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Bonnie Scotland
The Fair City


Perth, the central city of Scotland, whose name has been so flourishingly transplanted to the antipodes, is a very ancient place. Not to insist on fond derivation from a Roman Bertha, there seems to have been a Roman station on the Tay, probably at the confluence of the Almond ; and curious antiquarians have found cause for confessing to Pontius Pilate as perhaps born in the county, a reproach softened by the consideration of his father being little better than a Roman exciseman. The alias of St. Johnston Perth got from its patron saint, who came to be so scurvily handled at the Reformation. At this date it was the only walled city of Scotland. Before this, it had been intermittently the Stuart capital in such a sense as the residence of its Negus is for Abyssinia; and farther back Tayside was the seat of the Alpine kingdom that succeeded a Pictish power. Now sunk in relative importance, Perth makes the central knot of Scottish railway travelling; so on the Eve of St. Grouse its palatial station becomes one of the busiest spots in the kingdom, though the main platform is a third of a mile long. To the stay-at-home public it may perhaps be best known by an industry that

Perth from the Slopes of Kinnoul Hill
Perth from the Slopes of Kinnoul Hill

has given rise to the proverb "See Perth and dye" one which might have darker significance in days when this low site depended for drainage on the floods of the Tay flushing its cellars and cesspools. But its own citizens are brought up to believe that no Naples of them all has so much right to the title of the "Fair City."

Legend tells how Roman soldiers gaining a prospect of the Tay from the heights south of Perth, exclaimed on its North Inch as another Campus Martius; but later visitors have not always shared the local admiration. One modern Italian traveller, Signor Piovanelli, after wandering two or three hours about the Perth streets, took away an impression of dull melancholy ; but then he began with an unsatisfactory experience at the Refreshment Room. An else conscientious French tourist explains the bustle of Perth station as its being the rendezvous of the inhabitants seeking distraction from their triste life. These be ignorant calumnies. At least our northern York is a typical Scottish town, well displaying the strata of its development. In quite recent years it has been much transmogrified by a new thoroughfare, fittingly named Scott Street, which, running from near the station right through the city, has altered its centre of gravity. The old High Street and South Street, with their "vennels" and "closes," lead transversely from Scott Street to the river, cut at the other end by George Street and John Street, which had supplanted them as main lines of business. "Where are the shops?" I was once asked by a bewildered party of country excursionists, wandering unedified about the vicinity of the station. In those days one had to send them across the city to the streets parallel with the river; but now Scott Street has attracted the Post Office, the Theatre and the Free Library, and bids fair to become the Strand or the Regent Street of the Fair City, fringed by such a display of latter-day villas as attests the prosperity of its business quarters.

Fragments of mediaeval antiquity also must be sought for towards the river. Off John Street stands the old Cathedral, in the practical Scottish manner shared into three places of worship, once containing dozens of altars, among which an impudent schoolboy threw the first image-breaking stone that spread such a ripple of icono-clasm through the shrines of Scotland. Close by, on the river bank, the Gaol occupies the site of Gowrie House, where James VI. had his mysterious or mythical escape from treason. The Parliament House, too, has vanished, its memory preserved by the name of a "close," the Scottish equivalent for alley. The citizens have lately adopted a traditional "Fair Maid's" house as their official lion, to which indicators point the way from all over the city. This, whatever the higher criticism may say of its claims, has been well restored as a specimen of a solid burgher's home in those days when Simon the Glover was so vexed by the vagaries of his Highland apprentice and by the roistering suitors of his daughter. Since then, Perth has not wanted Fair Maids; but in our time the title has sometimes had a satiric tang as implying what the French stigmatise as une rosse.

Simon, as we know, lived close to the royal lodging, which, after the destruction of the castle, was wont to be thriftily taken in the great monastery of Blackfriars, now represented only by the names of a house and a street. In it were enacted stirring scenes of history as well as of fiction, its darkest tragedy the murder of James I. on a February night of 1437. Handsome, brave, a scholar and poet, with the advantage of an involuntary English education, in quieter times this king might have shown himself the best of the Stuarts. He had the welfare of the people at heart, and on his return from the captivity in which he spent his boyhood, tried to bring some degree of order among the lawless feuds of his barons, using against them indeed high-handed and crooked means that were the statecraft of the age. Thus he roused fell enemies who were able to take him unawares, though the story goes that, like Alexander and Caesar, he had warning from an uncredited seer. Betrayed by false courtiers, he was retiring to bed when the monastery rang with the tramp and cries of the fierce Highlandmen seeking his blood. While the queen and her ladies tried to defend the door, Catherine Douglas giving her broken arm, says the legend, as a bar, James tore up the flooring and let himself down into a drain which he had, unluckily, blocked up a few days before, since in it his tennis balls got lost. There he was discovered by the conspirators, and after a desperate struggle their leader, Sir Thomas Graham, stabbed him to death. Not a minute too soon, for already the good burghers were roused to the rescue, and the regicides had some ado to spur off to the Highlands, safe only for a time, the principal criminals being taken for tortures that horrified even their cruel contemporaries.

From the windings of the Blackfriars quarter, one emerges by what was the North Port, upon Perth's famous Inch, bordered by erections that a generation ago were the modest West End of the city—Athole Place, the Crescent, Rose Terrace, and Barossa Place. At the foot of the Inch, by the river, stands a tall obelisk in honour of the 90th Regiment, the "Perthshire Volunteers," now amalgamated with the Cameronians; and near it the customary statue of Prince Albert, one of the first inaugurated by Queen Victoria, who then insisted on knighting the Lord Provost of the city, a worthy grocer, much to his discontent, and, if all tales be true, to his loss in business. Perth, as becomes the ex-capital, has a Lord Provost, who cannot meet the Lord Provost of Glasgow without raising sore points of precedence. Invested with special powers when Perth was a royal residence, its magistrates were not persons to be trifled with, as an English officer found early in the eighteenth century. This mettlesome spark, quartered here, had fatally stabbed a dancing-master who stood in the way of troublesome attentions to one of his pupils. The same day, tradition has it, the slaughterer was seized, tried, and hanged under the old law of "red-hand," then put in force for the last time. An ornament to the story is that the criminal's brother commanded a ship of war in the Firth of Forth, over which was the way to Edinburgh, and that he long kept watch for a chance of capturing some Perth bailie on whom to take revenge. These were the good old times.

By the bridge at the foot of the North Inch, a pretentious classical structure, marking the era of Provost Marshall whom it commemorates, rears its dome above a Museum of Antiquities such as becomes an ancient city. This faces the end of Tay Street, the pleasant riverside boulevard between the North and South Inches,

Ben A' An, Corner of Loch Katrine, Perthshire
Ben A' An, Corner of Loch Katrine, Perthshire

towards the farther end of which a newer Museum contains a remarkable natural history collection. At its corner of South Street are the County Buildings, adorned with portraits of local worthies, and at the end of High Street, the City Buildings with windows illustrating Perth's history. Perth has now two bridges and everything handsome about it—besides the Dundee railway bridge with its footway from the South Inch. The central bridge is only three or four years old, but here stood one washed away in 1621, since when the citizens had long to depend on what is now the old bridge below the North Inch.

This bridge leads over into the transpontine suburb, above which, on the slopes of Kinnoul Hill, the rank and fashion of the city have inclined to seek "eligible building sites," Scotticé, "feuing plots." The banks of the river, too, on this side have long been bordered by villas and cottages of gentility; but about "Bridge End" there is still a fragment of the humbler suburb that has had more than one famous sojourner in our time. Here, in a house now distinguished by a tablet, and afterwards in Rose Terrace opposite, John Ruskin spent bits of his childhood with an aunt, wife of the tanner whose unsavoury business had the credit of keeping the cholera away from Bridge End. That amateur of beauty, for his part, has nothing but good to say of Perth : he remembers with pleasure the precipices of Kinnoul, the swirling pools of the "Goddess-river," even the humble "Lead," in which other less gifted children have found "a treasure of flowing diamond," now covered up to belie his vision of its defilement; and his lifelong impression was that "Scottish sheaves are more golden than are bound in other lands, and that no harvests elsewhere visible to human eyes are so like the 'corn of heaven' as those of Strath Tay and Strath-Earn." Yet youthful gladness turned to pain, when through his connection with Perth Ruskin came to make that ill-matched marriage with its fairest maid, afterwards known as Lady Millais. Their brief union he passes over in silence in his else most communicative reminiscences; and the writer were indiscreet indeed who should revive rumours spun round a case of hopeless incompatibility. One misty legend, probably untrue, declares him, for certain reasons, to have vowed never to enter the house in which her family lived, that Bowerswell mansion, a little up the hill, where a crystal spring had often arrested his childish attention. He did enter the house once, to be married, according to the custom of the bride's Presbyterian Church: hinc illae lacrimae, according to the legend.

Like that great prose-poet, the reader's humble servant, without being able to boast himself a native of Perth, spent part of his youth here and has pleasant memories that tempt him, too, to be garrulous. I have no recollection of seeing Ruskin at Perth, but I well remember Millais in the prime of manly beauty. In the early days of his fame he lived much with his wife's family at Bowerswell; and several of the children he then painted so charmingly were playmates of mine, who would come to our Christmas parties in the picturesque costumes he had been putting on canvas. For some reason or other, he never proposed to immortalise my features; but I have boyish memories of him that seem to hint at the two sides of his art. My sister sat for one of his most famous pictures, on which, in the capacity of escort to his child model, I had the unappreciated privilege of seeing him at work. What struck a little Philistine like me was how the painter paid no attention to a call to lunch, working away in such a furor of industry as I could sympathise with only if mischief were in question. Someone brought him a plate of soup and a glass of wine, which he hastily swallowed on his knees, and again flung himself into his absorbing task. My internal reflection was that in thus despising his meals this man showed such sense as Macfarlane's geese who, as Scott records, loved their play better than their meat. But a quite different behaviour on another occasion excited stronger disapproval of the future P.R.A. in my schoolboy mind. When out shooting with my father one hot day, I took him to a little moorland farm where the people would offer us a glass of milk. Millais rather scornfully asked if they had no cream. They brought him a tumblerful, the whole yield for the day probably, and he tossed if off with a "Das ist kleine Gabe!" air that set me criticising the artistic temperament. It was a fixed notion with young Scots that all English people were greedy: "Set roasted beef and pudding on the opposite side o' the pit o' Tophet, and an Englishman will make a spang at it! " exclaimed the goodwife of Aberfoyle. Thus we give back the southron's sneer for our frugal poverty. Our old Adam might welcome the good things of life that fairly came our way; but we schooled each other in a Spartan point of honour that forbade too frank enjoyment. Millais was born very far south; and there are those who say that he might have been a still greater painter, had he shown less taste for the cream of life.

From Bowerswell, an artist had not far to go for scenes of beauty. The road past the house, winding up to a Roman Catholic monastery built since those days, leads on into the woods of Kinnoul Hill, which is to Perth what Arthur's Seat is to Edinburgh. No tourist should, as many do, neglect to take the shady climb through those woods, suggesting the scenes of a tamed German "Wald." At the farther side one comes out on the edge of a grand crag, the view from which has been compared to the Rhine valley, and to carry out this similitude, a mock ruin crowns the adjacent cliff. We have here turned our backs on the Grampians so finely seen from the Perth slope of the hill, and are looking down upon the Tay as it bends eastward between this spur of the Sidlaws and the wooded outposts of the Ochils opposite, then, swollen by the Earn, opens out into its Firth in the Carse of Gowrie, dotted with snug villages and noble seats such as the Castle of Kinfauns among the woods at our feet, a scene most lovely when

The sun was setting on the Tay,
The blue hills melting into grey;
The mavis and the blackbird's lay
Were sweetly heard in Gowrie.

The Gowrie earldom, once so powerful in Perth, has disappeared from its life; but the title is still familiar as covering one of those districts of a Scottish county that bear enduring by-names, like the Devonshire South Hams or the Welsh Vale of Glamorgan. To a native ear, the scene is half suggested by the word Carse,

Loch Vennachar, Perthshire
Loch Vennachar, Perthshire

implying a stretch of rich lowland along a riverside, whereas Strath is the more broken and extensive valley of a river that has its upper course in some wilder Glen or tiny Den, the Dean of so many southern villages. The course of the Tay from Perth to Dundee, below Kinnoul, ceases to be romantic while remaining beautiful in a more sedate and stately fashion as it flows between its receding walls of wooded heights, underneath which the "Carles of the Carse" had once such an ill name as Goldsmith's rude Carinthian boor, but so many a "Lass of Gowrie" has shown a softer heart—

She whiles did smile and whiles did greet;
The blush and tear were on her cheek.

There are various versions of this ballad, whose tune makes the Perth local anthem ; but they all tell the same old tale and often told, with that most hackneyed of ends—

The old folks syne gave their consent;
And then unto Mass-John we went;
Who tied us to our hearts' content,
Me and the Lass o' Gowrie.

Many a stranger comes and goes at Perth without guessing what charming prospects may be sought out on its environing heights. But half an hour's stroll through the streets must make him aware of those Inches that prompt a hoary jest concerning the size of the Fair City. The North and South Inches, between which it lies, properly islands, green flats beside the Tay, are in their humble way its Hyde Park and Regent Park. The South Inch, close below the station, is the less extensive, once the grounds of a great Carthusian monastery, then site of a strong fort built by Cromwell, now notable mainly for the avenue through which the road from Edinburgh comes in over it, and for the wharf at its side that forms a port for small vessels and excursion steamers plying by leave of the tide. On the landward side, beyond the station, Perth is spreading itself up the broomy slopes of Craigie Hill, which still offers pleasant rambles. Beyond the farther end stands a gloomy building once well known to evil-doers as the General Prison for Scotland ; but of late years its character has undergone some change; and I am not sure how far the old story may still keep its point that represents an inmate set loose from these walls, when hailed by a friendly wayfarer as "honest man," giving back glumly "None of your dry remarks!"

A more cheerful sight is the golf links on Moncrieff Island, above which crosses the railway to Dundee. This neighbour has long surpassed Perth, grown on jute and linen to be the third city of Scotland, its name perhaps most familiar through the marmalade which used to be manufactured, I understand, in the Channel Islands, when wicked wit declared its maker to have a contract for sweeping out the Dundee theatre. Northern undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge are believed to have spread to southern breakfasts the use of this confection in the form so well known now that its materials are so cheap. The name has a Greek ancestry, and the thing seems to have come to us as quince-preserve, through the Portuguese marmelo, in time transferred and restricted to another fruit. Oranges, indeed, could not have been as plentiful as blackberries in Britain, when the Euphuist Lyly compared life without love to a meal without marmalade.

Such a twenty-miles digression from the South Inch implies how little there is to say about it. Now let us take a dander up the larger North Inch, Perth's Campus Martius, at once promenade, race-course, review ground, grazing common, washing green, golf links, cricket-field, and area for unfenced football games in which, summer and winter, young Scots learn betimes to earn gate-money for English clubs. Opposite the Perth Academy appears to have been the arena where that early professional, Hal o' the Wynd, played up so well in the deadly match by which the Clan Kay and the Clan Chattan enacted the less authentic tragedy of the Kilkenny cats. This spacious playground is now edged by a neat walk, which makes the constitutional round of sedate citizens, who on the safe riverside have the spectacle of pleasure boating against the difficulties of a strong stream and shallow rapids, and of the pulling of salmon nets in the season. Here a barelegged laddie, with the rudest tackle, has been known to hook a 30-lb. fish, holding on to the monster for two hours till some men helped him out with his fortune. The salmon of the Tay, reared in the Stormontfield Ponds above Perth, are famous for size, a weight of over 70 lbs. being not unknown; and cavillers on other streams cannot belittle its bigger fish by the sneer of "bigger liars there!" The keeping of fish in ice, and railway communications, have much enhanced the price, to the astonished of a Highland laird who in a London tavern ordered a steak for himself and a "salmon for Donald" without guessing that his henchman's meal must be paid for in gold as his own in silver. The old story of masters contracting not to feed their servants on salmon more than twice a week, is told, by Ruskin for one, of Tay-side as of other river-lands. But so masterful are the demands of London now, that salmon may sometimes be dearer on the banks of the Tay than in the glutted metropolitan market. The Tay has another treasure, for now and then valuable pearls have been fished out of it by boys who, in a dry summer, can wade across its shallows just above the old bridge. A very different sight might be seen here when the river was frozen across and roughened by a jam of miniature icebergs.

Half-way up the town side of the Inch, where a few trees dotted across it mark its old limits, extended more than a century ago, stands the now restored mansion of Balhousie, which used to be known as Bushy by that curious trick of contraction, more common in Scottish than in English names, that drove a bewildered foreigner to complain of our pronouncing as Marchbanks what we spelt as Cholmondeley. But one notes how in Scotland as in England, the tendency is to restore such words to their full sound, as in this case. Near the station in Perth is Pomarium Street, marking the orchard of the old Carthusian monastery, or, as some have held, the outskirt of the Roman City. Consule Planco, I knew it only as the Pow; but out of curiosity I lately tried this abbreviation in vain on a postman and on a telegraph boy of the present generation. Methven, near Perth, was always pronounced Meffen; Henry VIII. spells it Muffyn; as Ruthven was and perhaps still is Riven. The station of Milngavie is no longer

A Croft near Dalmally, Argyllshire
A Croft near Dalmally, Argyllshire

proclaimed by railway porters as Millguy, and the place Claverhouse—no hero indeed at spelling—spells Ruglen, tends to assume its full dignity of Rutherglen, as Cirencester or Abergavenny lose their old contractions in this generation's mouth. Many other examples might be given of a change, with which, I fancy, railway porters have much to do; but one of the best authorities on such matters, Dr. H. Bradley, puts it down to what he calls half-education, setting up spelling as an idol. As for the altered pronunciation of Scottish family names, that seems often to come from English blundering, modestly adopted by their owners. Balfour, to take a distinguished example, was Balfour, till the trick of southern speech shifted back the accent. Forbes is still vernacularly a dissyllable in the Forbes country, as in Marmion, and in the old schoolboy saw about General 4 B's, who marched his 4 C's, etc. Dalziels and Menzies must have long given up in despair the attempt to get their names properly pronounced in the south as Déél and Meengus. The family known at home as Jimmyson become now content to have made a noise in the world as Jameson. But some such changes have been long in progress. It was "bloody Mackengie" whom audacious boys dared to come out of his grave in Greyfriars' Churchyard; and if we go far enough back we find the name of this persecutor written Mackennich. In the good old times every gentleman had his own spelling, as what for no? There is a deed, and not a very ancient one, drawn up by certain forebears of mine, in which, among them, they spell their name five different ways. In general, it may be remembered, the z that makes such a stumbling-block to strangers in so many Scottish names, is to be taken as a y. When we have such real enigmas as Colquhoun and Kirkcudbright to boggle over, the wonder is that Milton should make any ado at Gordon or "Galasp," by which he probably meant Gillespie.

Nearly opposite Balhousie, which has suggested this digression, across the Tay, peeps out the house of Spring-lands, which reminds me how Perth has been the cradle of a sect. The Sandemans of Springlands in my youth exhibited some marked religious leanings, but none of them, I think, followed the doctrine of their ancestor. The sect in question was founded in the days of early methodism by John Glass, a Scottish clergyman; but his son-in-law, Robert Sandeman, proved so much the Paul of the new faith by preaching it as far as America, that there, as in England, the body is known as Sandemanians, while in Scotland they still sometimes bear the original name Glassites. Their most famous member was Michael Faraday, who preached in the London meeting-house. Its doctrine had, like Plymouth Brethrenism, a strange attraction for old Indian officers, who, cut off from home influences, repelled by surrounding heathenism, and their brains perhaps a little addled by the sun, have often been led to read odd meanings into revelations and prophecies, studied late in life. There used to be a detachment of retired veterans encamped about Perth as headquarters of their Bethel, whose wives and children, in some cases, attended the Episcopal Chapel. A peculiarity of their belief was an absolute horror of being present at any alien worship, even family prayers, as I could show from some striking instances. This must have borne hard on soldier converts, who, in the army, are allowed a choice of only three forms of worship. "No fancy religions in the service," growled the sergeant to a recruit who professed himself a Seventh Day Baptist: "fall in with the Roman Catholics!" Another note of the Sandemanians was an unwillingness to communicate their views, what even seemed a resentful-of inquiry by outsiders. Disraeli excused a similar trait in the Jews by the dry remark, "The House of Lords does not seek converts." I once in the innocent confidence of youth asked a Glassite leader to enlighten me as to their faith, and was snubbed with a short "The doors are open." But I never heard of any stranger trusting himself within the doors of that meeting-house. Report gave out a love-feast as a main function, from which the sect got "kailites" as a nickname. The kiss of peace, it was understood, went round; and ribald jesters represented the presiding official as obliged to exhort, "Dinna pass over the auld wife!" This much one can truly say of the congregation, that they were kind and helpful to each other, a Glassite in distress being unknown in the Fair City, where they had adherents in all classes. As for their spiritual exclusiveness, against that reproach may be set the old story of the "burgher " lass who, having once attended an "anti-burgher" service with her lad, was rebuked by her own kirk-session for the sin of "promiscuous hearing."

Above the Inch comes the less trim space called the "Whins," where lucky caddies glean lost golf balls in its patches of scrub and in pools formed by the highest flowing of the tide from the Firth. With this ends the public pleasure-ground but the walk may be prolonged along the elevated bank of the river, above the sward that makes the town bathing-place, and brown pools that Ruskin might have found perilous as well as picturesque, but as he speaks of himself as keeping company with his girl cousin, not to speak of the fear of his careful mother, we may suppose that he made no rash excursions into the water. One deep swirl within a miniature promontory is aptly known as the "Pen and Ink"; then higher up a shallow creek encloses the " Woody Island," no island to bare-legged laddies who here play Robinson Crusoe.

The opposite bank shows a lordly park with timber that should bring a blush to the cheek of Dr. Johnson's ghost, concealing the castellated Scone Palace, seat of its Hereditary Keeper, Lord Mansfield, who has another enviable home beside Hampstead Heath. Little remains of the old royal Castle and Abbey of Scone; the Stone of Destiny, that ancient palladium, fabled pillow of Jacob's vision of the angels, on which the Scottish kings were crowned, has been in Westminster Abbey since Edward I.'s invasion. The modern mansion contains some relics of Queen Mary and her son, but its owners do not encourage visitors. An eminence near at hand is known by the curious name of the Boot Hill, tradition making it formed by the earth which nobles after a coronation emptied out of their boots, so stuffed that each proud baron might feel the satisfaction of standing on his own ground!

Half-a-dozen miles farther up the river, on this side, one is free to seek the top of Dunsinnan Hill for what is believed to have been the site of Macbeth's Castle, and for a fine prospect of the Grampians with Birnam Wood in the foreground. Shakespeare, and the legend he followed,

Wet Harvest Time near Dalmally, Argyllshire
Wet Harvest Time near Dalmally, Argyllshire

make no account of the fact that a considerable river guarded Dunsinnan from hostile advance of its distant neighbour. Yet a parish minister of these parts has convinced himself that the author of Macbeth must have known the neighbourhood. One conjecture is that he visited Perth with a far-strolling troop of actors. "You will say next that Shakespeare was Scotch!" exclaimed a scornful southron to a Scot who seemed too patriotic; and the cautious answer was, "Weel, his abeelity would warrant the supposeetion." As for Macbeth and his good lady, it is time that some serious attempt were made to whitewash their characters, as Renan has done for Jezebel, and Froude for Henry VIII. No doubt these two worthies represented the good old Scottish party, strong on Disruption principles and sternly set against the Anglican influences introduced through Malcolm Canmore, in favour of whose family the southern poet shows a natural bias. Did we know the whole truth, that gracious Duncan may have had a scheme to serve the Macbeths as the Macdonalds of Glencoe were served by their guests. The one thing clear in early Scottish history is that the dagger played a greater part than the ballot box, and that scandals in high life might sometimes be obscured by an eloquent advocate on one side or other. Sir Walter does give some hints for a brief in Macbeth's case, though in his Tales of a Grandfather he sets the orthodox legend strutting with its "cocked hat and stick." Macbeth, as he says, probably met Duncan in fair fight near Elgin; and the scene of his own discomfiture appears to have been the Mar country rather than the Tay valley.

But we are still strolling on the right bank of the Tay, to be followed for a mile or two up to the mouth of the Almond, a pretty walk, which few strangers find out for themselves. There is in Scotland a want of the field paths which Hawthorne so much admired in England, "wandering from stile to stile, along hedges and across broad fields, and through wooded parks leading you to little hamlets of thatched cottages, ancient, solitary farmhouses, picturesque old mills, streamlets, pools, and all those quiet, secret, unexpected, yet strangely-familiar features of English scenery that Tennyson shows us in his idylls and eclogues." Every inch of tillable land is in the north more economically dealt with; the farmer, struggling against a harsher climate, cannot afford to leave shady hedges and winding paths; his fields are fenced by uncompromising stone walls against a looser law of trespass. Embowered lanes, too, "for whispering lovers made," are rarer in this land of practical farming. Here it is rather on wild " banks and braes "of streams, unless where their waters can be coined into silver as salmon-fishings, that lovers and poets may ramble at will, shut out from the work-a-day world by thickets of hawthorn, brier, woodbine, and other "weeds of glorious feature":—

The Muse, nae poet ever fand her
Till by himsel' he learned to wander
Adown some trotting burn's meander,
An' no think lang.

If any ill-advised stranger find the streets of the Fair City dull, as would hardly be his lot on market-day, let him turn to Kinnoul Hill for a noble scene, and to the Tay banks for a characteristic one of broad fields and stately woods, backed by the ridge of the Grampians a dozen miles away. For another sample of Scottish aspects he might take the Edinburgh road across the South Inch, and over by Moncrieff Hill to the Bridge of Earn, where he comes into the lower flats of Strathearn, on which a tamed Highland stream winds sinuously to the Tay between its craggy rim and the rounded ridge of the Ochils. The village has a well-built air, due to the neighbourhood of Pitkaithly spa, that in Scott's day was a local St. Ronan's, whose patrons lodged at the Bridge of Earn, or even walked out from Perth, to take the waters, which before breakfast, on the top of this exercise, must have had a notable effect in certain cases. The original Spa in Belgium owed much of its credit to the fact of its springs being a mile or two out of the town. Our forefathers' ignorance of microbes seems to have been tempered by active habits: it was more than a dozen miles Piscator and his friends had to trudge from Tottenham before reaching their morning draught at Hoddesdon. As for Pitkaithly, there is at present an attempt to resuscitate the use of its waters, still dispensed near Kilgraston, a house founded by a Jamaica planter, who had two such sons as General Sir Hope Grant and Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A.

This part of Strathearn is a flat lowland plain, on which, once in a way, I have seen a pack of foxhounds, whereas, in the ruggeder mass of the county, as English squires must be scandalised to learn—

Though space and law the stag we lend,
Ere hound we slip or bow we bend,
Whoever recked where, how, and when,
The treacherous fox is trapped or slain.

Where foxes are sometimes like wolves for size and destructiveness, a Highland fox-hunter ranks with a ratcatcher. But Fife, at hand over the Ochils, is a civilised region in which Reynard claims his due observance. Near its border, still in Perthshire, is the sadly-decayed town of Abernethy, whose Round Tower makes the only monument of the days when it was a Pictish capital. Another seat of Pictish princes, not far away, was at Forteviot, near the Kinnoul Earls' Dupplin Castle, where Edward Balliol defeated the Regent Mar in a hot fight, before marching on to Perth to be crowned for a time, when Scotland, like Brentford, had two kings. If only for their natural amenities, these spots might well be visited; yet to tourists they are unknown unless as way-stations respectively on the rival North British and Caledonian railways from Edinburgh to Perth. But to me each of their now obscure names is dearly familiar, since the days when they were landmarks on my way back from school, from which in those days one came back more gladly; and Auchterarder, Forteviot, FORGANDENNY, made a crescendo of joyful sounds, each hailing a stage nearer home.


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