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Bonnie Scotland
The Borders


Beneath the Crags of Ben Venue, Perthshire

The dawn broadens, the mists roll away to show a northward-bound traveller how his train is speeding between slopes of moorland, green and grey, here patched by bracken or bog, there dotted by wind-blown trees, everywhere cut by water-courses gathering into gentle rivers that can be furious enough in spate, when they hurl a drowned sheep or a broken hurdle through those valleys opening a glimpse of mansions and villages among sheltered woods. Are we still in England, or in what at least as far back as Cromwell's time called itself "Bonnie Scotland"? It is as hard to be sure as to make out whether that cloudy knoll on the horizon is crowned by a peat-stack or by the stump of a Border peel.

Either bank of Tweed and Liddel has much the same aspects. An expert might perhaps read the look or the size of the fields. Could one get speech with that brawny corduroyed lad tramping along the furrows to his early job, whistling maybe, as if it would never grow old, an air from the London music-halls, the Southron might be none the wiser as to his nationality, though a fine local ear would not fail to catch some difference of burr and broad vowels, marked off rather by separating ridges than by any legal frontier, as the lilting twang of Liddesdale from the Teviot drawl. Healthily barefooted children, more's the pity, are not so often seen nowadays on this side of the Border, nor on the other, unless at Brightons and Margates. The Scotch "bonnet," substantial headgear as it was, has vanished; the Scotch plaid, once as familiar on the Coquet as on the Tweed, is more displayed in shop windows than in moorland glens, now that over the United Kingdom reigns a dull monotony and uniformity of garb. Could we take the spectrum of those first wreaths of smoke curling from cottage chimneys, we might find traces of peat and porridge, yet also of coal and bacon. Yon red-locked lassie turning her open eyes up to the train from the roadside might settle the question, were we able to test her knowledge whether of the Shorter Catechism or of her "Duty towards her Neighbour." It is only when the name of the first Scottish way-station whisks by, that we know ourselves fairly over the edge of " Caledonia stern and wild"; and our first thought may well be that this Borderland appears less stern than the grey crags of Yorkshire, and less wild than some bleak uplands of Northumberland.

What makes a nation ? Not for long such walls as the Romans drew across this neck of our island, one day to point a moral of fallen might, and to adorn a tale of the northern romancer who by its ruins wooed his alien bride. Not such rivers as here could be easily forded by those mugwump moss-troopers that sat on the fence of Border law, and—

Tantallon Castle, on coast of Haddingtonshire
Tantallon Castle, on coast of Haddingtonshire

"Sought the beeves to make them broth
In England and in Scotland both."

Is it race? Alas for the ethnologic historian, on its dim groundwork of Picts and Celts—or what?—Scotland shows a still more confusing pattern of mingled strains than does the sister kingdom! To both sides of the Border such names for natural features as Cheviot, Tweed, and Tyne, tell the same tale of one stock displaced by another that built and christened its Saxon Hawicks, Berwicks, Bamboroughs, and Longtowns upon the Pens and Esks of British tribes.—Is it a common speech? But from the Humber to the Moray Firth, along the east side of Britain, throughout the period of fiercest clash of arms, prevailed the same tongue, split by degrees into dialects, but differing on the Forth and the Tyne less than the Tyne folks' tongue differed from that of the Thames, or the speech of the Forth from that of the Clyde mouth. So insists Dr. J. A. H. Murray, who of all British scholars was found worthy to edit the Oxford English Dictionary, that has now three editors, two of them born north of the Tweed, the third also in the northern half of England. Scottish "wut" chuckles to hear how, when the shade of Boswell pertly reported to the great doctor that his post as Lexicographer-General had been filled by one who was at once a Scotsman and a dissenter, all Hades shook with the rebuke, "Sir, in striving to be facetious, do not attempt obscenity and profanity!" —or ghostly vocables to such effect.

Is it loyalty to a line of princes that crystallises patriotism? That is a current easily induced, as witness how the sentiments once stirred by a Mary or a Prince Charlie could precipitate themselves round the stout person of George IV.—Is it religion? Kirk and Covenant have doubtless had their share in casting a mould of national character; but the Border feuds were hottest among generations who seldom cared to question "for gospel, what the Church believed."—Is it name? Northerners and Southerners were at strife long before they knew themselves as English and Scots.

By a process of elimination one comes to see how esprit de corps seems most surely generated by the wont of standing shoulder to shoulder against a common foe. Even the shifty baron, "Lucanus an Apulus anceps," whose feudal allegiance dovetailed into both kingdoms, that professional warrior who "signed on," now with the northern, now with the southern team, might well grow keen on a side for which he had won a goal, and bitter against the ex-comrades who by fair or foul play had come best out of a hot scrimmage. Heartier would be the animosity of bonnet-lairds and yeomen, between whom lifting of cattle and harrying of homes were points in the game. Then even grooms and gillies, with nothing to lose, dutifully fell into the way of fighting for their salt, when fighting with somebody came almost as natural to men and boys as to collie dogs. So the generations beat one another into neighbourly hatred and national pride; till the Border clans half forgot their feuds in a larger sentiment of patriotism; and what was once an adventurous exercise, rose to be a fierce struggle for independence. The Borderers were the "forwards" of this international sport, on whose fields and strongholds became most hotly forged the differences in which they played the part of

The Bass Rock, Firth of Forth, off the coast of Haddingtonshire
The Bass Rock, Firth of Forth, off the coast of Haddingtonshire

hammer and of anvil by turns. Here, it is said, between neighbours of the same blood, survive least faintly the national resentments that may still flash up between drunken hinds at a fair. Hardly a nook here has not been blackened and bloodstained, hardly a stream but has often run red in centuries of waxing and waning strife whose fiery gleams are long faded into pensive memories, and its ballad chronicles, that once "stirred the heart like a trumpet," can now be sung or said to general applause of the most refined audiences, whether in London or Edinburgh.

The most famous ground of those historic encounters lies about the East Coast Railway route, where England pushes an aggressive corner across the Cheviots, and the Tweed, that most Scottish of rivers, forms the frontier of the kingdoms now provoking each other to good works like its Royal Border Bridge. Beyond it, indeed, stands Berwick-upon-Tweed, long the football of either party, then put out of play as a neutral town, and at last recognised as a quasi-outpost of England, whose parsons wear the surplice, and whose chief magistrate is a mayor, while the townsfolk are said to pride themselves on a parish patriotism that has gone the length of calling Sandy and John Bull foreigners alike. This of course is not, as London journalists sometimes conceive, the truly North Berwick where a prime minister might be seen "driving" and "putting" away the cares of state. That seaside resort is a mushroom beside Berwick of the Merse, standing on its dignity of many sieges. The Northumberland Artillery Militia now man the batteries on its much-battered wall, turned to a picturesque walk; and the North British and North Eastern Railways meet peacefully on the site of its castle, where at one time Edward I. caged the Countess of Buchan like a wild beast, for having dared to set the crown upon Bruce's head. At another, it was in the hands of Baliol to surrender to an Edward as pledge of his subservience; and again, its precincts made the scene of a friendly spearing match between English and Scottish knights, much courtesy and fair-play being shown on both sides, even if over their cups a perfervid Grahame bid his challenger "rise early in the morning, and make your peace with God, for you shall sup in Paradise!" who indeed supped no more on earth.

The North British Railway will carry us on near a stern coast-line to Dunbar, whose castle Black Agnes, Countess of March, defended so doughtily against Lord Salisbury, and here were delivered so signally into Cromwell's hands a later generation of Scots "left to themselves" and to their fanatical chaplains; then over a land now swept by volleys of golf balls, to Pinkie, the last great battlefield between the kingdoms, where also, almost for the last time, the onrush of Highland valour routed redcoat soldiery at Prestonpans. But tourists should do what they do too seldom, tarry at Berwick to visit the tragic scenes close at hand. In sight of the town is the slope of Halidon Hill, on which the English took their revenge for Bannockburn. Higher up the Tweed, by the first Suspension Bridge in the kingdom, by "Norham's castled steep," watch-tower of the passage, and by Ford Castle where the siren Lady Ford is said to have ensnared James IV., that unlucky "champion of the dames," a half-day's walk brings one to Flodden, English ground indeed, but the grave of many a Scot. Never was slaughter so much mourned and sung as that of the "Flowers of the Forest," cut down on these heights above the Tweed. The land watered with "that red rain is now ploughed and fenced; but still can be traced the out-now ploughed and fenced; lines of the scene about the arch of Twizel Bridge on which the English crossed the Till, as every schoolboy knew in Macaulay's day, if our schoolboys seem to be better up in cricket averages than in the great deeds of the past, unless prescribed for examinations.

Battles like books, have their fates of fame. Flodden long made a sore point in Scottish memory ; yet, after all, it was a stunning rather than a maiming defeat. A far more momentous battlefield on the Tweed, not far off, was Carham, whose name hardly appears in school histories, though it was the beginning of the Scotland of seven centuries to come. It dates just before Macbeth, when Malcolm, king of a confused Scotia or Pictia, sallied forth from behind the Forth, and with his ally, Prince of Cumbria on the Clyde, decisively defeated the Northumbrians in 1018, adding to his dominions the Saxon land between Forth and Tweed, a leaven that would leaven the whole lump, as Mr. Lang aptly puts it. Thus Malcolm's kingdom came into touch with what was soon to become feudal England, along the frontier that set to a hard and fast line, so long and so doughtily defended after mediaeval Scotland had welded on the western Cumbria, as its cousin Cambria fell into the destinies of a stronger realm. Had northern Northumberland gone to England, there would have been no Royal Scotland, only a Grampian Wales echoing bardic boasts of its Rob Roys and Roderick Dhus, whose claymores might have splintered against Norman mail long before they came to be beaten down by bayonets and police batons.

But we shall never get away from the Border if we stop to moralise on all its scenes of strife—most of them well forgotten. Border fighting was commonly on a small scale, with plunder rather than conquest or glory for its aim; like the Arabs of to-day, those fierce but canny neighbours were seldom in a spirit for needless slaughter, that would entail fresh blood-feuds on their own kin. The Border fortresses were many, but chiefly small, designed for sudden defence against an enemy who might be trusted not to keep the field long. On the northern side large castles were rare; and those that did rise, opposite the English donjon keeps, were let fall by the Scots themselves, after their early feudal kings had drawn back to Edinburgh. In the long struggle with a richer nation, they soon learned to take the "earth-born castles" of their hills as cheaper and not less serviceable strongholds.

The station for Flodden, a few miles off, is Coldstream, at that "dangerous ford and deep" over which Marmion led the way for his train, before and after his day passed by so many an army marching north or south. The Bridge of Coldstream has tenderer memories, pointed out by Mr. W. S. Crockett in his Scott Country. This carried one of the main roads from England, and the inn on the Scottish side made a temple of hasty Hymen, where for many a runaway couple were forged bonds like those more notoriously associated with the blacksmith of Gretna Green. Their marriage jaunts into the neighbour country were put a stop to only half a century ago, when the

Neidpath Castle, Peebleshire
Neidpath Castle, Peebleshire

benefits of Scots law, such as they were, became restricted to its own inhabitants. English novelists and jesters have made wild work with the law, by which, as they misapprehend, a man can be wedded without meaning it; one American story-teller is so little up-to-date as to marry his eloping hero and heroine at Gretna in our time. The gist of the matter is that while England favoured the masculine deceiver, fixing the ceremony before noon, it is said, to make sure of the bridegroom's sobriety, the more chivalrous Scots law provided that any ceremony should be held valid by which a man persuaded a woman that he was taking her to wife. No ceremony indeed was needed, if the parties lived by habit and repute as man and wife. The plot of Colonel Lockhart's Mine is Thine, one of the most amusing novels of our time, turns on a noted case in which an entry in a family Bible was taken as a sufficient proof of marriage. It is only gay Lotharios who might find this easy coupling a fetter ; though in the next generation, especially if it be careless to treasure family Bibles, there may arise work for lawyers, a work of charity when the average income of the Scottish Bar is perhaps five pounds Scots per annum.

Gretna Green, of course, lies on the western high-road from England, beside which the Caledonian Railway route from Carlisle enters Scotland, soon turning off into a part of it comparatively sheltered from invasion by the Solway Firth, whose rapid ebb and flow make a type of many a Gretna love story. This side too, has often rung with the passage of armed men. At Burgh-on-Sands, in sight of the Scottish Border, died Edward I., bidding his bones be wrapped in a bull's hide and carried as bugbear standard against those obstinate rebels. The rout of Solway Moss made James V. turn his face to the wall, his heart breaking with the cry, "It came with a lass and it will go with a lass!" And the Esk of the Solway was seldom "swollen sae red and sae deep" as to daunt hardy lads from the north who once and again

"Swam ower to fell English ground,
And danced themselves dry to the pibroch's sound."

These immigrants, unless they found six feet of English ground for a grave, seldom failed to go "back again," perhaps with an English host at their heels. Prince Charlie's army passed this way on its retreat from Derby. But this side of the Borderland is less well illustrated by stricken fields and sturdy sieges. It has, indeed, no lack of misty romance of its own, such as an American writer dares to bring into the light of common day by adding a sequel to Lady Heron's ballad, in which the fair Ellen is made to nurse a secret grudge at last confessed : she could not get over, even on any plea of poetic license, that rash assertion:

"There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far
Who would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar!"

"Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves," how they rode and they ran on those hills and leas in days unkind to "a laggard in love and a dastard in war"! These names belong to the English side, as does Grahame in part. Elliot and Armstrong, Pringle and Rutherford, Ker and Home, Douglas, Murray, and Scott, are Scottish Border clans, who kept much together as in the Highlands. "Is there nae kind Christian wull gie me a night's lodging?" begged a tramp on the Borders, and had for rough answer, "Nae Christians here; we're a' Hopes and Johnstones!" a jest transmuted farther north into the terms of a black Mackintosh and red Macgregors.

The first name of fame passed on the Caledonian line is Ecclefechan, birthplace of Thomas Carlyle, now a prophet even in his own country, but it is recorded how a devout American pilgrim of earlier days found no responsive warmth in the minds of old neighbours. "Tam Carlyle—ay, there was Tam!" admitted an interrogated native. "He went tae London; they tell me he writes books. But there's his brither Jeems—he was the mahn o' that family. He drove mair pigs into Ecclefechan market than ony ither farmer in the parish!" Tom had carried his pigs to a better than any Dumfriesshire market. If we turned west by the Glasgow and Southwestern Railway, we should soon come among the shrines of Burns and the monuments of Wallace. But let us rather take the central route, on which flourishes a greener memory.

The "Waverley" route from Carlisle, a central one between those East and West Coast lines, so distinguishes itself as passing through the cream of the country associated with Sir Walter Scott, its first stage being the wilds of Liddesdale, where he spent seven holiday seasons collecting the Border Minstrelsy. This district, where "every field has its battle and every rivulet its song," can boast of many singers. From the days of Thomas the Rhymer comes down its long succession of ballad-makers who "saved others' names but left their own unsung." At Ednam was born James Thomson, bard of The Seasons and of "Rule, Britannia," who surely deserves a less prosaic monument than here recalls him. From Ednam, too, came Henry Lyte, a name not so familiar, but how many millions know his hymn "Abide with me"! Some of Horatius Bonar's hymns were written during his ministry at Kelso. About Denholm were the "Scenes of Infancy" of John Leyden, poet and scholar, cut off untimely. Near his humble home, now turned into a public library, is the lordly house of Minto, one of whose daughters wrote the "Flowers of the Forest." Thomas Pringle, the South African poet, was born at Blakelaw, near Yetholm, the Border seat of gipsy kings. Home, the author of Douglas, is said to have come from Ancrum, which can more certainly claim Dr. William Buchan of Domestic Medicine renown. Riddell, author of "Scotland Yet," began life as a Teviot shepherd. If we may touch on living names, was not Mr. Andrew Lang born among the "Soutars of Selkirk," who has gone so far ultra crepidam? But indeed a whole page might be filled with a bare catalogue of the bards of Tweed and Teviot.

The genius loci, greatest of all, while born in Edinburgh, sprang from a Border family of "Scotland's gentler blood." The cradle of his race was in Upper Teviotdale, near Hawick, that thriving "Glasgow of the Borders," among whose busy mills the old Douglas Tower still stands as an hotel, and rites older than Christian Scotland are cherished at its time-honoured Common Riding. Not far off are Harden, home of Wat Scott the reiver, and Branxholme, that after being repeatedly burned by the English, bears an inscription of its rebuilding by a Sir

Abbotsford, Roxburghshire
Abbotsford, Roxburghshire

Walter Scott of Reformation times, whose namesake and descendant would make its name known so widely. At Sandyknowe farm, between the Eden and the Leader Water, he lived as a sickly child in his grandparents' charge, and under the massive ruin of Smailholm Tower, drank in with reviving health the inspiration of Border lore and romance—

"Ever, by the winter hearth,
Old tales I heard of woe or mirth,
Of lover's sleights, of ladies' charms,
Of witches' spells, of warriors' arms;
Of patriot battles, won of old
By Wallace wight and Bruce the bold;
Of later fields of feud and fight,
When, pouring from their Highland height,
The Scottish clans, in headlong sway,
Had swept the scarlet ranks away.
While stretch'd at length upon the floor,
Again I fought each combat o'er,
Pebbles and shells, in order laid,
The mimic ranks of war display'd;
And onward still the Scottish Lion bore,
And still the scatter'd Southron fled before."

Later on, the old folks being dead, his sanatorium quarters were shifted to his aunt's home at Kelso, where also an uncle bought a house, inherited by the lucky poet. For a time he attended the Grammar School, whose pupils had for playground the adjacent ruins of the Abbey, so roughly handled in Border wars and by iconoclastic zealots. This boy had other resources than play, who could forget his dinner in the charms of Percy's Reliques; and his lameness did not hinder him from roaming over the beautiful country in which Tweed and Teviot meet. Their confluence encloses the ruins of Roxburgh Castle, once a favourite royal residence and strong Border fortress, before whose walls James II., trying to wrest it back from the English, was killed by the bursting of one of those new-fangled "engines"; that were to break down moated castles, replaced by such sumptuous mansions as Floors, the modern chateau of the Duke of Roxburghe. Roxburgh town has disappeared more completely than its castle, its name surviving in that of the picturesque Border shire where, off and on, Scott spent much of his youth, photographing on a sensitive mind the scenes he has made famous, and getting to know the flesh-and-blood models of Meg Merrilies, Edie Ochiltree, Old Mortality, Dandie Dinmont, Josiah Cargill, and other "characters" that but for him might now be forgotten.

Kelso stands almost on the site of Roxburgh, but its place as county town is taken by Jedburgh, guard of the "Middle March," farther to the south, yet not so near the crooked border line. It stands upon a tributary of the Teviot, among "Eden scenes of crystal Jed," flowing down from the Cheviots. Tourists do not know what they miss by grudging time to divagate on the branches connecting the two main lines of the North British Railway. Jedburgh, birthplace of scientific celebrities, Sir David Brewster and Mrs. Somerville, has another grand Abbey, that suffered much from early English tourists; and its jail occupies the site of a vanished royal castle. In this old seat of "Jeddart justice," Scott began his career at the Bar, by the defence of such a poacher and sheep-stealer as his own forebears had been on a bolder scale. Here a few years later, he met Wordsworth in the house recently marked by a memorial tablet ; and other dwellings are pointed out as having housed Queen Mary and Prince Charlie, while Burns has left a warm record of his visit, so many of Scotland's idols has Jedburgh known, and may well reproach the hasty travellers who pass it by.

The young advocate did not waste much of his genius on defending sheep-stealers and the like ; but in those halcyon days of patronage, through the influence of his chief, the Duke of Buccleuch, he soon got the snug berth of Sheriff of Selkirk. This brought him to live at Ashestiel on the Tweed, where he spent his happiest days, writing his best poems, and beginning Waverley, to be laid by and forgotten for years. Selkirk, too, has the misfortune of lying off the main line; but strangers would do well to turn aside here for the wild pastoral scenes of St. Mary's Loch and the "Dowie Dens of Yarrow." Too many, like Wordsworth, put off this trip to rheumatic years; yet it may be easily done by the coach routes from Selkirk and from Moffat on the Caledonian line, that meet at Tibbie Shiels' Inn, whose visitors' book enshrines such a collection of autographs; and its homely fame scorns the pretensions of the new "hotel." This is the heart of Ettrick Forest, where stands a monument of its shepherd, James Hogg, unfairly caricatured as the genial buffoon of the Noctes, but second only to Burns as a popular poet, and best known over the English-speaking world by his "Bird of the wilderness, blithesome and cumberless." All the schooling he had was a few months early childhood; he taught himself to write on slate stones of the hillside where he herded cows, and this art he had to relearn when he first tried to sing of green Ettrick—

"In many a rustic lay,
Her heroes, hills, and verdant groves;
Her wilds and valleys fresh and gay,
Her shepherds' and her maidens' loves."

The North British junction for Selkirk is at Galashiels, another thriving woollen town, whose mills may not have improved the physique of the "braw lads of Gala Water." Before reaching this, the main line, holding up the Tweed where it is looked down upon by a colossal statue of Wallace, passes two more of David I.'s quartet of Abbeys, so that the tourist has no excuse for not visiting Dryburgh and Melrose. Melrose, indeed, is a tourist shrine, that owns a somewhat sheltered climate, with natural charms enough to fill its adjacent Hydropathic and the hotels about the Abbey and the Cross, nucleus of a group of Tweedside hamlets, to which warm red stone, sometimes filched from the ruins, gives a snug and cheerful aspect ; then the nakedness of the slopes, held by Scott a beauty, though he laboured to clothe it with plantations, hides nooks like that Rhymer's Glen, where True Thomas was spirited away by the Fairy Queen, and that Fairy Dean in which the White Lady of Avenel appeared to Halbert Glendinning. Above rise the triple Eildon Hills, in whose caverns Arthur and his knights lie sleeping, and from the top, as our Last Minstrel boasted, can be seen more than forty spots famed in history or song.

Of Melrose Abbey, the finest remains of Scottish ecclesiastical architecture in its golden age, and of its

Melrose, Roxburghshire
Melrose, Roxburghshire

illustrious tombs, let the guide-books speak, and the romance that deals with this neighbourhood of "Kenna-quhair," an alias plagiarised by Carlyle in his Weissnichtwo. Visiting it "by pale moonlight" or otherwise, few will not turn three miles up the river to that other show-place, Abbotsford, the Delilah of his imagination that bound Scott in withs of care and set him to toiling for Philistines. The baronial mansion, now overlooked by outlying villas of Galashiels, was all his own creation, and most of the trees were planted by himself, in the absorbing process that began with buying a hundred ill-famed acres, and ended with such unfortunate success in making, as he said, "a silk purse out of a sow's ear." When one thinks what it cost him, this exhibition of artificial feudalism has its painful side; yet another Sir Walter, a romancer of our own generation, declares that it "would make an oyster enthusiastic." But more moving is the pilgrimage from Melrose down the Tweed to where, in St. Mary's Aisle of Dryburgh Abbey, the most beautiful fragment of a noble fane, among the tombs of his kin lies at rest Scotland's most illustrious son, he who best displayed the warp and woof that makes the chequered pattern of his country's nature.

When will Cockney revilers learn that Scotland is not all thrift, caution, and kailyard prose, but a nation showing two main strains, which Mr. John Morley suggests as the explanation of Gladstone's complex character? One component may be hard, practical, frugal, in politics tending to democracy, in religion to logic; but this has been crossed by a spirit, better bred in the romantic Highlands, that is generous, proud, quick-tempered, reckless, reverent towards the past, rather than eager for progress. The painter of Scottish life must recognise how Fitz-James and Roderick Dhu are countrymen with Bailie Nicol Jarvie and Andrew Fairservice, how Flora Maclvor is not less a Scotswoman than Mause Headrigg or Jenny Dennison, and how the Jacobite and the Presbyterian enthusiasm smacked of the same soil. If one shut one's eye to half the case, it would be easy to make out that rash impetuosity flourished beyond the Tweed rather than the thistly prudence taken for a more congenial crop.

Scott comprehended both of these elements. By birth and training he belonged to the Saxon, by sympathy to the Celt. If his father was a douce Edinburgh "writer," one of his forebears had been that "Beardie" who bound himself never to shave till the Stuarts came back to their own. Brought up under the dry light of the Revolution Settlement, in his reminiscences of childhood he transforms a worthy parish minister into a "Venerable Priest," and in later life he came to be himself little better than an Episcopalian. It may be owned he had no more religion than became a Cavalier; even the romance of superstition did not take much hold on him, and that rhyming "White Lady" has not even a ghostly life on his page. His favourite heroes are the like of Montrose and Claver-house, yet he can do justice to the stern virtues of the Covenanters. In the sober historian mood he duly warns his grandchild how life was galled and fettered in the good old days, which he was too willing to see couleur de rose when their picturesque incidents offered themselves to the romancer. He turns a blind eye, perhaps, too much on the faults of knights and princes, yet he knows the worth of ploughmen and fisherfolk, and into Halbert Glendinning's and Henry Morton's mouths he puts sentiments to which John Bright or Cobden might say amen. He is happiest, indeed, in the past, when "the wrath of our ancestors was coloured gules," whereas we have learned, like Parson Adams' wife, to be Christians and take the law of our enemies. His appetite for imaginary bloodshed is a sore offence to writers like Mark Twain, who appear less scandalised that a pork-baron, a corn-lord, or a cotton-king should plot to be rich by starving children on the other side of the world. But Scott's very failings reflect the character of his countrymen, who, Highland and Lowland, have been mighty fighters before the Lord on a much wider field than from Berwick to John o' Groat's House. The pity is that this imaginative writer, who knew all characters better than his own, should have fancied himself a shrewd man of business, a part for which he was too generous and trustful. Of his personal merits, the most marked is that in a class of sedentary craftsmen notoriously apt to be irritable, bilious, jealous, and vainglorious, Walter Scott stands out by hearty, wholesome, human qualities which present him as the type of a Scottish gentleman.

Whatever record leap to light,
He never shall be shamed!

To have done with the "Scott Country," we should hold on westward up the Tweed to where its sources almost mingle with those of the Clyde, below the bold mass of Tinto and other hills that might claim a less modest title. This route would bring us by the renowned inn of Clovenfords, "howff" of Christopher North and many another choice spirit, by Ashestiel, then by Innerleithen, set up as a spa through its claim to represent St. Ronan's; and so to Peebles, a haunt of pleasure since the days when James I. wrote of "Peeblis to the play." For some reason or other, Peebles and Paisley have become butts of Gotham banter, their very names attracting the sly jests by which Scotsmen love to make fun of themselves. But neither of them is a town to be sneezed at. Peebles, for its part, after falling into a rather sleepy state, has been wakened up in our time through the Tontine "hottle," that so much excited Meg Dods' scorn ; the huge Hydropathic that has introduced German bath practice into Scotland ; and the Institution bestowed on the town by William Chambers, who hence set out to turn the proverbial half-crown into a goodly fortune. Was it not at this Institution that the local Mutual Improvement Society gravely debated the question, "Shall the material Universe be destroyed?" and decided, by a majority of one, in the negative! When Sir Cresswell Cresswell, from his peculiar bench, laid down the dictum that marriages between May and December often turned out ill, it must have been a Paisley statistician who wrote to him for the data on which he founded his assertion that "marriages contracted in the latter part of the year, etc." But Paisley has its manufacturing prosperity to fling in the teeth of calumny; and Peebles has romantic as well as comic associations, notably its Neidpath Castle and its Manor Water Glen, haunted by memories of the Black Dwarf.

The leisurely tourist might gain Edinburgh by a

Scott's Favourite view from Bemerside Hill, Roxburghshire
Scott's Favourite view from Bemerside Hill, Roxburghshire

branch line through Peebles, and this route can be recommended to the hippogriffs of cycles and motors. Beyond the Catrail, ancient barrier of the Picts or the Britons of Strathclyde, our main railroad, as its way is, keeps on straight up the course of the Gala, leaving to its right the dreary Lammermoors; then between the Castles of Borthwick and Crichton, it enters on the more prosaic Lothian country. To the left is seen the Pentland ridge, and straight ahead springs up the cone of Arthur's Seat beaconing us to Edinburgh, goal of the race for which a Caledonian express will be speeding along the farther side of the Pentlands.

And not a kilt have we seen yet, since leaving London! Of this more anon; kilts are not at home on the Borders, though I have seen one on the Welsh Marches, worn in conjunction with a pith helmet by a retired Liverpool tradesman. Since "gloves of steel" and "helmets barred" went out of fashion on Tweedside, the local colour has been that modest shepherd's plaid displayed in Lord Brougham's trousers to the ribaldry of Punch, and even that goes out of homely wear. You may buy Scott and Douglas tartans in the shops, but they seem vain things, fondly invented, as indeed are some of the patterns now seen in the Highlands. But there will be a good show of kilts in Edinburgh Castle, where once they were like to be bestowed in the dungeon:—

Wae worth the loons that made the laws
To hang a man for gear—
To reave o' life for sic a cause
As lifting horse or mare!

And here our North British express, panting through the fat Lothians, comes to slacken under the castellated walls of that gaol which tourists are apt to take for the Castle—no true kilts to be looked for there nowadays, yet perhaps at the Police Court under the head of drunk and disorderly! So let us leave the Borderland behind with a quotation from an American writer (Penelope in Scotland) who knows what's what, and who at first sight fairly loses her heart to Edinburgh, haars, east winds, and all, that are its thorns in the flesh. "I hope," she very sensibly says, "that those in authority will never attempt to convene a Peace Congress in Edinburgh, lest the influence of the Castle be too strong for the delegates. They could not resist it nor turn their backs upon it, since, unlike other ancient fortresses, it is but a stone's-throw from the front windows of all the hotels. They might mean never so well, but they would end by buying dirk hat-pins and claymore brooches for their wives; their daughters would all run after the kilted regiment and marry as many of the pipers as asked them, and before night they would all be shouting with the noble Fitz-Eustace,

'Where's the coward that would not dare
To fight for such a land?' "


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