under date 23rd December,
1825. He says: "It is very odd that the common people about Minto and
the neighbourhood will not believe at this hour that the first Earl is
dead." [He died in June, 1814.] "They think he had done something in
India which he could not answer for--that the house was rebuilt on a
scale unusually large to give him a suite of secret apartments, and that
he often walks about the woods and crags of Minto at night, with a white
nightcap and long white beard. The circumstances of his having died on
the road down to Scotland is the sole foundation of this absurd legend,
which shows how willing the public are to gull themselves when they can
find no one else to take the trouble. I have seen people who could read,
write, and cipher, shrug their shoulders and look mysterious when this
subject was mentioned. One very absurd addition was made on occasion
of a great ball at Minto House, which it was said was given to draw all
people away from the grounds, that the concealed Earl might have leisure
for his exercise."

To the east of Minto House are Minto Crags, towering precipitous to
a height of over seven hundred feet. On the summit is the ruin called
Fatlips Castle, which is said to have been the stronghold of the
fourteenth-century owner of Minto, {181}Turnbull of Barnhill, a
notorious Border freebooter. A small grassy platform, or level space, a
little below the ruin, is called Barnhill's Bed, "Where Barnhill hew'd
his bed of flint,"--a convenient spot, no doubt, in old days on which to
station a sentry or look-out.

The third Sir Gilbert Elliot of Minto was apparently in his own way
something of a poet, but the ever tolerant Sir Walter Scott, to whom
he used to read his compositions, confesses that the verses were
"but middling," Sir Gilbert had, however, a better title, at least to
collateral fame; he was the brother of the Jean Elliot who wrote that
undying lament, the "Flowers of the Forest."

It is curious to note that in 1374 the church of Minto belonged to the
diocese of Lincoln.

Here at Minto, if credence in the reality of Fairies no longer lingers
amongst the people,--one of the writers of this volume records, some
chapters back, that he found traces of the belief not very many years
ago still surviving at Flodden Edge,--at least but a very few generations
have passed since it died. Throughout Teviotdale, perhaps to a greater
extent than in any other part of the Border, tales still are told which
show how strong was once this belief in the existence of the Little
Folk, and many of the customs that, we are told, were followed by
country dwellers in order to propitiate the Good People, or to thwart
their malevolence, are very quaint, Should it chance, for instance, that
at the time a child was born the blue bonnet usually worn by the husband
was not kept continually lying on the mother's bed, then there would be
the most imminent danger of that child being carried off by the Fairies,
and a changeling being left in its place. Many a fine child has been
lost through neglect of this simple precaution. Generally, if the
abduction took place before the child had been christened, a pig or a
hedgehog, or some such animal, was substituted for the infant; but
if the Fairies did not succeed in their design till after the child's
baptism, then they left another bairn in its {182}place, usually a
peevish, ill-thriven, wizen-faced little imp. A tale is told of a woman
who lived at Minto Cragfoot, and whose child, in consequence of some
trifling lark of precaution in the matter of the blue bonnet, was
carried off, and in the end was rescued only by the superior knowledge
and power of a Presbyterian minister. Whilst she herself was engaged
one day in gathering sticks for her fire, the woman had laid her child
beside a bush on the hill side. She neither heard nor saw anything
unusual, but on going to pick up her child at the close of her task,
instead of her bonny, smiling little son she found only a thin, wasted,
weird little creature, which "yammered" and wept continually. Recourse
was had to the Reverend Mr. Borland, (first Presbyterian minister
of Bedrule after the Reformation,) and that gentleman at once
unhesitatingly pronounced that this was no mere human child. The mother
must go to the cliffs, said Mr. Borland, and there gather a quantity of
the flowers of the fox glove, (locally called "witches thimbles,") and
bring them to him. These Mr. Borland boiled, poured some of the extract
into the bairn's mouth, scattered the boiled flowers all over its body,
then put it in its cradle wrapped in a blanket, and left it all night
alone in the barn. Mr. Borland took the key of the door away with him,
and gave instructions that under no circumstances was anybody to enter
the barn until he returned next day. The anxious mother watched all
night by the door, but heard no sound; never once did the child wail.
And next morning when Mr. Borland arrived he was able to hand to
the mother her own child, fat and smiling as when carried off by the
fairies. It was a heroic remedy, but probably the sick child did not
swallow much of that decoction of _digitalis_. In any case, they did
not have coroners' inquests in those days, and had the worst come to the
worst, the uncomplaining fairies would have borne the blame.

It was up Teviot, in the days when witches flourished, that a poor woman
lived, whose end was rather more merciless than {183}that inflicted
on most of her kind. A man's horse had died suddenly,--elf-struck, or
overlooked by a witch, of course. To break whatever spell the witch or
elf might have cast over other animals the owner of the dead horse cut
out and burnt its heart. Whilst the fire was at its fiercest and the
heart sizzling in the glow, there rushed up a large black greyhound,
flecked all over with foam and evidently in the last stage of fatigue,
which tried persistently to snatch the heart from the fire. One of the
spectators, suspecting evil, seized a stick and struck the animal a
heavy blow over the back, whereupon, with a fearful yell, it fled, and
disappeared. Almost at that instant, a villager ran up, saying that his
wife had suddenly been taken violently ill; and when those who had been
engaged in burning the heart went in to the man's cottage, they
found his wife, a dark-haired, black-eyed woman, lying, gasping and
breathless, with her back, to their thinking, broken. She, poor woman,
was probably suffering from a sudden and particularly acute attack of
lumbago. But to those wise men another inference was only too obvious.
She was, of course, a witch, and it was _she_ who, in the guise of a
greyhound, had tried to snatch the horse's heart from the fire, and who
had then got a stroke across her back that broke it. They insisted that
she should repeat the Lord's prayer,--an infallible test, for if she
were a witch she would be sure to say: "lead us into temptation, and
deliver us not from evil." And so, when the poor woman, her pain failed
to get through the prayer to their satisfaction, they bound her, carried
her away, and burnt her alive in the fire where the horse's heart had
been roasted.

Two or three miles across the river from Minto is Ruberslaw, a rugged
hill, towering dark and solitary, a land-mark for half the Border. More
than any of its distant neighbours in the Cheviot range, it seems to
draw to itself the hurrying rain clouds, more than any other it seems to
nurture storms. About its grim head all Teviotdale {184}may

                   "see with strange delight the snow clouds form

               When Ruberslaw conceives the mountain storm--

               Dark Ruberslaw, that lifts his head sublime,

               Rugged and hoary with the wrecks of time;

               On his broad misty front the giant wears

               The horrid furrows of ten thousand years."

Like many another wild Border hill, Ruberslaw was a favourite lurking
place for the persecuted Covenanters, and near its top is a craggy chasm
from which, it is said, Wodrow's "savoury Mr. Peden" used to preach
to his scattered congregation. It was on this hill that the pursuing
dragoons all but caught the preacher and his flock one day; they were
caught, indeed, like rats in a trap, had it not been for Ruberslaw's
well known character for breeding bad weather. The soldiers were
advancing in full view of the conventicle. Way of escape there was none,
nor time to disperse; mounted men from every quarter were scrambling up
the steep face of the hill, and in that clear light what chance was left
now to hide among the rocks and boulders!" "O Lord," prayed Peden with
extreme fervour, "lap the skirts of thy cloak ower puir auld Sandy." And
as if in answer to his petition, there came over the entire hill a thick
"Liddesdale drow," so dense that a man might not see two feet around
him. When the mist cleared again, there was no one left for the dragoons
to take.

Above Hassendean, but on the other side of Teviot, is one of the few
remaining possessions in this country, namely Cavers, of the great and
ancient House of the Black Douglases. The relics are a very old flag;
its date and history are variously explained by family legend and by
antiquaries. It is not a pennon, therefore not Hotspur's pennon taken
by the Earl of Douglas before the battle of Otterburne. It is nothing of
the Percys', for it bears the Douglas Heart and a Douglas motto. On the
whole it seems to have belonged not to the Black, but to their rivals
and successors, the Red Douglases, who were as unruly, and "ill to
lippen to" by Scottish kings, as the elder branch. {185}The lady's
embroidered glove, with the letters K.P., ought to have belonged to
Hotspur's wife, who is Kate in Shakespeare, a better authority than you
mere genealogists.

[Illustration: 0205]

As we ascend, the water of Teviot becomes more and more foul; varying,
when last I shuddered at it, from black to a most unwholesome light
blue. It is distressing to see such a fluid flowing through beautiful
scenes; and possibly since I mingled my tears with the polluted stream,
the manufacturers of Hawick have taken some order in the way of more or
less filtering their refuse and their dyes.

Hawick, to the best of my knowledge, contains no objects of interest to
the tourist who "picturesques it everywhere." A {186}hotel is called
the Tower Hotel, and contains part of an ancient keep of the
Douglases--"Doulanwrack's (Douglas of Drumlanrig's) Castell," which
Sussex spared in 1570 when he "made an ende of the rest" of Hawick,--but
"you would look at it twice before you thought" of a castle of chivalry.

[Illustration: 0206]

The people of Hawick have retained many of the characteristics of the
old Borderers; they are redoubted foes at football; and are said to be
not very scrupulous raiders--of mushrooms. Their local patriotism
is fervid, and they sing with passion their song of "Teribus and
Teriodden," which refers to "Sons of heroes slain at Flodden,"--among
other Flowers of the Forest. And, like their neighbours at Selkirk,
they cherish a banner, said to have been captured from the English.
The Hawick {187}trophy, however, is not attributed to Flodden, but to a
slightly later fight at Hornshole, near Hawick, when those who were left
of the townsfolk fell on, and defeated with great slaughter, an English
raiding party.

[Illustration: 0207]

That the mysterious words Teribus {188}and Teriodden, or Odin, are a
survival of a pious ejaculation imploring the help of Thor and Odin, I
can neither affirm nor deny.

[Illustration: 0208]

It would be a gratifying thing to prove that the memory of ancient
Scandinavian deities has survived the sway of the mediaeval Church and
the Kirk of John Knox. But I have not heard that the words occur in
documents before the eighteenth century. The town has a site naturally
beautiful, as Slitrig, a very rapid stream, here joins Teviot, which,
above the mills of Hawick is _electro clarior_; not of a pure crystal
translucency, but of a transparent amber hue.

Slitrig takes its rise on the Windburgh Hill, on the northern side of
the Liddesdale watershed, a hill of old the known resort of the Good
People, whose piping and revels might {189}often be heard by the
solitary shepherd.

[Illustration: 0209]

The rivulet is said to well out from a small, black, fathomless little
loch high up on the hill. Here, as all knew, dwelt the Keipic, or other
irritable spirit prone to resent human intrusion, and if a stone should
chance to be thrown into the depths of the lakelet, {190}resentment was
pretty sure to be expressed by a sudden dangerous overflow of water into
the burn, whereby destruction would be carried down the valley. That,
tradition tells, is how Hawick came to be devastated, and all but swept
away, early in the eighteenth century. A shepherd, it was said, had
quite accidentally rolled a large stone into the lake, and had thus
roused the Spirit of the mountain to ungovernable fury. Leyden thus
writes of the tradition:

               "From yon green peak, black haunted Slata brings

               The gushing torrents of unfathomed springs:

               In a dead lake, that ever seems to freeze,

               By sedge enclosed from every ruffling breeze,

               The fountains lie; and shuddering peasants shrink

               To plunge the stone within the fearful brink;

               For here,'tis said, the fairy hosts convene,

               With noisy talk, and bustling steps unseen;

               The hill resounds with strange, unearthly cries;

               And moaning voices from the waters rise.

               Nor long the time, if village-saws be true,

               Since in the deep a hardy peasant threw

               A pondrous stone; when murmuring from below,

               With gushing sound he heard the lake o'erflow.

               The mighty torrent, foaming down the hills,

               Called, with strong voice, on all her subject rills;

               Rocks drove on jagged rocks with thundering sound,

               And the red waves, impatient, rent their mound;

               On Hawick burst the flood's resistless sway,

               Ploughed the paved streets, and tore the walls away,

               Floated high roofs, from whelming fabrics torn;

               While pillared arches down the wave were borne."

Borthwick Water, too, as well as Slitrig, was famed for its fairies--and
for worse than fairies, if one may judge by the name given to a deep
pool; the Deil's Pool, it is called, a place to be shunned by youthful
fishers. But probably the youthful fisher of the twentieth century cares
neither for deil nor for fairy. Higher up the stream than this pool
is the Fairy Knowe, where a shepherd was once flung into the flooded
{191}burn by the fairies,--at any rate he was carried down the burn one
evening, late, and he _said_ it was the fairies, and no other spirits,
that had flung him in.

[Illustration: 0211]

One very odd relic hard by Hawick is a mote, or huge tumulus, of the
kind so common in Galloway. Probably above it was erected a palisaded
wooden fortress, perhaps of the twelfth century. The area, as far as an
amateur measurement can determine, is not less than that of the tower
of Goldielands, an old keep of the Scotts, some two miles further up
the water, almost opposite to the point where Borthwick Water flows
{192}into Teviot on the left.

[Illustration: 0212]

If we cross the bridge here and follow the pretty wandering water
through a level haugh, and then turn off to the right, we arrive at a
deep thickly wooded dene, and from the crest above this excellent hiding
place of raided cattle looks down the old low house of Harden, (the
Stammschloss of Sir Walter Scott,) now the property of Lord Polwarth,
the head of this branch of the Scotts of Buccleuch. The house is more
modern than the many square keeps erected in the old days of English
invasions and family feuds. The Borthwick Water turns to the left, and
descends from the heights of Howpasley, whence the English raiders rode
down, "laigh down in Borthwick Water," in the ballad of _Jamie Telfer_.
A mile or a little more above Goldielands Tower, on the left side of
Teviot is Branksome Tower, the residence of the Lady of Branksome in
_The Lay of the Last Minstrel._ {193}At Branksome Tower we are in the
precise centre of the Scottish Border of history and romance, the centre
of Scott's country.

[Illustration: 0213]

Yet, looking at Mr. Thompson's excellent sketch, you would scarce guess
it. The house stands very near the Teviot, but still nearer the public
road. Thanks to the attentions of the English at various periods,
especially when the bold {194}Buccleuch stood for the fairest of ladies,
Mary Queen of Scots, against preachers, presbyters, puritans, and their
southern allies, perhaps no visible part of the echlice older than 1570
remains except the tower.

[Illustration: 0214]

The Lady of Branksome who finished the actual house after the old
stronghold had been burned, appears to have thought that square keeps
and barmkyns were obsolete in war, owing to the increasing merits of
artillery; and she did not build a house of defence. Manifestly "nine
and twenty Knights of fame" never "hung their shields in" _this_
"Branksome Hall," and never were here attended by "nine and twenty
Squires of name," and "nine and twenty yeomen tall." {195}There is no
room for them, and at Branlcsome, probably, there never was. It is
not to be credited that, at any period, ten of the knights went to bed
"sheathed in steel," to be ready for the English, or

               "Carved at the meal, with gloves of steel,

               And drank the red wine through the helmet barred." *

The minstrel gave free play to his fancy. The Laird of Branksome, though
Warden of the Marches, never had, never needed, so vast a retinue,
and was so far from "Warkworth or Naworth, or merry Carlisle" that no
Scrope, or Howard, or Percy, could fall on him at unawares.

     *  The conjectural reading of Srhlopping, "Carved at the
     veal" though ingenious (for, as he observes, "the ancient
     Scots did not carve oat-meal") has no manuscript authority.

The Scotts, in the reign of James I, already owned the wild upland
pastoral region of Buccleuch between Teviot and Ettrick, and Eckford in
Teviotdale; also Murdiestone on the lower Clyde, a place now too near
the hideous industrial towns and villages near Glasgow. Meanwhile a
pacific gentleman named Inglis was laird of Branksome. He grumbled, it
is said, to Sir Walter Scott of Murdiestone about the inconveniences
caused by English raiders; though, as they had a long way to ride,
Inglis probably suffered more at Branksome from the Kers, Douglases,
and ferocious Turnbulls. Scott was not a nervous man, and he offered to
barter Murdiestone for half of Branksome, which came into his pastoral
holdings at Buccleuch. Inglis gladly made the exchange, and Scott's son
obtained the remaining half of the barony of Branksome, in reward of
his loyalty to James II, during his struggle with the Black Douglases,
(during which he dirked his guest, the Earl, at the hospitable table.)
The Scott lands, carved out of those of the fallen Douglases, extended
from Lanarkshire to Langholm; and as they were loyal to their country,
(at least till the reign of Charles I,) and withal were fighting men of
the best, they throve to Earl's estate, the dukedom coming in with the
ill {196}fated marriage of the heiress to James, son of Charles II, Duke
of Monmouth. Of course if Charles II really married Lucy Walters, (as
Monmouth's pious Whiggish adherents asserted,) the Duke of Buccleuch
would be our rightful king.

[Illustration: 0216]

But the good king, Charles II, firmly denied the marriage, fond as he
was of his handsome son by Lucy Walters; and the good House of Buccleuch
has never believed in the Whig fable of the black box which contained
the marriage lines of Lucy Walters and Charles II. The marriage of
Monmouth with the heiress of Buccleuch was made in their extreme youth
and was unhappy. Monmouth was in love, like Lord Ailesbury, with Lady
Henrietta Wentworth, whom he (according to Ailesbury,) spoke of as "his
wife in the sight of God," which means that she was not his wife at all.

The house of Branksome makes a picturesque object in the middle distance
of the landscape; but is not otherwise {197}interesting. In front of the
door lies, or used to lie, a rusty iron breach-loading culverin of
the fourteenth century; of old, no doubt, part of the artillery of the
castle, when it was a castle.

[Illustration: 0217]

Returning from Branksome Tower to the right bank of Teviot, now a clear
and musical stream, we cross one of the many Allan Waters so common
in Scotland, and arrive at Caerlanrig, where there is a tablet with
an inscription bitterly blaming James V, for his treachery to Johnny
Armstrong of Gilnockie in Eskdale, hanged in 1530. The Armstrongs,
being next neighbours of England on the Border, were a clan of doubtful
allegiance, given to intermarrying with the English, and sometimes
wearing the cross of St. George as "assured Scots." They were the
greatest of reivers on both sides of the Border. In 1530, James V, who
had escaped from the Douglases, and driven Angus, their chief, into the
service of Henry VIII, tried to bring the country into order. He
first arrested the chief men--Bothwell (Hepburn), Ferniehirst (Ker),
Max{198}well, Home, Buccleuch (his old ally), Polwarth, and Johnston;
and, having kept them out of mischief, led a large force into their
region. He caught Scott of Tushielaw in Ettrick, and Cockburn of
Henderland on Meggat Water. Cockburn was tried in Edinburgh for theft
and treason, and beheaded; not hanged at his own door as legend fables.
He was in the conspiracy of Henry VIII and Angus, and had sided with
invaders. Tushielaw suffered for oppression of his tenants. Numbers of
lairds, Kers, Douglases, Rutherfurds, Turnbulls, Swintons, Veitches, put
themselves on the King's mercy and gave sureties for quiet behaviour.
Gilnockie, according to the ballad, came to the King at Caerlanrig in
royal array, with forty retainers. I find no contemporary account of the
circumstances, for Lindsay of Pitscottie gives but late gossip, as he
always does. Calderwood, still later, says that Johnie "was enticed by
some courtiers." Calderwood adds that one of the sufferers with Johnie
had burned a woman and her children in her house. The evidence for Royal
treachery is that of the ballad of Johnie Armstrong, which may have
been the source and authority of ritscottie. We may quote it. It was a
favourite of Sir Walter Scott.

                        JOHNIE ARMSTRANG.

               Sum speikis of lords, sum speikis of lairds,

                   And sik like men of hie degrie;

               Of a gentleman I sing a sang,

                   Sum tyme called Laird of Gilnockie.

               The King he wrytes a luving letter,

                   With his ain hand sae tenderly,

               And he hath sent it to Johnie Armstrang

                   To cum and speik with him speedily

               The Eliots and Armstrangs did convene;

                   They were a gallant cumpanie--

               "We'll ride and meit our lawful King,

                   And bring him safe to Gilnockie.  {199}

               "Make kinnen * and capon ready, then,

                   And venison in great plentie;

               We'll wellcum here our royal King;

                   I hope he'll dine at Gilnockie!"

               They ran their horse on the langholme howm,

                   And brak their spears wi' mickle main;

               The ladies lukit frae their loft windows--

                   "God bring our men weel hume again!"

               When Johnic cam before the King,

                   Wi' a' his men sae brave to see,

               The King he movit his bonnet to him;

                   He ween'd he was a King as weel as he.

               "May I rind grace, my sovereign liege,

                   Grace for my loyal men and me?

               For my name it is Johr.ie Armstrong,

                   And a subject of yours, my liege," said he.

               "Away, away, thou traitor Strang!

                   Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!

               I grantit never a traitor's life,

                   And now I'll not begin wi' thee."

               "Grant me my life, my liege, my King!

                   And a bonny gift I'll gie to thee--

               Full four-and-twenty milk-white steids,

                   Were a' foal'd in ae yeir to me.

               "I'll gie thee a' these milk-white steids,

                   That prance and nicker at a speir;

               And as mickle gude Inglish gilt,

                   As four o' their braid backs dow bear."

               "Away, away, thou traitor strang!

                   Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!

               I grantit never a traitor's life,

                   And now I'll not begin wi' thee!"

               "Grant me my life, my liege, my King!

                   And a bonny gift I'll gie to thee--

               Gude four-and-twenty ganging mills,

                   That gang thro' a' the yeir to me.

       * Rabbits.

{200}


               "These four-and-twenty mills complete

                   Sail gang for thee thro' a' the yeir;

               And as mickle of gude reid wheit,

                   As a' their happers dow to bear."

               "Away, away, thou traitor strang!

                   Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!

               I grautit never a traitor's life,

                   And now I'll not begin wi' thee!"

               "Grant me my life, my liege, my King!

                   And a great great gift I'll gie to thee--

               Bauld four-and-twenty sisters' sons,

                   Sail for thee fecht, tho' a' should flee!"

               "Away, away, thou traitor strang!

                   Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!

               I grantit never a traitor's life,

                   And now I'll not begin wi' thee!"

               "Grant me my life, my liege, my King!

               And a brave gift I'll gie to thee--

                   All between heir and Newcastle town

                   Sail pay their yeirly rent to thee."

               "Away, away, thou traitor strang!

                   Out o' my sight soon may'st thou be!

               I grantit never a traitor's life,

                   And now I'll not begin wi' thee!"

               "Ye lied, ye lied, now King," he says,

                   T Altho' a King and Prince ye be!

               For I've luved naething in my life,

                   I weel dare say it, but honesty--

               "Save a fat horse, and a fair woman,

                   Twa bonny dogs to kill a deir;

               But Ingland suld have found me meal and mault,,

                   Gif I had lived this hundred yeir!

               "She suld have found me meal and mault,

                   And beef and mutton in a' plentie;

               But never a Scots wyfe could have said,

                   That e'er I skaithed her a puir flee.

{201}


               "To seik het water beneith cauld ice,

                   Surely it is a greit folie--

               I have asked grace at a graceless face,

                   But there is nane for my men and me! *

               "But had I kenn'd ere I cam frae liame,

                   How thou unkind wad'st been to me!

               1 wad have keepit the Border side,

                   In spite of all thy force and thee.

               "Wist England's King that I was ta'en,

                   O gin a blythe man he wad be!

               For ance I slew his sister's son,

                   And on his breist bane brak a trie."

               John wore a girdle about his middle,

                   Imbroidered ower wi' burning gold,

               Bespangled wi' the same metal,

                   Maist beautiful was to behold.

               There hang nine targats ** at Johnie's hat,

                   And ilk ane worth three hundred pound--

               "What wants that knave that a King suld have

                   But the sword of honour and the crown?

               "O where gat thou these targats, Johnie,

                   That blink sae brawly abune thy brie?"

               "I gat them in the field fechting,

                   Where, cruel King, thou durst not be.

               "Had I my horse, and harness gude,

                   And riding as I w ont to be,

               It suld hae been tauld this hundred yeir,

                   The meeting of my King and me!

               "God be with thee, Kirsty, my brother,

                   Lang live thou Laird of Mangertoun!

               Lang may'st thou live on the Border syde

                   Ere thou see thy brother ride up and down!

               "And God be with thee, Kirsty, my son,

                   Where thou sits on thy nurse's knee!

               But an' thou live this hundred yeir,

                   Thy father's better thou'lt never be.

     * This and the three preceding stanzas were among those that
     Sir Walter Scott most delighted to quote.

     ** Tassels.

{202}


               "Farewell! my bonny Gilnoek hall,

                   Where on Esk side thou standest stout!

               Gif I had lived hut seven yeirs mair,

                   I wad hae gilt thee round about."

[Illustration: 0222]

               John murdered was at Carlinrigg,

                   And all his gallant companie;

               But Scotland's heart was ne'er sae wae,

                   To see sae mony brave men die--  {203}

               Because they saved their country deir

                   Frae Inglishmen! Nane were sa bauld,

               Whyle Johnie lived on the Border syde,

                   Nane of them durst cum neir his hauld.

It will be observed that Gilnockie puts forward as his claim to respect
the very robberies in England for which, says the poet, he was hanged.
The only sign of treachery is that Johnnie did come to Caerlanrig,
probably in hope of making his peace like many other lairds. Whether he
were "enticed by some courtiers," or whether he risked the adventure
is not manifest. According to Pitscottie he had held England as far as
Newcastle under blackmail.

Above Caerlanrig, Teviot winds through the haughs and moors and under
the alders to its source at Teviot-stone. {204}



CHAPTER VII TWEED, ST. BOSWELLS, DRYBURGH, NEWSTEAD, AND THE LEADER

|We now return from Teviotdale to Tweed, which we left at Kelso. The
river passes through one of its rock-fenced and narrow defiles at the
Trows of Makerstoun, (accent the penultimate,) itself the home from
ancient days of a branch of the once great Argyll clan--and generally
western clan--of Mac-dougal. How they came so far from their Celtic
kindred, potent in Dalriadic Scotland before the Campbells came to the
front as allies of Robert Bruce, is not known to me. As foes of Bruce,
the Macdougals of Lome suffered much loss of lands after the king's
triumph. At the Trows the river splits into very deep and narrow
channels, and to shoot one of them in a canoe needs a daring and a
fortunate paddler.

In former years there were four of these channels, two of very great
depth--thirty feet and more, it is said--but so narrow that, with the
river at summer level, it was possible for an active man to jump from
stone rib to stone rib, across the swift rushing stream. The feat was
attempted once too often, however, with fatal result, and since then the
middle rib has been blasted out, so that it is no longer possible
for any one to tempt fate in this manner. Even an expert and powerful
swimmer, filling in there, would have but a slender chance of coming
out alive, for if he were not sucked under by the eddies of that boiling
current and jammed beneath some sunken ledge, {205}the odds would be
very great on his brains being knocked out amongst the rocks that thrust
their ugly fangs here and there above the surface of the stream. Both
below and above the Trows, the trout fishing--for those who may fish--is
extremely good, but the wading is licklish; pot-holes, ledges, and large
boulders are apt to trap the unwary to their undoing. There are, too,
some excellent salmon casts in the Makerstoun Water, and it was in one
of them that the famous Rob o' the Trows--Rob Kerss, a great character
in Sir Walter's day,--nigh on a hundred years ago landed a fish so huge,
that even a master of the art so skilled as Rob,--Stoddart says he had
few equals as a fisher--was utterly spent when at length his silvery
prize lay gasping on the bank. Before taking the fly from its mouth, Rob
turned half aside to pick up a stone which might conveniently be used
as a "priest"; but even as he turned, out of the tail of his eye he saw
the monster give a wallop. Rob leapt for the fish. Alas! as he
jumped, his foot caught the line and snapped it, and walloping fish and
struggling man plunged together off a shelf into the icy water,--from
which Rob emerged alone. The rod with which Kerss killed so many
hundreds of fish is still in the possession of one of his descendants,
near Beattock. Compared with present-day masterpieces of greenheart or
split cane, it is a quaint and clumsy weapon, of extraordinary thickness
in the butt, and of crushing weight. The writer has handled it, and he
is convinced that one hour's use could not fail to choke off for the
rest of the day even the most enthusiastic of modern salmon fishers.

It is not often that ancient weapons are found in Tweed, but some
years ago, when the river was unusually low, a moss-trooper's spear
was recovered at a spot a little above Makerstoun. It was lying at
the bottom, below what used to be a ford of sorts across the river.
Curiously enough, shaft and head were both intact, and in fair
preservation after their long immersion. If the spear was not used by
some trooper in days when fighting was the Borderer's chief {206}delight
and occupation, it is difficult to imagine to what use it could have
been put. Salmon cannot be successfully speared with a single-pointed
unbarbed weapon; so that it is certain this was no poacher's implement.

Above Makerstoun is Rutherford, once the home of the Rutherfurds of that
Ilk, but now it knows them no more. A like doom, as I write, hangs
over Mertoun, long the beautiful home of the Scotts of Harden, Lord
Polwarth's family.

               "And Minstrel Burne cannot assuage

                   His grief, while life endureth,

               To see the changes of this age,

                   That fleeting Time procureth;

               For mony a place stands in hard case,

                   Where blythe folk ken'd nae sorrow,

               Wi' Homes that dwelt on Leader-side,

                   And Scotts that dwelt in Yarrow!"

Mertoun is a modern house; hard by it, across the river, the strong
ruins of Littledean tower (once the Kers') speak of old Border wars.

Following the curves of Tweed we reach St. Boswells, named after an
Anglo-Saxon saint to whom St. Cuthbert came, laying down his spear, and
entering religion. At St. Boswells are sheep fairs; Hogg preferred
to attend one of these festivals rather than go to London and see the
Coronation of George IV. My sympathies are with the shepherd! The paths
near Lessudden, hard by, are haunted by a quiet phantasm in costume
a minister of the Kirk of the eighteenth century. I know some of the
percipients who have seen him individually and collectively. There is
no tradition about the origin of this harmless appearance, a vision of a
dream of the dead; walking "in that sleep of death."

Above Lessudden the Tweed winds round and at the foot of the beautiful
ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, softly mourning for him who lies within that
sound "the dearest of all to his ear," Sir Walter Scott. The great
Magician lies, with Lockhart at {207}his feet, within the ruined walls,
in the place which, as he wrote to his bride that was to be, he had
already chosen for his rest. The lady replied with spirit that she would
not endure any such sepulchral reflections.

[Illustration: 0227]

This is one of the most sacred places, and most beautiful places in
broad Scotland.

Approaching Dryburgh, not from the riverside but from the road, we come
by such a path through a beautiful wood as {208}that in which proud
Maisie was "walking so early," when "bold Robin on the bush singing so
rarely," spaed her fortune. The path leads to a place of such unexpected
beauty as the ruinous palace where the Sleeping Beauty slumbered through
the ages. The beauty is that of Dryburgh itself, delicately fair in her
secular decay; fallen from glory, indeed, but still the last home of
that peace which dwelt in this much harried Borderland in the days
of the first White Friars, and of good St. David the king. They were
Englishmen out of Northumberland, teachers of good farming and of other
good works. What remains of their dwellings is of the age when the round
Norman arch blended with the pointed Gothic, as in the eastern end of
the Cathedral of St. Andrews. Thrice the English harmed it, in the
days of Bruce (1322) during a malicious and futile attack by Edward II;
again, under Robert II, when Richard II played the Vandal; and, lastly,
during the wasting of the Border in 1544, which was the eighth Henry's
rough wooing for his son, of the babe Mary Stuart. The grounds, the
property of a member of the House of Scott's eccentric Earl of Buchan,
are kept in charming order. The Earl was the only begetter of a huge
statue of Sir William Wallace, who used Ettrick Forest now and again
in his guerilla warfare, and from the Forest drew his archers, tall
men whom n death the English of Edward I admired on the lost field of
Falkirk.

The said Earl of Buchan rather amused than consoled Scott, during a
severe illness, by promising to attend to his burial in the place so
dear to him, which, till the ruin of his paternal grandmother, had
belonged to the Haliburtons, also n old days the lords of Dirleton
castle. Readers of Lockhart remember the great Border gathering at
the funeral of the latest minstrel, and how his horses, which drew the
hearse, paused where they had been wont to rest, at a spot where it had
been Sir Walter's habit to stop to admire the landscape. His chief, the
young Duke of Buccleuch, was prevented by important {209}business from
being an attendant. You would never guess what the business was! No
man knows but I only; and if Scott could have known, I doubt whether
he would have drawn his shaggy brows into a frown, or laughed; for the
business was----but I must not reveal so ancient a secret!

Moving up the river on the left bank, we reach that ancient House
concerning which Thomas of Ercildoune's prophecy is still unbroken.

               "Betide, Betide, whate'er betide,

               There shall aye be a Haig in Bemersyde."

The family were at home in Bemersyde in the days of Malcolm the Maiden.
One of them was condemned to pay a dozen salmon yearly to the monastery
of Melrose, for some scathe done to the brethren. It must have been
an ill year for the angler when Haig expressed a desire to commute the
charge for an equivalent in money as he could not get the fish.
There was scarce a Border battle in which the Haigs did not leave a
representative on the field of honour. Here, too, befell "the Affliction
of Bemersyde," when the laird, after a long fight with a monstrous
salmon, lost him in the moment of victory. The head of the fish would
not go into the landing net, his last wallop freed him; he was picked up
dead, by prowlers,--and he weighed seventy pounds. Probably no salmon
so great was ever landed by the rod from Tweed. Only the Keep of the
mansion is of great antiquity.

It may be worth while to leave the river and climb to Smail-holme
'I'cwer, where Scott's infancy was passed. The tower, standing tall
and gaunt above a tarn, is well known from Turner's drawing, and is the
scene of Scott's early ballad, _The Eve of St. John_. Perhaps the verses
which have lingered longest in my memory are those which tell how

               "The Baron of Smailholme rose with day,

                   And spurred his charger on,

               Without stop or stay down the rocky way

                   That leads to Brotherton."

{210}

[Illustration: 0230]

{211}He did not go, as we remember, to Ancrum fight, but he returned
with armour sorely dinted, having slain in private quarrel a knight
whose cognisance was

                   "A hound in a silver leash bound

                   And his crest was a branch of the yew."

And that same eve the dead man was seen with the lady of Smailholme.
The story is a version of that ancient tale, the Beresford ghost story,
which can be traced from the chronicle of William of Malmesbury to its
Irish avatar in the eighteenth century--and later. Do ghosts repeat
themselves? It looks like it, for the Irish tale is very well
authenticated.

It was not actually in the tower, but in the adjacent farmhouse of
Sandyknowe, his grandfather's, that Scott, at first a puny child, passed
his earliest years, absorbing every ballad and legend that the country
people knew, and the story of {212}every battle fought on the wide
landscape, from Turn Again to Ancrum Moor.

We have reached the most beautiful part ol Tweed, dominated by the
triple crest of the pyramidal Eildons, where the river lovingly embraces
the woods of Gladswood and Ravens-wood, and the site of Old Melrose, a
Celtic foundation of Aidan, while as yet the faith was preached by the
Irish mission aries of St. Columba. This is the very garden of Tweed,
a vast champaign, from which rise the Eildons, and far away above Rule
Water "the stormy skirts of Ruberslaw," with the Lammermuir and Cheviot
hills blue and faint on the northern and southern horizons.

On the ground of Drygrange, above Bemersyde, but on the right bank
of Tweed at Newstead, the greatest stationary camp in Scotland of
Agricola's time has been excavated by Mr. Curie, who also describes it
in a magnificent and learned volume. Here were found beautiful tilting
helmets, in the shape of heads of pretty Greek girls, and here were the
enamelled brooches of the native women who dwelt with Roman lovers. But
these must be sought, with coins, gems, pottery, weapons and implements
of that forgotten day, in the National Museum in Edinburgh.

The chief tributary on the northern side as we mount the stream is
Leader Water, where Homes had aince commanding."

               Sing Erslington and Cowdenknowes,

                   Where Humes had aince commanding;

               And Drygrange, with the milk-white yowes,

                   Twixt Tweed and Leader standing:

               The bird that flees through Redpath trees

                   And Gladswood banks ilk morrow,

               May chant and sing sweet Leader Haughs

                   And bonnie howms of Yarrow.

It is scarcely possible to conceive a scene more beautiful than that
where Leader winds her cheery way through the woods of Drygrange. When
the Borderland is starred thick {213}with primroses, and the grassy
banks of Leader are carpeted with the blue of speedwell and the red of
campion; when a soft air and warm sun hatch out a multitude of flies at
which the trout rise greedily, then is the time to see that deep, leafy
glen at the bottom of which sparkles the amber-clear water over its
gravelly bed. In cliff or steep bank the sides tower up perhaps to the
height of a couple of hundred feet, thick clad with rhododendrons and
spreading undergrowth, and with mighty larch, beech, elm, or ash, and
everywhere the music of Heaven's feathered orchestra smites sweetly on
the ear. It is, I think, to this Paradise that good birds go when they
die, where the ruthless small boy's raiding hand is kept in check, and
every bird may find ideal nesting place.

The district is most famous in ballad, song and story, Leaderdale,
being apparently equivalent to Lauderdale, giving a title to the Earl of
Lauderdale, the chief of the Maitlands. "They call it Leader town," says
the enigmatic ballad of _Auld Maitland_, speaking of the stronghold of a
Maitland of the days of Wallace, a shadowy figure still well remembered
in the folk lore of the reign of Mary Stuart. The ballad has some good
and many indifferent verses. It was known to the mother and uncle of
James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. He copied it out for Will Laidlaw,
Scott's friend and amanuensis, and this began the long and valuable
association of Hogg with the Sheriff. The authenticity of the ballad
has been impugned, Hogg and Scott, it has been asserted, composed it and
Scott gave it to the world as genuine. This is demonstrably an erroneous
conjecture, (as I have shown in _Sir Walter Scott and the Border
Minstrelsy_). Letters which had not been published refute all suspicions
of forgery by Hogg or Scott or both. But the ballad had, apparently,
been touched up, perhaps in the seventeenth or eighteenth century,
probably by one of the witty and literary family of Maitland. It came to
Hogg's mother from "auld Babby Metlan," (Maitland,) housekeeper to the
last of the Scotts of Tushielaw; herself perhaps a reduced {214}member
of the impoverished family of "the flower of the wits of Scotland,"
Queen Mary's Secretary of State, Maitland of Lethington.

Though the legendary "Maitland or auld beard grey" may have stoutly held
his house of Thirlestane against Edward I, (as he does in the ballad
of _Auld Maitland_), I have found no record of the affair in the State
Papers of the period. Thereafter the Maitlands of Lethington, though a
family of ancient origin, play no conspicuous part in Scottish history,
till we reach old Sir Richard, who died at the age of ninety in 1586. He
was not openly recalcitrant against, but was no enthusiast for, the new
doctrines of Knox and his company. A learned, humorous, peaceful man,
he wrote Scottish verses and collected and preserved earlier poetry in
manuscripts.

Of his sons the eldest, William, was--setting Knox aside--the most
extraordinary Scott of his time. Knox was essentially Scottish in the
good and not so good of his character, and was essentially an extreme
Calvinist of his period; "judged too extreme," he says, by his
associates. Young Maitland of Lethington, on the other hand, might have
been French or Italian, hardly English. He was an absolutely modern man.
In religion, even before the revolution of 1559, he was in favour of the
new ideas, but also in favour of compromise and, if possible, of peace.
We first meet him i i private discussion with Knox,--pleading for
compromise, but yielding, with a smile, or a sigh, to the amazingly
confident fallacies of the Reformer. He serves the Queen Mother, Mary
of Guise, a brave unhappy lady, as Secretary of State, till he sees that
her cause is every way impossible, and goes over to the Reformers,
and wins for them the alliance of England, and victory. He had a great
ideal, and a lofty motive, a patriotic desire for honourable peace and
alliance with England. On all occasions when he encountered Knox, he
met him with the "educated insolence" of his wit, with the blandest
_persiflage_; Knox writhed and reports his ironies, and--Knox, in the
long run, {215}had the better of this smiling modern man, no fanatic, no
believer in any preacher's infallibility.

Maitland served Queen Mary loyally, while he might; when things went
otherwise than he wished, was behind the scenes of the murder of Riccio;
but was frankly forgiven as the husband of the dearest of the Four
Maries, Mary Fleming, and as Indispensable. He and his brother John,
later the able minister of James VI, were in the conspiracy to murder
Darnley; that is the central mystery in his career, his part In that
brutal, blundering needless crime. He was partner with the violent
Bothwell, a brute of culture, who hated, captured, bullied, and
threatened him; for Maitland discountenanced, with remarkable and
solitary courage, Bothwell's marriage. Escaping from Bothwell's grip, he
fled to the nobles who had risen against Bothwell; he corrupted Mary's
commander in Edinburgh Castle; when she was a captive, he is said,
by the English agent, Randolph, to have urged that she should be
slain,--for, as she said, "she had that in black and white which would
hang Lethington." She escaped, and his policy was, in his own interests,
to appear to prosecute her, and secretly to advise and aid her; to win,
if not her forgiveness, an amnesty, if she returned to power, which
he believed to be inevitable. She hated no man more bitterly, but she
needed no man so much. As he had lost for her Edinburgh Castle,
he gained it for her once more by winning to her cause the gallant
Kirkcaldy of Grange, commanding therein for her enemies. He lived, a
disease-stricken man. through the siege of the castle, meeting Knox once
or twice with the old insolent smooth-spoken disdain of the prophet. He
escaped the gibbet by a natural death, when the castle surrendered and
Kirkcaldy was hanged. This "Michael Wiley," (Scots for Macchiavelli,)
had trusted too absolutely to his own wit, his own command over violent
men.--trusted too much to sheer intellect; been too contemptuous of
honour There is no one who at all resembles him in the history of
Scotland; he {216}fascinates and repels us; one likes so much in him,
and detests so much.

From a brother's descendants came the notorious Lauderdale of the
Covenant and the Great Rebellion; a scholar; at one time professedly
godly; the natural and deadly opposite of the great Montrose, the coarse
voluptuary and greedy governor of Scotland, and the servile buffoon of
Charles II during the Restoration. He paid a trifling pension to the
descendants of Lethington, who are so impoverished that I guess at one
of them in "auld Babby Metlan," "other than a gude ane," who handed on
the ballad of _Auld Maitland_ and was housekeeper to the last Scott of
Tushielaw on upper Ettrick.

These two are the great men of Leader Water (an ideal trout stream if
not poached out), Lethington and--St. Cuthbert! It was while he watched
his flocks by night on the braes of Leader that Cuthbert saw, either
some meteoric phenomenon which he misconstrued, or the soul of Bishop
Aidan passing heavenward in glory. Next day he walked or rode to Old
Melrose, leaned his spear on the wall at the portal, and confided to
Boisil (St. Boswells) his desire to enter into religion. From his noble
biography by the Venerable Bede (he has "got his step" now, I think, and
is Blessed Bede, _beatus_), we know this great and good man, Cuthbert,
chief missionary on the violent Border, who sleeps in Durham Cathedral.
The English have captured him, the great glory of Leader Water, but m
his region, in his day, the people were already English by blood to
a great degree, and in language. Cuthbert, despite the Reformation,
continued to be a favourite Christian name north of Tweed, witness
Cuddie Headrig, whose mother, Mause, had nothing papistical in her
convictions!

By a burn that takes its rise far up Leader near a summit of the
Lammermuirs called Nine Cairn Edge, is the Well of the Holy Water
Cleuch. It was here that St. Cuthbert spent his shepherd boyhood; here
that he saw the vision which sent {217}him to Mailros. And here, after
Cuthhert's death, they built in his honour, beside the Holy Well, the
Childeschirche, the name of which survives to us now as Channelkirk.

Were one of Border birth to quit "sweet Leader Haughs," leaving
unnoticed "True Thomas," Thomas of Ercildoune, I do not know how he
might again face his fellow Borderers. For, though Thomas may not have
been a great man, in the same sense that St. Cuthbert and Lethington
were great, yet to most of his countrymen he is better known than
either. For one at the present day to whom the name of Cuthbert is
familiar, or one to whom "Lethington" conveys any very definite idea,
you will find a hundred who take an intelligent interest in Thomas the
Rhymer, and who believe with Spottis-woode, who wrote of him early in
the seventeenth century: "Sure it is that he did divine and answer true
of many things to come." Fact regarding the Rhymer is so vague, and so
beautifully blended with fiction, that I doubt if most Borderers do not
more than half persuade themselves still to accept as fact much of the
fiction that they learned of him in childhood. To Border children, not
so very long ago, nothing was more real than the existence of a tree,
still alive and growing somewhere about the enchanted land of Eildon,
which must necessarily be _the_ Eildon Tree:

               "Syne he has kissed her rosy lips

                   All underneath the Eildon Tree;"

nothing was more certain than that True Thomas, at the call of the Queen
of Faëry, rose and obediently followed the hart and the hind into the
forest, and returned no more.

               "First he woxe pale, and then woxe red,

                   Never a word he spake but three;--

               'My sand is run, my thread is spun,

                   This sign regardeth me.'"

No spot was looked on, in early youth, with more awe than that Bogle
Burn whose stony bed crossed over the St. Boswells and Melrose road in
the cheerless hollow beside a gloomy wood; it was here that True Thomas
beheld things unseen by mere mortal eye. Who could doubt? Was there not
still standing in Earlston the remains of his old tower to confute all
scoffers!

[Illustration: 0238]

  "The hare sail kittle on my hearth stane,

And there never will be a Laird Learmunt again."

And, a hundred years ago and more, did not a hare actually produce
its young on the shattered, grass-grown hearth-stone of the Rhymer's
dwelling? So everybody believed. But if doubt yet lingered anywhere
regarding some portion of True Thomas's story, it was easily set at rest
by the words cut on that old stone built into the wall ot the church at
Earlston.

                   "Auld Rymer's race

                   Lyes in this place,"

it says; and somehow it gave one a peg to hang one's faith upon. The
whole, or at least a sufficient part of it, is quite real in that
countryside by the Rhymer's Glen where True Thomas lay "on Huntlie
bank." and where flourished the Eildon Tree; and that True Thomas's
still unfulfilled prophecies will yet one day come to pass, is a sound
article of belief. Though how the ruthless prediction is to come about
regarding the house of Cowdenknowes, (which is not far removed from the
Rhymers old tower,) one does not quite see. But it was a doom pronounced
against a pitiless Home who there "had aince commanding." And the Homes
are gone.

               "Vengeance! Vengeance! when and where?

               On the house of Coldingknow, now and ever mair!"

Perhaps, too, that was not of True Thomas's foretelling. One prefers
rather to think of Cowdenknowes in connection with the ballad:

               "O the broom, and the bonny, bonny broom,

                   And the broom of the Cowdenknowes!

               And aye sae sweet as the lassie sang,

                   I' the bught, milking the ewes."


{220}



CHAPTER VIII ST. BOSWELLS GREEN, MELROSE, DARNICK, ABBOTSFORD, AND THE
ELLWAND

|All the way up Tweed from a mile below Mertoun Bridge, up past the
cauld where the pent water spouts and raves ceaselessly, along the bank
where lies St. Boswells Golf Course, round that noble sweep where
the river holds Dryburgh lovingly in the crook of its arm, up by
the boulder-strewn streams above, and round the elbow by the foot
suspension-bridge, past the lofty red scaurs and the hanging woods to
the Monk's Ford, trout fishing--at least from the right bank--is
free. And though it goes without saying that pool and stream are "sore
fished," yet it is not possible by fair angling to spoil Tweed. Many a
fisher may depart, empty and downcast, but if he persevere, some day he
shall have his reward. To him who patiently teaches himself to know the
river and the whims of its inhabitants, to him who studies weather and
time of day--or, may be, of night--there must at length come success,
for many are the trout, and large. The writer has known a yellow trout
of 8 lbs. 12 ozs. to be killed with fly hard by the golf course. The
weight is of course exceptional, but many a beauty of 2 lbs. and over is
there to be taken by him who is possessed of skill and patience; and
to me is known no more enticing spectacle than one of these long swift
pools of a summer evening, in the gloaming, when the water is alive with
the dimples of rising trout.

And what a river it is, however you take it! What a series of noble
views is there for him who can withdraw his attention from the water.

[Illustration: 0241]

Let him climb, in the peaceful evening light, to the top of the red
and precipitous Braeheads behind the long single street of St. Boswells
Green, pleasantest of villages, and there gaze his fill at the beautiful
Abbey far beneath his feet, sleeping amongst the trees across the river.
Or let him go farther still, up by the leafy path that overhangs the
rushing water, till he come to the little suspension-bridge. And let
him stop there, midway across, and face towards the western sky and the
three peaks of Eildon that stand out beyond the trees clear-cut against
the warm after-glow. At his feet, mirroring the glory of the dying day,
a broad shining sweep of quiet water broken only by the feeding trout;
on his left hand, high in air the young moon floating like lightest
feather; above the fretful murmur of some far-off stream, a bird piping
to his mate. And over all, a stillness that holds and strangely moves
the very soul. I think that if there be one with him attuned to his
mood, an hour may pass and the gloaming have deepened almost to dusk,
and neither of them shall have spoken a word, or noticed that the time
has sped. And still they will linger, unwilling to break the spell.

At Leaderfoot the river is crossed by two stone bridges, one, the lofty
naked viaduct of the Berwickshire Railway; the other, older and more
pleasing, carries the picturesque road that, breaking out from the leafy
woods of Drygrange and leaving on its left hand the hallowed site of Old
Melrose, leads past St. Boswell's Green and the Kennels of the Buccleuch
Hunt, over by Lilliard's Edge to Jedburgh. Between, and immediately
above, the bridges at Leaderfoot are some glorious salmon casts, where
nigh on a century ago Scrope was wont to throw a fly. Strange that
during twenty years, in all that magnificent water fished by him, from
Kelso to Caddonfoot, he never once landed a salmon of thirty pounds,
and but few as heavy as twenty. There may have been more fish in his
day,--one cannot judge; they got more, but then they took them not
only with fly, but by "sunning" and by "burning" the water, and by many
another means that now is justly considered to be poaching. But they
seldom caught a salmon approaching in weight those which are now
commonly taken in Tweed every season. Thirty pounds is a weight by no
means noticeable now-a-days, and scarcely a year passes that fish of
forty pounds and over are not taken by some fortunate angler; even above
Melrose cauld, an obstruction that checks the ascent of many big fish,
they have been got, far up the river, as heavy as thirty-eight pounds.
Floors Water, at Kelso, I believe holds the record as regards size; in
1886 a fish of fifty-seven and a half pounds was captured. And as to
numbers, though it is of course possible to labour for a week or more in
Tweed--as elsewhere--even with the water apparently in good order, and
with plenty of fish up, fresh from the sea, and meet with no manner of
success, on the other hand there is on Makerstoun Water the pleasing
record of twelve, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen salmon killed by one
rod on four consecutive days; fifty seven fish in all, and
{223}seventy-three for the week.

[Illustration: 0243]

And in a similar period in November, 1903, Upper and Lower Floors Water
produced between them one hundred and forty-three fish, the average
weight for Lower Floors being nineteen pounds. {224}A little
above Leaderfoot, on the opposite bank, is Newstead with its Roman
camp,--though the visitor will be disappointed with what he may now see;
there are no walls, no remains of buildings, such as exist at Bremenium,
or down on the Roman Wall in Northumberland.

[Illustration: 0244]

Behind Newstead, high on the nearest peak of Eildon, are well-defined
remains of a Romo-British station. Where they got a sufficient supply of
water at that elevation is puzzling: it is a large camp, and could not
possibly be held by a numerically weak body of men.

From the head of that "brae" by Newstead that overhangs the river, you
will look on a scene typical of Tweed. Far through the broad and smiling
valley the river winds towards you, like a ribbon shot with silver; a
mile away, across green fields, lies the venerable abbey, dreaming in
the sunshine--"thy ruins mouldering o'er the dead." And, up stream,
the distant belching chimneys of Galashiels cause one fervently {225}to
thank Heaven that beside the old monastic pile there are no tweed mills
to foul the air, and to pollute the lovely stream more even than is now
the case.

[Illustration: 0245]

Mercifully, as regards trade, it is still at Melrose as it was when
the "solemn steps of old departed years" paced through the land
with youthful vigour. The little town is yet guiltless of modern
iniquities--except as regards the railway and the inevitable
Hydropathic, both of which are no doubt necessary evils (or blessings?)
of these latter days. And except, also, that the modern villa is
overmuch in evidence. A hundred years ago, when there was little of a
town but the open Market Place hedging round the Old Cross of Melrose,
it must have been a better, or at least a more picturesque place. On to
the Abbey itself now the town's houses jostle, treading on its skirts,
pertly encroaching. Therefore it lacks the charm and solitude of
Dryburgh. Yet is its own charm irresistible, its beauty matchless,--"was
never {226}scene so sad and fair."

[Illustration: 0246]

To the halting pen, it is the indescribable. In the deathless lines of
the Wizard himself, its beauty lives to all time. But a thousand years
of purgatory might not suffice to wipe from their Record of Sin the
guilt {227}incurred by Hertford, and Evers, and Laiton, in 1544 and 1545
when they wantonly profaned and laid waste this dream in stone and lime,
wrought by "some fairy's hand." Nor in later days were our own people
free from offence in this respect. The number of old houses in the
immediate neighbourhood is probably very small into which have not
been built stones from the ruined abbey. Even across the river they are
found; in the walls of a mouldering old farm house there, pulled down
but a few years ago, were discovered many delicate bits of scroll work
and of finely chiselled stone.

A mile to the west of Melrose lies the village of Darnick. Here is a
fine old tower dating from the sixteenth century, the property still of
the family that originally built it. Fain would Sir Walter Scott have
bought this picturesque old building after he moved to Abbotsford,
and many another has looked on it with longing eyes, but no offer has
succeeded in divorcing it from the stock of the original owner, though
the surrounding lands have melted away. Somewhere about 1425 a Heiton
built the earliest tower. That, naturally, could not stand against the
all-destroying hand of Hertford in 1544, but the Heiton's descendant
repaired, or rebuilt, it in 1569, and ever since it has remained in the
possession of the family, still, I believe, is occasionally inhabited
by them. It is now probably the finest existing specimen of the old
bastel-house. From its watch-tower may be had a glimpse of Tweed
at Bridgend, where Father Philip, Sacristan of St. Mary's, took his
involuntary bath. This is the Bridgend mentioned in Sir Walter's Notes
to _The Monastery_. The ancient and very peculiar bridge over Tweed
which gave to the hamlet its name is described in the text of the novel.
There is now no trace of such a bridge, but in the early part of the
eighteenth century the pillars yet stood. They are described in Gordon's
_Itnerarium Septentrionale_ (1726), and in Milne's account of the Parish
of Melrose published in 1794, there is a full description. Those pillars
yet stood, he says. "It has been a timber bridge; in the {228}middle
pillar there has been a chain for a drawbridge, with a little house for
the convenience of those that kept the bridge and received the custom.

[Illustration: 0248]

On this same pillar are the arms of {229}the Pringles of Galashiels."
In Sir Walter's day, only the foundations of the piers existed. He tells
how, "when drifting down the Tweed at night, for the purpose of killing
salmon by torch light," he used to see them.

A Heiton of Darnick fell at Flodden. His successor played no
inconspicuous part in the bitter fight by his own tower side, on
Skirmish Field, scene of that memorable encounter in 1526 between Angus
and Huccleuch, when the stake was the person of the young king, James
V. Turn-Again, too, is in the immediate neighbourhood, on the lands of
Abbotsford, where the Scotts turned fiercely on their pursuers, and Ker
of Cessford was slain. It is curious to note that beneath what is now
a lawn at Darnick Tower many skeletons were dug up some years ago, and
beside them were swords. Doubtless the skeletons were those of men slain
in this fight; but why were their swords buried with them? Over the
hill, at Holydene, an ancient seat of the Kers of Cessford, there was
also unearthed years ago within the walls of the old castle, a gigantic
skeleton, by its side a very handsome sword. Were their weapons, in the
sixteenth century, laid convenient to the grasp of the dead warriors, as
in Pagan times they were wont to be?

Bowden Moor and Halidon are but over the hill from Darnick. It was
from this direction, by the descent from Halidon (or Halyden, modern
Holydene), that Buccleueh came down on Angus, after Cessford and
Fernihirst and Home had ridden off. But the Homes and the Kers returned,
and spoiled the play for the outnumbered Scotts.

               "Now Bowden Moor the march-man won,

                   And sternly shook his plumed head,

               As glanced his eye o'er Halidon;

                   For on his soul the slaughter red

               Of that unhallowed morn arose,

               When first the Scott and Carr were foes;

               When royal James beheld the fray,

               Prize to the victor of the day; {230}

               When Home and Douglas, in the van,

               Bore down Buccleuch's retiring clan,

               Till gallant Cessford's heart-blood dear

               Reek'd on dark Elliot's border spear."

[0250]

Less than a couple of miles to the west from Darnick, we come to that
which Ruskin pronounced to be "perhaps the most incongruous pile that
gentlemanly modernism ever designed." I fear that even the most
devoted Borderer must admit that Abbotsford _is_ an incongruous pile.
Nevertheless it is hallowed ground, and one may not judge it by common
standards. It reminds only of the gallantest struggle against hopeless
odds that ever was made by mortal man; it speaks only of him whom
everyone loved, and loves. "The glory-dies not, and the grief is past."

But what a marvellous change has been wrought over all {231}that
countryside since "the Shirra" bought Abbotsford, a hundred and two
years ago. Undrained, unenclosed, treeless and bare, covered for the
most part only with its rough native heath--that was the character of
the country. And the house; "small and poor, with a common _kail-yard_
on one flank, and a staring barn on the other; while in front appeared
a filthy pond covered with ducks and duckweed, from which the whole
tenement had derived the unharmonious designation of Clarty Hole." It
does not sound enticing; and already offers had been made to him of a
property near Selkirk, where, among fields overhanging the river, was a
site unsurpassed for natural beauty of prospect, whence Ettrick could
be viewed winding past "sweet Bowhill," far into the setting sun. It was
Erskine, I think, who urged him to buy this property--land which then
belonged to the writer's grandfather and greatgrandfather. But it
was too far from Tweed, Scott said; "Tweed was everything to him--a
beautiful river, flowing broad and bright over a bed of milk-white
pebbles," (pebbles, alas! that, there at least, are no longer
milk-white, but rather grey with sewage fungus and the refuse of mills).
In spite of all its manifest drawbacks, "Clarty Hole," appealed to
Scott. It was near the beautiful old abbey, and the lands had been
abbey-lands. An ancient Roman road led through the property from Eildon
Hills to that ford over Tweed which adjorned the farm, (and with this
ford for sponsor, he changed the name from "Clarty Hole" to "Abbot's
Ford.") Over the river, on the rising ground full in his view was the
famous Catrail; and through his own land ran the Rhymer's Glen, where
True Thomas foregathered with the Queen of Faëry. Bit by bit, Scott
added to his land, bit by bit to his cottage, regarding which his first
intention was "to have only two spare bedrooms, with dressing-rooms,
each of which will on a pinch have a couch-bed." And his tree-planting
had begun at once. When the property was first acquired from the
Reverend Dr. Douglas of Galashiels, there was on it but one solitary
strip of {232}firs, so long and so narrow that Scott likened it to a
black hair-comb.

[Illustration: 0252]

It ran," says Lockhart, "from the precincts of the homestead to near
Turn-Again, and has bequeathed the name of _the Doctor's reiding-kame_
to the mass of nobler trees amidst which its dark, straight line can now
hardly be traced." I do not think that "the Doctor's redding-kame" now
survives {233}as a name, even if the original trees be still to the
fore. In any rase they would attract no attention, for what Sir Thomas
Dick Lauder says was then "as tame and uninteresting a stretch of ground
as could well be met with in any part of the world," is now rich in
woods, and everywhere restful and pleasing to the eye--though it may be
conceded that Galashiels has stretched a villa-bedecked arm farther up
Tweed's left bank than might have been quite acceptable to Sir Walter.

At Boldside, of whose "ruined and abandoned churchyard" he writes in
his introduction to the _Monastery_, there is now a railway station,
and suburban villas, large and small, dot the landscape ever the more
plentifully as one approaches that important manufacturing town which
a century back was but a tiny village peopled by a few industrious
weavers. No longer, I fear, can it be said that Boldside's "scattered
and detached groves," combining with "the deep, broad current of the
Tweed, wheeling in moonlight round the foot of the steep bank.... fill
up the idea which one would form in imagination for a scene that Obcron
and Queen Mab might love to revel in."

The Fairy Folk have fled from scenes tainted by an atmosphere of railway
and modern villa. Even the Water-bull has ceased to shake the hills with
his roar around Sir Walter's "small but deep lake" at Cauldshiels. Yet
as late as the time of our grandsires people told gravely how, one warm
summer's day, a lady and her groom, riding by the sullen shore of this
"lochan," ventured a little way from the edge in order to water their
thirsty horses, and were immediately engulfed in the Kelpie's insatiable
maw. If such a tragedy ever did happen, no doubt the explanation is
simple enough. Without any warning the hard upper crust would give way
beneath the horses' feet, and, struggling vainly, they would sink in the
fathomless, spewing, inky slime below. Once trapped in that, no power on
earth could ever bring them out {234}again, dead or alive. A like
fate nearly befell the writer when fishing alone one day in a gloomy,
forsaken, kelpie-haunted Border hill loch. Dense fog came down,
wreathing over the quiet water, hiding the dripping heather and the
benty hill. A bird of the bittern kind boomed dismally at intervals, and
a snipe bleated. It was a cheerless prospect; and the temperature had
fallen with the coming of the fog. But through the mist could be heard
the sound of trout rising in the little loch, and one bigger than his
fellows persisted in rising far out. The sound was too tempting. The
fisher waded out, and still out; and ever the big trout rose, luring him
on. Another step, and another; it was no longer stony under foot,
and the bottom began to quake, Still the footing was hard enough,
and nothing happened; and again the big fish rose just out of casting
distance. One more step would do it; and what danger could possibly be
added in so small a distance? So one more step was taken, and--without
a second's warning the crust broke. Only one thing saved the fisher;
instinctively, as he sank through the fetid slime, he threw himself
on his back, striking vigorously with his arms. But it took many an
agonised, almost despairing, stroke ere his legs _sucked_ out of that
death trap. Nor, as long as there was water shoreward deep enough
to swim in, did he again attempt to wade. His rod had not been
abandoned--which was matter for gratulation; but, soaked to the skin,
chilled to the very marrow, and reeking with the stench of putrid swamp,
it was no thing of joy that day to make his devious way home over an
unfamiliar hill that was wrapped in impenetrable folds of dense mist.

There is an origin, likely enough, for the Water-Bull. A great volume of
marsh-gas, bursting from the bottom of a swampy loch, might be seen some
still, foggy day, or in the uncertain evening light, suddenly to boil
up on the surface far out. The wallowing upheaval caused by the belching
gas would readily suggest the part-seen back or side of some formless
monster, whose gambols were agitating the water and {235}causing billows
to surge upon the weed-fringed shore; and a bittern's hollow boom
quivering on the still night air, would easily be construed by the
credulous and ignorant as the bellow of this fearsome monster that they
thought they had seen wheeling and plunging. If he was anything more
substantial than gas, what a beast he would have been to troll for!

One should not forget that it was by the shore of Cauldshiels Loch that
Scott wrote the exquisitely sad lines that yet so vividly paint the
scene:

               "The sun upon the Weirdlaw Hill,

                   In Eterick's vale is sinking sweet;

               The westland wind is hushed and still,

                   The lake lies sleeping at my feet.

               Yet not the landscape to mine eye

                   Bears those bright hues that once it bore;

               Though evening with her richest dye,

               Flames o'er the hill of Ettrick's shore.

               With listless look along the plain,

                   I see Tweed's silver current glide,

               And coldly mark the holy fane

                   Of Melrose rise in ruined pride.

               The quiet lake, the balmy air,

                   The hill, the stream, the tower, the tree,

               Are they still such as once they were,

                   Or is the dreary change in me?

It is only a little above "the holy fane of Melrose" that there enters
Tweed on the northern side an interesting little burn, the Ellwand, or
Allen. Up the glen--the Fairy Dene, or Nameless Dene--formed by this
stream, lies Glendearg, the tower described in the opening scenes of the
_Monastery_. There are, in fact, three towers in the glen, Hillslap (now
called Glendearg), Colmslie, and Langshaw. Over the door of the first is
the date 1595, and the letters N. C. and E. L., the initials of Nicolas
Cairncross and his wife. Colmslie belonged to the family of Borthwick;
their crest, a Goat's Head, is still on the {236}ruin,--or was some
years ago. But who in old days owned Langshaw is not known to me. For
mutual protection, Border towers were very commonly built thus, in
groups of three--as is instanced, indeed, at the neighbouring village
of Darnick, where formerly, besides the present existing bastel-house,
there stood two others. "In each village or town," says Sir Walter,
"were several small towers, having battlements projecting over the
side-walls, and usually an advanced angle or two with shot-holes for
flanking the door way, which was always defended by a strong door of
oak, studded with nails, and often by an exterior grated door of iron.
These small peel houses were ordinarily inhabited by the principal
feuars and their families; but, upon the alarm of approaching danger,
the whole inhabitants thronged from their own miserable cottages, which
were situated around, to garrison these points of defence. It was then
no easy matter for a hostile party to penetrate into the village, for
the men were habituated to the use of bows and fire arms, and the towers
being generally so placed that the discharge from one crossed that of
another, it was impossible to assault any of them individually."

The Nameless Dene is famed for the "fairy" cups and saucers that are
still to be found in the streamlet's bed after a flood, little bits of
some sort of soft limestone which the washing of the water has formed
into shapes so fantastic and delicate that one hardly needs the
imagination of childhood to believe they are the work of fingers more
than mortal. Up this valley ran the ancient Girthgate, a bridle-way over
the hills used of old by the infrequent traveller, and always by the
monks of Melrose when duty took them to visit the Hospital which Malcolm
IV founded in. 1164 on Soltre, or Soutra, Hill. As late as the middle of
last century the grassy track was plainly to be seen winding through the
heather; perhaps in parts it is not even yet obliterated. Nature does
not readily wipe out those old paths and drove roads that the passing of
man and beast traced across the hills many centuries back.

{237}



CHAPTER IX GALASHIELS AND THE GALA, LINDFAN

|And now we come to a once beautiful stream, of which, in the present
condition of its lower stretches, it is not easy to speak with due
moderation.

                   "Deil take the ditty trading loon

                   Wad gar the water ca' his wheel,

                   And drift his dyes and poisons down

                   By fair Tweed side at Ashiesteel."

It is not the Tweed at Ashiesteel, however, that in this instance is
injured, but the Gala at Galashiels, and Tweed below that town. "It
would," says the Official Report issued in 1906 by H.M. Stationery
Office, "be impossible to find a river more grossly polluted than the
Gala as it passes through Galashiels,"--a verdict with which no wayfarer
along the banks of that dishonoured stream will be inclined to disagree.
The grey-blue liquid that sluggishly oozes down the river's bed among
stones thick-coated with sewage fungus, is an outrage on nature most
saddening to look upon. He does wisely who stands to windward of the
abomination. It is true that of late years much has been done, much
money spent, in the praiseworthy effort to bring purity into this home
of the impure; but to the lay eye improvement is yet barely perceptible.
"Fools and bairns," however, they tell us, "should never see half-done
work." The filter-beds of the extensive sewage works {238}are said to be
not yet in working order, and so one may not despair of even yet living
long enough to see Gala as Gala should be.

[Illustration: 0258]

In the meantime, and till the entire sewage scheme is in full working
order, there are--if one may judge from reports in the daily Press,--a
few minor improvements not quite out of reach of the inhabitants. On
15th July, 1912, an evening paper published the account of "another"
dead pig which at that date was lying in the river "immediately in front
of the main entrance to the Technical College." The carcase, we are
told, was "much decomposed, and attracted huge swarms of flies." This
paper, in commenting on the corpse of an earlier defunct pig, which a
few days before had reposed in the same tomb, remarks that "it has been
the custom up to now for all kinds of objectional matter to be deposited
on the river banks or thrown into the bed of the river to await the
first flood to carry it down to the Tweed."

"The river," the journal continues, {239}"is at present at its lowest
summer ebb, and during the heat wave the smells arising from decomposing
matter have been overpowering." In an arctic climate, there may perhaps
be some excuse for the proverb: "the clarder the cosier," but it seems
scarcely applicable to Gala; and there might, one would imagine, be
other and more modern methods of dealing with decomposed pigs than that
of floating them into outraged Tweed. The condition of "fishes that
tipple in the deep" and quaff cerulean dyes in every stream, is not
likely to be improved by a diet of sewage fungus and decayed pig, any
more than is the health of human dwellers by the banks likely to benefit
by the proximity of decomposing animal matter.

The history of Galashiels is mainly industrial, mainly the history of
the'"Tweed" trade. There were mills of a sort in the town as early as
1622, but even a hundred and fifty years later the trade cannot have
greatly harmed the river; only 170 cwt. of wool were then used in all
the mills of Galashiels, and there was no such thing as the manufacture
of modern "tweeds." All the wool then used was made into blankets, and
"Galashiels Greys," (whatever fearful fowl _they_ may have been). The
term "tweeds" came later, one is given to understand, and arose through
the mistake of an English correspondent of one of the Galashiels
manufacturers. This gentleman misread a letter, in which the Scottish
writer spoke of his "tweels." The Englishman, having read the letter
somewhat carelessly, and knowing that Galashiels was somewhere near
the river Tweed, hastily concluded that the goods under discussion
were termed "tweeds," and gave his order accordingly. The name was
universally adopted in the trade, and now--as the professional cricketer
said about "yorkers,"--"I don't see what else you _could_ call them."

Galashiels has a tradition to which it clings, that it was once a royal
hunting seat. Mr. Robert Chambers says that the lodge or tower used by
the Scottish monarchs when they came here a-hunting was pulled down
only so recently as about the {240}year 1830. It was called the Peel,
a strong square tower with small windows, "finer in appearance than any
other house in the whole barony, that of Gala alone excepted." From it a
narrow lane called the King's Shank led to the town. I cannot say it the
name survives in Galashiels.

But there is another tradition in which perhaps Galashiels takes greater
pride, the tradition connected with the plum tree in the Town's Arms.
(Though what the little foxes are doing at the foot of the tree, and
what they have to do with the legend, none can say. Perhaps they are
English foxes; and they got the plums--sour enough, as it turned
out.) The incident commemorated is said to be this: During one of the
invasions of Edward III, a party of his soldiers had taken up their
quarters in Galashiels. The country no doubt had been pretty well
harried and laid waste--Edward's men had plenty of practice--and
they may have been careless, with the carelessness begotten of
overconfidence. Anyhow, they straggled through the? woods, looking for
wild plums, the story goes--though one would imagine that the only plums
they would be likely to find there would be sloes, not a fruit that one
would expect to tempt them far afield. But perhaps, as some say, they
were robbing an orchard--if there were orchards in Scotland in the
fourteenth century. In any case, a party of Scots, either a passing
armed band, or, as Galashiels would fain believe, the inhabitants of the
town themselves, swearing that they would give the southern swine
sourer plums than any that had yet set their teeth on edge, fell on the
English, drove them in headlong rout to the banks of Tweed opposite
to where Abbotsford now stands--the Englishmen's Dyke, they call
the spot--and slew them to a man. "Soor Plums in Galashiels" has for
centuries been a favourite air in the town, though the words of the song
have perished.

Gala as a stream has been badly misused by man--at and below the town
poisoned by sewage and mill refuse, above the town overfished, and
poached, almost to the extinction of its {241}trout. Matters now,
however, are, I believe, vastly improved as regards sport; the
Galashiels Angling Association works with & will to make things what
they should be in a stream once so famed, and one hears that its efforts
are meeting with the success they deserve. But it can never come back to
what it must have been "lang syne," say in Sir Thomas Dick Lauder's day.

[Illustration: 0261]

That gentleman records that he and a friend fished one day from
Bankhouse down to Galashiels, and turning there, fished Gala up to its
junction with the Ermit Burn, then followed the latter to its source on
Soutra Hill, and found at the end of the day that they had filled three
creels; their total catch was over thirty-six dozen trout. A good many
were caught in the burn with worm, of course, and most of the trout
taken were probably very small, but it shows what possibilities these
small Border streams might hold if they were well treated. Nobody,
however, one may hope--no reasonable mortal out of his teens, that
is--now wants to catch over four hundred trout in a single day under any
circumstances. Even to the very juvenile schoolboy there can be but the
very minimum of sport in jerking fingerings on to the bank. If a fixed
limit of size could be imposed; if the close season were continued for
another fortnight or three weeks in Spring; and, above all, if the sale
of trout could be prohibited by law until at least the beginning of
April, our Border fishing would be improved beyond recognition. Great
takes are made now, with worm, early in the season, when the waters are
discoloured and the trout lean and ravenous; and long before they are in
anything like condition either to give sport or to be decently fit for
food, vast quantities of fish from the Border streams are sent off
to the English markets. If those markets were kept closed a few weeks
longer, many a trout would have a chance to reach maturity that is now
sacrificed in extreme youth to put a few "bawbees" into a poacher's
pocket. The great takes at the season's opening are not made by fair
fishing. The writer was informed, three or four years ago, by the
solitary porter of a very small Tweed-side railway station--himself
a keen and skilful fisher--that on 2nd March of that year two men had
consigned to Manchester from that one little station _one hundred and
ten pounds weight_ of trout. How were _they_ caught? Certainly not by
fair means. They are not _fishers_ who take trout after this fashion.
These are the men who, to suit their immediate wants and their own
convenience, would deplete every stream in the Border and put a speedy
end to all sport. As things are at present there is practically nothing
to prevent them from taking what they please from any water.

However, to return to Gala. Here, as everywhere in the Border, vast are
the changes that the past sixty or seventy years have wrought on the
face of nature. Even at a time so comparatively recent as that when the
present North British line of railway from Edinburgh to Carlisle was
being constructed down the valley, Sir Thomas Dick Lauder remarks on the
revolution that in his own experience a few years had made. "We know of
no district," says he, "which has been so com{243}pletely metamorphosed
since the days of our youth as that of Gala Water." In his boyhood, the
whole wore a pastoral character. Crops were rare, and fences hardly to
be met with.

[Illustration: 0263]

Not a tree was to be seen, except in the neighbourhood of one or two old
places, and especially at and around Torwoodlee and Gala House, near
the mouth of the river. Everything within sight was green, simple, and
bare. Then he contrasts {244}this with the appearance of the valley at
date of his writing, when "the whole country is fenced, cultivated, and
hedged round. Thriving and extensive plantations appear everywhere."

[Illustration: 0264]

Could he see it, he would find the change even more marked now, with the
"thriving plantations" grown and extended, countless trains thundering
up and down the line day and night, and above all with his little
village of "two thousand two hundred and nine inhabitants" grown into a
great and busy town.

In ancient days, this valley through which Gala flows was called
Wedale,--the Dale of Woe, the Valley of Weeping, for here says Professor
Skene, was fought one of King Arthur's great battles against the Pagans.
At what is now the village of Stow--the Stow (old English, "place,") of
Wedale--the Bishops of St. Andrews had a palace; and here, by the
Lady well at Torsonce, stood in Arthurian days a church famed for its
possession of fragments of the True Cross, bestowed, it was {245}said,
by King Arthur himself.

[Illustration: 0265]

Here, too, were preserved in great veneration, long years after Arthur
had passed away "to be king among the dead," portions of that miraculous
image of the Blessed Virgin which, the old historian Nennius tells us,
the king bore into the stress of battle that day among the hills of
Wedale. And here, till about 1815, lay a very large stone on whose face
was the well marked impression of a foot, said by tradition to have been
the imprint of the foot of the Virgin. To be converted into road-metal
has doubtless been its fate. There are still, I believe, in Stow, the
remains of a very old church, not, however, those of the original church
of Wedale.

Leaving Galashiels by road past Boldside, with a glimpse of the Eildons
and Abbotsford to the left, three miles from the town and immediately
above the junction of Tweed with its tributary the Ettrick we cross the
former river. Hard by, to the right, in a wood on top of Rink Hill, are
the remains of a very fine British camp. {246}Here for the time we
again quit the banks of Tweed, and proceed up Ettrick. A mile from the
junction of the rivers, we pass near the old churchyard of Lindean,
where once stood the ancient church in which, the night after his
assassination in 1353, lay the bloody corpse of Sir William Douglas, the
Knight of Liddesdale, slain by his kinsman.

In connection with this churchyard, there used to exist a belief that
greatly troubled the minds of country folk in the surrounding district.
Away back in those evil times when the Plague raged through Scotland,
very many of its victims were buried in a common grave in Lindean
churchyard. But the church was demolished after the Reformation, and the
churchyard gradually fell out of use as a place of burial. There came
a time when the people had no farther need for it; why, thought some
practical person, should it not be ploughed up and cultivated? There was
but one thing that saved it from this fate;--not reverence for the ashes
of the rude forefathers of the hamlet that lay here at rest, but the
sure and certain belief in the minds of their descendants that in the
event of the soil being disturbed, there must inevitably be a fresh
outbreak of the dreaded Plague. It is curious and interesting to read
of the blind horror with which our ancestors in their day regarded this
scourge; but their horror is not hard to understand. Sanitation did not
exist in those times, medicine as a science was impotent to curb the
ravages of the dreaded pestilence. The people were helpless; to save
themselves there remained only flight. And in what remote spot might
flight avail them in a Plague-swept land! In that outbreak during the
seventeenth century, temporary houses, or shelters, were erected in many
parts of the Border, and into them were hurried persons smitten by the
pestilence--and often, no doubt, persons suffering from some very minor
ailment which their panic-stricken neighbours diagnosed as Plague. It
is not to be supposed that once there, they would get much, if any,
attention; they would simply take their {247}chance--a slender one--of
recovery. And if they died, so great was the dread in the minds of
the living that, in many instances, to save unnecessary risk, the
authorities merely pulled down the building over the dead bodies,
and heaped earth on top. At a period even so late as in the writer's
boyhood, there were many spots--perhaps in very remote districts there
may yet be a few--where the Plague was said to be buried, and where
to disturb the soil was believed to be a matter of extreme danger; the
pestilence, like some malevolent fiend long held down, would inevitably
break loose, and again Grim Death would hurl his darts broadcast at old
and young, rich and poor. In his _Scenes of Infancy_ Leyden alludes to
the belief:

               ' "Mark, in yon vale, a solitary stone,

               Shunned by the swain, with loathsome weeds o'ergruwn!

               The yellow stonecrop shoots from every pore,

               With scaly sapless lichens crusted o'er:

               Beneath the base, where starving hemlocks creep,

               The yellow Pestilence is buried deep.

               Here oft, at sunny noon, the peasants pause,

               While many a tale their mute attention draws; *

               And, as the younger swains, with active feet,

               Pace the loose weeds, and the flat tombstone mete,

               What curse shall seize the guilty wretch, they tell,

               Who drags the monster from his midnight cell."

All manner of precautions were adopted to hinder the spreading of the
pestilence. Orders were even issued forbidding the assembling together
of more than three or four persons at any one place, but the Privy
Council Records of the time show that this regulation was obeyed only
when it suited the people to observe it. There were limits to the dread
in which the pestilence was held, and even fear of the consequences did
not always reconcile the Borderers to such an interference with their
liberty. It is on record that, in 1637, when, in the execution of his
duty as Convener of the Justices of his county, Sir John Murray of
Philiphaugh went to Selkirk, he {248}found that a marriage was about to
take place, and that most part of the community had been invited to be
present. Sir John at once forbade the assemblage, and, later, he sent
for the father of the bride, a man named James Murray, and informed him
that on no account would more than four or five guests be permitted. But
James was not to be thus coerced. "Na, na!" he cried, "If ye be feared,
come not there. But the folk are comin'."

So Sir John called on the bailies to commit the offender at once to
prison. The bailies, however, were probably included in the number of
the wedding guests, and were looking forward to the "ploy" with as great
pleasurable anticipation as was even the most irresponsible of those
invited. They paid no heed to Sir John's demand; "there was no obedience
given thereto," say the Records. And next day, when the postponed
wedding took place, "there was about four or five score persons who met
and drank together all that day till night." Whether Sir John remained
to take any part in the festivities we are not told, but of this at
least we may be very sure: his interference did not tend to lessen the
amount of liquor consumed on the occasion.



CHAPTER X SELKIRK

|Two{249} miles up the river from Lindean you come to Selkirk. But
this is not the route by which that town should be approached; by the
Galashiels road, one is in the heart of Selkirk almost before one is
aware of any streets. To see properly the old royal burgh clinging to
the steep side of its hill, and to realise the beauty of its situation,
it is necessary to come from Galashiels up Tweed by the road diverging
at Rink. Thence cross Yair Bridge, go by that beautiful highway through
the shaggy woods of Sunderland Hall, past Ettriek-bank and the Nettley
Burn, down by Linglie, across Ettrick by the old bridge, and so up into
the Market Place of Selkirk by the Green, (which is not anything in the
nature of a lawn, but, on the contrary, a rather steep road).

This is a route longer, but to those not pressed for time, one
infinitely more pleasant and beautiful than the direct way between the
two towns. By it you see the exquisite bit of Tweed valley that lies
between the junction and Yair Bridge, and, pausing as you cross that
bridge, you have on either hand a prospect infinitely fair of heathery
hill, green, leafy wood, and glorious river, the latter, above you on
the right, hurrying down from Yair Cauld, a glittering sheet of eddying
water, sweeping in magnificent curve past its elms at the foot of a
mighty tree-clad brae; then passing beneath your feet, chafing and
hoarsely roaring, it plunges through between imprisoning rocks, till
once more comparative peace is gained in reaches dear to the heart of
salmon fishers. Then you leave the bridge at Yair, and climbing an easy
gradient, pass along by a pleasant, shady road through rich woods, over
the hill to Ettriekbank, where tradition says Queen Mary crossed the
Ettrick on her way to Jedburgh in 1566.

[Illustration: 0270]

In itself, Ettriekbank possesses no feature of interest, but it recalls
to mind the fact that here, in 1818, two harmless-looking hawkers with a
cart were wont to call at intervals, ostensibly to sell fish. Had their
real errand been known, it is little fish they would have sold, and
short would have been their shrift at the hands of the roused and
horrified country-folk. They were Burke and Hare, the notorious
body-snatchers, and the real purpose of the cart in which they brought
fish was to carry back to Edinburgh the bodies they might procure in the
country.

Burke and Blare! Still, after the lapse of close on a century their
memory is held in execration in the Border, still is their name a kind
of vague horror even to those to whom it may convey little else, and who
are almost wholly ignorant of what hideous crimes were committed by the
pair. It was, of course, not only _dead_ bodies that they took. These
they ravished from new made graves; but they took also living men,
drugged or filled with drink, and murdered them for the sake of the
price their corpses would bring as subjects for dissection by some of
the doctors of that day. Hare turned king's evidence. After the trial
and execution of his accomplice, he was smuggled away to the United
States. There his identity was discovered, and an infuriated mob
threw him into a limekiln, where he was badly burned and his eye
sight destroyed. After a time, when the rage and horror aroused by his
misdeeds might to some extent be supposed likely to have died away, he
returned to England, and as late as 1855 he was alive and in London. A
blind, white haired, frouzy, ragged old man, led by a dog, used daily to
slouch up Oxford Street, turn at the Circus towards Portland Place,
post himself near where the Langham Hotel stands, and beg there from
charitable passers-by. How many of them would have given, had they known
that this old man was Hare, a ruffian stained with the blood of perhaps
half a score of victims? How many of them, shrinking aside, would have
stepped into the foulest gutter rather than be contaminated by even
brushing against the hem of his filthy old garments? Few then knew who
he was; but there are men yet alive who may possibly remember having
seen him. An eminent London surgeon, who died, comparatively speaking,
but the other day, very well remembered, and occasionally spoke of, the
grizzly old ruffian who stood, with tapping stick, holding a bowl for
alms. The late Mr. Serjeant Ballantine, too, in his _Reminiscences_
describes the appearance of the man.

Immediately after passing Ettriekbank, the road, coming {252}suddenly
out from a clump of trees, breaks into view of a wide and pleasant
valley, with a goodly prospect of wood and heathery hill stretched
far to the west and south. Down this valley sweeps the gravelly bed of
Ettrick; on its farther bank, on the flat haugh, stand a long line
of mills and the station of a branch line of railway. Above, rising
abruptly, tier upon tier in cheerful succession, trees and houses that
blend into the smiling face of Selkirk. And perhaps it is by reason of
the width of the setting in which they are placed, or because down the
mighty funnel of the valley comes rushing the west wind that sweeps all
smoke away, but somehow it seems that the mills on the haugh below the
town give no air of squalor or of dirt to the landscape.

Would that one could say the same with regard to the effect of their
dyes and refuse on the condition of the river. By a steep red "scaur"
below Linglie there once was a pool clearer than amber, across which
in summer weather small boys, breathless but greatly daring, essayed
to swim. Farther down, at the back of Lindean Flour Mill, was another,
where in the long twilights of June,

                   ". . trout beneath the blossom'd tree,

                   Plashed in the golden stream,"

and whence many a pounder and half-pounder was drawn by eager young
fishers. Where is that seductive amber-clear water now? Alas! in these
days it is of a sickly blue tint, smelling evilly; and the stones in
its bed, that once were a clear, warm grey, with yellow boulders
interspersed that flashed in the stream of a sunny day like burnished
copper,--they are slime-covered and loathsome, things to be shunned.
Surely more can be done to check this pollution of our beautiful
streams. So far as can be ascertained, there is but one of the mills of
Selkirk that strives (and I believe it strives successfully,) so to deal
with its refuse that the water it uses may be returned to Ettrick in a
condition that does not defile that stream. {253}Nevertheless, it has to
be admitted that during the autumn floods salmon do run the gauntlet
of Ettrick's lower reaches, and in countless numbers congregate below
Selkirk Cauld (or weir), where the difficulty of ascent acts as a
partial check on their continued migration. On a day in the month of
November, if there should happen to be a considerable flood in the
river, this cauld is a sight worth going a long way to look at. A
wide rushing sea of tawny, foaming water--a hundred yards from bank to
bank--races over the sloping face of the cauld, and, where it plunges
into the deep pool at foot, rears itself in a mighty wave, with crest
that tosses in the wintry breeze "like the mane of a chestnut steed."
From daylight till dark you may watch the fish,--big and little, from
the thirty-pound leviathan to the little one or two-pound sea trout--in
their eagerness to reach the spawning-beds of the upper waters, hurl
themselves high in air over this great barrier-wave, then, gallantly
struggling, continue for a while their course up the rushing torrent,
till gradually they lose way and come tumbling back, head over tail,
into the pool from which half a minute before they had emerged. It is
like standing by one of the jumps in an endless kind of tinny Grand
National Steeple-chase; so many fish are in the air at once at any given
moment that one becomes giddy with watching them. Probably a good
many do in time accomplish the ascent, or perhaps get up by the
salmon-ladders in mid-stream, but the great majority are swept back,
over and over again. Those that make their attempt near the side, in the
shallow water out of the main force of the current, are frequently taken
in landing-nets (by water-bailiffs stationed there for the purpose), and
are carried up and set at liberty in the smooth water above the cauld.
It must be confessed that a considerable number are also taken in this
way, or with the help of a "cleek," by poachers. The bailiffs cannot be
everywhere; and a salmon is a temptation before which (in the Border)
almost the most virtuous of his sex might conceivably succumb. The
average {254}Borderer, indeed, I believe would cheerfully risk his life
sometimes, rather than forego his chance of "a Fish."--"The only crime
prevalent [in Selkirk] is that of poaching," says the Rev. Mr. Campbell,
minister of the parish for fifty years, writing in 1833. There was one,
greatly sinning in this respect, of whom nevertheless, because of his
gallant end, I cannot think without a feeling almost of affection.
He--with a fish where no fish should have been--was hopelessly
outmanoeuvred by the bailiffs, escape cut off on every side, and only
the river, red, swollen, and cold as ice, open to him. "Here's daith or
glory for Jockie!" he cried, and plunged into a torrent from which he
came no more alive.

A little higher up than the cauld is the Piper's Pool, where, until he
was hit by a chance bullet that brought him rolling like a shot rabbit
down the brae into the water, a piper stood piping that September
morning of 1645, when Montrose and Leslie were striving for the victory.
On the bank above, those inhabitants of Selkirk who cared to run some
risk--which was probably the whole community--took up their position
and watched the fight as from a grand stand. There is no better vantage
point imaginable.

Leslie, I suppose, crossing opposite the gap called Will's Nick, (not
far from Lindean), came up the left bank of Ettrick and, hidden by the
fog, skirted along the edge of the hills till he was within striking
distance of the Royal camp, when he took them, no doubt, both in flank
and in rear. But how did a man of Montrose's experience allow himself to
be thus fooled? Montrose passed the night in Selkirk, and he received
no information whatever of any hostile movement. It was too late when
he and what mounted men he could hastily collect came thundering and
foaming through the shallow stream next morning, and went spurring over
the flat haugh against the enemy. Someone besides Traquair must have
played him false. It is inconceivable that he had no pickets out, or
employed none of his cavalry on outpost duty. If they were {255}out, in
spite of the fog they could not fail to have got in touch with some part
of Leslie's force. No large body of troops could have come undetected by
a route so obvious, if those on the look-out for them were doing their
duty.

Selkirk on this occasion saw war, as it were from the dress circle.
The town was burned to the ground by the English after Flodden, and at
various other odd times, but I do not think that it ever saw much actual
street fighting such as was the experience of Jedburgh again and again.
Selkirk was out of the main current of invasion, and it was only odd
"spates" that came her way, such as when, in 1304, Edward I passed
through the town on his march back to England; and again when in 1309
Edward II, following an unexpected route to the north, took her on his
way. Still, Selkirk had always been familiar with at least the pomp and
circumstance of war. The town was old when Earl David founded its abbey
in 1113; probably it had always been a headquarters of the Scottish
Kings and their retinue, when hunting in the Forest. Certainly William
the Lion, Alexander II, and Alexander III all passed a good deal of
time in his castle, which of old stood on an eminence in what are now the
grounds of Haining, near the "head" of the town. Probably the Court came
here chiefly for the purpose of hunting; the Forest of Ettrick was famed
for its deer, as its men--unlike the majority of their countrymen--were
famed for their archery. At Falkirk, in 1298, the English themselves
bore witness to the warlike prowess of the men of Selkirk, as well as to
their stature and fine appearance. At Bannockburn the sons of the forest
distinguished themselves. And again at Flodden.

Regarding the part borne by her sons in the last-named great struggle,
there are many trad-'fons to which the inhabitants of Selkirk cling
tenaciously. Some, I fear, will not bear too close investigation,
Traditions are mis-chancey things to handle; it does not always do to
enquire too closely if one would retain one's faith. A large body of the
men of {256}Selkirk and the Forest went to Flodden, and they fought as
they always did fight. That much, at least, is certain. But who shall
say how many returned from that fatal field? The Burgh Records are
silent. There is a mournful gap of two months in the history of the
town; not an entry of any sort for eight weeks in the autumn of 1513.
And, says Mr. Craig-Brown in his History of Selkirkshire, "Quite as
mournful and significant are the frequent services of heirs recorded
after the battle." Selkirk suffered severely at Flodden. There, as
elsewhere, her sons did their duty; and they fell gloriously. One could
wish that that might suffice: it is an ungrateful task to rake among the
dead cinders of time-honoured traditions. But it is the detestable habit
of the day to leave none of our ancient beliefs unassailed: the more
beloved the tradition, the more likely is some one to remain unsatisfied
till he has upset it. Yet it must be admitted that few of our cherished
legends emerge triumphant when assailed by the scoffer. That, for
instance, of Fletcher and the English standard captured at Flodden,
which has been revered in Selkirk by so many generations of Souters, I
fear, when it is investigated, must crumble into dust.

Certainly the tradition regarding the origin of the town's Arms is
impossible of maintenance. The figures are so obviously those of the
Virgin and Child; the halo and the glory round their heads forbid
any other interpretation. But it is easy to imagine that after the
Reformation no Scottish town would care to acknowledge any connection,
however remote, with the detested Church of Rome. Hence probably the
legend of the dead woman and her still living baby who were found at
the Lady-wood Edge by the Selkirk survivors of Flodden. Such a body, of
course, may quite possibly have been discovered, and the tradition would
be used later to account for the figures that appear in the town's Arms.
Just in the same way is a gargoyle in Melrose Abbey, beside the reputed
grave of Michael Scott, now pointed out to {257}American and English
tourists as an authentic representation in stone of that mighty Wizard.

As to the "Souters of Selkirk," there can be no proof either way; but
I prefer to believe that the song is old, almost as old as Flodden.
Perhaps I have misread Mr. Craig Brown, and am wrong in believing that
he regards it as commemorating a famous football match played in 1815
between Souters and men under the leadership of Lord Home. If that
were so, it could not have been sung at Dalkeith in 1804, when the
Selkirkshire Yeomanry were present at a banquet there after the False
Alarm. We read that Lord Home called for the song on that occasion,
but that none of the Yeomanry cared to sing it before a man on whose
ancestor it reflects, whereupon, amid rapturous applause, Lord Home sang
it himself. If it refers to a football match, it must be to one of very
ancient date, but one that surely could not fall to have left some mark
on the minds of the Souters. Mr. Plummer, of Sunderland Hall, Sheriff
Depute of the county prior to Sir Walter Scott, writing in 1793 says
that though he had lived all his life within two miles of Selkirk and
had known the song from his boyhood, there was not in his day, and he
believed there never had been, any tradition connecting the song with
anything of the nature of a football match. The verses may not have been
written, probably were not written, immediately after the battle, but I
am confident that it refers to Flodden--in spite of the fact that there
was then no _Earl_ of Home. No doubt the song has had variants from
time, to time; probably there was no allusion to an "Earl" in the
original verses. Popular calumny shortly after Flodden taxed Lord Home
with having been the cause of James's defeat and death; he was unable,
as we know, to come to his Sovereign's aid. This popular belief, coupled
with the fact that Selkirks representatives suffered more cruelly than
did Lord Home's men---and therefore, of course local prejudice would
infer, did their duty {258}better--would be quite sufficient to give
rise to the sentiment: "Down wi' the Merse to the Deil." In his letter
of 1793, referred to above, Mr. Plummer says: "At election dinners,
etc., when the Selkirk folks begin to get _fou'_ they always call for
music, and for that tune in particular. At such times I never heard
a Souter hint at the football, but many times speak of the battle of
Flodden." So far as it goes, there is nothing in the evidence to suggest
a football origin for "The Souters of Selkirk."

It has always seemed to me, (who, being a native, am on that account
possibly no impartial witness,) that the people of Selkirk have ever
possessed in greater degree than their neighbours the true Spirit of
the Sportsman. Of the inhabitants of Yarrow and Selkirk, a
seventeenth-century writer recorded that "they are ingenuous, and hate
fraud and deceit; theft or robbery are not heard among them, and very
rarely a Ly to be heard in any of their mouths, except among them of
the baser sort." There has always been in them, I think, little of that
"win, tie, or wrangle" disposition which is usually to be found among
small communities; and they were never of the sort who "heave half a
brick at the head" of the outland wayfarer. In their dealings with the
French officers, prisoners of war on parole, who were quartered in the
old town from 1811 to 1814, the Selkirk people displayed an admirable
generosity and a gratifying amount of good feeling,--though in that
respect none of our Border towns can be said to have been lacking. One
of these French prisoners afterwards, when an old man, published most
interesting reminiscences of his stay, and he writes of his involuntary
hosts with appreciation, and almost with affection. In 1811, when the
accumulation of prisoners of warm England had become very great, it
was decided to distribute a large part of them throughout Scotland. To
Selkirk, as its share, came a hundred and ninety men.

How it may be now, I cannot say, but in the writer's boyhood the memory
of these prisoners still lived, and old people told {259}innumerable
tales of the strange habits of "thae Frainch." "They made tea oot o'
dried whun (furze) blossoms, an' they skinned the very paddas (frogs),"
said one old man. The writer of the reminiscences referred to above
makes no allusion to "paddas," but he does mention that "a lake in the
neighbour hood supplied abundance of very delicate pike." This lake may
have been the Haining Loch, a picturesque sheet of water over which,
however, there is, or used to be, at times a nasty vegetable scum. "One
of the most beautiful and peaceful lakes that ever was seen," is Sir
Thomas Dick Lauder's description of it as it was in his day. I think,
however, that the French writer probably refers to the Pot Loch, a small
and once very deep lochan, or pond, nestling in a hollow at the foot of
the pleasant heathery hills on which is now the Selkirk Golf Course.
It is a much more likely spot than the Haining for the prisoners to
frequent. The former is on the town's property, the latter on an
estate in private hands. And in the former there are, or at least there
certainly used to be, many pike of no great size. It was here, too, that
tradition told us the prisoners went to catch frogs? That Frenchmen in
their own land lived chiefly on a diet of frogs was the firm belief of a
majority of the town's inhabitants, ("French frogs" of course was a term
of contemptuous reproach,) and that the prisoners went to the Pot Loch
for any other purpose than to obtain supplies of what seemed to the
townsfolk to be a very loathsome dainty, would never occur to them. The
fact that the edible frog did not exist there, would make no difference
in their belief. That was no difficulty; frogs were frogs all the world
over; and frogs of course included toads. The French ate them all.

The writer of the reminiscences, M. Doisy de Villargennes, tells us that
some of the prisoners were "passionately fond of fishing, and excelled
in it,"--national prejudice of course forbids that we should accept the
latter part of the statement as correct!--and that they used to fish in
Ettrick and {260}Tweed. Part of the former, close to the town, would
be within their "bounds," but the Tweed is far outside the mile radius
which was their limit of liberty.

[Illustration: 0280]

On every road, one mile from the town, was placed a post bearing the
words "Limit of the Prisoners of War"; down the road which leads towards
Bridgelands there is still a memorial of these unfortunates,--a thorn
bush, called the Prisoner's Bush, which marked their limit in that
direction. Any prisoner found outside the boundary was liable to be
fined one guinea--a process, one would imagine, something akin in
certain cases to getting blood from a stone--and the fine was supposed
to go to the person who informed on the delinquent. To the credit of
Selkirk it must be recorded that no one ever claimed this reward; even
when a prisoner uprooted a notice post and carried it a mile farther
along the road, it was, we are told, only "to the amusement of the
inhabitants," who, M. Doisy adds, "never on any occasion took advantage
of a regulation ir virtue of which whoever might see us outside the
fixed limits was entitled to one guinea, payable by the delinquent."
He himself, he says, "frequently went fishing several miles down the
Tweed," and {261}was never fined, never in any way molested. In fact,
great and small in Selkirk, from the Sheriff Depute of the county down
to the town's bellman, and the "drucken" ne'er-do-weel who is to be
found in every small town, and whom one would scarcely expect to be
proof against a bribe that would provide him with the wherewithal for
a royal spree, all combined to wink at these infringements of the
regulations. Sir Walter himself, indeed, who was then living at
Abbotsford, used frequently to have some of the prisoners to dine and
spend the evening there. It is interesting to read the account of these
visits, and to note how Sir Walter impressed his foreign visitors. Says
the writer of the Reminiscences: "There was one person just at this time
whom I did not then appreciate as I afterwards did--Sir Walter Scott,
then plain Mr. Scott. Probably no one knew, unless his publishers,
or ever suspected him of being 'The Great Unknown,' the author
of 'Waverley.' As for us we only saw in Mr. Scott, the Sheriff of
Selkirkshire, a lawyer of some repute in Edinburgh. As sheriff be
frequently came to Selkirk, he having his home at Abbotsford, little
more than three miles distant from Selkirk.

"Mr. Scott became acquainted with one of our comrades, named Tarnier,
a young man of brilliant talent, excellent education, and of remarkably
exuberant spirits. Shortly after, without the knowledge of the
Government agent, or rather, with his tacit approval, Tarnier was
invited to Abbotsford, and he gave us on his return a vivid description
of his reception there. Later, probably at our countryman's suggestion,
he was requested by Mr. Scott to bring with him three of his friends
each time he was invited to dinner at Abbotsford. Thus I was present
on two or three occasions, invited, not by the host himself, but by my
comrade Tarnier.

"It would be, as far as I can remember, about the month of February,
1813, and our mode of procedure was as follows:--In the twilight,
those who were invited repaired to the boundary the milestone already
mentioned--there a carriage {262}awaited us, which took us at a good
pace to Abbotsford, where we were most graciously received by our host.
We only saw Mrs. Scott during the few moments before the announcement
of dinner, at which she was not present. Mrs. Scott was, as we supposed,
French, or of French extraction; in fact, she spoke French perfectly:
Mr. Scott had married her at Carlisle. Our host appeared to us in quite
a different aspect to that under which we had known him passing in the
streets of Selkirk. There he gave us the impression of being a cheery
good-natured man, whose face was rather ordinary, and whose carriage
somewhat common, and halting in his gait, this probably due to his
lameness. At Abbotsford, on the contrary, we found him a gentleman full
of cordiality and gaiety, receiving his guests in a fashion as amicable
as it was delicate. The rooms were spacious and well lighted; the table,
without being sumptuous, was on the whole _recherché_. One need not
expect me to describe very exactly the surroundings of Abbotsford, as on
the occasions I was privileged to be there, we arrived in the twilight,
and we returned when it was quite dark by the same means of locomotion.
Thus, with the exception of the dining room, and a short glimpse of
the salon, all that I know about Abbotsford has been derived from
publications which everyone has read. Neither should it be expected that
I can give details of repasts to which I was invited sixty-five years
ago. But the general theme of our conversation has remained Immutably
fixed in my memory. The principal subject of our discussion did not
ordinarily turn on politics, but on minute details concerning the French
army. All that particularly referred to Napoleon, and above all, traits
and anecdotes, appeared to interest our host in the highest degree, who
always found the means, we observed, to bring round the conversation
to this subject if it happened to have diverged in any way. As can be
imagined, we took good care to repeat nothing unfavourable regarding the
character of our beloved Emperor. We little suspected that our host was
gathering material for a {263}work published ten years later under the
title of 'A Life of Napoleon Bonaparte.'" That Sir Walter's estimate of
the Emperor greatly displeased M. Doisy, goes almost without saying.
It will be remembered, also, that the French General, Gourgaud, was so
bitterly incensed by some statements in this book that a challenge to
Sir Walter was fully expected; and assuredly it would have been accepted
if given.

Selkirk in the Time of the French prisoners was a small place of two
thousand inhabitants or less, the houses nearly all picturesquely
thatched, very few roofed with slate as at present. It must have been
matter of no small difficulty in such a community suitably to house a
sudden influx of strangers. Indeed there _was_ very great difficulty,
until it was discovered that the Frenchmen were to pay for their
accommodation, and then the difficulty vanished. But it would be hard at
the present day to find in Selkirk lodgings of any sort at the rate (2s.
6d. a week) which then satisfied owners of houses.

The following is the French prisoner's description of Selkirk: "The town
is encircled by beautiful hills on all sides: in the centre it had a
large square adorned with a fountain; a very fine bridge crossed the
Ettrick. An ordinary-looking building belonging to the National Church
and a much larger one owned by the Presbyterians, or rather the
sect known by the name of Anti-Burghers, who had for their pastor an
excellent and venerable man named Lawson, were the only two buildings in
Selkirk worthy of notice."

The hills are still beautiful; perhaps, owing to extensive tree
planting, more beautiful now than then; still within a step of Selkirk
is the purple heather, and the heartsease and blue-bell a-swing in the
summer breeze; still on every side the view lies wide and glorious.
And even in the winter, when snow first "grimes" the hills, or when the
northern blast has wrapped them in its winding sheet, one can gaze, and
repeat with heartfelt and perfect sincerity:

               "By Yarrow's stream still let me stray,

               Though none should guide my feeble way;

               Still feel the breeze down Ettrick break,

               Although it chill my wither'd cheek."

[Illustration: 0284]

"In {264}the centre it had a large square adorned with a fountain." The
"square" of Selkirk is, in effect, a triangle, (in which now stands
Sir Walter Scott's monument,) but as to the "fountain," I should have
doubts; it was probably what used to be called the "Pant Well," whence
was drawn water (supplied from the {265}Haining Loch) of a body and
bouquet indescribable. "Hoots!" scornfully cried, in later days, an old
woman, apropos of a new and irreproachable supply which had been got for
the town from another source, "Hoots! It has naether taste nor smell!"
Alas! that one should record the fact,--in old days the drainage of the
upper town (what there was of drainage in those times, that is to say),
fell into the Haining Loch not a hundred yards from the spot where
the town's supply was drawn off! And yet people lived in Selkirk to
unusually great ages. Our ancestors were hardy persons; but perhaps it
was only the very fit who then survived.

It must have been a dull, uneventful, depressing life, that of the
prisoners in Selkirk, more especially in those months between October
and March, when darkness comes early and the days are chill and grey.
What news they got was chiefly of fresh disasters to their country's
arms in Spain, and the rejoicing of the townsfolk over Wellington's
victories was of necessity exceedingly bitter to the Frenchmen. It was
execrable taste on the part of the inhabitants of Selkirk thus to show
their joy, says the writer of the Reminiscences--"indelicate," he calls
it. But the chances are that they were chiefly mannerless schoolboys
who thus misbehaved. I fear he looked for more than poor fallen human
nature is prepared to give, if he expected the townspeople entirely to
suppress their pleasure. Many a heart in Selkirk was then following with
dire anxiety the movements of our Army in the Peninsula, dreading the
news that any hour might bring of mishap or death to son, brother,
or friend; every soul the place took the profoundest interest in the
welfare of those men who had gone from their little community "to fecht
the French" and, however desirable it might be that the feelings of
prisoners should not be lacerated, it seems too much to expect that the
townsfolk should go apart in secret places in order to express, without
offence, the joy they must feel when those they loved were covering
themselves with glory. {266}Provided that no one was ill-mannered enough
to jeer at or to taunt the prisoners, I hardly think they had a right
to complain, more especially as they themselves had already sinned in
respect of rejoicing openly over victory. On a certain occasion they
heard of a great French success in Russia. Two prisoners concealed
themselves and were locked up in the church one Sunday after evening
service; about midnight these men admitted their comrades, and together
they roused sleeping Selkirk by a terrific joy-peal of bells. Honours
were easy between the two nations, I think. Both acted under strong
feeling; those were strenuous days, and feeling naturally ran high.

In the writer's possession are letters sent from Spain to Selkirk at
this period by his grand-uncle, an ensign in the Scots Brigade, now
the 94th Regiment. One, which gives a vivid picture of the storming and
capture of Ciudad Rodrigo on 19th January, 1812, could not have failed
to arouse intense enthusiasm in the town. In so small and friendly a
community, no doubt everybody was in possession of the chief details of
this letter, (and of any other that might chance to come from a soldier
at the front,) within a few hours of its receipt, and that a townsman's
regiment should be the first to enter the besieged town would be
legitimate ground for extreme pride. The following is an extract from
the letter: "About 5 in the afternoon orders came that we were to make
the attack at 7 in the Evening, the Light Division at one Breach and
ours at another. Picks and axes were given to the front rank of the
Grenadiers, and to the first Company of our Regt., and also Ropes to
swing us down into the Ditch, which we were to clear of any obstructions
that were supposed would be laid in our way. Accordingly we moved off
about dusk, and got under cover of a Convent, to a short distance from
the Ditch; there we remained till the hour of attack; it being come, and
everything ready, we rushed forward as fast as our legs could carry us,
cheering all the way. On reaching {267}the Ditch, we found it only about
six feet high, so we leaped down as quick as possible and made to the
Breach with all possible speed, and met with no obstacles. After getting
to it, we found ourselves to be the first there; on the front rank
getting to the top of it, the Enemy saluted us with a volley of grape
shot and shells (the latter they had laid across the top in rows) the
explosion of which was so dreadful that I thought we should have been
all blown up in the air together.... Some of the Men that had got up
to the top came tumbling down, dead as herrings. It stunned us for a
moment, but we gave another cheer and rushed on, scrambled to the top
and drove the fellows from the Guns opposite the Breach. Our Regt. was
about five minutes in the Town (and it is only 200 Men strong) before
any other Regt. came to its support; at last the 5th came, and the
others followed. The French dogs kept peppering at us with Musketry and
Hand-grenades at such a rate that I well thought we would all have been
slain together. At last we drove them from the Ramparts into the Town,
and then they threw down their Arms and surrendered. I went down from
the Ramparts into the Town, but such a scene of confusion I never
beheld: there were our troops plundering the houses as fast as they
were able, one fellow to be seen with two or three Loaves stuck on his
Bayonet, another with as much Pork, and in another place a parcel of
fellows knocking out the end of a Wine Cask with their Firelocks and
drinking away with the greatest fury; some ravishing the Women,
others breaking open doors, and into all such a noise, altogether
inconceivable. This continued four or five hours, and our Brigade was
shortly after moved out of the Town, at which I was very glad.... We
had two Captains killed, but immediately on their falling a Sentry
was placed over them, to guard them from being strip't, and had them
afterwards brought to the Camp and decently buried.... The Enemy that
night blew up the Mines, which killed a great many, both of their
{268}own Men and ours. It was a shocking spectacle, the sight of the
dead bodies lying at the place where it happened, all bruised and burnt
quite black, some wanting both Legs, others blown all to pieces, Legs
and Arms mixed together in confusion; it was there where Genl. M'Kinnon
was killed. You were always wishing to hear of our Regt. doing something
great; Now I think it has done a great deal, but I fear much it will not
receive the praise due to it, as it was not intended that it should be
the first that should enter the Breach, it was only meant that it should
clear the way for the other Brigade; but somehow or other we got to it
before them, and of course did not wait their coming."

Except on this occasion of the bell-ringing, and one other, when
the French officers with some difficulty had induced certain of the
townsfolk to drink to the health of the Emperor, and to shout
"_Vive l'Empereur_" friendly relations were unbroken. But the latter
unpleasantness at one time had threatened to ripen into a very ugly
affair. Bloodshed was narrowly averted. Friendship, however, was
restored, and the prisoners continued to make the best of their
situation. They obtained a billiard table from Edinburgh; they started a
café, they opened a theatre, with an excellent orchestra of twenty-five
performers "superior to all those to which the echoes of our Scottish
residence had ever till then resounded." This theatre was established in
a barn which then belonged to the writer's grandfather. Frescoes on the
walls, which had been painted by the prisoners, were still fairly fresh
in colour though hopelessly obscure as to design, when the writer saw
them in his early boyhood.

In connection with the time when Peace was proclaimed and the prisoners
were being sent back to France, it is pleasant to have to record an
incident greatly to the credit of Selkirk. The pockets of the Frenchmen
were naturally, in their situation, not very well filled; indeed,
amongst the hundred and ninety they could raise no more than £60, a
sum not nearly {269}sufficient to provide transport to the sea port
of Berwick for the entire party. They resolved, therefore, to march on
foot, using what money they had to hire carriages for the few among them
who were in bad health. After an excited night (spent by most of the
ex-prisoners in the Market-place, where they shouted and sang till
daylight, like a pack of schoolboys), just as they were preparing to
set out on their long tramp to Berwick, "an altogether unexpected and
pleasant sight met our view," writes M. Doisy. "Vehicles of all kinds
came pouring in by the streets converging on the centre of the town,
carriages, gigs, tilburys, carts, and a few saddle-horses, all of which
had been sent by the inhabitants of the surrounding parts to convey
us free of expense as far as Kelso, about half-way to Berwick.
This delicate attention had been so well calculated, and so neatly
accomplished, that we could not do otherwise than avail ourselves of
it with many thanks. We therefore separated from our Selkirk friends
without carrying away on the one part or the other any particle of
grudge that might previously have existed between us."

Similar good feeling, however, appears to have been very general between
the French prisoners and the people of the many Border towns where the
former were quartered--though it was almost too much to expect that no
unpleasantnesses should ever occur, when we remember how great a bogie
the Emperor Napoleon then was to the majority of British people, and how
to hate the French was looked on as almost a virtue. "Bless us, and save
us, _and keep the French from us_," was a common form of invocation,
then and later. Persons more ignorant or prejudiced than their
neighbours were sure, sooner or later, to overstep the mark, and bring
disgrace on their nation by boorish or brutal conduct to the defenceless
prisoners. Thus, at Jedburgh for instance, not only did schoolboys
sometimes jeer at and stone the Frenchmen, but one bitter old man, who
no doubt thought that in hating the French he was only carrying out
a manifest duty, actually {270}pointed his gun at, and threatened
to shoot, a prisoner whom he found outside the mile limit. A very
regrettable incident occurred, too, in the same town during rejoicings
over a great British victory. An effigy of the Emperor, mounted on
a donkey, was paraded by torchlight through the streets and was then
publicly burned, in full view of the deeply-pained French officers.
Whatever the faults of the Emperor, he was at least adored by his army,
and such instances of brutal ill manners were bound to lead to bad blood
and to reprisals.

Amongst themselves, the prisoners do not seem to have been quarrelsome,
nor were duels common--for which fact, of course, the lack of suitable
weapons may probably have been responsible. There was, however, a duel
at Lauder between two of the prisoners quartered in that town, and one
cannot help thinking that it must have suggested to Stevenson the duel
in "St. Ives," between prisoners in Edinburgh Castle. In Stevenson's
novel, they fought with the separated blades of scissors, securely
lashed to sticks. At Lauder, they used the blades of razors secured in
similar fashion. But, whereas in "St. Ives" the result was the death
of one combatant, in the real duel at Lauder no greater harm came of it
than slashed faces. It might be bloody enough, a duel with razor-blades,
but it could not be very dangerous, except to the tips of noses.

It might perhaps be unseemly to quit the subject of Selkirk without
making at least some mention of a custom which has prevailed there
for something like four centuries. The great day of the whole year in
Selkirk is that of the Common Riding, the Riding of the Marches of
the town's property. The custom as yet gives no sign of waning in
popularity; indeed, as the years pass, it seems to rise steadily in
favour, and where one rode fifty years ago there must now be a good half
dozen who follow the cavalcade. It is a cheerful ride and a beautiful,
in the sweet air of a sunny June morning. Selkirk needs no awakening
that day by the shrill fifes that are so early afoot in the streets;
even the old and the scant of breath {271}rise from their beds betimes,
and make a push to see the muster of riders in the Market Place. Then it
is through the shallows of the gushing river, and away over the breezy
hills, for horsemen all filled with enthusiasm if not in all cases very
secure of seat. It is a pleasant ride,--away over the hill by "Tibbie
Tamson," the lonely grave of a poor eighteenth century Suicide, a
Selkirk woman, the victim of religious despair. Of unpardoned sinners
the chief, as she imagined, in a pious frenzy she took her own life;
therefore must her body be denied Christian burial and the poor
privilege of lying beside her friends in "the auld Kirk yaird." Bundled
into a pauper's coffin, she was carted out of Selkirk under a hail of
stones and of execrations from her righteous neighbours, and here, on
the quiet hill, her body found rest.

Then the route runs across the heather--where whaups wail eerily and
the grouse dash out with sudden whir that sets some horses capering--and
away to the cairn of the Three Brethren, overlooking Tweed and
Fairnilee; then down by the Nettley Burn and across Ettrick where Queen
Mary is said to have forded it, and so home by the Shawburn. to see
the Colours "cast" in the Market Place. And then to breakfast with an
appetite that in ordinary circumstances comes only "when all the world
is young." It is two hundred years and more since it was ordained
that the Marches be ridden on the first Tuesday of June in each
year--formerly, August had been the month--and that the Deacons of all
the Crafts in Selkirk were not only to attend themselves, with their
horses, but that they were to see that every man of their trade who had
a horse should also ride, "all in their best equipage and furniture."
Why the change was made from August to June, I do not know,--unless
it was to permit of the introduction of those immense and very famous
gooseberry-tarts which are so conspicuous a feature in Common Riding
rejoicings. The day's arrangements then and earlier, were much as they
are now, no doubt. But there are {272}no Kers now to slay the Provost,
as in the sixteenth century days of Provost Muthag. The only danger in
these times is that some of the horsemen--unseasoned vessels--may be
induced to swallow one or more of the glasses of raw whisky which are
passed round with liberal hand as the cavalcade sets out from Selkirk.
Whether this is a practice ordained of old with the laudable object of
counteracting any possible risk of chill from the nipping air of the
early morning, or whether it is done in order to inspire courage in the
possible John Gilpins of the assemblage, I know not. Yet of those who
partake, the major part seem to thrive well enough on it; they are none
the worse in the afternoon, when the great body of the townsfolk stream
out southward over the hill to the Gala Rig. Here horse races are run,
over a course most gloriously situated, where a matchless view lies
widespread to the Cheviots and down to far Liddesdale, and away up among
the dim blue hills of Ettrick and Yarrow. There were races held here
at least as early as 1720, and I suppose races of a sort have probably
taken place annually on the same ground ever since.



CHAPTER XI THE ETTRICK, CARTERHAUGH, OAKWOOD, TUSHIELAW, THIRLESTANE,
ETTRICK KIRK

|And{273} now we shall go--as they say in Selkirk--"up the Watters," a
phrase which, to us of "the Forest," used of old to convey the idea of
going on a vast journey. "Did ye see the Eclipse, on Monday?" asked a
Selkirk man of his crony. "Man, _No!_ I was up the Watters that day."
Which reply-conveyed, perhaps not so much the feeling that an eclipse
was a frivolous affair pertaining to geographically remote Selkirk
alone, as that the answerer had been too deeply engaged up the waters
with other business to have leisure to attend to such petty trifles as
solar phenomena. Business "up the Watters," one used to understand, was
not seldom protracted far into the night, and at times there were lunar
phenomena observable, such as double moons, and stars whose place in the
heavens was not definitely fixed.

Leaving Selkirk by the Ettrick road, in about a couple of miles we come
abreast of the spot where Yarrow drowns herself in Ettrick. And here
below Bowhill, on the sunny, wooded peninsula formed by the two rivers,
lies Carterhaugh, scene of that famous fairy tale "The Young Tamlane."
Tamlane when a boy of nine was carried off by the Fairies.

               "There came a wind out of the north,

                   A sharp wind and a snell;

               And a deep sleep came over me,

                   And frae my horse I fell."

{274}The Queen of the Fairies "keppit" (caught) him as he fell, and bore
him off to dwell in Fairyland. There he remained, neither increasing in
years nor in stature, but taking at will his human shape, and returning
to earth for a time when it pleased him.

[Illustration: 0294]

Carterhaugh was his special haunt, and here, if they did not altogether
shun that neighbourhood, young women too often had cause to repent
having met him.

               "O I forbid ye, maidens a',

               That wear gowd on your hair,

               To come or gae by Carterhaugh,

                   For young Tamlane is there."

"Fair Janet," however, was one who would take no warning:

               "I'll cum and gang to Carterhaugh,

                   And ask nae leave o' him,"  {275}said she. And she went. But

               "She hadna pu'd a red red rose,

                   A rose but barely three;

               Till up and starts a wee wee man,

                   At Lady Janet's knee."

"He's ta'en her by the milk-white hand, amang the leaves sae
green,"--and Janet rued her visit. Later, Tamlane tells her how he may
be rescued from Fairyland, and the ballad relates Janet's successful
venture:

               "The night it is good Hallowe'en,

                   When fairy folk will ride;

               And they that wad their true love win

                   At Miles Cross they maun bide.

               "Gloomy, gloomy, was the night,

                   And eiry was the way,

               As fair Janet in her green mantle,

                   To Miles Cross she did gae.

               "The heavens were black, the night was dark,

                   And dreary was the place;

               But Janet stood, with eager wish

                   Her lover to embrace.

               "Betwixt the hours of twelve and one,

                   A north wind tore the bent;

               And straight she heard strange elritch sounds,

                   Upon that wind which went.

               "About the dead hour o' the night,

                   She heard the bridles ring;

               And Janet was as glad o' that

               As ony earthly thing.

               "Their oaten pipes blew wondrous shrill,

                   The hemlock small blew clear;

               And louder notes from hemlock large,

                   And bog-reed, struck the ear.

               "Fair Janet stood, with mind unmoved,

                   The dreary heath upon;

               And louder, louder wax'd the sound,

                   As they came riding on.

               "Will o' the Wisp before them went,

                   Sent forth a twinkling light;

               And soon she saw the Fairy bands

                   All riding in her sight.

               "And first gaed by the black, black steed.

                   And then gaed by the brown;

               But fast she grip't the milk-white steed,

                   And pu'd the rider down.

               "She pu'd him frae the milk white steed,

                   And loot the bridle fa';

               And up there raise an erlish cry--

                   'He's won among us a'!'

               "They shaped him in fair Janet's arms,

                   An esk, but and an adder;

               She held him fast in every shape--

                   To be her bairn's father.

               "Th     ey shaped him in her arms at last

               A mother-naked man:

               She wrapt him in her green mantle,

                   And sae her true love wan!"

A mile or two up the river from Carterhaugh, on Ettrick's right bank,
stands the interesting and well-preserved old tower of Oakwood, the
property of the Scotts of Harden, in whose possession it has been since
1517. Locally, the belief is implicitly held that this tower was, in
the thirteenth century, the residence of the great Michael Scott, the
Wizard, out of whose tomb in Melrose Abbey William of Deloraine took

               "From the cold hand the Mighty Book,

               With iron clasp'd, and with iron hound:

               He thought as he took it the dead man frowned."

There _was_ a Michael Scott who once owned Oakwood, but that was long
after the Wizard's day. In spite of all tradition--for whose birth Sir
Walter is probably responsible--it is not {277}likely that the veritable
Michael (Thomas the Rhymer's contemporary, and a Fifeshire man) ever was
near Oakwood.

[Illustration: 0297]

Certainly he never lived in the tower that stands now on the steep bank
hard by the river. That is no thirteenth century building. I fear,
therefore, that the story of Michael and the Witch of Fauldshope, and of
how, bursting one day from her cottage in the guise of a hare, he was
coursed by his own dogs on Fauldshope Hill, can no more be connected
with Selkirkshire than can the legend of his embassy to Paris, to which
city he journeyed in a single night, mounted on a great coal-black
{278}steed, who indeed was none other than the Foul Fiend himself. There
is, however, a Witchie Knowe on Fauldshope; perhaps the Michael who
really did live at Oakwood, sometime about the beginning of the
seventeenth century, may have had dealings with the woman, which in some
way gave rise to the legend. This "witch," by the way, was an ancestress
of Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd.

Oakwood Tower is not very old, and it never was very strong--as the
strength of peel towers is reckoned; its walls are little more than four
feet in thickness, which is almost flimsy compared with those of its
near neighbour, Newark. Above the dungeons, Oakwood is three stories in
height, and its external measurements are thirty-eight by twenty-three
and a half feet. Into one wall is built a stone on which are the initals
R.S. L.M, initials of Robert Scott and his wife, probably a Murray.
Between them is the Harden crescent; and below, the date, and 1602,
which is no doubt the true year of the present tower's erection.
Tradition tells of a haunted chamber in Oakwood; the "Jingler's Room,"
it was called, but what the story was, the writer has not been able to
learn. The tower now is used chiefly as a farm building, and if there
are any hauntings they probably take the unpleasant form of rats.

Following up the Ettrick, presently we come to the village of
Ettrickbridgend, near to which are the picturesque Kukhope Linns and
Kirkhope Tower, a well preserved Border peel. In this tower in old days
at times dwelt Auld Wat of Harden, or one of his family. Tradition
tells that it was Wat who first spanned Ettrick with a bridge. It was a
penance, self-inflicted, because of a mishap that occurred at the ford
here to a young boy, heir of the Nevilles, whom Wat had carried off from
his home in Northumberland. Wat's bridge stood a little way above the
site of that which now crosses Ettrick at Ettrickbridgend, and I am
told--though I have not seen it--that a stone from the old bridge, with
the Harden coat of arms carved on it, may now be seen built into the
present structure.

{279}

[Illustration: 0299]

A little higher up, there falls into Ettrirk the Dodhead Burn, at the
head of which is "the fair Dodhead," the reputed residence of Jamie
Telfer, hero of the famous ballad.

[Illustration: 0300]

These Border hills have produced from time to time many a long-distance
runner of immense local celebrity,--such for instance, as the far-famed
Will of Phaup--but few of them, I imagine, could have "lived" with Jamie
Telfer in that burst of his across the trackless heather and the boggy
moors from the Dodhead, over by the headwaters of Ale, across Borthwick,
across Teviot, on to Slitrig at "Stobs Ha'," and from there back again
to Teviot at Coultercleuch. It must be a good sixteen miles at the
least, across a country over which no runner could travel at a pace so
fast as that with which the ballad credits Jamie. But if anyone did this
run, I fear it was no Jamie Telfer. At least in the fair Dodhead
up Ettrick there was at the supposed date of the ballad, and for
generations before, no Telfer, but a Scott. The Dodhead of the ballad
must be some other place of the same name, possibly that near Penchrise,
by Skelfhill.

Following up Ettrick, past Hyndhope and Singlie, we come to Deloraine,
an ancient possession of the Scotts, for ever {281}famed through
its association with William of Deloraine and the "Lay of the Last
Minstrel":

                   "A stark moss-trooping Scott was he,

               As e'er couch'd Border lance by knee."

There are various theories as to the derivation of the name "Deloraine."

[Illustration: 0301]

One, in accord with the local pronunciation of the word--"Delorran,"
with the accent on the second syllable--gives its origin as from the
Gaelic, "dal Grain," the place or land of Orain, who, I understand,
was a Celtic saint. There is also the explanation given by the Rev. Dr.
Russell of Yarrow, in the Statistical Account of the Parish of 1833. "In
1503, James IV endowed his Queen, the Lady Margaret of England, with the
Forest of Ettrick and Tower of Newark, which had formerly been the dowry
of Mary of Guelders. Hence, probably, our two farms of Deloraine (de
la reine) received their name, or afterwards perhaps from Mary of
_Lorraine_." One would prefer to adopt Dr. Russell's interpretation of
the name, but probably the place was called "Delorran" long before the
day of any of the historical characters mentioned.

Higher still up Ettrick is Tushielaw, with its fragment of{282} a ruined
tower, the home in old days of that formidable freebooter Adam Scott,
"the king of the Border," or "king of thieves." Local tradition tells
that he was hanged by James V to the branch of an ash tree that grew
within his own castle walls--retributive justice on a man who had
himself, in like manner, sent to their doom so many poor wretches
from the branches of that same tree. The ash no longer stands, but in
_Chambers' Gazetteer_ for 1832 there is this note concerning it: "It
is curious to observe that along its principal branches there are yet
visible a number of nicks, or hollows, over which the ropes had been
drawn wherewith he performed his numerous executions."

Like too many local traditions, however, the story of his execution will
not bear examination. Adam Scott was arrested and hanged in Edinburgh, a
full month before the King set out on his memorable expedition to pacify
the Border. James certainly laid a heavy hand on the freebooters; and
he appears also to have very materially altered the face of things in
other ways in these Border hills. The timber which clothed them began
from this time to disappear--birch and oak it appears to have been for
the most part, interspersed with ash, mountain-ash, thorn, and hazel, to
judge by the numbers of stumps and pieces of decayed trees still found
in mossy ground. They mostly suggest timber of no great size, but now
and again the remains of a fine tree are come upon, even in exposed and
high-lying situations. The remains of a very large oak, for instance,
were discovered some years ago during draining operations among the wild
hills right at the head of Jed.

Probably James destroyed a great deal of timber in his efforts to
convert the country into a sheep-run. According to Pitscottie, the king
soon had "ten thousand sheep going in the forest, under the keeping of
Andrew Bell, who made the King as good an account of them as if they
had gone in the bounds of Fife." {283}James V no doubt was a good
husbandman,--it was his boast that in these wilds he "made the rush bush
keep the cow,"--but he was a better husbandman than he was a sportsman,
at least as we now understand the word.

[Illustration: 0303]

We should now probably call him a pot-hunter. It was early in June when
he started on his expedition; young calves are then with the hinds,
and the harts are yet low in condition, and "in the velvet" as to
their horns. Yet Pitscottie says: "I heard say he slew in these bounds
eighteen score of harts." However, if his expedition had to be made
then, {284}his army--and it was an army--must necessarily be fed; and
no doubt if he wanted to run sheep there, the stock of deer had to be
cleared out.

[Illustration: 0304]

But what a place for game of all kinds this forest must then have been.
One may learn from the place-names which still linger among the hills
what manner of beasts formerly inhabited this part of the Border:
Ox-cleuch, Deer-law, Hart-leap, Hynd-hope, Fawn-burn, Wolf-cleuch,
Brock-hill, Swine-brae, Boar-cleuch, Cat-slack. The Hart's-leap is said
to have got its name owing to an incident that occurred during King
James's expedition in 1530; a deer, in sight of the king, is said to
have cleared at one bound a distance so remarkable that James directed
his followers to leave a memorial of the leap. Two grey whinstones here,
twenty-eight feet apart, are said to be those which were then set up.
Ox-cleuch was probably so named from some ancient adventure with a Urus,
or wild bull, or possibly because it was a favourite haunt of those
formidable beasts. Their skulls are still occasionally dug up during the
process of draining swampy lands among our Border hills. There is a very
fine specimen {285}now at Synton (between Selkirk and Hawick), home of
one of the oldest branches of the Scott family.

[Illustration: 0305]

If one may judge from that skull, the horns must have been something
like twice the size of the ox of the present day. He was the ancestor, I
suppose, of the fierce wild cattle of Chillingham. {286}Half a mile, or
a little more, above the inn at Tushielaw--a comfortable hostelry, and a
good fishing centre--the Rankle Burn flows into Ettrick.

[Illustration: 0306]

Up this burn's right bank, through the lonely vale and over the hills
runs a road leading to Hawick, and on your right, as you head in that
direction, a few miles up is Buccleuch, one of the earliest possessions
in the Border of the great Scott clan. Near the road, in a deep ravine
or cleuch, is pointed out the spot where, they say, the buck was slain
from which' originated the title of the present ducal house. Farther on,
just upon the water-shed between Ettrick and Teviot, is Bellenden, which
became the Scotts' mustering place and whose name was the clan's slogan.
As Mr. Thomson's sketches show, it is a wild country enough; in winter
its bleakness at times is surely past the power of words to tell. It
must be a hardy race that can live and thrive here. A land of swamp, and
sullen, dark, moss-hag, this must have been in days of old. Still among
the hills, bogs and lochs innumerable are scattered: of the latter,
Clearburn, Ringside, Crooked Loch, Windylaw, Hellmuir, Alemuir, and
various {287}others, all within a few miles, but not many, I think, such
as need tempt the wandering fisher.

A couple of miles up Ettrick, above Tushielaw, is Thirlestane, the seat
of Lord Napier of Ettrick, surrounded by its woods. It is a mansion
built something less than a hundred years ago, but close to it are the
remains of the old Thirlestane Castle. I do not know if Hertford's long
arm was responsible in 1544 for its ruin. It is probable enough. The
stronghold belonged then to Sir John Scott, a prominent man in those
days, and the only Scottish baron at Fala-muir who did not refuse to
follow James V into England, for which reason the king charged "our lion
herauld and his deputies for the time be and, to give and to graunt to
the said John Scott, ane Border of ffleure de lises about his coatte of
armes, sik as is on our royal banner, and alsua ane bundell of launces
above his helmet, with thir words, _Readdy, ay Readdy_, that he and all
his after-cummers may bruik the samine as a pledge and taiken of our
guid will and kyndnes for his true worthines." Lord Napier is this John
Scott's descendant.

Across the river from Thirlestane are the ruins of another
castle--Gamescleuch, built by Simon Scott, named Long Spear, a son of
John of Thirlestane. Tradition says that Gamescleuch was never occupied,
but was allowed to fall into decay because its owner, Simon of the
Spear, was poisoned by his step-mother the night before he should have
been married and have taken up his abode there.

We are getting far into the wild hills now, near to the head of Ettrick,
by Ettrick Pen, Wind Fell, and Capel Fell, all hills considerably over
two thousand feet in height. But before crossing over to Yarrow and
St. Mary's, there remain to be noticed Ettrick Kirk, and James Hogg's
birthplace, Ettrick Hall. Ettrick Kirk, of course, is inalienably
associated with the Rev. Thomas Boston, "Boston of Ettrick," minister of
the parish for a quarter of a century, a man who left a deep mark on the
religious life of Scotland. He died here in 1732, and {288}his monument
stands in the little graveyard by the kirk, not lar from the head-stone
to the memory of the Ettrick Shepherd, and near to the spot where, as
the stone tells us, "lyeth William Laidlaw, the far-famed Will of Phaup,
who for feats of Frolic, Agility, and Strength, had no equal in his
day." Liaidlaw was Hogg's grandfather.

[Illustration: 0308]

How many persons now-a-days are familiar with, or indeed, perhaps, ever
heard of, Boston's "Fourfold State," or his "Crook in the Lot"? Perhaps
in Ettrick there may yet be, in cottages, an odd copy or two, belonging
to, and possibly yet read by, very old people. But Boston, who as a
theologian had once so marked an influence, is now little more than a
name, even to the descendants of his flock in Ettrick, and his books,
which {289}formerly were to be found in almost every peasant's house in
Scotland, are unknown to later generations. Nor, perhaps, is that great
matter for wonder. It must be confessed that these writings, which,
up to even quite a recent date, had so great a hold on the Scottish
peasant, and which, indeed, with the Bible formed almost his only
reading, do not appeal to present day readers. The plums in the pudding
to modern eyes seem few and far between. But there _are_ plums to be
found, and many a forcible expression. In "The Crook in the Lot," for
instance, where his theme is profligacy, the expression is a happy one
whereby he warns the vicious man against the possibility of a "leap out
of Delilah's lap into Abraham's bosom."

Like most of his class and creed in those days, Boston was stern and
unbending in his Calvinism, and when he came to Ettrick in 1707, he was
faced by a state of affairs that bred for a time great friction between
minister and congregation. The flock had been for a while without a
shepherd, and laxity had crept into their church-going. Boston had to
complain of the "indecent carriage of the people at the kirk, going out
and in, and up and down the kirkyard the time of divine service." But
he speedily drilled them into a line of conduct more seemly; and whereas
when he dispensed the Sacrament for the first time in 1710 there had
been present only fifty-seven communicants, in 1731 when he dispensed
it for the last time, there were no fewer than seven hundred and
seventy-seven. Crowds of people from other parishes came vast distances
over the pathless mountains in order to be present. Where did they all
find food and accommodation, one wonders. The farmers, then as now the
most hospitable and kindly of human beings, fed and housed numbers, as a
matter of course, but they could not accommodate all, and there was then
no inn at Tushielaw, none indeed nearer than Selkirk. Great must have
been the fervour of those many scores of men and women who resolutely
tramped so far over {290}the wild hills to be present at "the
Sacrament." There were no roads in those days, or practically none.

[Illustration: 0310]

Even at late as 1792, the Statistical Account of the Parish says: "The
roads are almost impassable. The only road that looks like a turnpike is
to Selkirk, but even it in many places is so deep as greatly to obstruct
travelling. The distance is about sixteen miles, and it requires four
hours to ride it. The snow also at times is a great inconvenience;
often for many months we can have no intercourse with our neighbours....
Another great disadvantage is the want of bridges. For many hours the
traveller is obstructed on his journey when the waters are swelled."
Such was the condition of the hill country sixty-years after Boston's
death. In his day it must have been even worse; probably the only road
that resembled a road in 1792 was a mere track earlier in the century.

Close by Ettrick Kirk is Ettrick Hall, where Hogg was born. Though in
name suggestive of a lordly mansion, it was in reality but a mean, and
rather damp, little cottage, or "butt and ben," of which there are now
no remains. I understand that the walls fell down about the year 1830.
There is {291}now a monument to "the Shepherd" where the cottage stood;
and there is of course the commemorative statue over by St. Mary's, hard
by "Tibbie Shiels."

[Illustration: 0311]

Hogg was, as the late Professor Ferrier said: "after Hums (_proximus sed
longo intervallo_) the greatest poet that has ever sprung from the bosom
of the common people."

[Illustration: 0311]

But to how many of those who visit his birth place, or look on his
monument over in Yarrow, are his works now familiar? How many of
us, indeed, have any but the merest nodding acquaintance even with
"Kilmeny"? And of his prose waitings, who of the general public, except
here and there a one, knows now even the "Brownie of Bodesbeck," a
Covenanting story that used to thrill every Scottish boy?



CHAPTER XII YARROW

|In{282} whatever part you take the vale of Ettrick, there is about it,
and about its scenery and its associations, a charm, different perhaps
from that of the more widely famed Yarrow, yet almost equally powerful.
There is in the summer season a solemnity and a peace brooding over
these "round-backed, kindly hills," that act like a charm on the body
and mind that are weary. Each vale has its distinctive peculiarities,
yet each blends imperceptibly into the other.

From the head of Ettrick by Ettrick Kirk over to Yarrow is but little
more than a step across the hills, either by the bridle track by
Scabcleuch and Penistone Knowe over to the Riskinhope Burn and the head
of the Loch of the Lowes, for those afoot; or by the road up Tushielaw
Burn, for those on whom time, or years, press unduly, and who prefer to
drive. It is not a very good road, but it serves, though the descent to
St. Mary's is something of the abruptest,--one in ten, I think. If the
bridle track has been followed, as one comes down towards Riskinhope,
there, on the opposite side of the valley, is Chapelhope, for ever
associated with Hogg's "Brownie of Bodesbeck." And at Riskinhope itself,
Renwick, last of the Scottish Covenanting Martyrs, preached no long time
before his execution at the Grassmarket in Edinburgh in February, 1688.
"When he prayed that day, few of his hearers' cheeks were dry," says the
Ettrick Shepherd.

[Illustration: 0313]

It was here

               "Where Renwick told of one great sacrifice,

               For he himself had borne in full his cross,

               And hearts sublimed were round him in the wild,

               And faces, God-ward turned in fervent prayer,

               For deeply smitten, suffering flock of Christ;

               And clear uprose the plaintive moorland psalm,

               Heard high above the plover's wailing cry,

               From simple hearts in whom the spirit strong

               Of hills was consecrate by heavenly grace,

               And firmly nerv'd to meet, whene'er it came,

               In His own time, the call to martyrdom."

"The plover's wailing cry."--It is curious to note how even to this
day the peewit, or plover, is hated in the Border hills, because its
incessant complaining wail when disturbed so often betrayed to the
dragoons the presence of lurking Covenanters, or the whereabouts of some
Conventicle of the persecuted people. The shepherd or the peasant of
to-day will stamp on the eggs of the peewit wherever he comes on
them, muttering to himself curses on the bird as it wheels and plunges
overhead, wailing dolefully.

But of Yarrow, how is one to write? The task is hopeless, whether it
be to speak of its beauty, of its legend, its poetry, or of its
associations. From Scott and Wordsworth downwards, what poet has not
sung its praises? However halting may be his pen, what writer in prose
has not tried in words to picture its scenes? It is left to one now only
to repeat what has been said by better men; at the best, one may but
paraphrase the words of another. There is nothing new to be said of
Yarrow, no fresh beauty to be pointed out. Its charm affects each one
differently; each must see and feel for himself. But whether the season
be sweetest summer-tide, or that when winter's blast comes black and
roaring down the glens, fiercely driving before it sheets of water
snatched from the tortured bosom of lone Saint Mary's,--there, still,
abides the indescribable charm of Yarrow. Yet on the whole, I think
almost that I should prefer my visit to be in the winter time, if a
few fine days might be assured, or days at least without storm. In the
summer season now, and especially since the advent of the motor
car, from morning till night so constant a stream of visitors and
{295}tourists passes through the vale, and along the lake side, that
even Yarrow's deathless charm is broken, her peace disturbed; one's soul
can take no rest there now, far from the clamour of the outer world.

[Illustration: 0315]

No longer may one quote Alexander Anderson's beautiful lines:

               "What boon to lie, as now I lie,

                   And see in silver at my feet

               Saint Mary's Lake, as if the sky

                   Had fallen 'tween those hills so sweet.

               "And this old churchyard on the hill,

                   That keeps the green graves of the dead,

               So calm and sweet, so lone and still,

                   And but the blue sky overhead."

And yet, even in summer, if one can betake oneself to the old churchyard
of St. Mary of the Lowes, at an hour when the chattering, picnic-ing
tourist is far from the scene, one may still lie there and dream,
unvexed by care; and, if fate be kind, one may yet spend long restful
days among the hills, beside some crooning burn that

                   ". . . half-hid, sings its song

               In hidden circlings'neath a grassy fringe";

still rejoice in the unspoilt moorlands and the breezy heights:

               "There thrown aside all reason-grounded doubts,

               All narrow aims, and self-regarding thoughts,

               Out of himself amid the infinitude,

               Where Earth, and Sky, and God are all in all."

[Illustration: 0316]

And in these hills, what fitter place can there be for dreams than St.
Mary's chapel, overlooking the silent lake, with Yarrow gliding from its
bosom? Here you will find a Sabbath peace, as placid as when

                   "... on sweet Sabbath morns long gone,

               Folks wended to St. Mary's Forest Kirk,

               Where mass was said and matins, softly sung,

               Were borne in fitful swell across the Loch;

               And full of simple vision, there they saw

               In Kirk and Quire, the brier and red rose,

               That fondly meet and twin'd o'er lover's graves,

               Who fled o' night through moor up Black Cleuch heights

               Pass'd through the horror of the mortal fight,

               Where Margaret kiss'd a father's ruddy wounds."

{297}The ballad of the Douglas tragedy is known to everyone; it need not
be quoted.

[Illustration: 0317]

This is the kirk where the lovers lie buried, almost within distant
sight of the ancient tower from which they had fled, and whose ruins
are still to be seen near Blackhouse, on the Douglas Burn. The Douglas
stones, which, tradition tells us, mark the spot where Lady Margaret's
seven brothers fell under the sword of her lover, are out high on the
moor: but there are eleven, not seven, stones, though only three are
left standing. It was at Blackhouse, one may remember, that Sir Walter
first made the acquaintance of Willie Laidlaw, whose father was tenant
of the farm. James Hogg was shepherd here from 1790 to 1800, but he had
left before Sir Walter's visit, though the two met very shortly after.
It was whilst Hogg was in service here that there came the tremendous
snow storm of 1794, of which he gave so vivid a description in
Blackwood's Magazine of July, 1819.

There are now no remains of the chapel of St. Mary;

                   "O lone St. Mary of the waves,

                   In ruin lies thine ancient aisle."

{298}It was destroyed about the year 1557, and was never rebuilt.
A Cranstoun, flying from the Scotts, sought sanctuary in the holy
building, and the Scotts, heedless of the terrors of excommunication,
burnt it down. "They burned the Chapel for very rage," says The Lay,
because Cranstoun escaped them. The churchyard is little used now, but a
few privileged families do still, I understand, bury their dead in that
quiet spot. It is an enviable place in which to lie at rest, where the
lark sings high in air, and the free wind comes soughing over the hill.

Near to the burial ground is the mound called Binram's Coise, the
grave, they say, of a wizard priest, whose bones might not find rest in
hallowed ground.

               "Strange stories linger'd in those lonely glens,--

               Of that weird eve when wizard Binram old,

               Was laid in drear unrest, beyond hallow'd ground;

               How, at bell-tolling by no mortal hand,

               And voices saying words which no man knew,

               There rose such shrieks from low depths of the lake,

               And such wild echoes from the darken'd hill,

               That holy men fled from the scant fill'd grave,

               And left bare buried that unholy priest."

Across the loch from the quiet grave-yard on the hill, lies "Bowerhope's
lonely top," and Bowerhope farm, so loved of its tenant of many years
ago. In his "Reminiscences of Yarrow," the late Rev. Dr. Russell
mentions that "Bowerhope farmhouse was so low in the roof that my father
at the exhortations had to stand between two of the rafters, so that the
Kitchen full of people and full of smoke was not the most pleasant
place to speak in. Yet old Sandy Cunningham, the tenant, used to say:
'Ministers may talk o' Heevin' as they like; commend me to Bowerhope; I
cud tak a tack [lease] o't to a' eternity.'"

On our right, on the same side of the loch with us as we stand facing
Bowerhope, is Henderland, where, on a spot called the Chapel Knowe, is
a grave-slab, and on it, sculptured, a sword and what appear to be
armorial bearings, with the inscription: {299}"Here lyis Perys of
Cokburne and hys wyfe Marjory." This, we used to be told, was the grave
of a famous freebooter, whom King James V, (dropping in, as it were, one
day while the unsuspecting reiver sat at dinner,) took, and hanged over
the gate of his own castle, the tower whose weather-battered fragments
are still to be seen here.

[Illustration: 0319]

His wife, it was said, fled to the adjacent Dow Glen, a rocky chasm
through which rushes the Henderland burn, and there, says Sir Walter
Scott, cowering on what is still called the Lady's Seat, she strove "to
drown amid the roar of a foaming cataract, the tumultuous noise which
announced the close of his existence." But Cokburne of Henderland, like
Adam Scott of Tushiealaw, was executed in Edinburgh, before King James
set out on his expedition. Moreover, that Cokburn of Henderland's
Christian name was {300}William. This, therefore, cannot be the grave
of James' victim in 1530. but whatever the real story of "Perys Cokburne
and hys wyfe, Marjory," their fate has given rise to a ballad fuller of
pathos than all the countless pathetic ballads of Yarrow,

                   "My love he built me a bonny bower,

                   And clad it a' wi' lilye flower,

                   A brawer bower ye ne'er did see,

                   Than my true love he built for me.

                   "There came a man, by middle day,

                   He spied his sport and went away;

                   And brought the King that very night,

                   Who brake my bower, and slew my knight.

                   "He slew my knight, to me sae dear;

                   He slew my knight, and puin'd his gear;

                   My servants all for life did flee,

                   And left me in extremitie.


                   "I sewed his sheet, making my mane;

                   I watch'd the corpse, myself alane;

                   I watch'd his body, night and day;

                   No living creature came that way.

                   "I took his body on my back,

                   And whiles I gaed, and whiles I sat;

                   I digged a grave, and laid him in,

                   And happ'd him with the sod sae green.

                   "But think na ye my heart was sair,

                   When I laid the moul' on his yellow hair;

                   O think na ye my heart was wae,

                   When I turn'd about, away to gae?

                   "Nae living man I'll love again,

                   Since that my lovely knight is slain,

                   Wi' ae lock of his yellow hair

                   I'll chain my heart for evermair."

Just by Henderland is Coppercleuch, (called Cappercleuch in my boyhood,)
and below it, Megget, flowing into the loch--a troutful stream, at least
in earlier days. Pike used to bask in {301}the shallows here of a hot
summer's day; perhaps even yet they do so. But I think these fish are
more numerous now in the Loch of the Lowes than in St. Mary's.

[Illustration: 0321]

Up Megget's left bank runs a hill road leading over into Tweedsmuir. It
has been negotiated by motors, but it is far from being a desirable road
for that form of traffic, or indeed for any except foot traffic. The
surface is rough and hilly, and where it plunges down past Talla Linns
it is exceedingly steep, and n places very soft.

Higher up the loch than Coppercleuch is the Rodono Hotel, and beyond,
on the isthmus at the very head of St. Mary's, "Tibbie's," that
famous little hostelry, haunt lang syne of Christopher North and Hogg;
"Tibbie's," with its queer little antiquated box-beds, that I believe
even yet exist. But it is not the "Tibbie Shiels" of North's day, or
even of much later {302}days; it has not the same simplicity; it has
grown, and is no longer the simple little cottage into which Tibbie and
her husband entered just ninety years ago this year of 1913.

[Illustration: 0322]

Robert Chambers described it in 1827 as "a small, neat house, kept by a
decent shepherd's widow... It is scarcely possible to conceive anything
more truly delightful than a week's ruralizing in this comfortable
little mansion, with the means of so much amusement at the very door,
and so many interesting objects of sight and sentiment lying closely
around."

Perhaps in some ways it is as delightful now as ever; but motors and
bicycles have changed its air, and its aspect. They seem as inconsistent
with the air of "Tibbie's" as would be a railway train, or penny
steamers on the loch. Necessarily, there is now about the place a more
commercial air; it is no longer the mere cottage, with its simple fare
of oatmeal porridge,--cooked as nowhere now it is cooked; milk, rich
and frothy; of ham and eggs, the mere whiff of which would bring you in
ravenous from loch or hill; of fresh caught trout fried in oatmeal
and still sizzling as they were brought in. There are trout now as of
{303}old, no doubt, and hens yet lay eggs, and pigs are turned to bacon;
but you eat now with a sense of having a train to catch, or a motor
hurriedly to jump into; your eye seems to be ever on the clock, and the
old air of leisure and of peace is gone. Tibbie Shiel herself departed
in time. She who, when all the world was young, listened many a time to
that Shepherd who had

                   "Found in youth a harp among the hills,

                   Dropt by the Elfin people,"

I think could ill have brooked this twentieth century rush and hurry;
she was spared the trial of finding the pure air of St. Mary's poisoned
by the stench of petrol fumes. A native of Ettrick, born in 1782, Tibbie
lived at her home in Yarrow till the summer of 1878, and she lies in the
same kirk-yaird that "haps" all that is mortal of James Hogg. And here
by the loch, almost at her door, with plaid around him, the Shepherd
sits in effigy, as Christopher North predicted to him in 1824, with
"honest face looking across St. Mary's Loch and up towards the Grey
Mare's Tail, while by moonlight all your own fairies will weave a dance
round its pedestal."

They were weird things, those box beds, that have been mentioned as
still existing in Tibbie Shiel's cottage, weird, and responsible for
much ill-health, more especially one would suppose, for consumption.
They were built into the wall of a room, and they had wooden doors that
could be drawn close at night, entirely cutting them off from the room,
and jealously excluding every breath of fresh air. Some had a very small
sliding trap, or eyelet hole, in one of the doors, opening at the side
just above the pillow, but the custom was, as I understand, to shut even
that. The box-bed was of old almost universal in peasants' cottages in
the Border. No doubt it gave a certain amount of privacy to the occupant
or occupants, but what countless forms of disease it must have fostered!
The present writer can remember the case of a young man of twenty-five
or so, who, to the puzzled wonder of his friends, {304}died of a
galloping consumption. "I canna think hoo he could hae gotten't," said
his sister to the daughter of her mistress. "He was aye _that_ carefu'
o' himsel'. Od! he wad hap himself up that warm, an' he aye drew the
doors o' his bed close, an' shuttit the verra keek-hole. Na! I canna
think hoo he could hae catched it."

[Illustration: 0324]

To add to the sanitary joys of those homes of disease germs, it was,
too, the almost universal custom to use the space below the bed as a
kind of store house. The writer can remember as a boy to have seen
in one of the most decent and respectable of such cottages, bags of
potatoes stowed under the sleeping place occupied by a husband and
wife! {305}Quitting now the Loch, and following the road that leads
down Yarrow to Selkirk, on our left, half a mile or so from the road and
overhanging the burn, stands the massive little tower of Dryhope. This
was the birthplace, about the year 1550, of the beautiful Mary Scott,
the Flower of Yarrow, bride of Scott of Harden. I suppose that Harden
must have succeeded his father-in-law in the possession of Dryhope,
for in 1592, James VI issued orders to demolish the tower of Dryhope,
"pertaining to Walter Scott of Harden who was art and part of the
late treasonable act perpetuate against His Highness' own person at
Falkland." James' instructions, however, cannot have been carried out
very effectually, if at all, for Dryhope, though roofless, is in rather
better preservation than are the majority of Border peels.

And now, on the far side of Yarrow, we pass Altrive, the farm which,
from 1814 till his death in 1835, Hogg leased from the Duke of
Buccleuch, at a merely nominal rent. Here, as Allan Cunningham said, he
had "the best trout in Yarrow, the finest lambs on its braes, the finest
grouse on its hills, and as good as a _sma' still_ besides." Indeed
he must almost have needed a "sma' still," in order effectually to
entertain the crowds of people who came here unasked, to visit him, once
he had established his reputation as a Hon. The tax on him must have
been even heavier in proportion than it was on Sir Walter at Abbotsford.

Farther down, by the intersection of the cross road that leads over
to Traquair and Tweed, there is the Gordon Arms, snuggest of fishing
quarters, where in the endless twilights of June and July you may lie
long awake, yet half steeped in sleep, listening contentedly to the
wavering trill of whaups floating eerily over the hill in the still
night air; or in the lightest dreamland you forecast the basket of
tomorrow. It was here, at the Gordon Arms, that Scott and Hogg parted
for the last time in the autumn of 1830, when the waters were already
rising high that were so soon to close over Sir Walter's head. Slowly
they {306}walked together a mile down the road, Scott leaning heavily
on Hogg's shoulder, and "I cannot tell what it was," wrote the latter
afterwards, "but there was something in his manner that distressed me.

[Illustration: 0326]

He often changed the subject very abruptly, and never laughed. He
expressed the deepest concern for my welfare and success in life more
than I had ever heard him do before, and all mixed with sorrow for
my worldly misfortunes. There is little doubt that his own were then
preying on his vitals." In truth Sir Walter then might well "never
laugh."

He had already had a slight paralytic stroke, and he could not but
realise that the end of his titanic labours was approaching.

A few miles down stream from the Gordon Arms, we come to Yarrow Kirk,
and Yarrow Manse, smiling in a valley that to me in some strange way
always speaks of sunshine and of peace. Perhaps it is due to thoughts of
those who laboured here so long, and who gave to everyone

                "That best portion of a good man's life--

               His little, nameless, unremembered acts

               Of kindness and of love."


{307}I think I am not mistaken in saying that in this Parish of Yarrow
there have been during a hundred and twenty-two years only three
ministers.

[Illustration: 0327]

From 1791 to 1883 there were the Russells, father and son,--the Reverend
Dr. Robert Russell and the Reverend Dr. James Russell, whose names were
household words far beyond the bounds of Yarrow, and at whose manse old
and young, rich and poor, were equally made welcome. And after them
came the Reverend Dr. Borland, who died in 1912, and whose "Raids and
Reivers" is a Border classic. It is a remarkable record, and a wonderful
testimony to the pure air of Yarrow. During his long life Dr. Robert
Russell never spent a single day in bed, nor until three days before his
death was he ever prescribed for by a doctor.

Yarrow Kirk was built in 1640, and the first minister of the {308}Parish
after the Revolution was the Reverend John Rutherford, maternal
great-grandfather of Sir Walter Scott. Dr. James Russell gives a quaint
account of the church as it was in 1826, in the time of his father. "The
interments," he says, "which had taken place in the course of nearly two
hundred years, and the wish for proximity to Church walls, had had
the effect of raising the ground of the graveyard around the church
considerably above its level. In front, the earth outside was two feet,
and at the corner of the aisle fully four feet higher. In consequence,
the lower walls were covered with a green damp, and the rain water
flowed into the passages. In winter the water froze, and my father used
to say that he often got a slide to the pulpit." This matter, however,
was remedied in 1826, when many improvements were made in and around the
church. One improvement which Dr. Russell mentions had to do with the
shepherds' dogs, which then invariably accompanied their masters to
church--a practice which I think died out but recently. "There were no
doors on the seats," says Dr. Russell, "and nothing but a narrow deal in
each as a footboard, and no separation below between them. The planking
on the passages was very deficient, and a great deal of the earthen
floor was thus exposed, and it can easily be imagined that when the
shepherds from Ettrick, as well as from Yarrow, came to church, each
shepherd as regularly accompanied by his dog as encased in his plaid--no
matter what the weather or the season--what frequent rows there were. On
the slightest growl they all pricked up their ears. If a couple of them
fell out and showed fight, it was the signal for a general _mêlée_. The
rest that were prowling about, or half asleep at their masters' feet,
rushed from their lairs, found a way through below the pews, and among
the feet of the occupants, and raised literally such a _dust_ as fairly
enveloped them. Then the strife waxed fierce and furious, the noise
became deafening, the voice of the minister was literally drowned, and
he was fain to pause, whether in preaching or in {309}prayer. Two
or three shepherds had to leave their places and use their _nibbies_
unmercifully before the rout was quelled, and the service of the
sanctuary resumed." Such a scene as the above was quite an ordinary
occurrence in a country church in Scotland, early in the nineteenth
century--and in remote districts even later than that; minister and
congregation were accustomed to it, and took it as a matter of course.
The shepherd's dogs could not be left behind to their own devices; and
it was a matter of necessity that their master should go to church.
There was no more to be said, not even when the dogs (as they often did)
with long-drawn howls joined in the singing of the psalms. And when the
benediction was pronounced, (which "to cheat the dowgs," was always done
with the congregation seated,) then, at the first movement after it,
a perfect storm of barking broke out as the dogs poured out of the
building ahead of the people.

Just below Yarrow Church are the ruins--I think not much more than the
foundations--of Deuchar tower, a Scott stronghold, perhaps, like so many
others, or maybe a holding of some descendent of the Outlaw Murray. And
hard by Deuchar Mill is the picturesque old bridge with its broken arch
stretched, like the stump of a maimed arm, towards the farther shore of
Yarrow. It is a bridge that dates from about the year 1653. The burgh
records of Peebles for that year show that the magistrates then ordained
"that all in the town who have horses shall send the same for a. day, to
carry lime for the said brig, under a penalty of forty shillings."
That bridge stood till 1734, when the south arch was wrecked by a great
flood. To restore the arch was a task at that time beyond the means of
the district, and for some years those who lived on the south side of
Yarrow and who wished to attend Yarrow Church, could do so only at the
cost of wading the water, a feat in flood time impossible, and in the
winter season a trial to be endured with difficulty even by the most
hardy. The dead, in many instances, could not be buried beside their
friends in the {310}old churchyard; children born in parts of the parish
south of Yarrow could be baptised only at uncertain times and after
indefinite delay; and marriages frequently had to be postponed.

[Illustration: 0330]

Finally, of the money required for repair of the bridge, owing to
various circumstances only the half could be raised, and the arch put in
after a delay of several years was of such peculiar construction, and
so steep and causeway-like on the south side that it was not without
difficulty that even an empty cart could cross. "Besides," says Dr.
Russell, "there was little earth on the stones that formed the arch to
steady and protect it." Nevertheless, it held together for the best part
of a century, and then, suddenly, it collapsed one winter's afternoon,
just after the roadman's cart had crossed. A new bridge had been erected
just opposite the church, and no farther attempt was {311}made to repair
the old one. There it stands, a pathetic and picturesque memorial of old
days.

[Illustration: 331]

It seems always to me that these old broken bridges--there are two in
Yarrow--strike a note fittingly attuned to the dirge murmured by the
water as it wanders through the vale, strikingly in keeping with its
mournful traditions and with the inexplicable sadness that for ever
broods here. This is the very heart of the Dowie Dens of Yarrow. Here
is the scene of the so-called "duel" between John Scott of Tushielaw
and his brother-in-law, Walter Scott, third son of Robert Scott of
Thirlestane.

               "Late at e'en, drinking the wine,

                   And ere they paid the lawing

               They set a combat them between,

                   To fecht it in the dawing."

Assassination, however, rather than duel, seems to have been the word
applicable to the combat.

               "As he gaed up the Tinnies Bank,

                   I wot he gaed wi' sorrow,

               Till, down in a den he spied nine armed men,

                   On the dowie houms of Yarrow.

               "'Oh, come ye here to part your land.

                   The bonnie Forest thorough?

               Or come ye here to wield your brand

                   On the dowie houms of Yarrow?'

               'I come not here to part my land,

                   And neither to beg nor borrow;

               I come to wield my noble brand

                   On the bonnie banks of Yarrow.'

               'If I see all, ye're nine to ane,

                   And that's an unequal marrow;

               Yet will I fight while lasts my brand,

                   On the bonnie banks of Yarrow.'

               Four has he hurt, and five has slain,

                   On the bludie braes of Yarrow;

               Till that stubborn knight came him behind

                   And ran his body thorough.

               'Yestreen I dreamed a doleful dream;

                   I fear there will be sorrow!

               I dreamed I pu'd the heather green,

                   Wi my true love on Yarrow.

               'O gentle wind that bloweth south,

                   From where my Love repaireth,

               Convey a kiss frae his dear mouth,

                   And tell me how he faireth!'

               * But in the glen strove armed men;

                   They've wrought me dule and sorrow;

               They've slain--the comeliest knight they've slain--

                   He bleeding lies on Yarrow.'

               As she sped down yon high, high hill,

                   She gaed wi' dule and sorrow,

               And in the glen spied ten slain men

                   On the dowie banks of Yarrow.

               She kissed his cheek, she kaimed his hair,

                   She searched his wounds all thorough;

               She kissed them till her lips grew red,

                   On the dowie houms of Yarrow."

{313}Here too, a little above Deucbar Bridge, and beyond the church, it,
the famous "inscribed stone" of Yarrow, on the merits of which, as on
the question of its age, I am not qualified to express an opinion. The
place where, it stands was waste moorland about the beginning of last
century, and the stone was uncovered when the first attempts were being
made to reclaim it. In his "Reminiscences of Yarrow," Dr. James Russell
says on this subject: "On more than twenty different spots of this moor
were large cairns, in many of which fine yellow dust, and in one of
which an old spear-head, was found. Two unhewn massive stones still
stand, about a hundred yards distant from each other, which doubtless
are the monuments of the dead. The real tradition simply bears that here
a deadly feud was settled by dint of arms: the upright stones mark the
place where the two lords or leaders fell, and the bodies of followers
were thrown into a marshy pool called the Dead Lake, in the adjoining
haugh. It is probable that this is the locality of "the Dowie Dens of
Yarrow." About three hundred yards westward, when the cultivation of
this moor began, the plough struck upon a large flat stone of unhewn
greywacke bearing a Latin inscription. Bones and ashes lay beneath it,
and on every side the surface presented verdant patches of grass." The
inscription is difficult to decipher, and readings differ; all, however,
seem to agree as to the termination: "_Hic jacent in tumulo duo filli
Liberalis_;" and it is supposed to date from about the fifth century.

Still following the stream downwards we come to Hangingshaw, in ancient
days home of the Murrays. In Hangingshaw tower--long demolished--dwelt
the Outlaw Murray, who owned "nae King in Christentie."

               "Fair Philiphaugh is mine by right,

                   And Lewinshope still mine shall be;

               Newark, Foulshiells, and Tinnies baith,

                   My bow and arrow purchased me.

               "And I have native steads to me,

                   The Newark Lee and Hanginshaw."

{314}Of the bold Outlaw's stock there remains now in the Border not one
representative, and the last of their lands has passed from them.

At Foulshiels, a couple of miles farther down, by the roadside stand the
walls of the modest dwelling in which was born Mungo Park, the famous
African explorer of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,
a man of whom another traveller of our own day, himself among the
greatest, has said: "For actual hardship undergone, for dangers faced,
and difficulties overcome, together with an exhibition of the virtues
which make a man great in the rude battle of life, Mungo Park stands
without a rival." His dauntless spirit stands out conspicuous in the
last words he ever sent home: "Though the Europeans who were with me
were dead, and though I myself were half dead, I would still persevere,
and if I could not succeed in the object of my journey, I would at last
die on the Niger." That, I think, is the same fearless spirit that has
so recently touched to the core the inmost heart of the Nation, the
spirit displayed in the last message home of another dauntless explorer
and his comrades, who have perished also for duty's sake.

But Park was less heard of then--more than a century back; news filtered
slowly in those days; he did not at the moment become a national hero.
And if a man is seldom a prophet in his own country, it is surely from
members of his own family that he is apt last of all to receive the
honour which is his due. When Mungo came home in 1797 from his first
African expedition, his elder brother, then tenant of Foulshiels, ("a
man," says Lockhart, "remarkable for strength both of mind and body,")
chanced to be in Selkirk when the explorer arrived there. That night, as
the worthy farmer lay asleep in bed, he was awakened by his mother, who
told him to get up; there was "a man chappin' (knocking) at the door."

"Oh, ay!" drowsily muttered the disturbed sleeper, weary from a long
day passed at the market, turning himself over in {315}bed, "I daursay
that'll be oor Munga. I saw him gettin' aff the coach in Selkirk the
day."

[Illustration: 0335]

It was this Archibald Park who was riding one day with Sir Walter
Scott--"the Shirra"--. when, in a desolate part of the country, they
came unexpectedly on a desperate gang of gipsies, one of whom was
"wanted" for murder. Park did not hesitate an instant, but seized the
man and dragged him away from under the very noses of his lawless,
threatening comrades.

Opposite to Foulshiels, on the farther bank of Yarrow, stands "Newark's
stately tower," the most famous, and I think, from its situation, the
most beautiful of all the Border strongholds. Situation and surroundings
are perfect; I know of no scene more captivating, whether you view it
from Foulshiels, or stand by the castle itself, or, climbing high up
on its ramparts, gaze around where wood and hill and stream blend in a
beauty that is matchless. And from far below comes the voice of Yarrow,
chafing among its rocks and boulders, moaning perhaps as it moaned that
cruel day after the battle of Philiphaugh, when, on Slain Man's Lea,
hard by the castle, Lesly's prisoners were butchered in cold blood.

Newark is the best preserved of all the famous Border {316}towers. And
this we owe to the House of Buccleuch. Writing of the ancient towers of
Ettrick and Yarrow, the Reverend Dr. James Russell says: "Some of them
were burned down when clans were in conflict with each other; but what
was allowable in the period of Border warfare was without excuse in our
times of peace. Even the grim grey ruins were interesting features
of the landscape, and worthy of being spared. But, worse than 'time's
destroying sway,' the ruthless hand of vandalism has swept the greater
part of them away, as standing in the way of some fancied improvement,
or to employ the material for building some modern dyke or dwelling.
Even Newark Castle, the stateliest of them all, was thus desecrated
through the bad taste of the factor of the day, so recently as the
beginning of this [the nineteenth] century, and the best of the stones
from the walls and enclosing fence pulled down for the building of a
farmhouse immediately in front on the Slain Man's Lea. The present
noble proprietor [the fifth Duke of Buccleuch, who died in 1884], was
so displeased and disgusted with the proceedings, that when he came into
power he swept the modern houses away, and restored stones that in an
evil hour had been abstracted, and put the ancient pile into a state of
perfect preservation."

Built sometime before 1423--it is referred to as the "new werke" in a
charter of that date to Archibald, Earl of Douglas,--Newark Castle was a
royal hunting seat; the royal arms are carved on a stone high up on its
western wall. But in its time it has seen war as well as sport; in 1548
Lord Grey captured it for Edward VI, and in 1650 it was garrisoned for
a while by Cromwell's men after Dunbar. It is of peace, however, rather
than of war that one thinks when wandering here; and one recalls how
Anne, Duchess of Monmouth and Buccleuch, quilting the throng of men and
the hideous later turmoil of her life, retired here with her children
after the execution of her unhappy husband in 1685. To what more
beautiful and restful scene could she have carried the burden of her
sorrows? {317}It is she to whom, in Newark, the "Last Minstrel" recites
his Lay.

[Illustration: 0337]



                   "The Duchess mark'd his weary pace,

                   His timid mien, and reverend face,

                   And bade her page the menials tell,

                   That they should tend the old man well:

                   For she had known adversity,

                   Though born in such a high degree;

                   In pride of power, in beauty's bloom,

                   Had wept o'er Monmouth's bloody tomb!"

Turning away now from sight of Newark, and from Foulshiels, the road
sweeps winding down the Yarrow, high over wooded banks, and

                   "... sweet in Harewood sing the birds,

                   The sound of summer in their chords;"

past Harewood, its braes shimmering in the summer sun, Yarrow far below,
plunging through deep black pools that seem fathomless, and boiling
angrily where hindering rocks essay to check its course. This, I think,
is the most beautiful part of all Yarrow, as beautiful as the
stream's higher reaches, but {318}wilder, with higher,--almost
precipitous--banks, rich draped in woods. Away far over to the right
across the river, among the trees lies Bowhill; and down past the
"General's Brig" we leave Philiphaugh House on the left, and the cairn
that commemorates the battle, pass near the junction pool of Yarrow
and Ettrick; then quitting Yarrow, we rejoin the 'Tweed road opposite
Selkirk, and once more come to Yair Bridge.

               "Sweet smells the birk, green grows, green grows the grass,

                   Yellow on Yarrow's braes the gowan,

               Fair hangs the apple frae the rock,

                   Sweet the wave of Yarrow flowan."

               "Flows Yarrow sweet? as sweet, as sweet flows Tweed,

                   As green its grass, its gowan yellow,

               As sweet smells on its braes the birk,

                   The apple frae the rock as mellow."



CHAPTER XIII UPPER TWEED, YAIR, FAIRNILEE, ASHIESTEEL, EUBANK,
INNERLEITHEN, TRAQUAIR

|Sweet{319} in truth flows Tweed here, as all will own who leisurely
wend their way--it is too beautiful to justify hurried progress--under
leafy boughs where the sun slants down in fairy pattern on a road
divorced by but a narrow edge of greenest grass from the clear, hurrying
river. Here, at your very hand, you may see countless I! ripples of the
rising trout, that feed beneath the elms of Yair." There over against
you on the far bank of Tweed is Yair itself; and on the hither side,
nestling above a lofty bank among its grand old trees, the beautiful
ruin of Fairnilee, with its hospitable modern mansion hard by. It was
in this line old seventeenth-century Scottish mansion that Alison
Rutherfurd wrote her exquisite version of the "Flowers of the Forest."
In the old ruined house the little room in which she wrote is still
intact, and now is carefully preserved from farther possibility of
decay. But why, one wonders vainly, why was a place so fair ever
abandoned, and allowed so long to crumble away as if it had been a thing
accursed?

                   "Gin ye wad meet wi' me again,

                   Gang to the bonny banks o' Fairnilee;"

said the Queen of Faery to True Thomas. And were she here now in the
Border land, to no more enchanting spot could she tryst in the sunny
slope above the river, the giant limbs of {320}mighty trees green with
the leafy crown of June, or flushed with the blood red and orange of
autumn;

[Illustration: 0340]

the ceaseless song of water gushing over the cauld and dashing among the
boulders below; the wide expanse that carries the eye through the
waving boughs over the gleaming belt of water, and away far up the hill
purpling with the bloom of heather,--or late in the season, "grymed"
with the new fallen snow,--up and over to the broad summit of the Three
Brethren Cairn. In very truth it is itself a fairyland, and, standing
here, to the mind comes, {321}

[Illustration: 0341]

{322}irresistibly, thought of the hidden Gold of Fairnilee that in
boyhood one sought for so diligently.

[0342]

Then, higher up the river a mile or thereby, at the foot of Neidpath
Hill, the long deep, swift hurrying stream in which, when autumn floods
have done their work, there is not a yard where a lordly salmon may not
be hooked. And higher still, there is Caddonfoot, and Clovenfords, in
whose little inn Sir Walter used to stay before he lived at Ashiesteel;
and the Nest, snug quarters of a famous Edinburgh Fishing Club, among
whose members in old days was included the name of many an eminent Scot.
Then opposite the Nest, across the river, Ashiesteel, which, almost more
eloquently than even Abbotsford itself, speaks of Sir Walter. Here were
spent the seven happiest years of his life; here he wrote the "Lay of
the Last Minstrel," "Marnuon," and "The Lady of the Lake"; here came
into his service those most faithful of followers, Mathieson (his
coachman) and Tom Purdie, the latter, before the good fortune that
brought him to the notice of "the Shirra," a most accomplished poacher
of {323}salmon. Who has not read, and smiled over, the tales that Scrope
tells of him in his "Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing in Tweed?"

Purdie's eccentricities were many, his tongue free and outspoken to an
extent that one would suppose might at times have ruffled the temper
even of a man so tolerant and sweet-tempered as Scott. Yet the
attachment that sprang up between the three, Sir Walter, Mathieson,
and Purdie, was of the deepest and most abiding, ending only with their
lives. All men--all living things, one might say--loved Scott; these
two adored him, and their master's affection for them, and his trust in
them, were profound. Mathieson outlived the others; Purdie was the first
to go. The end was very sudden, and the blow affected Sir Walter as if
the death had been that of a near and dear relative. A niece of Mungo
Park used to tell afterwards of Sir Walter's visit to the widow, as
related by Mrs. Purdie herself. There came a tap at the door, she said,
and he came silently in, sitting down without a word in the chair that
Mrs. Purdie handed to him. And, "he juist grat, an' better grat, the
tears rinnin' doon his cheeks." At last the poor woman said brokenly;
"Ye mauna tak' on that way, Sir Walter. Ye mauna tak' on. Ye'll maybes
get some other body juist as guid as Tam."

"_No_, my dear old friend," he said, at length mastering his emotion.
"No. There can never be but one Tom Purdie."

In truth no one could, and no one ever did, replace him. A very few
years, and Mathieson drove his master for the last time, that memorable
drive in September, 1832, when the horses of their own accord stopped at
his favourite view above Bemersyde; that September when the whole world
mourned for him who was gone, who yet lives for ever, not alone in
Border hearts, but in the affection of all humanity.

In Sir Walter's day, no bridge spanned the river at Ashiesteel, and the
ford was not always a safe one; Sir Walter and his horse on at least one
occasion, when the water was heavy, had to swim when crossing. But "the
Shirra" was always the most reckless of riders, and would plunge in
where none dared follow. "The deil's in ye, Shirra," said Mungo Park's
brother to him--not on one occasion only--"the deil's in ye. Ye'll never
halt till they bring ye hame with your feet foremost." It was at this
Ashiesteel ford that Leyden, when Sir Walter's guest, came to grief. He
and "the Shirra," and Mr. Laidlaw of Peel were riding one day. Leyden
was talking, as one having authority, of the paces and good manners of
Arab horses, and telling tales of the marvellous skill with which their
owners managed them. "Here," said he, gathering up his reins, "is one
of their feats"----; but just at that moment the pony on which he rode
(_not_ a docile Arab steed) took it into its head to bolt down the steep
bank into Tweed, and Leyden disappeared over its head into the stream.
"Ay, ay, Dr. Leyden, is _that_ the way the Arabs ride?" said Laidlaw
{325}gravely, when the rider reappeared, dripping like a river-god.

[Illustration: 0345]

Up the Glenkinnon Burn from Ashiesteel, at Williamhope Ridge, is the
spot where Scott said his last farewell to Mungo Park. At the open drain
which then separated moor from road, Park's horse stumbled badly. "A bad
omen, Mungo, I'm afraid," said Sir Walter. "Freits (omens) follow them
that fear them," cried Park, gaily, setting off at a brisk canter.

[Illustration: 0346]

"I stood and looked after him; but he never looked back," Scott used to
tell, afterwards. And they met no more. Ere very many months had passed,
Park lay dead, somewhere by that great African river with whose name
his own will be for ever linked. But Williamhope has older memories than
this; "William's Cross" was the name given to a great stone on the hill
here, which marked the spot where the Knight of Liddes-dale fell,
slain by his kinsman's sword one August day in 1353. {327}Quilting the
neighbourhood of Ashiesteel, the road, in close company now with the
railway from Galashiels to Peebles, still winds up the beautiful banks
of Tweed, past Thornilee and Holylee, past boulder-strewn reaches and
pleasant streams where big trout lie,--"a chancier bit ye canna hae,"
I think Stoddart says,--on past where, high on the farther side,
overhanging the river, stand the crumbling ruins of Elibank Castle. This
was a stronghold built--or possibly only enlarged--in 1595 by Sir Gideon
Murray, father of Muckle Mouthed Meg, heroine of the story which tells
how young Scott of Harden, caught reiving the Murrays' cattle, was given
his choice between matrimony and the rope and "dule-tree." Harden, it
is said, at first chose the latter, but at the last moment, as a mate
scarcely to be preferred to death, took the lady. There was probably a
good deal of bravado and "bluff" about Harden's wavering--if indeed
the story is a true one. But in any case it was a wedding in which
the proverb: "Happy the Wooing that's not long adoing," was well
exemplified. All went well with bride and with reluctant bridegroom;
they "lived happy ever after," as in the most orthodox fairy tale. And
of their descendants, one was our own Sir Walter.

And now we come to Walkerbum and Innerleithen, manufacturing townships.
The latter, with its famed medicinal well, has been identified, or
identifies itself, with St. Ronan's of the Waverley Novels. It is
prettily situated on the Leithen, by wide spreading haughs, and the
surroundings, like all in Tweedale, cannot fail to attract. But what may
be said of Innerleithen, on top of that terrible Report issued in 1906
by H. M. Stationery Office? It will take some living down, if all that
was then said by the Tweed Pollution Commission is without exaggeration,
and if--as one is informed--nothing has yet been done to sweep away, or
at least greatly to improve, the conditions revealed. Here is what the
Report says of the river Leithen, a stream in former days called by Sir
Thomas Dick Lauder "a fine trouting river."

"Occasionally, in time of

{328}

[Illustration: 0348]

{329}heavy rainfall, severe floods occur on the Leithen; when these
occur, a large amount of water flows down the bed of the stream, which
is usually dry, carrying with it all the rubbish and filth to the Tweed.

[Illustration: 0349]

The mills are supplied with water from the mill-lade, and one of them
obtains water from the Tweed when necessary. The people of the town are
entirely engaged in the woollen industry; wool scouring, weaving, and
dyeing are all carried on here. The town is sewered. All the sewage is
collected in an outfall sewer, which discharges into the mill-lade below
the lowermost mill, and about three hundred yards from the Tweed; there
is no attempt at purification of {330}the sewage. The liquid refuse from
the mills is discharged into the lade. The water of the lade where it
discharges to the Tweed is very foul with sewage and dye water... Below
the point at which the lade discharges to the Tweed the water of this
river is greatly fouled, the bottom of the river is covered with
sewage deposit and the stones coated with sewage fungus. The river here
contains also a large amount of refuse of all kinds, such as pots and
pans, old linoleum, old iron-work, and such like. Although there is a
daily collection of rubbish in the town, a great deal of large sized
rubbish is thrown into the bed of the Lei then, and the tip to which
all refuse is taken, together with offal from the slaughter houses, is
situate just where the Lei then falls into the Tweed. In times of flood
the water of the Leithen excavates this refuse tip, and carries the
refuse into the Tweed. Some of the mill-owners here have tanks for
settling the spent liquids after dyeing, and in this way some of the
solid refuse is retained, but the coloured liquid is allowed to enter
the river. One is thankful for small mercies; "_some_ of the solid
refuse is retained." But the "offal from the slaughter houses," and the
"tip" to which all refuse is taken! And the sewage which there is "no
attempt to purify"! What grizzly nightmare could be more grizzly than
this?

However, we get soon now above the range of pollution by mill or town.
Peebles only remains; thereafter we have really a river as it used in
its entirety to be, and, above Peebles, as it may still be called, "the
silver Tweed." Before reaching Peebles, however, there is, over against
Innerleithen, on the angle between Quair Burn and Tweed, Traquair House
to notice; and, nearer to Peebles, on its green knoll the old riven
tower of Horsburgh, ancient seat of an ancient family.

Of old, Traquair was a royal residence. In the twelfth century. William
the Lion hunted from its tower; and other of the Scottish monarchs
visited it in later days, the last, I suppose, being Mary and Darnley
in August, 1566. The original tower, {331}or some part of it, I believe
stands now in the north-east corner of the building, but the house has,
of course, been greatly added to at different periods, mostly, however,
during the reign of Charles I.

[Illustration: 0351]

It is a very fine specimen of the old Scottish château, with walls of
immense thickness. Probably it is the oldest inhabited mansion house
in Scotland; a place full of interest. And not least interesting, the
picturesque old gates at the end of the avenue, that have remained so
long unopened. The tale used to run that they had been closed after
the '45, by an Earl loyal to the Stuart cause, who swore that they should
never be opened till the rightful king came back to his own again. As
a matter of fact, however, the misfortunes of Prince Charlie and his
family had nothing to do with it. The gates were not closed till 1796,
when the seventh Earl of Traquair, after the death of his countess,
declared that they should remain shut till they opened to admit one
worthy to take the dead lady's place. That, at least, is the story.

The Earl who lived in the latter part of the seventeenth century
belonged to the Church of Rome. "A quiet, inoffensive {332}man," he is
said to have been.

[Illustration: 0352]

But that in no way protected him from the unwelcome attentions of those
zealous Presbyterians who at that time "thought it someway belonged
to us' to go to all the popish houses and destroy their monuments of
idolatry, with their priests' robes, and put in prison the {333}priests
themselves."

[Illustration: 0353]

So a pious mob set out from Edinburgh one grim December day in 1688, and
trudged through the snow to Traquair House. Earl and priest, having got
word of their coming, had fled before the arrival of this gentle band
of Reformers, and though they ransacked all Traquair for "Romish wares,"
they did not find all they expected. Much had been hidden away. The
vestments of the priest this, that, and the other popish emblem could
not be found. However, they did get a good deal--an altar, a large
brazen crucifix, and several small crucifixes, "a large brodd opening
with two leaves, covered within with cloth ot gold of Arras work, having
a veil covering the middle part, wherin were sewed several superstitious
pictures," a eucharist cup of silver, boxes of relics, "wherin were
lying, amongst silk-cotton, several {334}pieces of bone, tied with a red
thread, Having written on them the Saint they belonged to," "a harden
bag, near full of beads," "Mary and the Babe in a case most curiously
wrought in a kind of pearl," a hundred and thirty books--silver-clasped
many of them. No doubt the books, Popish or otherwise, excited to frenzy
those pious but illiterate persons, almost as effectually as "the pot of
holy oil," and the "twelve dozen of wax candles" that they seized.

Not content with all this, however, a detachment of the mob invaded the
house of a neighbouring clergyman "who had the name of a Presbyterian
minister." The orders given by their ringleaders were that this house
should be narrowly searched, but that they themselves were to "behave
discreetly," advice the latter part of which one might give with
equal propriety and effect to the proverbial bull in a china shop.
The Reverend Thomas Louis and his wife apparently did not treat the
inquisitors with the kindness and consideration to which they thought
themselves entitled; they "mocked them," it is complained; and indeed
the minister and his wife carried their resentment so far as to offer
them "neither food nor drink, though"--it is naively added--"they had
much need of it." Undaunted, however, by this shabby conduct on the part
of the reverend gentleman, the mob hunted about till they came on two
locked trunks, which they demanded should at once be opened. This modest
request not being complied with, they "broke up" the trunks--to
"behave discreetly," is no doubt when desired, capable of liberal
interpretation--and therein "they found a golden cradle, with Mary and
the Babe in her bosom; in the other trunk, the priest's robes." So they
made a pile of the articles found here and in Traquair House, carried
them a distance of seven miles to Peebles, and had them "all solemnly
burned at the cross." Such were the enlightened methods of our
seventeenth century progenitors. But, one sometimes wonders, is the
toleration of the mob now-a-days {353}greatly in advance of what was in
1688? However, they did not also "solemnly burn" Traquair House, though
it _was_ a "nest o'paipery."

[Illustration: 0355]

But the last Countess of Traquair has gone through the old gates; and
her son, the eighth Earl, was the last of his line. He died, unmarried,
in 1861; and the last of her race, the venerable Lady Louisa Stuart,
died in 1875, in her hundredth year. Yet still, a pathetic link with
days long dead, the old house stands brooding over the past; and still
there sounds the music of the waters, and the sough of the wind in the
trees of "the bush aboon Traquair." And perhaps he who has

                   "... heard the cushies croon

                   Thro' the gowden afternoon,

               And the Quair burn singing down to the vale o' Tweed,"

may come away steeped in sadness, yet it is a sadness without sting, not
wholly unpleasing.



CHAPTER XIV PEEBLES, NEIDPATH, MANOR, LYNE, DRUMMELZIER, DAWYCK

|Writing{336} of Peebles in the year 1847 or 1848, Sir Thomas Dick
Lauder speaks of "the singular air of decayed royalty that hangs over
it, and which so strangely blends with its perfect simplicity and
rurality."

[Illustration: 0356]

More than any other of the Scottish border towns, Peebles has a right
to talk of "royalty." A royal poet has sung of her Beltane Feast
the evidence is at least as much for, as against, acceptance of the
time-honoured {337}belief that King James I was author of "Peblis to the
Play." Professor Veitch strongly favours that conclusion. And unbroken
tradition points to the King as the author.

From earliest times the town was a favourite residence of the Scottish
monarchs, and to this day its place-names, such as King's Meadows,
King's House, King's Orchards, for example, suggest royal traditions.
The Burgh Records of Peebles, go back very far--to October 1456, in the
reign of James II. It is a town of much interest and of much beauty,
beautiful especially as regards its situation and surroundings, and
there are still in it many remains that speak eloquently of the past.
There is the old five-arched stone bridge, dating from about 1467,
altered, of course, and widened since that date, but still the same
old bridge. Until the erection of the bridge at Berwick early in the
seventeenth century, I suppose that this was the only one spinning Tweed
in all its course. Then there Is the ancient Cross of Peebles, which,
after various vicissitudes and excursions, at length stands once more on
the spot where it was originally placed. It is said by the writer of the
Statistical Account of the Parish to have been "erected by one of the
Frasers of Neidpath Castle, before the time of Robert the Bruce, and
bears the arms of the Frasers."

There are still to be seen within the burgh the ruins of the Cross
Church, and of the Church of St. Andrew. The former got its name from
the fact that in May, 1261, "a magnificent and venerable cross was found
at Peblis," which was supposed to have been buried close on a thousand
years before that date. Shortly after the unearthing of this cross,
there was found near the same spot a stone urn, containing ashes and
human bones, and on a stone the words carved: "The place of St. Nicholas
the Bishop." On account of the miracles which were reputed to have been
wrought where the cross was discovered, Alexander III caused a church to
be erected on the spot, "in honour of God, and of the Holy Rood." This
Cross Church in some unexplained way escaped practically unscathed
during {338}the English invasion of 1548-49, and from 1560 till 1784 it
served as the Parish Church--deprived, no doubt, of many an interesting
relic of the past. At the last-named date, our zealous forefathers,
_more majorum_, pulled it down--all but a fragment--in order, out of the
material so obtained, to build a new Parish Church. (They had in those
times a perfect genius for wrecking the beautiful and interesting, and
for erecting the ugly and the dull.)

The other old church, that of St. Andrew, was founded about the year
1195. It, however, unlike its neighbour, suffered badly at the hands of
the English in 1548, after which it gradually fell into ruin, and
met the fate that was wont to wait on most of our venerable Scottish
buildings. The tower alone remained, impervious to wind and weather,
defiant of man's destroying hand. Thirty years ago, it was restored by
the late Dr. William Chambers,--"more honour to him had he been less
successful in concealing the old work," says Sir Herbert Maxwell, in
his "Story of the Tweed." It was in the Church of St. Andrew, tradition
says, that Cromwell's troopers stabled their horses in 1650 when siege
was being laid to Neidpath Castle.

Peebles at one time was a walled town, and I believe that some fragments
of fortification remain. But the names: "Northgate," "Eastgate,"
"Portbrae," still recall former days. There was a castle also, a
royal residence; but though it yet stood in the end of the seventeenth
century, or even a little later, there is now not a vestige of it to
be found. Again, no doubt, the ruthless hand of our not very remote
ancestors!

An interesting and very ancient custom continues to be observed in the
town. Annually, on the second day of May, there is chosen from among the
youthful beauties of Peebles one who is styled the "Beltane Queen"; and
Beltane Sports and Festivities are held. Chambers says: "The festivities
of Beltane originated in the ceremonial observances of the original
British people, who lighted fires on the tops of hills and other
{339}places in honour of their deity Baal; hence Beltane or Beltien,
signifying the fire of Baal. The superstitious usage disappeared... but
certain festive customs on the occasion were confirmed and amplified,
and the rural sports of Beltane at Peebles, including archery and
horse-racing... drew crowds not only from the immediate neighbourhood,
but from Edinburgh and other places at a distance."

"Peblis to the Play" is a description of the Festival as it was held in
the day of the author; "a picture of rustic life and festivities, of
the humorous and grotesque incidents of a mediaeval Feast Day in an
old provincial town, the centre of a rural district," says Professor
Veitch.

               "At Beltane, when ilk bodie bownis 1

               To Peblis to the Play,

               To heir the singin and the soundis,

               The solace, suth to say;

               Be firth 2 and forest furth they found, 3

               They graythit 4 them full gay;

               God wot, that wald they do, that stound,5

               For it was their Feist Day,

                        They said,

               Of Peblis to the Play."

Space does not permit me to quote more than the opening verse.

     1 Makes ready to go.

     2 Enclosed wood, or place.

     3 Issue, or go forth.

     4 Dressed.

     5 Time: German stunde.

Before moving on up the valley, one may recall the fact that at the Old
Cross Keys Inn at Peebles Sir Walter found, in its then landlady,
the original of his "Meg Dods" of "St. Ronan's Well." Guests arriving
now-a-days at this Inn--which is as often called "the Cleikum" as the
Cross Keys--still drive into the yard under the "old-fashioned archway"
of the novel; still there is shown "Sir Walter's room," overlooking the
yard; and still, it may perhaps be noted, there is to be found at the
head of affairs one who, while leaving out Meg's "detestable
{340}bad humour" and asperity of tongue, in all essentials is worthy to
rank as her successor. "Her kitchen was her pride and glory; she looked
to the dressing of every dish herself, and there were some with which
she suffered no one to interfere.... Meg's table-linen, bed-linen, and
so forth, were always home-made, of the best quality, and in the best
order; and a weary day was that to the chambermaid in which her lynx eye
discovered any neglect of the strict cleanliness which she constantly
enforced." The most fervent patriotism cannot, I fear, blind one to the
sad fact that a majority of Scottish country inns do not strive very
successfully to vie with Meg in those qualities which made her so
shining an ornament of her sex. Too often one is left to the greasy
attentions of a waiter of foreign tongue, whose mercies it might be
desired were more tender than the scrag-end of the cold beef to
which, in a parlour of the lethal-chamber variety, he somewhat tardily
introduces tired wayfarers. And the beef itself might in many cases
taste none the less of beef, if it were served on table-linen not quite
so elaborately decorated with outlines of mustard pots and Worcester
Sauce bottles, left by the day-beforeyesterday's commercial traveller.

This Cleikum, or Cross Keys Inn, is a building of more than respectable
age; it dates from the year 1653, when it was the town house of the
Williamsons of Cardrona, a tower a few miles down Tweed, nearly opposite
to Horsburgh. Probably both the Cross Keys and its neighbour the
Tontine Hotel--. Meg's "Tomteen," the "hottle" of which she spoke so
wrathfully--were in Sir Walter's mind when he wrote the novel.

And now we may set out once again up Tweed--not forgetting, however,
that Peebles with its mills also contributes no small share to the
pollution of that much-injured river. A mile or so out of the town,
there is the old castle of Neidpath, in very remote days a stronghold of
the Frasers of Fruid and Oliver Castle, in Tweedsmuir. A Hay of Yester,
ancestor of {341}Lord Tweeddale, succeeded the Frasers in 1312, by
marriage with the daughter of Sir Simon Fraser;

[Illustration: 0361]

and after the Hays, by purchase came the Queensberry family, of
whom, the fourth Duke, "Old Q.," Wordsworth's "Degenerate Douglas,"
{342}"unworthy lord," did his best to wreck the estate in 1795. What
he could spoil and disfigure, he did spoil and disfigure. And here at
Neidpath he swept off the face of nature every stick of timber, old and
young, that could be felled or destroyed, leaving, as far as lay in his
power, the landscape bare almost as it was when primeval chaos ended.
Replanting could not be set about as long as "Old Q." lived, and a
hundred years scarce repaired the damage he did. It is curious to note
how one who in all respects during his life was so very far removed from
grace, at the end wished to lie (where I believe his body does lie),
under the Communion Table of St. James's Church, Piccadilly--in his
estimation perhaps a sort of side-gate or private entrance to Heaven.
The path is steep and the way thorny to most of us. And how fares "Old
Q."? I hardly think that the inhabitants of Peebles, had they been Roman
Catholics at the time of his death, would have paid for Masses for the
soul of the dead "Old Q.," as they did lang syne for the soul of the
dead King James the First.

Neidpath Castle is said by old Dr. Pennecuick to have been in reality
the stronghold which was anciently called the Castle of Peebles.
But there are allusions to the "Castel of Peebles" in the Earl of
Tweeddale's Rental book for 1685, and Neidpath was Neidpath centuries
before that date. On this subject, Professor Veitch, writing about 1877,
says: "The Castle of Peebles was standing and inhabited in the early
part of last century. It was afterwards pulled down, and the materials
converted, according to the morality and taste of the time, into one of
the least architecturally attractive palish edifices in Christendom." As
to Neidpath's age, there is no sure record, but as it was a seat of
that Sir Simon Fraser who defeated the English three times in one day at
Roslin Muir in 1303, its antiquity must be very great. And what a place
of immense strength it must originally have been, before the days
of artillery. Its walls are ten feet thick, put together with that
{343}ancient form of cement which, when dry, became hard as the stones
it bound together; and it stands on a high rock overhanging an elbow
of Tweed where the water is deep, and was therefore on the river face
unassailable.

[Illustration: 0363]

But the day of artillery came too soon for Neidpath. It fell before
the guns of Cromwell in 1650. after a most gallant resistance under the
young Lord Yester,--father, I suppose, of the Lord Yester who wrote the
fine old ballad "Tweedside."

Like every other part of the Yale of Tweed, here also it is beautiful.
Looking back towards Peebles from above Neidpath the view is very fine,
though perhaps an eyesore may be found in the unwholesome speckled
appearance given to the castle by the way in which the "facing" of its
walls has been done.

Little more than a mile from here, Tweed is joined by Manor Water, a
stream now probably best known as that beside which stands the cottage
of "Bowed Davie," the original of Scott's "Black Dwarf" of Mucklestane
Muir. Sir Walter was staying at Hallyards, on Manor Water, in 1797, with
his friend Adam Ferguson, and it was on that occasion that he first saw
{344}David Ritchie, a poor mis-shapen dwarf, embittered by the derision
which his extraordinary personal appearance everywhere brought on him,
and who had retired to this unfrequented valley, where he built himself
a cottage of dimensions in keeping with his own stature.

[Illustration: 0364]

The cottage still stands, "where from his bole the awsome form peer'd
grim on passer-bye," but at least the exterior has been modernised, and
an addition has been made; his garden wall, with its ponderous stones,
is much as Bowed Davie left it. The "Black Dwarf" was not written till
a good many years after Ritchie's death. His grave is in Manor Kirkyard,
not, as he himself originally meant it to be, in a secluded spot of his
own choice, surrounded by the rowan-trees that it comforted him to think
could be relied on to keep witches, and evil spirits generally, at a
respectable distance. Poor Davie! There were worse things than witches
to be taken {345}into account. It is said--Dr. John Brown mentions
it--that his body proved a temptation too great to be resisted by
resurrectionists. They dug him up, and carried the poor "thrawn" frame
to where it could be sold. Perhaps in death he still excites that
derision or pity which in life so angered him; his bones may now lie in
some city anatomical museum.

Within the Vestry of Manor Parish Kirk, there is, accord ing to the
Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland edited by Mr. F. H. Groome, "a table
made of oak that had been used for church building not later than
the thirteenth century; and a bell in the belfry bears the Latin
inscription: 'In honore Sanct. Gordiani MCCCCLXXVIII.'" And far up the
vale, near Kirkhope, is the site of this St. Gordian's Kirk, "marked by
a granite runic cross, with the old font stone at its base."

Manor Valley in days of old must have been a "mischancey" spot for any
stranger whose intentions were, so to speak, not "strictly honourable."
There were, in and about it, not fewer than nine or ten peel towers, two
at least of which--Barns and Castlehill--belonged to the Burnets, than
whom none bore higher reputation as reivers and men of action. In 1591
no Borderer was more renowned for his exploits and for his conduct of
midnight forays, than William Burnet, the "Hoolet of Barns." His tower,
Barns, is rather nearer Tweed than Manor, but it is included in the
strongholds of Manor Valley. It is still in excellent preservation, but
the roof is modern, and the upper part of the tower has been greatly
altered from what it was originally. The accommodation in such towers
must have been something of the most cramped; in this instance the
outside dimensions of the tower (three stories) are only twenty-eight
by twenty feet. On the lintel of the door is the date 1498, but there
appears to be some uncertainty as to whether the figures were not added
at a later time. Castlehill, now a ruin, "hollow-eyed, owl-haunted," was
somewhat larger and stronger than Barns. Higher up the valley is Posso,
now mere fragments of walls. It was of old a {346}seat of the Bairds,
who were succeeded in the sixteenth century by the Naesmiths.

[Illustration: 0366]

At Posso Craigs was the eyry whence Henry Ashton in the "Bride of
Lammermuir" got his hawks. And here under the craigs is the Ship Stone.
The whole valley teems with objects of antiquarian interest--the tumulus
called the Giants' Grave, up Glenrath Burn; the "cup-marked fallen
monolith," that was once an old woman whom the devil turned into stone;
the old Thiefs Road, trodden of old by many a mob of "lifted" cattle;
numerous hill forts. And from the bosom of the wild hills springs Manor;
a tiny rivulet from Dollar Law--(is "Dollar" a corruption of "Dolour,"
the Hill of Sorrow?)--from Notman Law another; infantile rills from
Shielhope Head, Black Law, Blackhouse Heights, grim round-shouldered
hills that rise all of them to a greater altitude than two thousand
feet. And everywhere is the music of running water.

               "In its far glen, Manor outspreads its arms

               To all the hills, and gathers to itself

               The burnies breaking from high mossy springs,

               And white streaks that fall through cleavings of the crags

               From lonely lochans where the curlews cry."

{347}Cademuir, by the way, the hill on Manor's right at its junction
with Tweed, is the supposed scene of Arthur's seventh battle against the
Pagans. _Cad_ is Welsh for battle,--Gaelic, _cata_, hence _Cad-more_,
the "great battle." Professor Veitch hesitates between this site and
that of the neighbouring pre-historic hill fort, the Lour, near Dawyck,
but thinks the former the more probable. Just below the height of the
Lour, till the beginning of the nineteenth century there stood, he says,
an almost perfect _cromlech_, consisting of "two or more upright stones,
and one flat stone laid across as a roof, all of remarkable size." This
_cromlech_ was known in the district as Arthur's Oven. It is humiliating
to have to confess that it, the neighbouring old peel tower of Easter
Dawyck, the Tower of Posso, and the ancient Kirk of St. Gordian, were
all made into road metal, or used as material for building walls or farm
buildings, by Sir Walter Scott's father, of all people in the world. One
may wonder what were Sir Walter's thoughts when he came to know.

A little way up from Manor Valley, and joining Tweed from the
northern side, is Lyne Water. It is not possible to pursue all Tweed's
tributaries to their source, however full of interest each may be, for
their name is legion. But Lyne cannot be passed without note being taken
of its little--very little--early seventeenth century Parish Church. And
adjoining it are remains of a great Roman camp--Randall's Wa's, i: has
been called locally from times long past. Perhaps it was here--at least
it was on Lyne Water--that Sir James Douglas captured Randolph before
the time came when the latter finally cast in his lot with the Bruce.
Farther up, on an eminence at the junction of Lyne and Tartli Waters,
stands the massive ivy-clad ruin of Drochil Castle. Built by the Regent
Morton in the sixteenth century, Drochil was never completed, and never
occupied. Just before the building approached completion, Morton, judged
guilty of complicity in the murder of Darnley, was executed, beheaded by
"the Maiden"--a sort of Scottish {348}guillotine--on 2nd June, 1581;
and the home of a Regent of Scotland, "designed more for a palace than a
castle of defence," is now a rum, of use only as a shelter for cattle!

[Illustration: 0368]

Happrew, on Lyne, is the scene of the defeat "wrought by the lords
William de Lalymer, John de Segrave, and Robert de Clifford, upon
Simone Fraser and William le Walleys at Hopperowe," in 1304. And on the
elevated heathy flat below which Tweed and Lyne meet, there is what is
called the Sheriff's Muir, of old a mustering place for Scottish forces
during the wars with England.

And now, as we run up Tweed's left bank, we have on the one side Stobo,
with its ancient church--of which mention has been made earlier in this
volume--and its fine woods; on the other bank, Dawyck, and the castles
of Tinnies and Drummelzier. From the thirteenth well on into the
seventeenth century, Dawyck was the home of a distinguished Tweedside
family, the Veitches, once the Le Vaches, of Gascony, of whom one,
William le Vache, signed the Ragman Roll at the Castle of Peebles in
1296. At the same time that {349}the Veitches held Dawyck, Drummelzier
was the headquarters of another powerful Border family, the Tweedys; and
for the delicate questions involved in the origin of this family's name,
readers may consult Sir Walter's introduction to "The Betrothed." Of
necessity, as things went in those days, these two families quarrelled,
and from the quarrel emerged a feud long and bloody, in which, ere it
ended, half the countryside was involved. Wherever a Veitch and a Tweedy
met, they fought, and fought to kill. On the haughs of the river one
summer's day, young Veitch and young Tweedy, each, perhaps, looking for
trouble, came together face to face. The grey of next morning saw of the
latter but

               "A face upturned to the breaking dawn,

               Dead by the Tweed, but honour sav'd."

He lay beside the quiet water, and over him, it is said, like a snowy
pall drooped the clustering May-blossom.

               "His mother sought him on the haugh,

                   She found him near the white flower'd thorn;

               The grass red wet; the heedless birds

                   Pip'd sweet strains to the early morn."

In 1590, the head of the Veitches, "the Deil o' Dawyck," an immensely
powerful man, had for his ally William Burnet, "the Hoolet o' Barns," a
man equally powerful. These two daunted the Tweedy of that day; the
feud for a space lay-dormant. But, most unhappily for the Veitches, it
chanced that "the Deil's" son rode into Peebles alone one morning. And
that was the end of young Veitch. For nine Tweedys, in two parties,
trapped him near Neidpath, came on him in front and from the rear as he
rode towards home; and it was no fight, but bloody murder that reddened
the grass that day. Four days later, two Veitches met John Tweedy, Tutor
of Drummelzier, in the High Street of Edinburgh, and young Veitch's
bloody death was avenged; "a tooth for a tooth," no matter how many were
concerned in its drawing. And so it {350}went on _ad nauseam_, a Veitch
killing a Tweedy, a Tweedy a Veitch. The feud was alive even as late as
1611; and for anything that I know to the contrary, it endured as long
as the two families were there to neighbour each other on Tweedside.

Of Drummelzier Castle only an angle of the tower and a portion of the
main building now stand. It was here that there dwelt that arrogant
bully, Sir James Tweedy, who of old was wont to exact homage from every
passing traveller; and the traveller who omitted to, so to speak, "lower
his tops'ls" as he passed the castle, had cause to rue the day the fates
took him that way. It was a pretty enough game from Tweedy's point of
view. But, as the saying is, one day he "bit off more than he could
chew." A stranger, attended by a very small retinue, passed up
the valley without taking the smallest notice of the castle or its
formidable owner. Foaming with rage, spluttering dire threats, Tweedy
and his men went thundering in pursuit; truly, the back of that stranger
should smart to some tune. But, just as you may see the birses and
tail of a vicious, snarling cur drop when he finds he has inadvertently
rushed out against a bigger dog than himself, so here, Tweedy's mood
changed with astonishing celerity when he jumped from his horse beside
the man he had been cursing and bawling at to stop, and found that the
fugitive he was vowing to flog was his king, James V.

Tinnies Castle was also a holding of the Tweedys, possibly before
the building of Drummelzier. This castle is believed to date from the
thirteenth century, or perhaps earlier, and it seems to have been
a place of considerable size and of great strength. "In no part of
Scotland was there any feudal keep so like a robber's castle on the
Rhine, as that of Tinnis," says Chambers. The building was destroyed
under royal warrant in 1592, at the time when the King issued orders to
raze Dry hope and Harden. The position of Tinnies is immensely
strong. Perched on a lofty eminence, three of whose sides are almost
perpendicular and the fourth a long steep slope, the {351}castle in its
day must have been almost unassailable. Any approach to the walls could
only be made in force by a narrow winding pathway, within shot of, and
fully exposed to, the castle bowmen, and the building itself, as may
even yet be noted, was of a solidity truly formidable. Immense portions
of the walls and flanking towers, yet bound by the old imperishable
cement, still lie where they were bodily hurled by the exploding
gunpowder when James VI's orders were carried out.

Of Dawyck and its magnificent woods one must not forget to take note.
Here in 1725 were planted the first larches introduced into Scotland,
anticipating it is said, by a few years those planted at Dunkeld. And
while on the subject of natural history, one may perhaps quote that most
notable fact regarding Dawyck which Dr. Pennecuick, writing in the early
eighteenth century, vouches for in his "Shire of Tweeddale."

"Here," says he, "in an old Orch-yard did the Herons in my time build
their Nests upon some old Pear-trees, whereupon in the Harvest time are
to be seen much Fruit growing, and Trouts and Iles crauling down the
Body of these Trees. These fish the Herons take out of the River of
Tweed to their Nests, and as they go in at the Mouth, so they are seen
squirt out again at the Draught. And this is the remarkable Riddle they
so much talk of, to have Flesh, Fish, and Fruit at the same time upon
one tree." There is still a heronry at Dawyck, but not, I think, in an
"Orch-yard."

In the neighbourhood of Drummelzier there is a spot that takes us back
in thought to those dim, far off days when the world was in its infancy.
Near to where Powsayl Burn, the "burn of the willows," joins Tweed, you
may see the grave of Merlin the Seer, the Wizard Merlin. Fleeing from
the field of Arderydd (Arthuret, near Carlisle), after the terrible
defeat of the Pagans by the Christians in 573, Merlin found refuge among
the hills of Upper Tweed, and there lived for many years, half-crazed,
a homeless wanderer. Finally, the fear {352}raised by his supposed
possession of supernatural powers, and the dread of his enchantments,
caused a mob of ignorant country-folk to club and stone him to death,
and he was buried where he fell, by the Powsayl burn. In a poem still
extant, Merlin tells how he wandered long in the wild wood of Caledon.

               "Sweet apple tree, growing by the river!

               Whereof the keeper shall not thrive on its fruit;

               Before I lost my wits I used to be around its stem

               With a fair sportive maid, matchless in slender shape.

               Ten years and forty, the sport of the lawless ones,

               Have I been wandering in gloom among sprites,

               After wealth in abundance and entertaining minstrels.

               After suffering from disease and despair in the forest of Caledon."

The place of the "apple tree" was Tal Ard--Talla of to-day; and
somewhere between Drummelzier and Talla, Merlin and St. Kentigern
foregathered for a time. High up on the mighty shoulder of broad law,
too, there is a spring that gushes out from the hillside clear and cool,
that may be the fountain--_fons in summo vertice montis_--beside which
Geoffrey of Monmouth in 1150 tells that Merlin was wont to rest. And the
"fair sportive maid"--that is Nimiane, Tennyson's "Vivien." A Romance
of the fifteenth century tells how "Thei sojourned together longe time,
till it fell on a day that thei went thourgh the foreste hande in hande
devysing and disportynge, and this was in the foreste of Brochelonde,
and fonde a bussh that was feire and high of white hawthorne, full of
floures, and ther thei sat in the shadowe; and Merlin leide hys heed in
the damesels lappe, and she began to taste softly till he fill on slepe;
and when she felt that he was on slepe she aroos softly, and made a
cerne (circle) with hys wymple all aboute the bussh and all aboute
Merlin, and began hir enchantementes soche as Merlin hadde hir taught,
and made the cerne ix tymes, and ix tymes her enchantementes; and after
that she wente and satte down by hym and leide hys heed {353}in hir
lappe, and hilde hym ther till he dide awake; and then he looked aboute
hym, and hym semed he was in the feirest tour of the worlde, and the
most stronge, and fonde hym leide in the feirest place that ever he
lay beforn.... Ne never after com Merlin out of that fortresse that she
hadde hym in sette; but she wente in and oute whan she wolde." Not far
from the churchyard of Drummelzier to this day they point out the grave
where Merlin lies beneath a thorn tree. And to everyone is known Thomas
the Rhymer's prediction:

               "When Tweed and Powsayl meet at Merlin's grave

               Scotland and England shall one monarch have,"

and how the prophecy was fulfilled that same day on which James of
Scotland was crowned King of England. For Tweed then so overflowed its
banks that burn and river joined beside the spot where Merlin lies,
which, as Dr. Pennecuick says, "was never before observed to fall out,
nor since that time."

Over against Drummelzier, Biggar Water falls into Tweed, and a curious
circumstance about this stream is this, that "on the occasion of a large
flood... the Clyde actually pours a portion of its water mto one of the
tributaries of Tweed." The whole volume of Clyde at Biggar, says Sir
Archibald Geikie, could without any difficulty be made to flow into
Tweed by way of the Biggar Water. The latter at one point is separated
from Clyde by but one and a half miles of almost level ground.

All this region of Biggar Water is rich in remains of old towers and
camps; but of the most important, that of Boghall Castle at Biggai,
seat of the great Fleming family, Lords Fleming in 1460, there is now
practically nothing left standing; the customary fate, the fate that so
long dogged most Scottish historical buildings overtook in about
sixty or seventy years ago. It was a place of strength in 1650, when
Cromwell's men held it; a sketch done in 1779 by John Clerk of Eldin,
shows that it was then entire, or almost entire, and it stood, a fine
ruin, as lately as 1831, when Sir Walter and Lockhart were at Biggar.
{354}With what devilish energy since then must the wreckers have
laboured to destroy! Of Biggar Moss, Blind Harry tells the wondrous tale
of how Wallace, with a diminutive Scottish force, smote here in 1279
a large English army led by Edward I; eleven thousand Englishmen were
slain, says the veracious poet. And if corroboration of Blind Harry be
needed, why is there not standing here, as witness to this very day,
the Cadger's Brig, over which, as local tradition vouches, Wallace,
disguised as a hawker, crossed on his way to spy out the weak points in
Edward's camp! As with most Border places, there is no lack of interest
about Biggar, but considerations of space forbid any attempt to treat of
its history. Yet it must not be omitted that here was born a man greatly
loved in Scotland, Dr. John Brown, best known to the outside world,
perhaps, as the author of "Rab and his Friends."



CHAPTER XV BROUGHTON, TWEEDSMUIR, TALLA, GAMESHOPE, TWEED'S WELL

|Returning{355} to the neighbourhood of Tweed, on the bank of a
little burn tributary to Biggar Water stands the village of Broughton,
reminiscent of Mr. "Evidence" Murray, the Prince's Secretary, who saved
his own life after the '45 by turning King's Evidence. Broughton House,
his old home, was burned to the ground about 1775, (a couple of years
prior to Murray's death on the Continent,) and the estate was afterwards
sold to the famous Lord Braxfield, the original of Stevenson's "Weir of
Hermiston." Higher up Tweed, on the farther bank, is Stanhope, in the
eighteenth century the property of Murray of Broughton's nephew, Sir
David Murray, who lost his all in the '45; and not many miles farther
up the river is Polmood, where the dishonoured uncle lay hid, and
was taken, in June 1746, losing thereafter more than the life he
saved--honour and the respect of his fellow men. "Neither lip of me nor
of mine comes after Mr. Murray of Broughton's!" cried Sir Walter Scott's
father as he threw out of window the cup from which the apostate had but
then drunk tea. And:--"Do you know this witness?" was asked of Sir John
Douglas of Kelhead, a prisoner after the '45, before the Privy Council
at St. James's, when Murray was giving evidence. "Not I," said
Douglas, "I once knew a person who bore the designation of Murray of
Broughton,--but that was a gentleman and a man of honour, and one that
could hold up his head!" {356}Of old, Polmood--the name, I believe,
means the "wolf's burn," or stream--was a hunting seat of Scottish
kings; In times more modern it was chiefly remarkable for an
interminable law plea which dragged its weary length along for forty
years and more, probably in the end with ruin to both parties to the
suit. Before coming to Polmood, however, we pass Mossfennan, sung of in
two ballads, one of the seventeenth century, the other (of which but a
fragment remains) of much more ancient date. On the roadside a
little further up is a sign-post that points dejectedly towards a
dilapidated-looking tree which stands solitary on the haugh below. Here,
says the legend on the post, was the site of Linkumdoddie, whereof Burns
wrote a song. But to find any point of interest in the scene, or in the
identity of Linkumdoddie or of the lady celebrated, t requires, I think,
that the gazer should be possessed of a most perfervid admiration of the
poet.

And now we begin to open up the wilder part of Tweed's valley, where not
so many years ago you might go a long way, and for miles see no human
being but a passing shepherd. It is different now, in these days when
motor-cars, leaving behind them a trail of dust as ugly as the smudge
of a steamer's smoke low down on the horizon, rush along what used to
be the finest of old grass-grown coach-roads, smooth as a billiard-table
and free from any loose metal--swept bare now to the very roots of the
stones by the constant air-suction of passing cars. But even now, in
the winter-time, when the rush of the tourist troubles no more, if one
trusts oneself in these wilds, there is a reward to be gleaned in the
fresh, inexpressibly _clean_ air, and in the sense of absolute freedom
that one gains. You have-left civilisation and its cares behind; here is
peace. And in the great hills lying there so solemn and still, black as
blackest ink where the heather stands out against the wintry grey sky,
or deep-slashed on their sides with heavy drifts of snow from the latest
storm, there is rest to the wearied soul and the tired {357}mind. And if
the day be windless, what sweeter sound can anywhere be heard than the
tinkling melody of innumerable burns blending with the deeper note of
Tweed? Nowhere in the world, as it seems to me, is there any scene where
Nature lays on man a hand so gentle as here in Tweedsmuir. It is all
one, the season; no matter if the air is still, or the west wind bellows
down the valley, life is better worth living for the being here. And
the glory of it, when snow lies deep over the wide expanse, and the sun
shines frostily, and Tweed, black by contrast with the stainless snow,
goes roaring his hoarse song seaward!

All burns up this part of the valley used to teem with nice, fat, lusty
yellow trout--Stanhope Burn, Polmood, Hearthstane, Talla and Gameshope,
Menzion, Fruid, Kingledores (with its memories of St. Cuthbert), and the
rest. Doubtless the trout are there still, but most of the burns are now
in the hands of shooting tenants, and the fishing, probably, is not open
to all as of old. Talla and Gameshope (of which more anon) are now the
property of the Edinburgh Water Trust Commissioners, and a permit from
them is necessary if one would fish in these two streams or in Talla
Reservoir.

Before reaching Talla, almost equidistant between the Polmood and
Hearthstane burns, but on the opposite side of Tweed, we come to what
used to be the cheery, clean little Crook Inn, standing in its clump of
trees. But its history of two hundred years and more as an inn is ended;
modern legislation has seen to that. And there is now on this highroad
between Peebles and Moffat--a distance of something like thirty
miles--not a single house where man and beast may find accommodation and
reasonable refreshment. It is not the so-called "idle rich" who are thus
handicapped; fifteen or sixteen miles are of small account to the man
who owns a motor-car. It is they who cannot afford the luxury of a car,
but who yet desire to be alone here with nature, or to fish in Tweed and
in such burns as may yet be fished, it is they who find themselves thus
left out in the cold. *

     * Since this was written, the Crook has reopened its doors
     as an inn. But they are not any longer content with the
     homely word "inn"; the place asserts itself now in large
     letters as the Crook "Hotel."

Of old, when the mail-coaches running between Dumfries and Edinburgh
came jingling cheerily along this smooth Tweed-side road, it was at the
Crook Inn that they changed horses. But I doubt it was not then a spot
so inviting as it certainly became in the 'seventies of last century.
Sir Thomas Dick Lauder speaks of it as it was in 1807 as "one of the
coldest-looking, cheerless places of reception for travellers that we
had ever chanced to behold.... It stood isolated and staring in the
midst of the great glen of the Tweed, closed in by high green sloping
hills on all sides.... No one could look at it without thinking of
winter, snow-storms, and associations filled with pity for those whose
hard fate it might be to be storm-stayed there." But Sir Thomas Dick
Lauder's visit in 1807 was paid in the month of November, when snow
hung heavy in the air, threatening the traveller with wearisome and
indefinite delay. And the hind wheels of his chaise collapsed like the
walls of Jericho as the postillion, having changed horses here, started
with too sudden a dash from the door of the inn; and Sir Thomas was
bumped most grievously along the road for some hundreds of yards ere
the post-boy (who perhaps had made use at the Crook of some far-seeing
device to keep out the cold) discovered that anything was amiss. Not
unnaturally the nerves of the occupants of the chaise were a trifle
rallied; no doubt the place then looked less cheerful than it might
otherwise have appeared. Forty years later, he writes that it had,
"comparatively speaking, an inviting air of comfort about it.... The
road, as you go along, now wears altogether an inhabited look, and
little portions of plantations here and there give an air of shelter and
civilisation to it." It was a cheerless place enough, no doubt, in the
Covenanting {359}days of the seventeenth century, when the dour hill-men
were flying from Claverhouse's dragoons, lurking in the black, oozing
"peat-hags," hiding by the foaming burns, sheltering on the wild moors,
amongst the heather and the wet moss. It was the landlady of this same
Crook Inn who found for one fugitive a novel hiding hole; she built him
safely into her stack of peats. There has been many a less comfortable
and less secure hitting place than that; and where could one drier be
found?

It was at the Crook that William Black makes his travellers in the
"Strange Adventures of a Phaeton" spend a night, and the fare to which
in the evening he sets his party down was certainly of the frugalest.
But when this present writer knew the inn in the 'seventies, it was
far from being only on "whisky and ham and eggs" that he was obliged to
subsist. It was then an ideal angler's haunt; and no more gentle lullaby
can be imagined than the low murmur of Tweed, and the quiet _hus-s-s sh_
of many waters breathing down the valley on the still night air.

A mile or more beyond the Crook, there is the Bield, also once an
inn "From Berwick to the Bield," is the Tweedside equivalent of the
Scriptural "From Dan even to Beer-sheba." It was here at the Bield
that the Covenanters thought once to trap Claverhouse; but that "proud
Assyrian" rode not easily into snares. On the hill above is the site of
Oliver Castle, home of the Fraser family, once so powerful in this part
of the Border--the site, I think, but nothing more.

And now, to reach that part of Tweedsmuir which more than any other
casts over one a spell, it is necessary to branch off here to the left
and follow the road shown in Mr. Thomson's charming sketch. Straight
ahead of you, as you stand by the little Tweedsmuir post-office, you
look up the beautiful valley of the Talla, where the steep hills lie at
first open and green and smiling on either hand, but gradually changing
their character, close in, gloomy and scarred, and {360}frowning, as the
distant Talla Linn is neared.

[Illustration: 0380]

But before you leave the little hamlet of Tweedsmuir--it can scarcely
be called a village--by the old single-arched bridge that is thrown
here across Tweed, where he roars and chafes among his rocks {361}ere
plunging down into the deep, black pool below, you will see on your left
a spire peering out over the tree-tops.

[Illustration: 0381]

That is the church of Tweedsmuir, on its strange, tumulus-like mound by
the river's brink. And here you will find:n the green grass, under the
clustering trees, the graves of some who fell for "The Covenant," one
headstone, at least, relettered by "Old {362}Mortality" himself. This
is the grave of one John Hunter; but doubless there are others, less
noticeable, who rest with him in this quiet spot, far from the world's
clash and turmoil, where no sound harsher than the Sabbath bell that
calls to prayer or the sighing of the wind in the trees, can ever break
the silence. Here is Hunter's epitaph:

[Illustration: 0382]



               "When Zion's King was Robbed

                        of his right

               His witnesses in Scotland put to

                        flight

               When popish prelats and Indul-

                        gancie

               Combin'd 'gainst Christ to Ruine

                        Presbytrie

               All who would not unto their

                        idols bow

               They socht them out and whom

                        they found they slew

               For owning of Christ's cause I

                        then did die

               My blood for vengeance on his

                        en'mies did cry."

And on a stone in another part of the churchyard--perhaps the grave of a
grandfather and grandchild--are the quaint words:

               "Death pities not the aged head,

                        Nor manhood fresh and green,

               But blends the locks of eighty-five

                        With ringlets of sixteen."

The old Session Records of this church are full of references to the
trembled times of the Covenant. Here are one or two entries, which I
quote from the Rev. W. S. Crockett's "Scott Country."' Mr. Crockett is
Minister of the Parish.--"No session kept by reason of the elders being
all at conventicles."

"No public sermon, soldiers being sent to apprehend the minister, but
he, receiving notification of their design, went away and retired."

"No meeting this day for fear of the{363} enemy."

HERE LYES JOHN HUNTER MARTYR WHO WAS CRUELY MURDERED AT COREHEAD BY COL.
JAMES DOUGLAS AND HIS PARTY FOR HIS ADHERANCE TO THE WORD OF GOD AND
SCOTLAND'S COVENANTED WORK OF REFORMATION 1688 Erected in the year 1726.

"The collection this day to be given to a man for acting as watch during
the time of sermon." And so on.--

[Illustration: 0383]

Sometimes it strikes one as strange, that passion for listening to
a sermon which is inherent in one's countrymen. It is but a sombre
pleasure, as a rule.

Talla, up to a recent period, flowed through a deep valley, whose bottom
for some distance was of a treacherous and swampy nature; its trout,
therefore, (in marked contrast to those of the tributary Gameshope,)
were dark-coloured and "ill-faured." I do not know that they are
anything else now, but there is not much of Talla left. A mile above the
church you come to a great barrier thrown across the valley, and beyond
that for three miles stretches a Reservoir which supplies distant
Edinburgh with water. Picturesque enough in its way is this Reservoir,
especially when all trace of man and his work is left behind, and
nothing meets the eye but the brown, foam-flecked water, and the hills
plunging headlong deep into its bosom. Even more picturesque is the
scene when storms gather on the far heights, and come raging down the
wild glen of Gameshope, swathing in mist and scourging rain-squall the
{364}deep-scarred brows of those eerie hills by Talla Linn-foot. What a
spot it must be on a wild December day, when blind ing snow drives down
the gullies before the icy blast!

This Reservoir has been stocked with Loch Leven trout. But the fishing
is not, and never will be, good. There is insufficient food; the water
is too deep, and except at the extreme head of the loch there are no
shallows where insect life might hatch out. The trout are long and lank,
and seldom fight well. Nor are they even very eager to rise to the
fly. Yet, it is true, some large fish have been taken. But they have a
suspiciously cannibal look, and I think an insurance company would
be apt to charge a very high premium on the chances of long life of
troutlings now put in.

I do not know where Young Hay of Talla lived. If his peel tower was
here, no doubt the site is now sixty or seventy feet under water, but
I cannot remember any traces of a building, or site of a building, in
pre-Reservoir days. Men born and brought up lang syne on the gloomy
slopes of Talla, might well be such as he, fierce and cruel, ready for
treason and murder, or any crime of violence.

                   "Wild your cradle glen,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Stern the wind's wild roar

                   Round the old peel tower,

                        Young Hay of Talla.

                   "Winter night raving,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Snowy drift smooring,

                   Loud the Linn roaring,

                        Young Hay of Talla.

                   "Winterhope's wild hags,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Gameshope dark foaming,

                   There ever roaming,

                        Young Hay of Talla.

                   Night round Kirk o' Field,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Light faint in the room,

                   Darnley sleeps in gloom,

                        Young Hay of Talla.

                   "Shadow by bedside,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Noise in the dull dark,

                   Does sleeper now hark,

                        Young Hay of Talla?

                   "Ah! the young form moves,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Hold him grim,--hold grim,

                   Till quivers not a limb,

                        Young I lay of Talla.

                   "Now the dread deed's done,

                        Young Hay of Talla,

                   Throw the corpse o'er the wall,

                   Give it dead dog's fall,

                        Young Hay of Talla."

Hay was one of two executed on 3rd January 1568 for the murder of
Darnley.

If you would gain a good idea of this part of Tweedsmuir, climb by the
steep, crumbling sheep-path that scales the Linn-side, till you reach
the spot where Mr. Thomson has made his sketch of the Reservoir. There,
lying on the heather by the sounding waters, or beneath the rowan trees
where blaeberries cluster thick among the rocks, you may picture to
yourself a meeting that took place by this very spot two hundred and
thirty-one years ago. On commanding heights, solitary men keeping
jealous watch lest Claver'se's hated dragoons should have smelled out
the place of meeting; below, where the Linn's roar muffles the volume
of other sounds, a company of blue-bonneted, stern-faced men, singing
with intense fervour some militant old Scottish Psalm, followed by long
and earnest {366}extempore prayer, and renewed Psalms; and presently
then falling into dispute as vehement as before had been their prayer
and praise.

[Illustration: 0386]

This was that celebrated meeting of Covenanters in 1682, of which Sir
Walter Scott, writing in {367}"The Heart of Midlothian," says: "Here [at
Talla] the leaders among the scattered adherents, to the Covenant, men
who, in their banishment from human society, and in the recollection of
the severities to which they had been exposed, had become at once sullen
in their tempers, and fantastic in their religious opinions, met with
arms in their hands, and by the side of the torrent discussed, with
a turbulence which the noise of the stream could not drown, points of
controversy as empty and unsubstantial as its foam." Dour men they were,
and intolerant, our old Covenanting forebears, ready at any moment to

                   "prove their doctrine orthodox

                   By apostolic blows and knocks."

Yet who can withhold from them his respect, or, in many points, deny
them his admiration?

If, as Sydney Smith has said, "it is good for any man to be alone with
nature and himself"; if "it is well to be in places where man is little
and God is great"; then assuredly it is well to be alone, or with a
friend "who knows when silence is more sociable than talk," up in the
great solitude by Gameshope Burn. Nowhere in Scotland can one find a
glen wilder or more impressive, nowhere chance on a scene which more
readily helps the harassed mind to slip from under the burden of worldly
cares. For half a mile or more from its mouth hut a commonplace, open,
boulder-strewn mountain burn, above that point the broken, craggy hills
fall swiftly to the lip of a brawling torrent, which drops foaming by
linn after linn deep into the seething black cauldrons below, lingers
there a minute, then hurries swiftly onward by cliff and fern-clad mossy
bank. Above each pool cling rowan trees, rock rooted, a blaze of scarlet
and orange if the month be September, but beautiful always at whatever
season you may visit them. Everywhere the air is filled with the deep
murmur and crash of falling waters; yet, clamber to that lonely old
track which leads to the solitary cottage of a shepherd, and around you
is a silence {368}almost oppressive, emphasised rather than broken by
the ill-omened croak of a raven, or by the thin anxious bleat of a ewe
calling to its lamb from far up the mountain side.

[Illustration: 0388]

A mile past the shepherd's substantially built little house--it had need
be strong of frame to stand intact up here against the winter storms--on
your left is Donald's Cleuch, reminiscent of the Reverend Donald
Cargill, a hero of the Covenant, Minister of the Barony Church in
Glasgow in 1655, who was {369}afterwards deprived of his benefice for
denouncing the Restoration. The legend is, I presume, that Cargill hid
somewhere in the wild moorland hereabout, up the Donald's Cleuch burn
perhaps, or a long mile further on, by Gameshope Loch. A man might have
lain long, in the summer time, amongst these rugged hills, safe hidden
from any number of prying dragoons; but Heaven help him if he lay out
there in the winter season. All is wild, broken country, peat-hags,
mosses, and deep cleuchs, over which one goes best a-foot--and, of
necessity, best with youth on one's side if the journey be of any great
length.

From the height at the head of Donald's Cleuch burn, one looks down on
that gloomy tarn, Loch Skene, lying but a few short miles on the Yarrow
side of the watershed. Mr. Skene of Rubislaw tells--it is in Lockhart's
life--how when Sir Walter Scott and he visited this loch, a thick fog
came down over the hills, completely bewildering them, and "as we were
groping through the maze of bogs, the ground gave way, and down went
horse and horsemen pell-mell into a slough of peaty mud and black water,
out of which, entangled as we were with our plaids and floundering
nags, it was no easy matter to get extricated." Savage and desolate are
perhaps the words that best describe Loch Skene; yet, in fine summer
weather, how beautiful it may be! How beautiful, indeed, all this wild
waste of hills where those dour old Covenanters were wont to lurk, never
quite free from dread of the dragoons quartered but a few miles away
over the hills at Moffat. Tales of the Covenanting times, such, for
instance, as "The Brownie of Bodesbeck," used to possess an intense
fascination for Scottish boys; every Covenanter was then an immaculate
hero, and, I suppose, few boys took any but the worst view of
Claverhouse, or refused credence to any of the countless legends of him.
and of his diabolical black charger, of which we firmly believed the
story that it could course a hare along the side of a precipice. A point
in some of those tales that used to interest and puzzle at {370}least
one boy, was the mysterious fashion in which a fugitive would at
times disappear from ken when hard pressed on the open moor, and when
apparently cut off from all chance of escape. A possible explanation
presented itself to me one day, a summer or two back, when making my way
across the bleak upland that lies between Gameshope Loch and Gameshope
Burn. As I walked over the broken peaty surface of the plateau, but not
yet arrived where the land begins to drop abruptly into the Gameshope
Glen, a covey of grouse got up almost at my feet. The day was windless
and very still, and as I stood watching the flight of the birds, the
faint melodious tinkle of underground water somewhere very near to me
fell on my ear. Glancing around, I saw on the flat ground in front of
me within a yard of my feet, what appeared to be a hole, almost entirely
concealed by heather. It was from this direction that the sound of the
drip, drip of falling water seemed to come. Kneeling down, I pulled
the heather aside, and found a hole two or three feet in diameter, and
beneath it a roomy kind of chamber hollowed out of the peaty soil. It
was a place perhaps five feet deep, big enough at a pinch to conceal
half a dozen men; a place from which--unless there was a way out from
below--a man might never find exit, if inadvertently he fell in and in
his fall chanced to break a limb. In that wild region the prospect of
his ever being discovered by searchers would be very small. Unseen of
man, he might lie in that peaty grave till his bones bleached, rest in
that lonely spot till the last dread trump called him forth to judgment.

The day after I had chanced on this strange cavern, I returned with a
friend to whom I wanted to show it, and though we knew that we must be
often within a few yards of the spot, search as we might we never again
found that hole. Was it in some _cache_ such as this--perhaps in this
very spot--that Covenanters sometimes lay hid? Here two or three might
have lain for days or weeks at a time, sheltered from wind or rain and
secure from hostile eyes; it would be warm enough, {371}and the drip of
water into it is so slight as to be hardly worth naming. Doubtless
if one took careful landmarks it would be easy to find again, once
knowledge of its whereabouts was gained. And so the lurking Covenanters
would have had small difficulty; but without such landmarks, to find it
except by chance seems hopeless. None of the shepherds knew of the hole,
save one old man who said he had heard there was some such place. But
one might go a hundred times across that moor, passing close to the
hidden mouth, and unless the faint tinkle of water betrayed it, or
by remote chance one blundered in, its existence would never even be
suspected. It is a place worthy to be the abode of the Brown Man of the
Muirs; and the district is wild and lonesome enough to breed the most
eerie of superstitions.

Harking back now to the Tweed,--a little way above the bridge at
Tweedsmuir on the right bank there is a huge standing stone, called the
Giant's Stone, of which various legends are told. Two other stones lie
close at hand, but these appear to be mere ordinary boulders. According
to the Statistical Account of the Parish of 1833, this Giant's Stone is
the sole survivor of a Druidical Circle; all its fellows were broken up
for various purposes, and carted away; and we may be sure it was from no
feeling of compunction that even the one was spared. Residents tell us
that it was from behind this stone that a wily little archer in days of
old sent an arrow into the heart of a giant on the far side of Tweed.
The range is considerable; it must have been a glorious fluke. But I
rather think the place that is credited with this event, and with the
veritable grave of the slain giant, is higher up Tweed, opposite the
Hawkshaw burn. Somewhere up this burn stood Hawkshaw Castle or Tower,
home of that Porteous who gained unenviable notoriety for his feat of
capturing at I alia Moss, with the aid of some of the moss-trooping
fraternity, one of Cromwell's outposts, sixteen horse in all, and in
cold blood afterwards executing the unfortunate troopers. A contemporary
{372}historian relates that: "The greatest releiff at this tyme was by
some gentillmen callit moss-trouperis, quha, haiffing quyetlie convenit
in threttis and fourties, did cut off numberis of the Englishes, and
seased on thair pockettis and horssis." The "pockettis and horssis" were
all in the ordinary way of business; it is another affair when it comes
to cutting the throats of defenceless captives.

A few miles further on, the road we follow passes Badlieu, a place famed
as the home, away back in the eleventh century, of Bonnie Bertha, who
captured the roving heart of one of our early Scottish Kings as he
hunted here one day in the forest. Unhappily for Bertha, there was
already a Scottish Queen, and when news of the King's infatuation came
to that lady's ears, she--queens have been known to entertain such
prejudices--disapproved so strongly of the new _menage_, that one
afternoon when the king (who had been absent on some warlike expedition)
arrived at Bertha's bower, he found the nest harried, and Bertha and her
month-old babe lying dead. And ever after, they say, to the end the King
cared no more to hunt, nor took pride in war, but wandered disconsolate,
mourning for this Scottish Fair Rosamond. But how the rightful Queen
fared thereafter, tradition does not say.

And now we come to Tweed Shaws, and Tweed's Well, the latter by popular
repute held to be the source of Tweed. But there is a tributary burn
which runs a longer course than this, rising in the hills much nearer to
the head-waters of Annan. As is well known,

                   "Annan, Tweed, and Clyde

                   Rise a' cot o' au hill-side,"

a statement which is sufficiently near the truth to pass muster. Near
Tweed's Well of old stood Tweed's Cross, "so called," says Pennecuick,
"from a cross which stood, and was erected there in time of Popery, as
was ordinary in all the eminent places of public roads in the kingdom
before our Reformation." It is needless to say that no trace of any
cross now remains. {373}Up here, on this lofty, shelterless plateau, we
find one of the few spots now left in Scotland where the old snow-posts
still stand by the wayside, mute guides to the traveller when snow lies
deep and the road is blotted from existence as effectually as is the
track of a ship when she has passed across the ocean. Heaven's pity on
those whom duty or necessity took across that wild moorland during a
heavy snow storm in the old coaching days! Many a man perished up here,
wandered from the track, bewildered; stopped to rest and to take
his bearings, then slid gently into a sleep from which there was no
wakening. In 1831, the mail-coach from Dumfries to Edinburgh left Moffat
late one winter's afternoon. Snow was falling as for years it had not
been known to fall, and as the day passed the drifts grew deeper and
ever more deep. But the guard, MacGeorge, an old soldier, a man of few
words, could not be induced to listen to those who spoke of danger
and counselled caution. He had been "quarrelled" once before for being
behind rime with the mail, said he; so long as he had power to go
forward, never should "they" have occasion to quarrel him again. A
matter of three or four miles up that heart-breaking, endless hill out
of Moffat the coach toiled slowly, many times stopping to breathe the
horses; and then it stuck fast. They took the horses out, loaded
them with the mails, and guard and driver in company with a solitary
passenger started again for Tweedshaws, leading the tired animals. Then
the horses stuck, unable to face the deep drifts and the blinding storm.

MacGeorge announced his intention of carrying the mailbags; they _must_
be got through. The driver remonstrated. "Better gang back to Moffat,"
he said. "Gang ye, or bide ye, _I gang on!_" cried MacGeorge. So the
horses were turned loose to shift for themselves, and the two men
started on their hopeless undertaking, the passenger, on their advice,
turning to make his way back to Moffat. That was the last ever seen
alive of the two who went forward. Next {374}day, the mail-bags were
found beyond the summit of the hill,--the most shelterless spot of the
entire road,--hanging to a snow-post, fastened there by numbed hands
that too apparently had been bleeding. But of guard and coachman
no trace till three days later, when searchers found them, dead, on
Mac-George's face "a kind o' a pleasure," said the man who discovered
the body in the deep snow. Some such fate as that ever trod here on
the heels of foot passengers who wandered from the track during a
snow-storm.

In his "Strange Adventures of a Phæton," William Black writes of these
hills as "a wilderness of heather and wet moss," even in the summer
time; and he speaks of the "utter loneliness," the "profound and
melancholy stillness." There is no denying that it is lonely, and often
profoundly still. And no doubt to many there is monotony in the low,
rolling, treeless, benty hills that here are the chief feature in the
scenery. But I do not think it is melancholy. The sense of absolute
freedom and of boundless space is too great to admit of melancholy
creeping in. The feeling, to me at least, is more akin to that one
experiences when standing on the deck of a full-rigged ship running down
her Easting in "the Roaring Forties," with the wind drumming hard out of
the Sou'West. From the haze, angry grey seas come raging on the weather
quarter, snarling as they curl over and leap to fling themselves aboard,
then, baffled, spew up in seething turmoil from beneath the racing keel,
and hurry off to leeward. There you have a plethora of monotony; each
hurrying sea is exactly the mate of his fellow that went before him,
twin of that which follows after. Day succeeds day without other variety
than what may come from the carrying of less or more sail; hour after
hour, day after day, the same gigantic albatrosses, with far-stretched
motionless wings soar and wheel leisurely over and around the ship,
never hasting, never stopping,--unhasting and relentless as Death
himself. Monotony absolute and supreme, but a sense of freedom and of
boundless space, and no touch of {375}melancholy. So it is here
among these rolling hills where the infant Tweed is born. There is
no melancholy in the situation, or at worst it can be but of brief
duration. Who could feel melancholy when, at last on the extreme summit
and beginning the long descent towards Moffat, he sees spread out on
either hand that glorious crescent of hills, rich in the purple bloom
of heather; Annan deep beneath his feet wandering far through her quiet
valley, and dim in the distance, the English hills asleep in the golden
haze of afternoon. For my part, I would fain linger, perched up here,
late into the summer gloaming, watching the panorama change with the
changing light when the sun has long set and the glow is dying m the
west;

               "For here the peace of heaven hath fallen, and here

               The earth and sky are mute in sympathy."

And this ground is classic ground. It was at Errickstane, not far below,
where, more than six hundred years ago, the young Sir James Douglas
found Bruce riding on his way to Scone, to be crowned King of Scotland.

And to the left of the road shortly after leaving its highest point on
the hill, there yawns that tremendous hollow, the Devil's Beef Tub, or,
as it is sometimes called, the Marquis of Annandale's Beef Stand. It
was here in the '45 that a Highland prisoner, suddenly wrapping himself
tight in his plaid, threw himself over the edge ana rolled like a
hedgehog to the bottom, escaping, sore bruised indeed, but untouched
by the bullets that were sent thudding and whining after him by the
outwitted prisoners' guard. He is a desperate man who would attempt a
like feat, even minus the chance of a bullet. It is a wild place and
a terrible. The reason of its being called the Marquis's Beef Stand is
given by Summertrees in "Redgauntlet." It was, said he, "because
the Annandale loons used to put their stolen cattle in there." And
Summer-tree's description of it is so truthful and vivid that it
behoves one to quote it in full: "It looks as if four hills were laying
{376}their heads together to shut out daylight from the dark hollow
space between them.

[Illustration: 0396]

A d----d deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is, and goes
straight down from the road-side, as perpendicular as it can do, to be
a heathery brae. At the bottom there is a small bit of a brook, that you
would think {377}could hardly find its way out from the hills that are
so closely jammed round it."

And so, finally, having overshot the limits of Tweed and her
tributaries, we cast back to the hills on the immediate border-line of
the two kingdoms, and pass into the country of Dandie Dinmont.



CHAPTER XVI LIDDESDALE, HERMITAGE, CASTLETON

|Coming{378} into Liddesdale by the route followed by Prince Charlie,
over the hills by Note o' the Gate, one finds, a few miles past that
curiously-named spot and no great distance from the road, the scene of
a momentous battle of ancient times. It is claimed that it was here
on Dawstane Rig the mighty struggle took place in the year 603 between
Edelfrid, King of the Northumbrians, and Aidan, King of the Scots, the
result of which, says Bede, writing a century and a quarter later, was
that "from that time no king of the Scots durst come into Britain to
make war on the Angles to this day." As written by Bede, the name of the
place where the battle was fought is Uaegsastan,--a "famous place," he
calls it. Dalston, near Carlisle, also claims the honour of being the
true site of this great defeat of the Scots; But Dawstane Rig seems
the more probable spot, for, judging from the number of camps in the
immediate vicinity, it must assuredly in old days have answered the
description of a "famous place." There are numerous signs, also, that
a great fight did at some remote period take place here; traces
of escarpments are numerous on the hill side, arrowheads and other
suggestive implements have frequently been picked up, and over all the
hill are low cairns or mounds of stones, probably burial places of the
slain. So far as I am aware, no excavations have ever been made
here, the dead--{379}if these stones do indeed cover the dead--sleep
undisturbed where they fell. But if the work were judiciously done, it
would be interesting and instructive to make a systematic search over
the reputed battle ground.

Not far distant from this ancient field of battle, but a little closer
to the base of Peel Fell, runs a Roman road, the old Wheel Causeway,
and into, or almost into, this road comes the Catrail, here finally
disappearing. I have never heard any suggestion made of a reason why
this Picts' Work Dyke should stop abruptly in, or at least on the very
verge of, a Roman high-way. It is difficult to accept the theory that
the Catrail was a road, because, in places where it crosses streams, no
attempt is made to diverge towards a ford, or even to an easy
entrance to the river bed; it plunges in where the bank is often most
inconveniently precipitous, and emerges again where it is equally steep.
Yet if it was not a road, why should it run into and end in a recognised
road that must have been in existence when the Catrail was formed?

Up the Wheel Causeway, a little distance beyond the spot where the
Catrail disappears, and between the Wormscleuch and Peel burns, there
stood at one time an ancient ecclesiastical building, the Wheel Chapel,
of whose walls faint traces still remain. It was in this building that
Edward I of England passed the night of 24th May 1296, during his Bolder
Progress; in the record of his expedition the chapel is spoken of as
the "Wyel." When the Statistical Account of 1798 was written, probably a
considerable part of the ruin yet stood, for the writer of that account
speaks of it as being of "excellent workmanship," and "pretty large."
And he remarks on the great number of grave-stones in the churchyard,
from which he con eludes that the surrounding population must at one
rime have been very considerable. Over all this district, indeed, that
seems to have been the case. Chapels were numerous among these hills;
in this part of Liddesdale there were no fewer than five, and the Wheel
Chapel itself is not more than six miles or {380}so, as the crow flies,
from Southdean, where it is certain that about the date of the battle of
Otterburne the population was much more dense than it is at the present
day.

What changes little more than one hundred years have wrought in this
countryside. Six years before the Statistical Account of 1798 was
penned, there were neither roads nor bridges in Liddesdale; "through
these deep and broken bogs and mosses we must _crawl_, to the great
fatigue of ourselves but the much greater injury of our horses,"
pathetically says the reverend writer of the account. Every article of
merchandise had to be carried on horseback. Sir Walter Scott himself--in
August 1800--was the first who ever drove a wheeled vehicle among the
Liddesdale hills, and we know from "Guy Mannering," and from Lockhart's
"Life," pretty well what a wild country it then was. There was not
an inn or a public house in the whole valley, says Lockhart; "the
travellers passed from the shepherd's hut to the minister's manse, and
again from the cheerful hospitality of the manse to the rough and jolly
welcome of the homestead." Inns, to be sure, even now are not to be
found, and are not needed, by every roadside, but at least there are
excellent main roads down both Liddel and Hermitage, and a main line
of railway runs through the valley; the moors are well drained, and the
necessity no longer exists to "crawl" through broken bogs and mosses.
Yet still the hills in appearance are as they were in Scott's day, still
they retain features which render them distinct from any other of the
Border hills; they are "greener and more abrupt.... sinking their sides
at once upon the river."

"They had no pretensions to magnificence of height, or to romantic
shapes, nor did their smooth swelling slopes exhibit either rocks
or woods. Yet the view was wild, solitary, and pleasingly rural. No
enclosures, no roads, almost no tillage,--it seemed a land which a
patriarch would have chosen to feed his flocks and herds. The remains
of here and there a dismantled and ruined tower showed that it had once
harboured beings of a very different description {381}from its present
inhabitants,--those freebooters, namely, to whose exploits the wars
between England and Scotland bear witness." The description might almost
have been written today. The wild, hard riding, hard living freebooter
of Johnie Armstrong's day is gone, leaving but a name and a tradition,
or at most the mouldering walls of some old peel tower. But Dandie
Dinmont himself, I think may still be found here in the flesh, as true
a friend, as generous, as brave and steadfast as ever was his
prototype,--but no longer as hard drinking. The days of "run" brandy
from the Solway Firth are over, and the scene mentioned by Lockhart is
now impossible, where Scott's host, a Liddesdale farmer, on a slight
noise being heard outside, the evening of the traveller's arrival,
_banged_ up from his knees during family prayers, shouting "By----,
here's the keg at last!"

On hearing the previous day of Scott's proposed visit, he had sent off
two men to some smuggler's haunt to obtain a supply of liquor, that his
reputation for hospitality might not be shamed. And here it was, to the
great prejudice of that evening's family worship! I do not suppose that
the present day "Dandie" leisters fish any longer,--though one would not
take on oneself rashly to swear that such a thing is even now entirely
impossible, but certainly within recent years fox hunts have taken
place amongst these hills much after the fashion described in "Guy
Mannering." In such a country, indeed, what other means can there he of
dealing with the hill foxes?

There is another road into Liddesdale from the north, that which comes
from Hawick up the Slitrig, past Stohs camp, then through the gap in
the hills by Shankend and over the watershed by Limekilnedge, where
Whitterhope Burn--tributary of Hermitage Water--takes its rise. As you
drop down to heights less elevated, you pass on your left the Nine Stane
Rig, a Druidical Circle, but locally more famed as the spot where the
cruel and detestable Sorcerer, Lord Soulis, came to his grisly end.
"Oh, _BOIL_ him, if you like, but let me be plagued no more,"
cried (according to tradition) a Scottish {382}Monarch, wearied by
the importunities of those who endlessly brought before him their
grievances against the wicked lord. So--as Leyden wrote--

               "On a circle of stones they placed the pot,

                   On a circle of stones but barely nine;

               They heated it red and fiery hot,

                   Till the burnished brass did glimmer and shine.

               "They rolled him up in a sheet of lead--

                   A sheet of lead for a funeral pall;

               They plunged him in the cauldron red,

                   And melted him, lead, and bones, and all.

               "At the Skelf-hill, the cauldron still

                   The men of Liddesdale can show; .

               And on the spot, where they boiled the pot,

                   The spreat and the deer-hair ne'er shall grow."

("Spreat" is a species of rush, and "deer-hair" a coarse kind of grass.)
Not the least painful part of the operation one would think must
have been the getting so large a body into so small a cauldron. Some
necromancy stronger than his own must have been employed to get him into
a pot of the dimensions of that long preserved at Skelf-hill and shown
to the curious as the identical cauldron. Of the stones that still
remain of the original nine, two used to be pointed out as those between
which the muckle pot was suspended on an iron bar, gipsy-kettle
fashion. In reality, I believe this last of the de Soulis family died in
Dumbarton Castle, a prisoner accused of conspiracy and treason.

A little way up Hermitage Water from the junction of Whitterhope
Burn, stands the massive and most striking ruin of Hermitage Castle.
Externally, the walls of this formidable stronghold are said to be
mostly of the fifteenth century, but in part, of course, the building
is very much older. The first castle built here is said to have been
erected by Nicholas de Soulis in the beginning of the thirteenth
century, and on a map of about the year 1300 Hermitage is shown as one
of the {383}great frontier fortresses. There were, however, earlier
proprietors of these lands than the de Soulis's, who may, presumably,
have lived here in some stronghold of their own, to which their
successors may have added. About the year 1180, Walter de Bolbeck
granted "to God and Saint Mary and Brother William of Mercheley" the
hermitage in his "waste" called Mercheley, beside Hermitage Water--then
called the Merching burn. But from a much earlier date than this,
possibly as early as the sixth century, the place had been famed as
the retreat of a succession of holy men, and probably something in the
nature of a chapel existed even then. The chapel whose remains still
stand, close by the bank of the tumbling stream, a few hundred yards
higher up than the castle, is, I understand, of thirteenth century
origin. It measures a little over fifty-one feet in length and
twenty-four in width, and the ruins are of much interest, if it were
only for the thought of those who in their day must have heard mass
within its walls, and perhaps there confessed their sins.

And surely, if sinners ever required absolution, some of those who must
have knelt here had need to ask it. On the shoulders of de Soulis and
Both well alone--among those who from time to lime held the castle of
Hermitage perhaps the chief of sinners,--there rested a load of iniquity
too heavy to be borne by ordinary mortal; and of the others, some
perhaps did not lag far behind in cruelty and wickedness. If the tale
be all true regarding the last days of Sir Alexander Ramsay in 1342, the
Knight of Liddesdale had a good deal to answer for during his tenancy
of the castle. The interior of the building is in so much more ruinous
a state than the outside, that it is not possible to follow with any
degree of accuracy incidents that took place within its walls. It is
said that before death ended his pangs, Sir Alexander Ramsay eked out a
miserable existence for seventeen days on grains of corn that dribbled
down from a granary overhead into the dungeon where he lay. But the
small dungeon where he is {384}said to have been confined has a vaulted
roof, and the room above was manifestly a guard room; so that--unless
there was some other dungeon--probably this story too, so far at
least as the grains of corn are concerned, must go the way of other
picturesque old tales.

[Illustration: 0404]

Some interesting relics were found among the rubbish on the floor when
the dungeon was opened early in the nineteenth century, but I do not
know that there was anything that could in any way be connected with Sir
Alexander's fate. Many an unhappy wretch no doubt had occupied the place
since his day. But what there was I believe was given to Sir Walter
Scott, who also, as readers may see in Lockhart's "Life," got from Dr.
Elliot of Cleuchhead "the large old Border war horn, which ye may
still see hanging in the armoury at Abbotsford.... One of the doctor's
servants had used it many a day as a grease-horn for his scythe,
{385}before they discovered its history. When cleaned out, it was never
a hair the worse--the original chain, hoop, and mouthpiece of steel,
were all entire, just as you now see them. Sir Walter carried it home
all the way from Liddesdale to Jedburgh, slung about his neck like
Johnny Gilpin's bottle, while I [Shortreed] was intrusted with an
ancient bridle-bit which we had likewise picked up." The horn I think
had been found in a marshy bit of land near the castle.

Since about 1594, Hermitage has been the property of the Scotts of
Buccleuch, into whose hands it came through their connection with
Francis Stewart, Earl of Bothwell. A sketch done in 1810 shows that
at that date one wall of the castle was rent from top to bottom by an
enormous fissure, seemingly almost beyond redemption. But about 1821,
careful repairs were undertaken by order of the then Duke of Buccleuch,
and, externally, the building now seems to be in excellent condition.

Many a warrior, no doubt, lies buried in the graveyard of Hermitage
chapel, but I do not think any tombstones of very-great age have ever
been found. Outside, however, between the wall of the burial ground
and the river, there is an interest ing mound, the reputed grave of
the famous Cout o' Keilder. Keilder is a district of Northumberland
adjoining Peel Fell, and in the day of the wizard Soulis, that
iniquitous lord's most noted adversary was the chief of Keilder, locally
called, from his great size and strength and activity, "the Cout." In
his last desperate fight with Soulis and his followers on the banks of
Hermitage Water, the Cout was hewing a bloody path through the press of
men, towards his chief enemy, when weight of numbers forced him, like a
wounded stag, to take to the water. Here, at bay in the rushing stream,
guarding himself from the foes who swarmed on either bank, the Cout
stumbled and fell, and, hampered by his armour, he could not regain
his feet; for each time that the drowning man got his head above water,
Soulis and his band thrust him back with their long spears. Finally, as
he became more exhausted, they held him down. And so the Cout perished.
Here on the grassy bank, hard by what is still called "The Cout o'
Keilder's pool," is his grave.

[Illustration: 0406]

But one is disappointed to learn that when an examination of it was made
some years ago, no gigantic bones were unearthed, nor indeed any bones
at all.

There is in some of the hills near Hermitage a peculiarity which cannot
fail to strike observers; and that is, the deep gashes--you cannot call
them glens--that have been cut here and there by the small burns. Scored
wide and deep into the smooth sides of the hills, they are yet not so
wide as to force themselves on the eye. It would be possible to drive
into them, and there effectually to conceal for a time, large mobs of
cattle, and I do not doubt that in old days these fissures were often so
used when a hostile English force was moving up the valley.

As one goes down Hermitage Water towards its junction with the Liddel,
the country, one finds, is plentifully sprinkled {387}with the ruins of
peel towers,--abandoned rookeries of the Elliot clan, I suppose, for the
Armstrong holdings were a little lower down. But in old days, when the
de Soulis's held all Liddesdale, there were other strong castles besides
Hermitage. Near Dinlabyre there stood the castle of Clintwood, and not
far from the meeting of the two streams, on the high bank of Liddel,
stood one of their strongholds--Liddel Castle. It was from this castle
that the old village of Castleton look its name: the village was at
first merely a settlement of de Soulis's followers.

The old Statistical Account of the Parish gives an extract from the
Session Records of Castleton church which is of interest. It is as
follows: "17 January 1649. The English army commanded by Colonels Bright
and Pride, and under the conduct of General Cromwell, on their return to
England, did lie at the Kirk of Castleton several nights, in which time
they brak down and burnt the Communion table and the seats of the Kirk;
and at their removing carried away the minister's books, to the value of
one thousand merks and above, and also the books of Session, with which
they lighted their tobacco pipes, the baptism, marriage, and examination
rolls from October 1612 to September 1648, all which were lost and
destroyed."

Castleton as a village does not now exist, and the old church has
disappeared, though the churchyard is still used. The other village, the
present Newcastleton, is of course entirely a township of yesterday---to
be precise, it dates only from 1793. But it is interesting from the fact
that the present railway station occupies the site where once stood the
tower of Park, the peel of that "Little Jock Elliot" who so nearly put
an end to the life of Bothwell. What a difference it might have made if
he had but stabbed in a more vital spot, or a little deeper.

Not far from Castleton was the home of the notorious Willie of
Westburnflat, last of the old reivers, and--it almost goes {388}without
saying--an Armstrong; the last of those of whom it was written:

                   "Of Liddisdail the common thiefis,

                   Sa peartlie stellis now and reifis,

                   That nane may keip

                   Horse, nolt, nor scheip,

                   Nor yett dar sleip

                   For their mischeifis."

But Willie lived in degenerate days; the times were out of joint, and
reiving as a profession had gone out of fashion. People now resented
having their eye "lifted," and meanly invoked the new-fangled aid of the
Law in redressing such grievances. Nevertheless, Willie did his best
to maintain old customs, and consequently he was feared and hated far
beyond the bounds of Liddesdale.

Modern prejudice however at length became too strong for him. It so fell
out that a dozen or so of cows, raided one night from Teviotdale, were
traced to Westburnflat. In the dead of night, when Willie was peacefully
asleep, tired perhaps, and soothed by the consciousness of a deed well
done, the men of Teviotdale arrived, and, bursting in, before Willie
could gather his scattered wits or realise what was happening he was
overpowered by numbers, and they had bound him fast, hand and foot.
His trial, along with that of nine friends and neighbours, was held
at Selkirk, and though the lost cattle had not been found in his
possession, and the evidence of this particular theft was in no way
conclusive, on the question of general character alone the jury thought
it safer to find all the prisoners guilty. Sentence of death was
pronounced. Thereupon Willie arose in wrath, seized the heavy oak chair
on which he had been seated, broke it in pieces by main strength, kept
a strong leg for himself, and passing the remainder to his condemned
comrades, called to them to stand by him and they would fight their way
out of Selkirk. There is little doubt, too, that he would have
succeeded had he been properly backed up. But his friends--{389}poor
"fushiunless," spiritless creatures, degenerate Armstrongs surely, if
they were Armstrongs--seized his hands and cried to him to "_let them
die like Christians_."

[Illustration: 0409]

Perhaps it was a kind of equivalent to turning King's Evidence; they may
have hoped to curry favour and to be treated leniently because of their
services in helping to secure the chief villain. But they might better
have died fighting; pusillanimity availed them nothing. They were all
duly hanged.

A few miles down the Liddel from Westburnfiat is the site {390}of
Mangerton Castle, home of the chief of the Armstrong clan, Johnie of
Gilnockie's brother.

[Illustration: 0410]

Nothing now is left of the building, but Sir Walter mentions that an old
carved stone from its walls is built into a neighbouring mill. Near to
Mangerton, in a field between Newcastleton and Ettletown Churchyard,
is the interesting Milnholm Cross, said to have been erected somewhere
about six hundred years ago to mark the spot where a dead chief of the
Armstrongs lay, prior to being buried at Ettletown. The tradition as
given in the Statistical Account of 1798, is as follows: "One of
the governors of Hermitage Castle, some say Lord Soulis, others Lord
Douglas, having entertained a passion for a young woman in the lower
part of the parish, went to her house, and was met by her father, who,
wishing to conceal his daughter, was instantly killed by the Governor.
He was soon pursued by the people, and, in extreme danger, took refuge
with Armstrong of Mangerton, who had influence enough to prevail on
the {391}people to desist from the pursuit, and by this means saved
his life. Seemingly with a view to make a return for this favour, but
secretly jealous of the power and influence of Armstrong, he invited him
to Hermitage, where he was basely murdered. He himself, in his turn, was
killed by Jock of the Side, of famous memory, and brother to Armstrong.
The cross was erected in memory of the transaction." Here, too, I fear
tradition is untrustworthy. Jock of the Syde--"a greater thief did never
ride"--lived long after the day of the de Soulis's or of Douglas; he
was, indeed, contemporary with the equally notorious "Johne of the
Parke,"--Little Jock Elliot. This Milnholm Cross is a little over eight
feet in height. The carving is worn, and not very distinct, but on a
shield there is the heraldic device of the Armstrongs, a bent arm; some
lettering, i.h.s.; below, the initials m.a., and what appears to be
a.a.; and on the shaft is cut a two-handed sword, about four feet in
length. In his "History of Liddesdale," (1883). Bruce Armstrong says the
shield was added "recently."



CHAPTER XVII KERSHOPEFOOT, CARLISLE CASTLE, SOLWAY MOSS

|A little{392} further down the river we come to the Kershope Burn, here
the boundary between Scotland and England. It was here, at "the Dayholme
of Kershoup"--which I take to be the flat land on the Scottish side of
Liddel, opposite to the mouth of the burn--that the Wardens' Meeting
was held in 1596, which became afterwards so famous owing to the illegal
capture by the English of Kinmont Willie. All the world knows the tale,
and all the world knows how gallantly Buccleuch rescued the prisoner
from Carlisle Castle. But until one goes to Carlisle, and takes note for
oneself of the difficulties with which Buccleuch had to contend, and
the apparently hopeless nature of his undertaking, it is not possible
to appreciate the full measure of the rescuer's gallantry. Kinmont, I
suppose, on the day of his capture was riding quietly homeward down the
Scottish side of the river, suspecting no evil, for the day was a day
of truce. "Upon paine of death, presentlie to be executed, all persones
whatsoever that come to these meitings sould be saife fra any proceiding
or present occasioun, from the tyme of Meiting of the Wardens, or their
Deputies, till the next Day at the sun rysing." The English did not play
the game; from their own side of Liddel they had probably kept Kinmont
in sight, meaning to seize him if opportunity offered. And they made the
opportunity. For the most part, the banks of {393}Liddel here are steep
and broken, and the river is devoid of any ford; but a mile or two down
from Kershopefoot the land on the Scottish side slopes gently from the
water, and it is easily fordable.

[Illustration: 0413]

Here probably began the chase which ended in Willie's capture. A very
fine sword was found near this.

The night of Kinmont's release, the 13th of April, 1596, was very dark,
with rain falling, and a slight mist rising over the river flats at
Carlisle. And the Eden was swollen. It is not possible to form any very
definite idea of the initial difficulty Buccleuch must have met with at
this point, because the bed of the river is now entirely different from
what it was then. In former days, I believe, a long, low island lay in
mid-stream, the water flowing swiftly through two channels. Even now
there is shallow water part way across, but the stream runs strong and
{394}it would be ill to ford, especially on a dark night. Buccleuch, I
take it, must have swum his horses across the Eden nearly opposite, but
a trifle above, the mouth of the litde river Caldew, the water being at
the tyme, through raines that had fallen, weill thick; he comes to the
Sacray, a plaine place under the toune and castell, and halts upon the
syde of a little water or burn that they call "Caday."

[Illustration: 0414]

The "Sacray" is of course what now goes by the name of the Sauceries.

Buccleuch's scaling ladders proved too short to enable him to get within
the castle walls by their means; but there is a small postern gate in
the wall (nearly abreast of the present public Abattoirs), and this
was forced, or at least one or two men squeezed in here, possibly
by removing a stone below the gate, and opened the postern to their
comrades. This postern has recently been reopened. After Buccleuch's
exploit it had been securely built upon both sides, outside and in; and
later, {395}a Cook's galley and other domestic offices were erected on
the inner side, against the wall, effectually hiding the old gate.

[Illustration: 0415]

These buildings and the stonework blocking the postern have now been
pulled down, and the identical little oaken gate through which Buccleuch
and his men entered, once more has seen the light of day, and, I
understand, is now being put in a state of thorough repair.

Having made his entry, Buccleuch placed one part of his force between
the castle and the town, so that he might not be assailed in rear, and,
leaving a few men to guard the postern and secure their retreat, the
rest pushed towards Kinmont Willie's place of confinement in the Keep,
all making as great a noise as possible, "to terrifie both castell
and toune by ane imaginatioun of a greater force." Hitherto they had
encountered only the castle sentinels, who were easily scattered and
brushed aside; "the rest that was within doors heiring the noyse of
the trumpet within, and that the castell was entered, and the noyse
of others without, both the Lord {396}Scroope himself and his deputy
Salkeld being thair with the garrisone and hys awin retinew, did keep
thamselffis close."

[Illustration: 0416]

It was one thing, however, for the rescuers to have forced their way
inside the castle walls, but it should have been quite another, to
accomplish the feat of getting the prisoner out of the dungeon. Through
a female spy they knew in what part of the castle he lay; but his place
of confinement,--inside the Keep,--was quite a hundred yards from the
postern gate, and {397}surely a few resolute men might have held so
strong a post for a time without much difficulty. Lord Scrope, however,
did not emerge from his retreat; and to the others as well, discretion
seemed the better part of valour.

[Illustration: 0417]

Meantime, Buccleuch's trumpets were blaring out the arrogant old Elliot
slogan; "_O wha daur meddle wi' me?_"; and his men, falling to with
energy, forced the gate of the Keep, burst in the massive door of the
outer dungeon, tore away that of the dark and noisome inner prison, a
rough, vaulted stone chamber to which no ray of light ever penetrated
even on the brightest clay, and there they found Kinmont, chained to
the wall. No time now to strike off his fetters; they could but free him
from the long iron bar that ran along one side of the wall, and

               "Then Red Rowan has hente him up,

                   The starkest man in Teviotdale--

               'Abide, abide now, Red Rowan,

                   Till of my Lord Scroope I take farewell.'

               "'Farewell, farew ell, my gude Lord Scroope!

                   My gude Lord Scroope, farewell!' he cried--

               'I'll pay ye for my lodging maill,

                   When first we meet on the Border side.'

               "Then shoulder high, with shout and cry,

                   We bore him down the ladder lang;

               At every stride Red Rowan made,

                   I wot the Kinmont's aims played clang!

               "We scarce had won the Staneshaw-bank,

                   When a' the Carlisle bells were rung,

               And a thousand men on horse and foot,

                   Cam' wi' the keen Lord Scroope along."

But still they held aloof, hesitating to attack the retreating little
Scottish band, and Buccleuch and his men, with Willie in their midst,
plunged in and safely recrossed the swollen river.

                "He turned him on the other side,

                   And at Lord Scroope his glove flung he--

               'If ye likena my visit in merry England,

                   In fair Scotland come visit me!'"

But Lord Scrope on this night scarcely merited the term, "keen"; he went
no farther towards Scotland than the water's edge.

               "'He is either himself a devil frae hell,

                   Or else his mother a witch maun be;

               I wadna have ridden that wan water

                   For a' the gowd in Christentie,'"

cried he, according to the ballad. Was he, one cannot help wondering,
ashamed of the English breach of Border law entailed in the matter
of Kinmont's capture, and was he in a measure wilfully playing into
Buccleuch's hands? If that were the case, he took on himself a heavy
risk. Elizabeth was not exactly the kind of Sovereign who would be
likely to be tender hearted and to make allowances for slackness in such
an affair, nor one with whom her servants might safely take liberties.
{399}As safely might the gambolling lamb play pranks with the drowsing
wolf.

[Illustration: 0419]

Not far from Longtown, at a place called Dick's Tree, on the farther
side of Esk, there still stands the "smiddy" (or smith's shop) where
Kinmont's irons were struck off. In one of Sir Walter Scott's M.S.
letters of 1826 it is told that: "Tradition preserves the account of the
smith's daughter, then a child, how there was a _sair clatter_ at the
door about daybreak, and loud crying for the smith; but her father not
being on the alert, Buccleueh himself thrust his lance thro' the window,
which effectually bestirred him. On looking out, the woman continued,
she saw, in the grey of the morning, more gentlemen than she had ever
before seen in one place, all on horseback, in armour, and dripping
wet--and that Kinmont Willie, who sat woman fashion behind one of them,
was the biggest carle she ever saw--and there was much merriment
in {400}the company." Except for this event, Dick's Tree is quite
uninteresting, and quite unpicturesque; it is merely a cottage like a
thousand others to be seen in the Border, possessing no special feature,
or even any indication of antiquity.

[Illustration: 0420]

And no one works the "smiddy" now, except at odd times; modern
requirements have, I understand, taken the business away to Longtown.

What was the end of Kinmont Willie no one knows, but he {401}certainly
lived to pay, to some small extent, for his "lodging maill;" he was
engaged in a raid on Lord Scrope's tenants in the year 1600, and
doubtless he did not forget the debt incurred at Carlisle. Later than
this I think there is no record of him, but it would not be surprising
to learn that at the last Lord Scrope was able to give a receipt in
full. Many an Armstrong in old days danced at the end of a rope at
"Hairribie." Not improbably, Kinmont was one of them. There is a grave
in an old churchyard not far from the Tower of Sark, which is pointed
out as his. But the date on the tombstone makes it impossible that
the veritable Willie of Kinmont lies underneath. The name of "William
Armstrong called Kynmount" is in Lord Maxwell's Muster Roll of 1585,
together with those of his seven sons. Willie, therefore--if at that
date he had seven sons fit to fight--could have been no youth. Now the
William Armstrong to whose memory the Sark tombstone is erected died in
1658, which, if he had been the famous Kinmont, would give him an age of
considerably over a hundred years. But in any case, it is an interesting
old stone. Many years ago steps were taken to preserve it from further
decay, and the lettering and other points were retouched. Round the
edges of the stone is cut:

"_HEIR LYES. ANE. WORTHIE. PERSON. CALLIT. WILLIAM. ARMSTRONG. OF. SARK.
WHO. DIED. TE IO. DAY. OF. JUNE. 16. 58. AETATIS. SVAE. 56_."

On the body of the stone:

                   "Man as grass to grave he flies.

                   Grass decays and man he dies.

                   Grass revives and man doth rise.

                   Yet few they be who get the prise."

Below are the Armstrong bent arm holding a sword, a skull and crossed
bones, an hour glass and other emblems, and below all, "memento mora."
This William Armstrong, therefore, who died in 1658, aged 56, was not
born when Kinmont Willie was rescued by Buccleuch from Carlisle Castle.

Here, on the lower part of Sark, we are in a country world {402}famed
for its old fashioned run-away marriages, more famed even than was
Coldstream.

[Illustration: 0422]

Down the river is Sark Bridge, with its toll-bar, and adjacent to it,
Gretna Green. At the tollhouse alone in the early part of last century,
within six years thirteen hundred couples were married--a profitable
business for the "priest," (usually the village blacksmith,) for his
fee ranged from half a guinea to a hundred pounds, according to the
circumstances of each fond couple. But what was charged in a case such
as that of Lord Erskine, Lord High Chancellor of England, who, when he
was nearly seventy years of age, eloped with a blushing spinster and was
married at Gretna--in the Inn, I think--history does not tell. There is
a something, part comic, part pathetic, in the thought of the tired
old gentle{403}man gallantly propping himself in a corner of his post
chaise, flying through the darkness of night on Love's wings, a fond
bride by his side.

[Illustration: 0423]

And when grey dawn at length stole through the breath-dimmed glass of
the closed windows, revealing the "elderly morning dew" on his withered
cheeks and stubbly chin, with callous disregard emphasizing the
wrinkles, the bags below the puffy eyes--bloodshot from want of
sleep--and the wig awry, did the young lady begin to repent her bargain,
one may wonder.

Stretched between Sark and Longtown is the Debateable Land and Solway
Moss; the latter "just a muckle black moss," they will tell you here,
yet surely not without its own beauty under certain combinations of sun
and cloud. "Solway Moss" is a name of evil repute to us of Scotland,
for here on 24th {404}November 1542 took place the most miserable of all
Border battles--if indeed "battle" is a term in any degree applicable to
the affair.

[Illustration: 0424]

The encounter, such as it was, took place not so much in Solway Moss,
however, as over towards Arthuret. The Scots--a strong raiding army,
but disorganised, and in a state of incipient mutiny against their
newly-appointed leader, Oliver Sinclair, (Ridpath says: "a general
murmur and breach of all order immediately ensued" when his appointment
was made known,)--at dawn of the 24th were already burning northward
through the Debateable Land. Wharton with his compact little English
force watched them from Arthuret Howes and skilfully drew them into a
hopeless trap between the Esk and an impassable swamp, where there
was no room to deploy. Here the English--at most not a sixth part so
numerous as the Scots--charging down on the Scottish right flank
threw them into hopeless confusion, and from that minute all was over.
{405}Panic seized the Scots: men cast aside whatever might hamper their
flight, and, plunging into the water, scrambled for what safety
they might find among the Grahams and the English borderers of
Liddesdale--which, as it turned out, meant little better than scrambling
from the frying pan into the fire.

[Illustration: 0425]

Many were driven into the swamp and perished there miserably, many
were drowned in the river, and twelve hundred men--including a large
percentage of nobles--were captured. Out of a force variously estimated
at from two to three thousand strong--Sir William Musgrave, who was with
the cavalry, puts it at the higher figure--the English lost but seven
men killed. It was a {406}sorry business, a dreadful day for Scotland;
and it ended the life of James V as effectually as if he had been slain
on the field of battle.

[Illustration: 0426]

I do not know if Arthuret church was injured on this occasion; it is
recorded in 1597 that it had then been ruinous for about sixty years.
Perhaps the Armstrongs may have been responsible; they made a big raid
hereaway in 1528. The present building dates, I believe, from 1609.

There was another calamity connected with Solway Moss, later than the
battle and local in effect, yet sufficiently terrible to cast over
the district a black shadow of tragedy, the memory of which time has
lightened but even yet has not entirely wiped out. November 1771 was a
month of evil note for its storms and ceaseless wet. Day followed day
sodden with driving rain, and the country lay smothered under a ragged
grey blanket of mist. Firm ground became a quagmire that quaked under
foot, pools widened into lakes, and the rivers {407}rose in dreadful
spate that yet failed to carry off the superfluous water.

[Illustration: 0427]

Liddel roared through the rocky gorge of Fenton Linn with a fury such as
had never been known; Esk left her bed and wandered at will. Many people
living in the low lying flats surrounding the Moss, alarmed for the
safety of their cattle, were abroad in the dark of the morning of 16th
November, intent on getting the beasts to higher ground, {408}when a
long-drawn muffled rumble, as of distant thunder, startled them.

[Illustration: 0428]

The Moss had burst, spewing out from its maw a putrid mass that spread
relentlessly, engulfing house after house, in many cases catching the
inhabitants in their beds. For weeks the horrible eruption spread, and
ere its advance was stayed thirty families were homeless, their houses,
furniture, and live-stock buried twenty feet deep under a black slime
that stank like the pit of Tophet.

Harking back to Carlisle, (which we left in company of Kinmont Willie,)
one would fain linger in that pleasant town, to dream awhile over its
alluring past. But Carlisle is a subject too big to introduce at the
close of a volume; there is a more than sufficient material in the story
of the castle (with its wealth of warlike and other memories), and of
the Cathedral, alone to make a fair-sized book. There is too much to
tell; for, besides the story of the captivity here of Queen Mary of
{409}Scotland, and that of the capture of Carlisle by Prince Charlie,
there are a hundred and one other things, if once a beginning were made
and space to tell them were available. (What used to be called Queen
Mary's Tower, to save cost of repairs was pulled down by Government
between 1824 and 1835, together with the Hall in which Edward I held
Parliaments, and much else of surpassing interest. Vandalism in those
days was a vice which affected not alone the private individual.)
Moreover, there would be the question of where to stop, for if the
history of Carlisle be touched upon, at once we are mixed up with that
of half a score of places in the immediate neighbourhood, all of which
are full of profoundest interest. There would be, for example, Naworth,
not far from the quaint little town of Brampton, Naworth with its
massive walls, and memories of the Dacres, and of Belted Will Howard--a
name better known to Border fame, at least to the Borderer of to day,
than even that of his predecessors. Then there would necessarily be
the fascinating subject of the Roman wall, of Bird-Oswald camp, of
Lanercost, and of Gilsland, with its memories of Sir Walter. One
must needs make an end somewhere, and it is hopeless to treat of
such subjects in small space. But Bewcastle, perhaps, because of its
connection with a subject mentioned earlier in this volume, must not be
omitted.



CHAPTER XVIII BEWCASTLE, LIDDEL MOAT, NETHERBY, KIRK ANDREWS, GILNOCKIE,
LANGHOLM

|A pilgrimage{410} to Bewcastle cannot be recommended to persons
animated by curiosity alone; or even by a passion for the beauties of
nature.

[Illustration: 0430]

From childhood the writer had a desire to behold Bewcastle, because it
was the Captain of Bewcastle who, in the ballad of _Jamie Telfer_, in
_The Border Minstrelsy_, made such an unlucky raid on the cows of
a farmer in Ettrickdale. The very word Bewcastle seemed to re-echo
{411}the trumpets of the Wardens' Raids and the battles long ago.

[Illustration: 0431]

But when you actually find yourself, after a long walk or drive up a
succession of long green ascents, in the broad bleak cup of the hills;
when you see the grassy heights, with traces of ancient earthworks that
surround the blind grey oblong of the ruined castle; the little old
church, all modern within, and the {412}tiny hamlet that nestles by
the shrunken and prosaic burn; then, unless you be an antiquary and a
historian, you feel as if you had come very far to see very little.

[Illustration: 0432]

But if a secular antiquary and a ballad lover, you fill the landscape
with galloping reivers, you restore the royal flag of England to the
tower, and your mind is full of the rough riding life of Mus-graves and
Grahams, Scotts, Elliots and Armstrongs. If, on the other hand, your
tastes are ecclesiastical, and you are an amateur of Runic writing, you
can pass hours with the tall headless Runic cross beside the church, a
work of art dating from the middle of the seventh century of our era,
according to the prevalent opinion.

Bewcastle is at least ten miles from the nearest railway at Penton;
twelve from Brampton; not easily approached by a fell path from
Gilsland; and is most easily if least romantically reached by motor
car from Carlisle, a drive of nearly twenty {413}miles. The Elliots
and Scotts of the reiving days, got at Bewcastle by riding down Liddel
water, crossing it at the Kershope burn ford, and then robbing all and
sundry through some four miles. The castle they could not take in a
casual expedition.

The oldest monument in the place, except the earthworks said to be
Roman, is the Cross, which much resembles the more famous Cross of
Ruthwell, near Dumfries, with the runes from the Song of the Rood. More
fortunate than the Ruthwell relic of early Anglican Christianity, that
of Bewcastle was never broken up by the bigots of the Covenant as "a
monument of idolatry." The head, however, was removed by Belted Will of
Naworth, and sent to Camden the historian, in the reign of James VI
and I. The west face is the most interesting. The top panel contains a
figure of St. John the Baptist; our Lord is represented in the central
panel, inscribed in runes, _Gessus Kristins_. The figure is noble
and broad in treatment; done in the latest gloaming of classical art.
Beneath is seated a layman, in garb of peace, with his falcon. The runic
inscription on the central panel is black, painted black, it seems, by
a recent rector, the Rev. Mr. Maughan, who laboured long at deciphering
the characters. Professor Stephens read them:

                   This victory-column

                   Thin set up

                   Hwaetred Woth

                   gar Olfwolthu

                   after Alcfrith

                   Once King

                   and son of Oswi

                   Pray for the high

                   sin of his soul.

Runes are difficult. Mr. Stephens once read a Greek epitaph in elegiac
verse, for a Syrian boy, at Brough, as a Runic lament, in old English,
for a martyred Christian lady. I have little confidence in Hwaetred,
Olfwolthu, and Wothgar: who were they; the artists employed in making
the Cross? _Eac Oswiung_, "and son of Oswin," "the king," is said to
be plain enough, and to indicate Alchfrith, son of Oswin, who after a
stormy youth accepted, as against the Celtic clerics, the positions of
St. Wilfred.

[Illustration: 0434]

The decorative work, knot work, vine scrolls, birds and little animals
among the grapes, is of Byzantine and {415}Northern Italian origin: like
the decoration of the Ruthwell Cross.

Bewcastle must, it seems, have been a more important and populous place
when this monument was erected, than even when the Royal castle was a
centre of resistance to the Riddesdale clans in Queen Elizabeth's day.

Returning from Bewcastle by Penton, we strike the Riddel near Penton
Linn, not distant from the vanished peel of that Judas, Hector Armstrong
of Harelaw, who betrayed the Earl of Northumberland into the hands of
the Regent Murray in 1569. A little way below, near the junction of
Riddel and Esk, on a commanding height that overhangs railway and river,
is Riddel Moat. Locally this moat is called "the Roman Camp," but to the
average amateur there is certainly nothing Roman about it. No doubt the
Romans may have had an outpost here; the position is too strong not to
have been held by them, especially as they had a station barely a couple
of miles away, at Netherby. But the prominent remains of fortifications
now to be seen here manifestly date from long after Roman days. It is,
I believe, the site of the earliest Riddel Castle, erected by Ranulph de
Soulis before either the Riddel Castle at Castleton, or Hermitage,
was built. This Riddel Castle was razed to the ground, wiped out of
existence, by the Scottish army under David Bruce, which invaded England
in 1346 and was so totally routed at Neville's Cross a few weeks later.
On his march southward, says Redpath, Bruce "took the fortress of Riddel
and put the garrison to the sword,... spreading terror and desolation
all round him in his progress through Cumberland." Liddel Moat is well
worthy of a visit, but it is somewhat out of the beaten track and
can only be reached by walking a little distance, preferably from the
station at Biddings Junction. The position, defended on the landward
side by an immensely deep moat, and on the other dropping almost sheer
into the river--or rather, now, on to the intervening railway line--is
a magnificent one, and the view obtained from the {416}highest point is
very fine,--at one's feet, just beyond the two rivers, "Cannobie lea";

          "There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan,

               Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran,

          There was racing and chasing on Cannobie lea,

               But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see."

A short way farther down the Esk is Netherby, headquarters of that
clan whose peel towers once dotted this part of Cumberland and all the
Debateable Land, and who in the early seventeenth century were so hardly
used by James VI and I. They were no better, I suppose, than the others
of that day, but they were no worse, and the story of their banishment
is not very pleasant reading. Lord Scrope believed that the Grahams
were "privy" to Buccleuch's rescue of Kinmont Willie, and certainly
the Grahams did not love Lord Scrope, who, I suppose, was not likely to
present the clan in a very favourable light to Queen Elizabeth. Their
reputation, in any case, became increasingly black, and James I, when he
came to the throne, issued a proclamation against them. In fact, the
dog was given an exceedingly bad name--not of course wholly without
cause--and hung; or, rather, many of their houses were harried, their
women and children turned out to fend for themselves in the wet and
cold, and their men shipped off to banishment in Ireland and in Holland.
Certainly, in driblets they made their way back to their own country
again, after a time--those who survived, that is,--but their nests had
been harried, their broods scattered down the wind, and, as a clan,
their old status was never regained.

As has already been told, Netherby was the site of a Roman station, and
it is rich in evidences of the old Legions--coins, altars, and what not.
The original peel at Netherby--which still forms part of the present
mansion--I take to have been such another as the Graham tower of Kirk
Andrews, its near neighbour, which stands--still inhabited--just across
the Esk, perched on a rising ground overhanging the river. {417}From
a sporting point of view at least, the Esk here is a beautiful stream,
famous for its salmon, which are plentiful and often of great size.

[Illustration: 0437]

In his Notes to "Redgauntlet," Sir Walter Scott mentions that "shortly
after the close of the American war, Sir James Graham of Netherby
constructed a dam-dike, or cauld, across the Esk, at a place where it
flowed through his estate, though it has its origin, and the principal
part of its course, in Scotland. The new barrier at Netherby was
considered as an encroachment calculated to prevent the salmon
from ascending into Scotland; and the right of erecting it being an
international question of law betwixt the sister kingdoms, there was no
court in either competent to its decision. In this dilemma, the Scots
people assembled in numbers by signal of rocket-lights, and, rudely
armed with fowling-pieces, fish spears and such rustic weapons, marched
to the banks of the river for {418}the purpose of pulling down the
dam dike objected to. Sir James Graham armed many of his own people to
protect his property, and had some military from Carlisle for the same
purpose. A renewal of the Border wars had nearly taken place in the
eighteenth century, when prudence and moderation on both sides saved
much tumult, and perhaps some bloodshed. The English proprietor
consented that a breach should be made in his dam-dike sufficient for
the passage of the fish, and thus removed the Scottish grievance. I
believe the river has since that time taken the matter into its own
disposal, and entirely swept away the dam-dike in question." I do not
think there is now any trace of the obstruction which so roused the good
people of Langholm and their supporters The question, of course, was not
a new one. As early as the middle of the fifteenth century, Cumberland
folks and Scots were at loggerheads over a "fish-garth" constructed by
the former, which the Scots maintained prevented salmon from ascending
to the upper waters. The dispute raged for something like a hundred
years.

Leaving Kirk Andrews, we get at once onto the old London and Edinburgh
coach road close to Scot's Dike, and in the course of two or three
miles reach the village of Canonbie, where at a little distance from the
bridge over Esk stands the comfortable old coaching inn, the Cross Keys,
now favoured of anglers. Thence all the way to Langholm the road runs
by the river-bank through very delightful scenery, said, in old days,
indeed, to be the most beautiful of all between London and Edinburgh.
In the twelfth century a Priory stood at Canonbie, and as late as 1576
there was still a resident Prior, but the building itself I think was
wrecked by the English in 1542, after the battle of Solway Moss. A few
of its stones are still to the fore, but I fear the ruin was used as a
quarry during the building of Canonbie Bridge.

That also is a fate that waited on another famous building not far from
Canonbie--Gilnockie Castle, the residence of the {419}notorious Johnny
Armstrong. Hollows Tower, a few hundred yards above the village of
Hollows, is often confounded with Gilnockie, probably for the reason
that no stone of the latter has been left standing on another, and that
Hollows Tower is a conspicuous object in the foreground here.

[Illustration: 0439]

Perhaps, too, Sir Walter Scott was partly responsible for the belief
prevalent in many quarters that the Hollows is Gilnockie. In "Minstrelsy
of the Scottish Border," he says: "His [Johny Armstrong's] {420}place
of residence (now a roofless tower) was at the Hollows, a few miles from
Langholm, where its rains still serve to adorn a scene which, in natural
beauty, has few equals in Scotland."

[Illustration: 0440]

I am not certain, but I do not think that Sir Walter ever visited
Gilnockie. If he had done so, it could scarcely have escaped his
knowledge that another castle once stood less than half a {421}mile from
Hollows Tower, and that towards the end of the eighteenth century the
stones from that castle were utilised in the building of Gilnockie
Bridge. That they were so used is well authenticated; and I should think
it is probable that the ruin was found to be a convenient quarry also
when houses in the neighbouring village of Hollows were being built.

Hollows lower is a very good example of the old Border Keep, but it
is small, much too small to have given anything like sufficient
accommodation for Johny Armstrong's "tail," which must necessarily have
been of considerable strength. The dining hall, for instance, measures
roughly only a little over twenty-two feet by thirteen, and the total
outside length of the tower is less than thirty-five feet. I should
imagine it to be certain that Johny never lived here; indeed. I should
be inclined to doubt if this particular Hollows Tower was even built
during Johny Armstrong's life-time. Neither is the position a very
strong one,--though on that point it is perhaps not easy to judge,
because, in old days no doubt (as in the case of Hermitage Castle,)
impassable swamps probably helped to protect it from assault on one or
more sides.

The place where Gilnockie stood is without any doubt a little lower
down the Esk than Hollows Tower, at a point where the river makes a
serpentine bend and contracts into a narrow, rocky gorge, impossible to
ford. Here, at the Carlisle end of Gilnockie Bridge, on the high tongue
of rocky land that projects into the stream, are faint but unmistakeable
outlines of a large building, with outworks. The position is
magnificent--impregnable, in fact, to any force of olden days unprovided
with artillery. On three sides the rocky banks drop nearly sheer to the
water, and across the root of the tongue are indications of a
protecting fosse. It is impossible to imagine a site more perfect for
a freebooter's stronghold. To have neglected it, in favour of such a
position as that occupied by the Hollows Tower, would have been on the
reiver's part to throw away the most obvious of the gifts of Providence.
{422}Local tradition has it that Johny had a drawbridge by which, at
will, he could cross the river.

[Illustration: 0442]

Certainly there is a projecting nose of rock just at the narrowest part
of the stream, immediately above the present stone bridge, but one
would be inclined to doubt if the engineering skill of Scotland in
the {423}sixteenth century was equal to the task of constructing a
serviceable drawbridge capable of spanning a width so great.

There, is a curious stone that projects _inwards_ from high up in
Hollows Tower, the original purpose of which forms to the amateur lover
of ancient buildings a quite insolvable puzzle. The stone measures,
roughly, from the wall to its tip about three feet in length, and its
diameter is perhaps ten or twelve inches. Towards the end farthest from
the wall it has a well-marked groove on the upper part and sides, as if
heavy weights had frequently been suspended from it by ropes or chains.
Its position is on the light of a narrow door that opens two or three
feet above the floor-level of the room into which the stone projects,
and the stone itself must have been close to the ceiling of the chamber.
What was its use? An intelligent but youthful guide, when the writer
was at Hollows, suggested with ghoulish delight that it was "a
hangin'-stane." But that, surely, would have been wilful waste on the
part of the Armstrongs, so long as trees were available. Nor is it
likely that they got rid of prisoners in this way with a regularity
sufficient to account for the well worn groove in the stone. It does,
however, recall Sir Thomas Dick Lauder's feelings, when "at the top of
the south-western angle of the Tower [of Neidpath], a large mass of the
masonry had fallen, and laid open a chamber roofed with a Gothic arch of
stone, from the centre of which swung, vibrating with every heavy gust
of wind, an enormous iron ring. To what strange and wild horrors did
this not awaken the fancy?"

From a little beyond Hollows Tower, all the way to Langholm you catch
through the trees glimpses of hurrying, foamfleckcd streams that speak
most eloquently of "sea-trout, rushing at the fly." It has never been
the writer's fortune to cast a line in this water, but if looks go for
anything the sport must be excellent.

It is impossible to imagine scenery more pleasing than the woody banks
that overhang the river as Langholm is {424}approached; and the position
of the town itself, nestling amongst beautiful hills, is singularly
inviting. Langholm occupies the site of a famous old battle, that of
Arkenholm, where in 1454 the power of the Douglas's was finally broken.

[Illustration: 0444]

In and about the town there is much to interest those whose tastes lean
towards archaeology; the whole countryside, indeed, is sprinkled with
towers and the remains of towers. In the burgh itself for example, there
is what appears to be the remains of an old peel, now forming part of
the wing of a hotel; just above the upper bridge are the ruins--the
sorely battered ruins--of Langholm Castle, once an Armstrong stronghold;
and most beautifully situated on Wauchope Water, just outside the town,
is Wauchope Castle, long ago the seat of the Lindsays. Little now
is left of the building, practically nothing, indeed, but two small
portions of the outer wall on the rocks {425}immediately overhanging
the picturesque water of Wauchope. The position must in the days of its
pride have been immensely strong, and the scene now is very beautiful.

In close proximity to the castle is an old graveyard, with remains--at
least the foundations--of a pre-Reformation church and a few interesting
old stones, two, at least, apparently very ancient, if one may judge
from the style of sword cut on them. Not far from this are traces of
the old Roman Road, and near at hand a stone bridge, also believed to be
Roman, once crossed the stream. But it is said--with what truth I know
not--to have been destroyed long ago by a Minister, whose care of his
flock was such that, to prevent the lads of Langholm strolling that way
of an evening, disturbing the peace of mind and pious meditations of his
female domestics, he demolished it.

As in the case of Selkirk, and of Hawick, the great festival of the year
at Langholm is on the occasion of the Fair and Common Riding. In the
Proclamation of the Fair, after a statement of the penalties to be
imposed on disturbers of the festival, the curious words occur: "They
shall sit down on their bare knees and pray seven times for the King,
and thrice for the Muckle Laird o' Ralton." The Laird of Ralton was an
illegitimate son of Charles II, but what he had to do with Eskdale, or
what is the origin of the words, I have been quite unable to learn.

To go, even superficially, into the history of Langholm and of the
interesting and beautiful country surrounding it, would occupy much
space, and neither time nor space is available.

Here, amongst the hills and the many waters, we must leave the Border.
It is a country whose mountains are seldom grand or awe-inspiring, as
in some parts of the Scottish Highlands they may be; its streams do not
flow with the rich majesty of Thames, nor with the mighty volume of Tay;
and there are, doubtless, rivers possessed of wilder scenery. But to the
true Borderer, however long absent he be, into what part {426}soever of
the world he may have been driven by the Fates, there are no hills like
the Border hills--they are indeed to him "the Delectable Mountains";
there are no waters so loved, none that sing to him so sweetly as Tweed
and all the streams of his own land. "If I did not see the heather at
least once a year, I think I should die," said Scott. To a greater or
less extent it is so with all of us. One of her most loving sons (he
who should have guided the course of this volume, and who, had he lived,
would have made of it something worthy of the Border), once said, on his
return from a visit to famed Killarney: "The beauty of the Irish Lakes
is rather that of the Professional Beauty. When one comes back to the
Border, there one finds the same beauty one used to see in the face of
one's mother, or of one's old nurse." And: "I am never so happy as
when I cross the Tweed at Berwick from the South," he writes in an
Introduction to Mr. Charles Murray's "Plamewith." It was not only his
own, but, I think, every Borderer's sentiments that he voiced when he
wrote:

               "Brief are man's days at best; perchance

                   I waste my own, who have not seen

               The castled palaces of France

                   Shine on the Loire in summer green.

               "And clear and fleet Eurotas still,

                   You tell me, laves his reedy shore,

               And flows beneath his fabled hill

                   Where Dian drave the chase of yore.

               "And 'like a horse unbroken' yet

                   The yellow" stream with rush and foam,

               'Neath tower, and bridge, and parapet,

                   Girdles his ancient mistress, Rome!

               "I may not see them, but I doubt

                   If seen I'd find them half so fair

               As ripples of the rising trout

                   That feed beneath the elms of Yair.

               "Unseen, Eurotas, southward steal,

                   Unknown, Alpheus, westward glide,

               You never heard the ringing reel,

                   The music of the water side!

               "Though Gods have walked your woods among,

                   Though nymphs have fled your banks along;

               You speak not that familiar tongue

                   Tweed murmurs like my cradle song.

               "My cradle song,--nor other hymn

                   I'd choose, nor gentler requiem dear

               Than Tweed's, that through death's twilight dim,

                   Mourned in the latest Minstrel's ear!"

His love of the Border hills, "the great, round-backed, kindly, solemn
hills of Tweed, Yarrow, and Ettrick," his devotion to the streams beside
whose banks the summers of his boyhood were spent, never lessened with
the passing years. In prose and in verse continually it broke out.
Tweed's song is the same that she has ever sung; but now--

                   "He who so loved her lies asleep,

                   He hears no more her melody."



INDEX


     A

     Abbey St. Bathans, 028
     Abbot of Inchcolm, 093
     Abbotsford, 178, 227, 230, 245, 261, 384
     Agricola, 212
     Aidan, Bishop, 216
     Ale, 033, 126, 169, 172, 280
     Alemuir, 176, 286
     Alexander II., 004, 091, 255
          III., 004, 091, 255, 337
     Allanbank,008
     Allanton, 008
     Allan Water, 107, 197
     Allen Water, 235
     Allevard, 021
     Altrive, 305
     Ancrum, 033, 126, 129, 169
          Moor, 102, 169
     Anderson, Alexander, 295
     Angus, Earl of, 102, 169, 229
     Annan, 375
     "Antiquary, The" 25, 084
     Argyll, 053
     Arkenholm, 424
     Armstrong, Johnny, 197, 418
     Armstrong of Harelaw, Hector, 413
     Armstrongs, 144, 197, 388, 401, 406
     Arran, Earl of, 102, 170
     Artburet, 351, 404
     Arthur's Oven, 347
     Arundel, Earl of, 092
     Ashiesteel, 237, 322
     Ashkiik, 174
     Auld Babby Metlan, 213
     Auld Maitland, 213
     Auld Ringan Oliver, 136
     Auld Wat of Harden, 278
     Ayala, 052


     B

     Badlieu, 371
     Bairds, 346
     Baillie, Lady Grisell, 043
     Bale-fires, 023
     Ballad of Otterburne, 153
     Ballantyne, James, 078
     Balliol, 006
          Edward, 092
     Barmoor, 051
     Barnhill's Bed, 181
     Barns, 345
     Battle Stone, 162
     Bawtie's Grave, 020
     Beaton, Cardinal, 170, 171
     Beauté, Sieur de la, 020
     Bedrule, 182
     Bellenden, 286
          Felted Will Howard, 409, 413
     Bemersyde, 209
     Berwick, 003, 025, 048, 098, 113, 269
     Berwickshire Naturalists' Club,
     Bewcastle, 178, 410
          Cross, 413
     Bield, The, 359
     Biggar, 353
          Moss, 354
          Water, 353
     Billie, 013
     Billy Castle, 017
     Binram's Corse, 298
     Bird-Oswald, 409
     Bishop Flambard, 047
     Boghall Castle, 353
     Bogle Burn, 217
     Bohun, Humphrey de, 004
     Boldside, 233, 245, 150, 069, 165
     Bonny Bertha, 371
     Borland, Rev. Dr., 307
     Borthwick Water, 190, 280
          Castle, 106
     Boston of Ettrick, 287
     Bothan, 028
     Bothwell (Hepburn), Earl of, 052, 085, 106, 215
          (Stewart), Earl of, 135, 385
     Brig, 137
     Bowden Moor, 229
     "Bowed Davie," 343
     Bowerhope, 298
     Bowhill, 231, 273, 318
     Bow mont, 048
          Valley, 149
     Box-beds, 303
     Blackadder, 008, 032, 039
     Blackcastle Rings, 039
     Black Dwarf, 343
     Black Hill of Earlstoun, 144
     Blackhouse Heights, 346
          Tower, 297
     Black Law, 144, 346
     Black, William, 359, 374
     Blair, Rev. Thos., 061
     Blanerne, 013
     Blind Harry, 354
     Bloody Laws, 088
     Braidley Burn, 107
     Brampton, 409
     Branksome, 002, 174, 179, 192
           Hall, 194
     Branxton, 051
     Braxfield, Lord, 355
     Breamish, 048
     Bremenium, 088, 142, 164, 166
     Brewster, Sir David, 188
     "Bride of Lammermuir," 346
     Bridgelands, 260
     Bridgend, 227
     Broadlaw, 144, 352
     Broadmeadows, 038
     Broomhouse, 020
     Brougham, Lord, 061
     Broughton, 355
     Brown, Dr. John, 354
     Brownies, 031
     "Brownie of Bodesbeck," 291, 369
     Bruce, David, 068, 415
         Robert the, 067, 092, 208, 347, 375
     Buccleuch, 002, 195, 286
          Duke of, 196, 208, 305, 316, 385
          Hunt, 222
          Lairds of, 134, 179, 194, 229, 392, 394, 395
     Buchan, Earl of, 208
     Buchanan, George, 067, 106, 112
     Bunkle, 013, 015
     Burghley, 135
     Buried Treasure, 056, 088
     Burke and Hare, 250
     "Burke, Sir Walter!" 090
     Burns, Robert, 118, 123
     Byrecleuch Ridge, 030


     C

     Caddonfoot, 222, 322
     Cademuir, 347
     Caerlanrig, 197
     Caledon, 352
     Camps, 128
     Camptown, 141
     Cannobie Lea, 416
     Canonbie, 418
     Capel Fell, 287
     "Capon Tree," 125
     Cappercleucb, 300
     Cardrona, 340
     Carey, 135
     Cargill, Rev. Donald, 137, 368
     Carham, 003
          Burn, 048
     Carlin's Tooth, 143, 152
     Carlisle, 077, 115, 117, 150, 152, 392, 408
     Castle, 144, 392
     Carmichael, Sir John, 144
     Carter Bar, 141, 148
     Carterfell, 129, 136, 143, 166
     Carterhaugh, 273
     Castlebill, 348
     Castleton, 387
     Catcleuch Reservoir, 141
          Shin, 141, 166
     Catrail, 002, 041, 231, 379
     Cauldcleuch Head, 107, 144
     Cauldshiels Loch, 233
     Cavers, 072, 184
     Caves, 126, 134
     Cecil, Sir W., 037, 134
     Cessford, 086
     Cockburn Law, 026
          Thomas, 022
          of Henderland, 198, 299
     Cockburns, 020
     Coldstream, 056
          Guards, 050
     Collingwood Bruce, Dr., 165
     Collingwood, Sir Cuthbert, 147
     Colting woods, 145
     Colmslie, 235
     Commonsiae Hill, 002
     Cope, Sir John, 005, 035, 077
     Corbridge, 005
     Coultercleuch, 280
     Cout o' Keilder, 383
     Covenanters, 007, 035, 137, 293, 359, 365, 370
     Cowdenknowes, 289
     Ciudad Rodrigo, 266
     Chambers, Dr. Robert 104, 302
          Dr. William, 338
     Channelkirk, 217
     Chapel Knowe, 165
     Charles I., 077
     Chesters (Berwickshire), 042
          (Roxburghshire), 168
     Cheviot, 144
     Cheviots, 001, 088, 142, 151, 212
     Chillingham, 050
     Chimside, 007, 015
     Chronicle of Lanercost, 004
     Churchill, 006
     Clandestine Weddings, 060, 402
     Clarty Hole, 231
     Claverhouse, 359, 365, 369
     Clear burn Loch, 286
     Cleikum Inn, 339
     Clerk of Eldin, John, 353
     Clints Dod, 030
     Clintwood, 387
     Clovenfords, 322
     Clyde, 353
     Crab, 005
     Craigmillar, 023, 113
     Crailing, 087, 126
     Cranshaws, 030
     Crawford, 052
     Cromwell, 022, 056, 316, 338, 343, 3S3, 371, 387
     Crook-backed Richard, 005
     Crook Inn., 357
     Crooked Loch, 286
     Cumberland, 025
     Curie, Mr., 212


     D

     Dacre, 053, 074, 098, 130
     Dalkeith, 025, 152, 257
     Dandie Dinmont, 377, 381
     D'Arcy, Sir Anthony, 020
     Darnick, 227
          Tower, 227
     Darnley, 085, 213, 330, 347, 365
     D'Aussi, 052
     David I., 066, 073, 081, 084, 091
     David, Earl, 255
     Dawstane Rig, 378
     Dawyck, 347, 348
     Woods, 351
     Debateable Land, 403
     De Beaugué, M., 131
     De Bolbec, Walter, 383
     "Degenerate Douglas," 341
     De Grey, Sir Thomas, 048
     Deil o' Dawyck, 349
     De la Mothe Rouge, 133
     Deloraine, 280
          William of, 174, 281
     Denham Tracts, 066
     Denholm, 119, 179
     De Soulis, 382, 387, 4x5
     D'Espec, Walter, 066
     D'Essé, Sieur, 129, 132
     Deuchar Bridge, 309
     Devil's Beef Tub, 375
     Dick Lauder, Sir Thomas, 008, 017, 035, 059, 172, 233, 241,
          259, 327, 336, 358, 423
     Dick's Tree, 399
     Differences with Prisoners, 266
     Dinlabyre, 387
     Dodhead, 178, 280
     Dog Knowe, 115
     Dogs in Church, 308
     Dollar Law, 144, 346
     Donald's Cleuch, 368
     "Doo Tairts and Herrin' Pies," 83
     Douglas, Archibald, 072
     Douglas Burn, 072, 297
     Douglas, Earl, 072, 149, 153
          of Kelhead, Sir John, 355
          Rev. Dr., 231
          Sir George, 071
          Sir George, 170
          Sir James, 080, 092, 125, 128, 347, 375
          Tragedy, 297
     Douglas's Wounded, 165
     Douglases, 072, 145
     Dowie Dens of Yarrow, 072, 311
     Drochil Castle, 347
     Drumclogj 137
     Drum lan rig, 118
     Drummelzier, 348, 350
     Dryburgh Abbey, 206, 220
     Drygrange, 212, 222
     Dry hope Tower, 305
     Dunbar, 056, 101, 113, 150, 152
          Castle, 020, 086
          Earl of, 030
     Dumbarton Castle, 382
     Dunion, 144, 176
     Dunkeld, 137
     Duns, 015, 026, 044
          Law, 046
          Scotus, 044
     Durham, 153
          Bishop of, 158, 160
          Cathedral, 216
     Dussac, 133
     Dye Water, 029


     E

     Earlsihe Moor, 107
     Earlstoun, 016, 217
     Eden (Carlisle), 393
          Water, 008, 033, 057, 064
     Edie Ochiltree, 084
     Edgar, 035
          Burn, 035
     Edgerston, 141, 144
     Edinburgh, 056, 152, 159, 198, 212, 261, 292
          299, 333, 349
     Edington, 008
     Edinshall, 008, 027
     Ednam, 008
     Edrington Castle, 007
     Edrom, 008, 015
     Edward I., 056, 058, 069, 208, 214, 255, 379 409
           II., 005, 048, 069, 208, 255
          III., 005, 068, 069, 092
           VI., 169. 316
     Eildon Hills, 142, 144, 212, 221, 224, 231, 245
     Eildon Tree, 217
     Eital Castle, 050
     Elba, 027
     Elcho, Lord, 118
     Elibank, 327
     Eliott of Stobs, Sir Gilbert, 119
     Elizabeth, Queen, 398, 416
     Elliot of Cleuchhead, Dr., 384
          Jean, 181
     Elliots, 145
     Ellison, Mr., 163
     Ellwand, 235
     Elsdon Church, 167
     Emperor Alexander Severus, 165
     Ernckstane, 375
     Errol, 052
     Erskine, Lord, 402
     Esk, 407, 416
     Ettrick, 002, 176, 231, 245, 252, 263, 271, 288
          Bank, 249
     Ettrickbridgend, 278
     Ettrick Hall, 287, 290
          Kirk, 287
          Pen, 287
          Shepherd, 121, 283, 278, 288
     Evelaw Tower, 035
     Evers, Lord (Sir Ralph), 100, 170, 171, 227
     Eye Water, 088


     F

     "Fair Maiden Lilliard," 172
     Fairies, belief in, 056, 181
     Fairnilee, 271, 319
     Fairy Dene, 235
     Falaise, Treaty of, 004
     Falkirk, Battle of, 255
     Falla Moss, 371
     False alarm, 025
     Fast Castle, 086
     Father Ellis, 126
     Fat Ups Castle, 180
     Faungrist Burn, 039
     Fenwick, Sir Roger, 129
     Fenwicke, Colonel, 022
     Ferguson, Adam, 343
     Fernihirst, 128, 130, 134, 137
          Mill, 136
     Flemings, 353
     Fluimen, 049, 059, 255
     Flodden Edge, 048, 050
     Fogo, 033
     Ford Castle, 049
     Forest of Ettrick, 255
          Jedworth, 129, 131
     Forster, Sir John, 144
     Foulshiels, 039, 314
     Floors Castle, 071
     Flower of Yarrow, 305
     Flowers of the Forest, 181, 319
     Franck, Richard, 007
     Fraser, Sir Simon, 341, 348
     Frasers of Fruid and Oliver, 340
     French Invasion, 024
          Prisoners in Selkirk, 258
     Froissart, 115, 149, 157
     Fruid, 357


     G

     Gala, 094, 237, 241
     Gala Rig, 272
     Galashiels, 094, 224, 233, 237, 248
     "Galashiels Herons," 084
     Galashiels Town's Arms, 240
     Gamelshiel, 030
     Gameshope Burn, 357, 370
     Glen, 363, 370
          Loch, 369, 370
     Gamescleuch, 287
     Garter, Countess of Salisbury's, 069
     Gemmels, Andrew, 084
     Giant's Stone, 371
     Gibb's Cross, 035
     Gilnockie, 197, 418
          Bridge, 421
     Gjlsland, 409
     Girthgate, 236
     Godscroft, 158
     Goldielands, 191
     Gordon Arms, 305
     Glendearg, 235
     Glengaber, 001
     Glenkinnon Burn, 324
     Glenrath Burn, 346
     Graham, Sir James. 417
     Grahams, 405, 416
     Greatmoor Hill, 107
     Greenlaw, 041
     Gretna Green, 060, 402
     Grey Friars, 141
     Grey Mare's Tail, 303
     Guizot, M., 059
     "Guy Mannering," 380


     H

     Hahhie Ker's Cave, 126
     Haggiehaugh, 078
     Haig of Bemersyde, 209
     Haining, 255, 259, 265
     Halidon Hill, 005, 053
     Hall, Hobbie, 087
     Henry, 087, 137
     Halliburton, Wm,, 067
     Hailyards, 343
     Hangingshaw, 038, 313
     Happrew, 348
     Harden, 192
     Harecleuch Hill, 032
     Hare head, 030
     Harelaw, 035
     Harewood, 317
     Hartlaw, 035
     Hartshorn Pyke, 143
     Hassendean, 178
     Hawick, 094, 107, 185, 381
     "Minister's Alan," 117
     Mote, 191
          Hawkshead Burn, 371
          Castle, 371
     Hay of Yester, 341
          of Talla, 085
     Hearthstane Burn, 357
     Hellmuir Loch, 286
     Hemingburgh, 005
     Henderland, 298
     Henderson, Willie, 179
     Henry I., 066
         III., 069
        VIII., 004, 049, 074, 099, 132, 169, 170, 177, 197, 208
     Hepburn of Bowton, 085
          of Hailes, 030
     Hermitage Castle, 072, 085, 107, 382
          Water, 107, 380, 381
     Heron, Lady, 049
     Heronry at Dawyck, 351
     Herries, 053
     Herrit's Dyke, 041
     Hertford, 013, 037, 044, 074, 100, 102
          129, 132, 141, 170, 227, 287
     Hexham, 145
     Hielandman's Grave, 116
     Hill Burton, 074
     Hiltslap, 235
     Hindside, 035
     Hirsel, The, 060
     Hodgson, Richard, 069
     Hogg, James, 206, 213, 278, 290, 297, 303, 305
     Hollows lower, 419
     Holydene, 041, 126, 229
     Holylee, 327
     Home Castle, 020, 022, 023, 113
     Home, Sir David, 020
          Family of, 017, 020, 212
          Grisell, 042
          Lord, 008, 020, 022, 051, 060, 229, 257
          of Haliburton, 044
          of Polwarth, Patrick, 041
     Homildon Hill, 055
     Hoolet of Barns, 345
     Hornsbole, 187
     Horsburgh, 330
     Hotspur's Pennon, 184
     Howpasley, 192
     Howard, Edmund, 053
     Edward, 053
     Hundalee, 126
     Hunsdon, Lord, 037, 134
     Hunter, John, 362
     Hunthill, 128, 129, 134
     "Huntlie Bank," 219
     Huntly, Earl of, 052, 106
     Hutton Hall, 008
     Hyndhope, 280


     I

     Illicit Stills, 116
     Innerleithen, 327


     J

     James I., 337, 342
          II., 023, 067, 080
         III., 005
          IV., 048, 049, 281
           V., 178, 197, 229, 282, 287, 406
          VI. and I., 006, 067, 305, 353, 413, 416
     "Jamie Telfer, 377, 192, 280, 410
     Jed, 033, 078, 094, 124, 152, 166
     Jedburgh, 023, 078, 090, 114, 119, 126, 131, 171, 222
          Abbey, 092, 095, 102, 113
          Castle, 092, 093
          Prison, 123
     Jedforest Hunt, 129
     "Jethart's here!", 100, 146
     John, King, 004
     John's Cleuch, 030


     K

     Kale Water, 084, 087, 126, 166
     Kelso, 026, 033, 061, 064, 071, 113, 114, 126, 222, 267
          Abbey, 074, 084
     Ker, Dand, 086
          of Cessford, 069, 087, 229
          of Pernihirst, 008, 069, 229
          of Graden, 078
          of Samuelton, George, 008
          Sir Andrew, 135
          Sir John, 132
          Sir Thomas, 130
     Kershope Burn, 392
     Kerss, Rob., 205
     Killiecrankie, 137
     "Kilmeny" 271
     King Arthur, 244, 347
     "King of the Woods," 125
     Kingledores Burn, 357
     Kingside, 286
     Kinmont Willie, 179, 392, 399
     Kirk Andrews, 416
     Kirk o' Field, 085
     Kirkhope Lînn, 278
          Tower, 278
     Kirk Sessions, 062
     Knight of Liddesdale, 246, 326, 383
     Knox, John, 052, 214


     L

     Lacy, Richard de, 004
     Lads of Wamphray, 089
     Lady of Branksome, 194
     "Lady of the Lake," 322
     Ladykirk, 048
     Laidlaw, Will, 213, 297
          of Peel, 324
     Laiton, 170, 227
     Lammermuirs, 007, 029, 144, 212, 216
     Lanercost, 409
     Langholm, 418, 424
          Castle, 424
     Langshaw, 235
     Langton Tower, 020
     Lanton Village, 093
          Tower, 128
     Larriston, 078, 185
     Lauder, French Prisoners at, 270
          Bridge, 005
     Lauderdale, Earl of, 045, 213, 216
     Lawson, Rev. Dr., 263
     "Lay of the Last Minstrel, 192, 281, 322
     Leader Water, 041, 212
     Leaderfoot, 222
     Le Croc. M., 111
     Leet Water, 057
     Legerwood, 016, 041
     Lei then, 328
     Lennox, 053
     Leslie, Bishop of Ross, 151
          General, 038, 046, 056, 254
          Norman, 170
     Lessudden, 026, 206
     Lethem, 165
     Lethington, 216
          Mr. Secretary, 107
     Leyden, John, 179, 190, 247, 322
     Liddel Castle, 357
          Moat, 415
          Valley, 152
          Water, 078, 116, 152, 380, 386, 393
     Liddesdale, 115, 144, 150,152,178,378, 380
     Lilliardsedge, 169, 222
     Lirnekilnedge, 381
     Lincumdoddie, 356
     Lindean, 246, 252
     Lindisfarne, Bishop of, 097
     Lindsay, Sir James, 158
     Linglie, 249, 252
     Lintalee, 092, 125, 128
     Lin thill House, 018
     Linton, 084
          Tower, 085
     Lion of Liddesdale, 078
     Littledean, 206
     "Little Jock Elliot," 106, 387
     Loch of the Lowes, 292, 301
           Skene, 369
     Lockhart, J. G., 206, 208, 232, 353, 380
     Longtown, 152, 399
     Lord Maxwell's Muster Roll, 401
     Lost Pay Chest, 038
     Lothian, Lord, 135, 138
          Marquess of, 103
     Lumsden, Margaret, 045
     Lyne Water, 347


     M

     Maccus Whele, 073
     Mackay, 137
     "Mad" Jack Hall, 162
     Maid of Norway, 005
     Maitland of Lethington, 214
     Makerstoun, 204, 222
     Malcolm II., 003, 048
             IV., 236
             The Maiden, 001
     Mangerton Castle, 390
     Manor Kirkyard, 344
          Valley, 343
          Water, 345
     Manslaughter Law, 029
     Marchmont, Earl of, 022, 041
          House, 042
          Alarmion, 051, 055, 094, 322
     Marquis of Annandale's Beef Stand, 375
     Mary of Gueldres, 023, 081
          Guise, 214
     Mary Queen of Scots, 023, 052, 074, 104, 169,
     194, 208, 250, 330, 408
     Mathieson, 322
     Maxwell, 053
          Sir Herbert, 002, 030, 072, 084, 169, 176, 338
          Sir John, 158
     Meg Dods, 339
     Megget, 300
     Melrose, 071, 166, 170, 225, 235
          Abbey, 163, 172, 256
     Melville of Halhill, Sir James, 112
     Menzion, 357
     Merlin, 351
     Merse, 021, 048, 134, 144
     Mertoun, 206
          Bridge, 220
     Midlem Bridge, 172
     Miles, Sir George Heron, 147
     Milnholm Cross, 390
     Minchmuir, 002, 038
     Minto, 180
          Crags, 144, 180
     Moffat, 369, 373, 375
     "Monastery, The" 227, 233, 235
     Monk, General, 059
     Monks' Ford, 220
     Monk law, 128
     Monmouth, Duke of, 196
          Anne, Duchess of, 316
     Mons Meg, 048, 080
     Montague, Sir William, 068
     Montgomery, Earl of, 158
     Montrose, Marquis of, 002, 038, 076, 254
     Moray, Earl of, 106
          Countess of, 112
     Morebattle, 086
     Morton, Earl of, 147
          Regent, 367
     Mossburnfoot, 126
     Mossfennan, 336
     Muckle Mouthed Meg, 327
     Murray of Broughton, 355
          Sir David, 355
          Sir Gideon, 327
          of Philiphaugh, Sir John, 247
     Musgrave, Sir William, 405
     Muthag, Provost, 272
     Mutiny Stones, 030


     N

     Naesmiths, 346
     Napier and Ettrick, Lord, 055, 387
     Napoleon, 024, 262
     Naworth, 409
     Neidpath Hill, 322
          Castle, 337, 342
     Netherby, 416
     Nett ley Burn, 249
     Neville's Cross, 415
     Newark Tower, 278, 315
     Newcastle, 077, 141, 145, 159, 160, 203
     Newcastleton, 387
     Newstead, 142, 166, 212, 224
     Newton Don, 064
     Nine Cairn Edge, 216
     Niue Stane Rig, 381
     Norfolk, 074
     Norham, 004, 047
     North, Christopher, 301
     Note o' the Gate, 115, 378
     Notman Law, 346


     O

     Oakwood Tower, 276
     Ogle, Sir James, 147
          Sir Robert, 067, 069
     Old Jedward, 128
          Mailros, 028
         Melrose, 212, 213, 222
     "Old Mortality," 362
     "Old Q," 341
     Oliver, Auld Ringan, 136
     Oliver Castle, 359
     Ormistoun, 035, 086
     Otterburne, 072, 149, 170
          Village, 162
          Hall, 164
     Ottercops, 149
     Outlaw Murray, 035, 313
     Oxnam Water, 087, 126, 166


     P

     Park, Archibald, 315
          Mungo. 314, 326
     Pearlin, Jean, 008
     "Peblis to the Play," 339
     Peebles, 309, 330, 334, 336, 340, 349
     Peel Burn, 152, 379
          Fell, 001, 143, 379
     Penchrise, 001, 176, 280
     Pennecuîck, Dr., 342, 353
     Pennistone Knowe, 292
     Penshiel, 030
     Penton, 415
          Linn, 407, 415
     Percy, 040
          Earl, 153, 161
          Henry, 092
          Ralph, 158
     Percy's Cross, 162
     Philiphaugh, 002, 038
     Piets' Work Dyke, 379
     Pinkie, 056
     Piper's Pool, 254
     Pitcairn's Criminal Priais, 086
     Pitscottie, 051, 081, 198, 282
     Plague, The, 246
     Plummer of Sunderland Hall, 257
     Poachers, 173, 242, 254
     Pollution of Rivers, 094, 095, 185, 237, 238, 252, 327
     Polmood, 356
          Burn, 357
     Polwarth, 042
          Lord, 192
     Porteous of Hawkshaw, 371
     Possessed Woman in Duns, 045
     Posso, 345, 347
          Craigs, 346
     Pot Loch, 259
     Powsayl Burn, 351
     "Pride and Poverty !", 083
     Priesthaugh Burn, 107
     Prince Charlie, 077, 078, 114, 115, 126, 409
     Prisoners' Bush, 260
          Theatre, 268
     Proclamation of St. James's Fair, 082
     Purdie, Tom, 322


     Q

     Queen Mary's House, 104
          Illness, 109
     Queen's Mire, 108
     "Queens Wake" 121
     Queensberry, Duke of, 118


     R

     Raecleuch, 035
     Raid of the Reidswire, 244
     Ramsay, Sir Alexander, 383
     Rev. Mr., 064
     Randall's Wa's, 347
     Randolph, 347
     Rankleburo, 002, 286
     Raven Burn, 152
          Craig, 031
     Redbraes, 042
     Redesdale, 141, 145
     R de Valley, 088, 115, 141, 161
     "Redgauntlet", 375, 417
     Regiment, 94th, 266
     Renwick, 292
     Richard, King, 004
          II., 208
     Richmond, Sir Thos., 125
     Riddell, 174
     Rink, 002, 245, 249
     Riskinhope, 292
     Rivalry between Kelso and Jedburgh, 082
     Rob o' the Trows, 205
     Robert II., 208
     Rhymer's Glen, 219, 231
     Roman Road, 088
     Rory dhu Mohr, 137
     Rothely Crags, 149
     Rowchester, 142
     Roxburgh, 023, 067, 126
          Castle, 078, 092, 149
          Newtown, 085
     Roxburghe, Duke of, 071
     Ruberslaw, 144, 183, 212
     Rule Water, 107, 177, 212
     Ruskin, John, 094, 230
     Russell, Sir Francis, 147
     Russell of Yarrow, Rev. Drs., 281, 298
     Rutherford, 206
          Alison, 319
          Rev. John, 308
     "Rutherfurd Bauld," 146
     Rutherfurd, Captain, 123
     Rutherfurds, 141
     Ruthven, Lord, 134


     S

     St. Ahb's Head, 025
     St. Andrews, Bishops of, 049
     St. Boswells, 078, 206
          Green, 221
     St. Cuthbert, 206, 216, 357
     St. Gordian's Kirk, 344, 347
     St. James's Fair, 081
     St. Kentigern, 382
     St. Mary of the Lowes, 177, 295
     St. Mary's Chapel, 296
     St. Mary's Loch, 287
     St. Ronan's, 327
     "St. Ronan's Well," 339
     Salisbury, Earl of, 068
     Salmon, 209
          fishing, 222
     Sandyknowe, 211
     Sark Bridge, 402
          Tower, 401
     Satcheils, 176
     "Savoury Mr. Peden," 183
     Scabcleuch, 292
     Scots Brigade, 266
     Scots Dyke, 418
     Scott, Adam of Tushielaw, 282, 299
     Sir John, 287
          Lady John, 087
          Mary, "the Flower of Yarrow," 305
     Scott, Michael, 256, 276
     Sir Walter, 002, 025, 038, 051, 068, 078, 083, 118,
          144, 174, 179, 180, 198, 206, 208, 227,
          236, 257, 305, 322, 325, 339,
          343, 347, 353, 355. 369, 380, 384, 399, 419
     Scott, Sir Walter and the Border Minstrelsy, 213
     Scott of Gorrenberry, 117
          of Tushielaw, 213
     Scotts of Buccleuch, 071, 102, 144, 170, 192, 195, 286, 384
          of Harden, 276, 327
     Scrope, 174, 222
          Lord, 397, 398, 400, 416
     Selkirk, 026, 172, 231, 247, 249, 252, 269, 388
          Cauld, 253
          Common Riding, 270
          "Selkirk Craws," 084
          Selkirk Flodden Traditions, 256
          Prison, 123
     Selkirkshire Yeomanry, 257
     Shaftoes, 145
     Shielhope Head, 346
     Shrewsbury, Lord, 130
     Sidney, Sir Philip, 149
     Sinclair, Oliver, 404
     Singlie, 280
     Skelfhill, 001, 002, 176, 280, 382
     Skene of Rubislaw, 369
     Skirmish Field, 229
     Skraysburgh, 101, 128
     Slain Man's Lea, 315
     Slitrjg, 001, 107, 188, 280, 381
     Smailcleuchfoot, 136
     Smailholme Tower, 144, 209
     Snow Storm of 1831, 373
     Solway Moss, 403, 406, 418
     Somerset, 022, 127, 130
     "Soor Plums in Galashiels," 240
     Soulis, Lord, 381
     "Souters of Selkirk," 53, 257
     Southdean, 033, 148, 150, 165, 167, 380
     Soutra Hill, 236, 241
     Spirit of Borderers, 025
     Spottisw'oode, 217
     Springwood Park, 071, 072
     Spy at Southdean, 151
     Stanhope, 355
          Burn, 357
     Stanley, 053
     Stephen, King, 069
     Stewart of Stewartfield, Colonel, 119
     Stobo, 016, 348
     Stobs Camp, 381
     Stoddart, 034, 057
     Stow, 244
     Stuart, Lady Louisa, 333
     Sir Robert, 008
     Sunderland Hall, 249, 257
     Sunlaws, 126
     "Superstitions, Teviotdale, 121
     Surrey, Earl of, 051, 054, 068, 097, 129, 130
     Sussex, Earl of, 023, 037, 066, 134, 186
     "Sweet Leader Haughs," 217
     "Sweet Milk" Robin, 177
     Swinnie Moor, 107
     Synton, 175, 285


     T

     Tall, a, 352, 357, 363
          Linn, 360, 365
          Reservoir, 357
     Tarth Water, 347
     Telfer, James, 136
     "Teribus and Teriodden," 186
     Teviot, 001, 033, 078, 094, 126, 166, 169, 176,
          179, 193, 203, 280
     Teviotdale, 016, 134, 144, 178, 181, 388
     "The Eve of St. John, 209
     The Great Unknown, 261
     "The Young Tantieme273
     Three Brethren, 271, 320
     "Three days' blood," 089
     Thiefs Road. 346
     Thirlestane (Patrick), 287
          Castle (Lauderdale), 045
     Thomas of Ercildoune, 217
     Thomas the Rhymer, 076, 209, 217, 353
     Thomson, James, 033, 124, 172
     Thornilee, 327
     Tibbie Shiels, 291, 301
          Tamson, 271
     Till, 048, 050
     Timpendean, 169
     Tinnies, 348, 350
     Tinnis (Yarrow), 038
     Torsonce, 244
     Torwoodlee, 002, 041, 243
     Turn Again, 178, 232
     Turnbulls of Rule Water, 145, 177
     Tushielaw, 002, 281, 289
     Traquair, 305, 330
          Countess of, 333
          Earl of, 038, 254, 331
     Trout-fishing, 220, 241
     "True Thomas," 217, 219, 319
     Tweed, 002, 3, 048, 173, 204, 212, 222, 231,
     237, 245, 271 309, 319, 347, 357, 371, 375, 377
     Tweeddale, Lord, 341
     Tweed Shaws, 372
     Tweed's Cross, 372
          Well, 372
     Tweedsmuir, 301, 340, 357, 371
          Church, 361
          Kirk Session Records, 362
          Post Office, 359
     "Tweed" Trade, 239
     Tweedys, 349
     Twin Law Cairns, 029
     Twizell Bridge, 051


     V

     Veitch, Professor, 167, 342, 347
     Veitchs of Dawyck, 348


     W

     Wade, Marshall, 077
     Waich Water, 029
     Walkerburn, 327
     Wallace, Sir William, 208, 354
     Wamphray, 089
     Wark Castle, 050, 057, 066, 134, 149
     Water-Bull, 234
     Wauchope, 425
          Castle, 424
     Wedale, 244
     Wedderlie, 035
     "Weir of Hermiston, 355
     Weirdlaw Hill, 235
     Well of the Holy Water Cleuch, 216
     Wheeling Head, 132
     Whele Causeway, 115, 150, 379
          Chapel, 379
     Whitadder, 007
     White, Mr. Robert, 163
     Whithaugh Mill, 116
     Whitterhope Burn, 381
     Will's Nick, 254
     Will of Phaup, 280, 288
     William the Lion, 004, 048, 091, 255, 330
          le Walleys, 348
     Williamhope Ridge, 325
     Willie of Westburnflat, 387
     Windburgh Hill, 144, 188
     Wind Pell, 287
     Windy Law, 286
     Winter, Jamie, 043
     Witch of Fauldshope, 277
     "Witch of Fife," 121
     Woifstruther, 035
     Wooler, 051, 078, 149
     Wordsworth, 118, 341
     Wortnscleuch Burn, 379


     Y

     YAIR, 176, 250, 319
          Bridge, 249, 318
     Cauld, 249
     Yarrow, 002, 038, 039, 094, 176, 273, 287, 292, 294
          Dowie Dens of, 072, 311
          Kirk, 306, 309
          Manse, 306
     Yetholm, 149, 150
     Young Hay of Talla, 364





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