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John Stuart Blackie
Chapter XXIII. "Living Greek" 1888 - 1891


CONCERNING the 'Life of Burns,' Dr Stodart Walker, the Professor's nephew, writes :-

I asked him once why he wrote this book. "Well," he said, "I was asked to do it, and at first I refused, for I can never do work to order. But then I thought a little, and I said to myself, There are two kinds of persons who may write that life. First, the blind hero-worshipper, who will write a useless blatant kind of work; and then another much worse person, who will play the righteous uncharitable moralist with Burns, and probably look at him through his own myopic lenses. I felt that I understood Burns, and that righteousness and mercy could guide my course."

How he succeeded can best be understood by reading the book. It has been accounted "a tender and yet masterly review of the greatest lyric poet of his native land." He neither suppresses nor extenuates the wrong done by Burns, but he teaches us to understand the man's temperament, with its glow of genius, its self-respect, its temptations, its deep remorse, its unassailable dignity in presence of his dull accusers.

The author lectured on the subject of Burns in Kilmarnock at the time of its publication, and records how he was treated with great hospitality of a teetotal character, out of keeping with the place and the occasion.

Like Mr Gladstone, he was during his closing years the recipient of many gifts-amongst them, of the "Liberal umbrella" from Mr Joseph Wright; and he figured in a clever advertisement of the "Drooko umbrella," which gave the ministering public of cab and 'bus drivers a handy nickname for him. His leisure was occupied with an article for the March 'Forum,'—on "Scottish Nationality,"—fiercely patriotic, as was his wont on that subject. Letters were coming from old friends about his 'Life of Burns'—from Sir Daniel Wilson at Toronto, with pathetic retrospect of the changes and losses of five-and-thirty years; from Sir Theodore Martin in London, and from Mr Gladstone. "Burns," wrote the last, "a phenomenal man, whose genius all must own, while some lift it to an extraordinary height, and whose chequered life constitutes in itself a chapter of human nature."

Early in 1888 he was making inquiries of his friend Mr George Seton with regard to the first appearance of the Scottish Thistle in history and the settlement of the Gordons at Kenmure. A protracted " talking pilgrimage" occupied half of April, and its shrines were Arbroath, Seaton Auchmithie, Forfar, Montrose, Aberdeen, Dundee, and St Andrews. Its most interesting record is of the little fishing-village of Auchmithie. His lecture at Arbroath contributed £30 towards the erection of a recreation-room for the unspeakably poor and neglected fisher-folk, a building which Mrs Gilruth with patient and persistent effort secured at a cost of £200. "We spent yesterday forenoon in a very instructive but not altogether pleasant way, visiting the over-worked and over-burdened generation of fisher-folk here,—so oppressively sad that the esthetical enjoyment of the picturesque crag scenery is utterly marred by the spectacle." His visit cheered the brave lady, who had no sooner opened her recreation-room than she set about collecting £1000 to qualify Auchmithie for a grant of £3000, wherewith to construct a decent harbour, and that in the very teeth of the local dignitaries. "In knowledge, love, and joy," she wrote to Mrs Blackie, "he excels all the people I ever met."

At Aberdeen he stayed with friends much beloved, Dr and Mrs Forbes White; and he made a round amongst the old associations, visiting his mother's grave in the West churchyard, and looking up Dr John Forbes, the companion of his Göttingen student days, now an octogenarian. When he returned to Edinburgh, it was to celebrate a Hellenic meeting, of which a note from Dr Flint indicates the subject:-

While you are in the embraces of white-armed Andromache, or gazing with admiration on the work of Hephaistos, I shall be-not poring over dusty books, but—painfully writing certificates. I shall have neither Greek nor song, and will not even enjoy my supper. You will enjoy all three. Too happy mortal!

Mrs Blackie went to Wernyss Bay on May 1 with Mrs D. O. Hill, and he was at home alone winding up his various concerns before the annual visit to London. Amongst these was a collection for a scholarship, which he considered to be of great importance, - to give to the successful student of theology six months' residence in Athens, which would make his acquired academic Greek alive by practice in the modern and living language. He wished to make perpetual what he himself had given as a prize during his professoriate. On May 5 lie wrote in reference to this :-

My pious begging is now finished, and I am troubled with my besetting sin of self righteousness. I find nothing to condemn in my procedure, but a great deal to praise. I have by graceful persistency hooked and landed three magnificent fish - the Lord President of the Court of Session, Sir W. Turner, and Principal Sir W. Muir. I have been as busy as a waiter at a junction station when the train waits twenty minutes for dinner.

Two days later he was in London with Dr Wyld and his family. A visitor in the house was Miss Warrack, who had been a member of his Greek class for ladies some years earlier. That class yielded some passable scholars for result, and the best of them were admitted to the Hellenic Society, adding, if not to its erudition, at least greatly to its social interest.

One of his first labours in town was to write in letter-form a sort of manifesto on the Scottish Universities Reform, the Executive Commission for which was being constituted. This spoke his mind on a matter which he had agitated for forty years, and it was printed and distributed to all concerned. He wrote on May 14

The letter arrived after breakfast, and so at 12 P.M. I set out for Westminster, and marching straight to the Scottish Office, Whitehall, I had a pleasant interview with Mr Cochran Patrick and Mr Dunbar, both hands to the Marquis of Lothian, who was not in. Then I had a. most delightful lunch with Samuel Smith, the wise man of Liverpool, whom you know; and then I came back and wrote to Gladstone, Chamberlain, Lord Aberdeen, and Goschen, with a copy of the Manifesto.

The most interesting letter of his faithful diary for May is dated the 18th

Here events follow in swift sequence. On Wednesday at 2 pm. I had a very warm friendly time with Browning, who loves me as a brother; I wish his manner was as easy and natural in his books as at his luncheon-table. Present there were only his sister and a Miss Keep, studious of Browning and of Greek, from 'Northampton. In the evening at 8.30 I found myself in Lord Rosebery's new house with a grand array, or rather a snug select committee, of Gladstonian Liberals, including the G. 0. M. himself and his lady; also Lord Aberdeen and his lady; Principal Donaldson, Arnold Morley the Liberal Whip, and a few others. The G. O. M. looked quite well, but discoursed rather too seriously about various matters, Popery and French novels, both unlovely subjects; to which unreasonable seriousness I put a pleasant end in the drawing-room by giving "The Bonnie House o' Airlie," at the express request of Mrs Gladstone and mine host. Yesterday, by appointment, I rattled up to South Hump- stead, and found Mary Anderson in all her innocent brightness in a fine old house and garden looking cheerfully down on the far smoke of London. She was not alone, but had a small circle of musical, literary, and artistic people about her, with whom I found it easy to interfiow. We had the most wonderful thunder-roll of piano force from a Polish girl named Natalie Janotha. In the evening, after an early dinner, Grace and I set out for the Princess' Theatre to witness a new play by Hall Caine and Wilson Barrett, who sent us stall tickets,—a romantic drama, full of love and self-sacrifice, and tragic catastrophe.

Mr Hall Caine remembers him "weeping like a little child" at this first performance of "Benma-chree."

He interrupted the stream of gaieties by a visit to Cambridge, where he stayed with Mrs Lewis, seeing both Newnharn and Girton, and making the round of colleges and chapels with patient diligence. He presented Miss Helen Gladstone with the four volumes of his 'Homer' for the Newnham Library. Then he returned to London to the social round, attending, too, a meeting of the Scottish Home Rule Association, and forming one of a deputation to Mr Joseph Chamberlain, which that gentleman omitted to receive.

About the middle of June he rejoined his wife, and together they went to Kingussie to spend July and August. The beautiful Spey valley, with its guardian Bens and cradled lochs, was a new field for his inspection. He recorded at this time that he had faithfully kept his vow to see some fresh bit of Scotland every year, and that now half-a-dozen islands of the west and the counties of Forfar and Kincardine alone remained incompletely explored. At Kingussie he did his best to top the neighbouring heights and to search out the spots sacred to "Charlie and his men" on foot; but the old elasticity was lacking, and climbing was a painful effort. The weather too was bad, July cold and rainy, and August only partially fine. Still he managed to stand on the crest of Cairngorm, of which he wrote in his "Praise of Kingussie"

Thither mount with me, and standing
Where the dun-plumed eagle floats,
In God's face who heaved the mountains,
Bid farewell to petty thoughts!

Bid farewell to party squabbles,
Shallow jest, and bitter word;
Breathe a breath that knows no slander,
And from free lungs praise the Lord!

A better experience was theirs in September, when they stayed with friends who rented the farmhouse of Laggan above Dulnain Bridge, a house set on a hill and overlooking the valley, where the Spey winds in majestic folds, and beyond which rise the blue mountains in full display. Then the weather was at its finest, and the Professor had pine-woods on either side, where he could walk and meditate. He was gathering together all he knew of Scottish song, seeking into its various sources, and combining wl)at he learnt into a volume, which was published at the end of the year by Messrs Blackwood & Sons, with the title 'Scottish Song: its Wealth, Wisdom, and Social Significance.' It was dedicated to Dr A. C. Mackenzie, who thus wrote in accepting the compliment:-

I appreciate to the full the honour in being associated with one whose life has been devoted to his country's literature and music. I am eager and anxious that Scotland should take her place among the musical nations, and within the last few years I have been led to believe that this hope will be realised.

To the end of the year 1888 belong his twelve excellent matrimonial maxims, addressed to a young lady about to be married, and printed in the December number of 'Cassell's Magazine.'

The new year brought him one of the prostrating colds which so often laid siege to his vigour during the six remaining years, accompanied by a return of weakness in the eyes, and by a depression of spirit to which he gave utterance in the verses "Willing to Depart," printed later in 'Life and Work' :-

What make I here with wandering wit,
Thoughts bound by rope of sand,
And fancy-fed unpurposed will,
Blind eye and groping handI

And memory like a man who sleeps,
And waking strives in vain
To fix the motley march of shapes
That floated through his brain;

And legs of withe and arms of straw,
For manful work unfit,
Where like an old cat by the fire,
I sit and sit and sit.

O God, O God!—nay, but I will
Bear bravely to the end;
Some good comes mingled with the ill
In all that He doth send!

Into this shadow came rays of light, in the shape of letters appreciative of his 'Scottish Song.'

You never forget me [wrote Sir Theodore Martin]. Your new book came to me as a very "sweet remernbrancer" of the days of Lang Syne. I have got more than half through the volume, which sets me singing in imagination all the old songs it chronicles, which in former days I used to delight in singing. The heart with you has lost none of its youth under the experience of a long life.

A visit from Mr Minto helped his convalescence; and a delightful letter from Dr Donner at Helsingfors gave him the gratifying news that 'Self-Culture,' "the wonderful little book," had been translated into Finnish, and was well known amongst the Finns.

When he was better and busy again, Mrs Blackie went to Birkenhead for change and rest. He dined with the neighbours in the " street of saints and sages," as he called I)ouglas Crescent, and rendered account of his daily doings. Of January 31 he wrote :-

I dined quietly at home, and at 7.40 proceeded on foot to 5 Wemyss Place, where we had a crowded Hellenic, with no fewer than eight maiden faces and not one clerical! The meeting was very jolly; Gairdner sang a Blackie song, and C. Robertson showed fruits of an accurate scholarship that would have satisfied the most dainty-toothed Oxonian.

Early in February 1 880 he was afield on a "talking tramp," its stages ewcast1e, Sunderland, Huddersfield, Birmingham, and Carlisle, the subjects being Goethe and "Beauty in 'Nature and Art." That he was in full force is proved by a letter from his hostess in Birmingham:-

It is still true [she wrote] that one may entertain angels unawares, for surely it was a heavenly impulse which sent you to us unexpectedly,—by your presence and words of wisdom to give a new and nobler impulse to all those young folk gathered under our roof. Not one of us will ever forget you, and may the snow or the sunshine soon send you this way again.

Mrs Blackie joined him at Carlisle on the homeward journey, and we find him busy all March and April lecturing in Scotland—on one occasion to a large audience in the Grassn1arket of Edinburgh—arid corresponding with the Bishop of St Andrews on that recurring problem of the "three orders," and with the Scotch gardener at Rydal Hall on the substitution of the term British for English inpolitical and general discourse.

By May 1 he was ready for his six weeks' junketing in the south. On the way to London he read a considerable part of 'Romola.'

It is a wonderful book; such large reading, such picturing, and such a graceful touch: only 1 fear I shall never learn to love novels, as there are thousands of things which I see pass before me in the living drama of life which I do not care to reproduce or to see reproduced, however skilfully. I deal with books as with pictures the cleverest picture shall have no place on my walls unless the subject be beautiful and the sentiment ennobling.

When he had finished the book he amended his comment.

It is a masterpiece. For historical learning, vivid picturing, eye for character, fine thoughtful feeling, graceful style, and elevating moral, I doubt if it has its superior in the English language.

This verdict, however, lacks one thing, and that the all-important interest in the story.

He was with Mrs Edward Wyld for a fortnight. His friends Mr and Mrs Archer had been in India for two years, but were on their way home. Scottish Home Rule meetings and conferences claimed part of his time, and he made an effective raid on May 15 "on all the publishers from Covent Garden to the Row." He scintillated intermittently in the realm of rank, but on the whole contented himself with untitled humanity, whether kith and kin, or poets, artists, and authors. He was aggrieved about his personal appearance. Mrs Blackie had surreptitiously shent his snowy locks, and he lodged his indictment against her as follows:-

A man was he, not made of vulgar stuff,
Honest and stout and true, but somewhat rough;
And who a stiff, ungracious crest upreared
Against fair hands that kindly interfered;
And so his wife with silent footsteps crept
One day behind the old dog as he slept,
And shore these snow-white locks with cunning shears
Whose loss she now bedews with pious tears.

On May 23 he went to Oxford to pay Principal Fairbairn a visit, and to inspect with great interest the beautiful College reared by dissent and "lifting its head proudly among the oldest academic halls." He wrote on the 26th :-

Yesterday I went out with mine host to his lecture- room in the town, and heard a most excellent discourse on Herder, Jacobi, Fichte, and all most familiar post-Kaiitian expositors of wisdom. Fairbairn is a man for thorough- ness of culture and largeness of view, I fancy, not in- ferior to the most accomplished of the pedagogic dons here and superior to most.

He met many of the local notables, and renewed his acquaintance with Professors Rhys and Sayce. Dining at Jesus College, he met Professor Freeman the historian, Mr Murray the lexicographer, and Mr Bryce.

On his return to London he had occasion to rejoice over a cheque from the editor of the 'Forum,' handsomely remunerating his paper on "Scottish Nationality." He sent a letter to the 'Times' on Subscriptions, called forth by the proceedings of the General Assembly in Scotland, and by its effort to alter into more liberal shape the acceptance of the Westminster Confession. This appeared duly, and met with hearty response.

He left the "magnificent London turmoil" about June 12, and, after three days at Bristol with Dr Nicolson, returned to Edinburgh.

The three summer months were passed at Kirkstead, St Mary's Loch; but in spite of his interest in its associations and scenery, it is doubtful whether he ever found his way into that hidden heart of Yarrow which opens only to a few, and these the intimates of solitude. He missed the human element, and rejoiced when the coaches brought their load of casual trippers. He appreciated the Selkirk festival on the third Friday of July, when "the lads and lasses" came to St Mary's Loch to spend the hours in dancing. The day, was direful, rain falling in torrents, except for a mid-day respite, when they danced with all their might on the green at Tibbie Shiel's. " But it did not last half an hour, and they were all forced, like a routed host, to retreat into the small house, within which they swarmed and buzzed after a fearful manner. Some attempts at racing and wrestling took place in the face of the rain, and at intervals I perked about and entered into wise and humorous conversation with the more notable of the pleasure- hunting throng." On the Sunday after, he was present at the open-air service in St Mary's churchyard, overhanging the loch, when Mr Borland preached on the righteousness of God's kingdom, to a crowd of worshippers who had come from far farms and towns,—from Selkirk and Moffat, from Bowerhope and Dryhope and Douglas Burn. The sight set him rhyming, and a long array of stanzas commemorated the day in the 'People's Friend.' He rhymed, indeed, all summer, making mention of what he saw and heard. Perhaps the best of these verses appeared in 'Blackwood's Magazine' for December that year, ending—

I praise the green huge-shouldered hills,
The silver-shimmering waters,
The hill-fed well whose draught brings health
To Yarrow's sons and daughters.

And I for love-lorn maids can spare
A tear of kindred sorrow,
But my best thought is glorious John
At Tibbie Shiel's in Yarrow.

While at Kirkstead he received from Mr Drummond, jeweller at Stirling, a scarf pin ill gold, modelled like the "Wallace sword," its pommel made of a pearl from the river Forth, in recognition of his "spirit of national patriotism."

He had been concocting for three years past the rhymed stories and eulogium of the heroes— Jewish, Classic, and Christian—of the old world apostolic, kingly, and patriotic of the middle ages; and revolutionary, naval, and military of more modern days, -and the proofs were already corrected and about to appear in volume form, when he returned to Douglas Crescent. A week later, the news of his sister's death summoned him to London. Mrs Ross had spent the last years of her life close to Hampstead Heath, in active and useful membership of Mr Horton's church, and she passed away on 8, 1889. The Professor went to Courtfield Road, attended the funeral, and made a halt of three clays at Oxford, on his way home, to see the inauguration of Mansfield College, as Professor Sayce's guest. On October 15, 1889,

at 11.30, in the great Hall of the new Mansfield College, more than 1000 people came together to hear the opening discourse by Principal Fairbairn. It was, as 1 expected, masterly; solid and interesting in historical matter, elevated in tone, graceful in expression. After the discourse, more than 500 people were entertained at a grand luncheon, at which not only a host of English, Scotch, and foreign D.D.'s, D.C.L.'s, and what not, were present, but Jowett and a great array of the aristocracy of old Oxford.

This breaking down the walls of academic exclusion incited his ready muse, and a note from Dr Fairbairn, dated October 30, acknowledged her inspirations :-

The lines are both fit and beautiful. We are bringing out a memorial volume, and shall place them there, one of the most welcome mementoes of the historical event. We all thank you for so kindly remembering us.

A "talking tour" in Perthshire wound up the year, and in December 'A Song of Heroes' was published by Messrs Blackwood & Sons. Perhaps the most valued tribute to its vigour was that from Mr Froude, who read it every word at a single sitting. "I congratulate you with all my heart," he wrote, "and I congratulate Scotland too. The Scotch strings will still sound the right music if rightly touched."

The years 1890 and 1891 were devoted to a continuous attack oil pedantries and anomalies of the teaching of Greek in England. His arguments were strengthened by a closer acquaintance with the modern literature of Greece, to which he now devoted much of his leisure, collecting the works of his old friend Professor Rangabè, of Bikelas, Satha. Phranzes, Polylas, Koraes, and others. Some of these volumes were sent to him by Greeks; others he bought. He found in them the same tendency to purify the literary language of Greece from its foreign and debasing elements which he had noticed in 1853 in the language spoken by educated Athenians. He found it incontestably proved that modern Greek so purified reverts naturally to the ancient form ; and his opinion, dating from the year 1829, when he read Greek in Rome with a young Athenian, and corroborated by every comparison which he made, received constant endorsement in the course of his reading. Even in Oxford such men as Professor Freeman —a righteous free-lance like himself—supported his views.

I wish [the historian had written two years earlier] I could call Oxford the home of any language. It—or at least a majority in it - will have nothing to do with English or any other Teutonic tongue; it jeers at Celtic and Slavonic; it suspends Arabic; it teaches Greek you know how, the Greek of two or three arbitrarily chosen ages, sounded in a hideous fashion, which no Greek of any age could understand. Their ignorance is not that negative darkness which consists in the mere absence of light. It is something positive, Egyptian darkness that may be felt. It is an aggressive contempt for all wider learning.

One result of this reading was the delivery of two addresses to the members of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, one on March 3, 1890, on the "Living Greek Language," ending with a scheme for reforming the teaching of Greek as a living language; and the other on March 5, on "Adamantios Koraes" and his labours, early in the century, to eject from the written Greek of his time the Turkish, Albanian, and Italian elements which debased it.

To make his conviction of the close relationship between modern Greek so reformed and the language of Homer and Ĉschylus productive, he proposed that all teaching of Greek should be assisted by the reading of current Greek newspapers and literature, and that a native Greek should superintend conversational classes, as well as teach the modern history of his country. And finally, he reiterated his appeal to all "patriotic patrons of learning," that they should assist hopeful scholars to reside for at least six months in Athens, and, by attendance at the University classes and use of the current dialect, acquire a living familiarity with Greek, and so restore the scholarship of Scotland. This last proposal was very near to his heart, and he made it practicable by his own assistance and labours iii collecting the sum needed for the year, providing for its continuance eventually out of his own resources. His suggestions were warmly encouraged by such men as Professors Rhys and Sayce, and by other members of what may be called the scientific school of philologers, as opposed to the academic or grammarian school; and as the former are preparing the way for future students of language rather than the latter, it may be hoped that Professor Blackie's rank as a pioneer will hereafter be understood and acknowledged.

Connected with his work in this field were an address, which, with a silver cup, the members of the Hellenic Society presented to him on March 15, recording their sense of his great services; and a paper written for the 'Scottish Review' of July, on the visit of Bikelas to Scotland, on which the learned Greek had lectured in Athens. Professor Blackie's review of this lecture was acknowledged by Bikelas as valuable for its appreciation of his address, and for its expression of opinion on the subject of modern Greek.

Some of his lay-sermons were gathered together early in this year, and published by Mr Douglas as 'Essays on Subjects of Moral and Social Interest.' The chapters were five in number, the two best being that on Scottish Nationality and that on the Philosophy of Education. The most valuable part of the book, however, is contained in the Appendix, in which he recapitulates his views upon the rational teaching of languages, in a dozen characteristic pages. The volume is dedicated to Lord Rosebery, "Statesman, Patriot, and Thinker."

The Professor's freakish humour found a butt that March in the weathercock of the Dean Free Church at the east end of Douglas Crescent. He wrote on the 19th to the Rev. Archibald Bell, the junior pastor of the church

MY DEAR SIR,—Your weathercock is the most persistently steadfast character in Edinburgh. Blow the wind as it may, your bird always points to the west. I am willing to subscribe a shilling to any one who will go up and teach time creature to attend to its duty. Steadiness is a great virtue, but pliability has also its place in the temple of the Aretai.

And a few weeks later, in response to a witty vindication of the weathercock's preference for the west wind from Mr Bell, he gave the bird a voice and utterance in the lines :-

Ye weathercocks, ye are a shifty brood,
Who greet with servile front each wind that blows;
I now disown your slippery brotherhood,
And look one way with steadfast-pointing nose.
Sunday or Saturday, I invite the west,
In this dry season of all winds the best.

He was not ready for the south till May 9, and his stay there lasted only a month. Its most vivid records belong to Oxford and Cambridge, where he spent a fortnight. He stayed with Professor and Mrs Rhys at Oxford, and lectured on the 15th at the Taylor Institution.

The Pro, mounted the platform and marched bravely into the front of ancient prejudice with the cry, Linguistic Reform, Nature, and Life, instead of dead grammar and dry rules! There was a good audience, but few dons: Murray, the great philologer, sitting with mild dignity in the front bench under the nose of the lecturer; Fairbairn also, and Gardner, Professor of Archeology. After the lecture, which lasted an hour, we proceeded to Jesus College, where the Welsh do congregate, and sat down to a large dinner-party of eighteen. On Saturday the most agreeable incident was having the celebrated Herkomer, the artist, to lunch with us. He is a tall, dark man, more like a grand Italian captain of brigands than a German and indeed lie assures us that, as a South Bavarian, his blood is from Rome, just as in Dacia, and his name signifies Herkomer, the stranger, the man that comes hither from a foreign country. I had the good fortune to find Murray in his scriptorium, a word borrowed from the monkish establishments of the middle ages, which had a special chamber for the copying of old MSS. My friend's scriptorium is a sort of tent with solid roofing, where his philological reports from local contributors are piled up in learned order on the shelves, while a body of working clerks, some nine or ten, sit with pen in hand below at the table sifting the papers and arranging the results in alphabetical order.

'Be Cambridge visit was to Mr and Mrs Lewis, with whom he corresponded in Greek. On May 23 his hosts held a drawing-room meeting, at which he expounded his views on "living Greek" to a select gathering of dons and philologers, amongst them Sir T. Wade, Sir G. Stokes, and Professor Skeat. His suggestions were received with far greater cordiality than at the sister University.

After a fortnight of the London season, with some talking on Goethe for the Goethe Society thrown in, he was glad to escape to Crieff in Perthshire, where a cottage was already tenanted by Mrs Blackie for the summer. Pleasant neighbours - amongst whom was Miss Gordon Cumming—and old Jacobite houses made the months interesting; but late in August he fled first. to Mull and then to Strathspey, where he spent a glorious fortnight, singing Scotch songs with Madame Annie Grey, a fellow-guest at Laggan. A visit, too, was paid to Mr M'Pherson at Kingussie, a friend well versed in Highland lore, who helped him with his topographical researches up the Spey.

An article on the "Christianity of the Future" appeared in the September 'Forum.' His mornings in London had been occupied with its composition, reviewing the many retrograde "isms" pretending to be Christianity, but false to the great forward movement preached and purposed by our Lord.

Three fruits of his preoccupation with modern Greek matured in 1891—his 'Greek Primer,' colloquial and constructive; his effort to bring about the Greek Travelling Scholarship; and a plan to revisit Greece, although this last was in its very realisation made futile by illness.

Early in the year he was much interested in the 'Times' correspondence on Greek and the teaching of Greek, and contributed to the correspondence, which filled columns of that journal from many authoritative quarters. But his chief labour was the excellent little 'Greek Primer,' published by Messrs Macmillan, and forming' a grammatical supplement to his ' Dialogues in Greek and English, printed for his students a score of years before. This Primer was based upon the opinions which underlay the earlier work, and which his growing intimacy with modern Greek had quickened into principles. In the Preface we recognise these, freshened and fortified by his immediate study; and although he asked the assistance of academic Grecians in revising' the proofs, it is characteristic that he acknowledges their proffered corrections without using them. The book once out of his hands, he left it to his publishers, and set about collecting introductions for his visits to Constantinople and Athens. The farther destination was suggested by an excursion voyage undertaken in the April of that year by the steamer Chimborazo, which made the tour of the Mediterranean, touching at many historical points, and eventually finding its way to Stamboul in time for the great festival. He secured a sheaf of excellent credentials, set about reading Greek journals of the day, left on March 30, 1891, for London, and embarked on April 1. He found in the steamer a goodly company of fellow-passengers, with many of whom he made terms of comradeship. The Bay of Biscay was not in genial mood, and for a few days he half regretted his octogenarian enterprise ; but no storm occurred, and when it was once headed into the Mediterranean, the steamer became a pleasant home. He attached himself particularly to Mr and Miss Cochrane from Galashiels, the lady winning his heart by her sympathetic patriotism. They reached Tangier on April 7, and Palermo three days later. Commander Hull—" the genial and jolly Torn Hull" the Professor called him in his letters—provided entertainment and instruction for the party, lecturing on the classic associations of every stage, and having to submit to much correction and reproof from his lively critic. At Palermo a halt was called for inspection of the beautiful city. Here the Professor summoned up all the Italian that remained to him, and talked to every man he met, greatly disconcerting the natives by his Scotch accent, and needing to help out his sentiments with gesticulation. An old man and a little girl attracted him, and after an attempt to talk to them, he filled the child's hand with coins, a language well "understanded," and which roused in the young face a rapturous wonder, as if a saint had appeared from the other world, with unaccustomed words and ways, but with celestial gifts and kindliness.

The most interesting stage was the Bay of Nauplia. Here is his description, written on April 17:-

By the grace of Commander Hull, fifty or sixty of us were deposited in Greek cabs of rotten and ragged description, fifteen in number, and rattled over the low ground at the head of the loch at a tremendous pace. Six miles of this brought us to Argos, towering up as high as Arthur's Seat. We halted there, but as there was nothing but the graded seats of an old theatre to gaze on, we buckled ourselves stoutly for the achievement of the day. This was Myceme, the castled steep where once the king of men in his grandeur and glory resided, looking like a god southward over the array of mountains spotted with townships, where his lordship was recognised. r1l1jS heroic citadel lies on a height of some four or five hundred feet, and though no traces of a city now exist, there are two notable monuments that, next to the colossal piles on the Nile, give the most vivid idea of the massiveness of ancient architecture—the tomb, or treasury, of Agamemnon, or both. In front of the entrance there is a long alley strongly fenced with square stones on both sides, and here! we all sat down, a various array of grey heads and gay damsels, and refreshed ourselves with a luncheon bountifully spread for us by the kindness of the captain, who honoured us by the blandness and benignity of his personal presence. Wine of course in this country was not wanting, and so the spirit moved inc to stand up at the head of the banqueters and propose in good Greek a bumper to the memory of the king of men, which, of course, was responded to loudly with . After this pious recall of the Greek head of this region, we mounted up the hill about half a mile farther to another gigantic enclosure, supposed by Schliemann, I am told, to be the tomb of Clytemnestra.

Constantinople was reached on the 21st, three days having been given to Athens. He was a fortnight in the .Turkish capital, partly -with his fellow-voyagers, and largely with the gentlemen to whom he brought letters, and with old students who cropped up wherever Scotchmen clustered. Indeed, he was passed from house to house, from banquet to banquet, from spectacle to spectacle. He went to the mosques and tombs in due succession, the slippers with which he was provided sorely incommoding him, as his vigorous movements kicked them off off in the most awkward places, and some member of the party was always at his heels with the derelicts. He was not prepossessed with the Turks. He went to the Yildiz Kiosk to see the Sultan set out on his ceremonial visitation of the old mosques. There was the usual show and glitter of military costumes and appurtenance, and he was heard to mutter, "God, who sitteth in His heaven, shall laugh."

At the end of the fortnight he took steamer for Athens, and two days brought him thither. He was invited by Mr and Mrs Ernest Gardner to stay with them at the British Archological School, and he looked forward to this visit with ardour, hoping to see and learn much, and to work at modern Greek. But his banquetings at Constantinople sent in their direful bill, in the shape of a sudden prostrating malady, which at first looked like a fever, but proved to be merely a very violent recurrence of a constitutional ailment. He spent his time in bed, and only got well enough to return home. It was a happy coincidence for him that Dr Porter was at Athens with a patient, and that he was able and willing to take charge of the Professor not only there, but as far as Switzerland homeward. He left Lucerne for London on May 25, and for Edinburgh after a few days' rest in town.

Mrs Blackie had taken the Glebe farmhouse at Boat of Garten for the summer, and the Spey valley restored to him a measure of strength, whose precariousness he hardly appreciated. He was no sooner there than he reverted to work. Unqualified repose only depressed him. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work," was a favourite text often quoted. He wrote out his recollections of Palermo and Constantinople for the 'People's Friend'; he completed his collection for the Greek Travelling Scholarship; he explored the course of the river Spey; he paid many visits to neighbours—to Mr and Mrs Findlay at Aberlour, to Mr Carnegie at Cluny, where he met Mr John Morley, and to Dr Martineau at Rothiemurchus. A letter from the last, dated September 12, contains so interesting a passage that it must be quoted :-

Many thanks for the 'Acropolis.' The last time I handled a Greek newspaper was in the summer of 1824, within two or three months of Byron's death at Missolonghi. Calling on Mrs Barbauld at Newington Green, I found her on her feet just taking leave of two visitors, who had brought her some message from Byron, and lingered for a few more last words. When they were gone, she asked me if I knew who they were. I was sure only that they were people of mark. They were Samuel Rogers and Sir James Mackintosh. They had brought a bundle of Greek newspapers sent by Byron just before his death in the preceding April. Mrs B. said, "They are a touching memorial; but I cannot read them: you would like perhaps to look into their contents; take them, and tell me what you find." I retain a strong impression of my interest in studying them, but cannot remember how I returned them to the dear old lady. For I never saw her again; and I think her death occurred within a year. I was still a student at college. Were I now at the same age, I should be tempted to conform to the Church of Scotland in the hope of meriting an appointment to your Greek Theological Scholarship.

That appointment was secured in the autumn to Mr Andrew Brown, highly commended by the Professors in St Andrews.

The Professor was very happy at Boat of Garten, loving its birch-wood solitudes and its bits of old forest in which Arthur and his knights might have ridden. At morning prayers a favourite paraphrase was "O God of Bethel" but he would not coiifbrm to the text of its third line, and it was always sung—

"Who through this pleasant pilgrimage."

A note on September 16 records this revised version.

Early in October he was present at the celebrations of the Glenalmond Jubilee, meeting Mr and Mrs Gladstone amongst the Headmaster's guests. A brief lecturing season in London and an article in the December number of the 'Nineteenth Century,' on the translation of "Hamlet" into modern Greek by Polylas, wound up his activities for 1891.


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