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Scotland's Book of Romance
Chapter XVII. The Vale of Menteith


The Old Coaching Inn - The Earl of Moray's Meal Mill - I Explore Doune Castle - The Prince at Old Newton - Beside the Loch of Watson - I Cross Kincardine Moss and Meet the The Most Fervent Jacobite in Scotland - Over the River Forth.

THE hotel where I slept that night had once been a coaching-inn that belonged to the Earl of Moray. The old stables had been beaten, as it were, into garages, and the water-troughs into petrol-pumps: and a very handsome job has been made of it all. Every few weeks you will read in some newspaper a letter, devotedly signed "Lover of Nature," wailing about the ugliness of petrol-pumps on the countryside. I always disagree, because I can see nothing ugly about a petrol-pump. Sensitive aesthetes object to them because they so brutally catch the eye. But surely that is part of their function: the petrol-pump that coyly hides behind a woodshed would be of little service to the passing motorist. Besides, the opinions about beauty in any generation are often sneered at in the next. For example, I personally can see no beauty whatever, but only a chaotic mass of disjointed ideas, in Mr. T. S. Eliot's famous poem, The Waste Land. Petrol-pumps, I take it, are a little like modernist verse: some of us have not yet got accustomed to them. That they are necessary in the countryside cannot be denied, and the first man who put a clock on a church tower was probably told that he was spoiling the look of the church. Often we use the word ugly when we mean unfamiliar.

As soon as I had finished breakfast I went to explore Doune Castle, which had left upon my mind the night before so vivid an impression of vastness and strength. After crossing a hundred yards of green turf to the knoll above the meeting-place of the rivers Ardoch and Teith, I found the big oak door locked. Beside it I read a notice announcing that "Visitors inspecting Doune Castle do so at their own risk and must therefore EXERCISE DUE CARE." Another notice told me that I must apply to the castle-keeper before I could get in, so I began to retrace my steps to his cottage. It was then that a happy clatter across the Ardoch caught my ear, and I saw a mill with its water-wheel spinning beside a dark pool. The drumming of it was good to hear, and I made for the bridge and descended the opposite bank. A collie dog dashed out of the door and cut friendly circles round me, and I hoped that his warning bark would bring out the miller himself. But the noise inside was so loud that I had to raise my voice to a yell before he appeared. He was a short man with grey eyes that twinkled under his dusty eyebrows, and he invited me in with a friendly gesture. He led the way up a ladder, pausing to shout a warning in my ear not to "bash my croon" on the beams, and I emerged into a dim chamber with dozens of bags set around the walls.

The miller's boy was working like a black, staggering across the floor with bags of oats, and fastening them to a chain that came down from above at quick intervals for fresh supplies. "Come and see the kiln," said the miller, opening a door. We stepped into the semi-darkness of a big room, the floor of which was six or eight inches deep in oats, and the heat was terrific. Steam began to settle on my face like wet mist as the miller stooped and scraped aside the oats. I saw that we were standing on thin wire-netting laid across iron beams, and in the chamber beneath I discerned the red glow of an inferno. That sudden glimpse through the wire floor was slightly terrifying, and I thought how that kiln would have made an exquisite torture-chamber in the Middle Ages: I pictured a pair of ruthless eyes looking through a slit in the door at prisoners writhing upon that wire grill as the flue was opened in the furnace room underneath and the great crimson mouth of the fire belched up its blinding heat: I would have preferred the thumbikins or the boot any day, and I was glad to get back into the cool air. I tried to pick up the different noises, the swish of the grinding-stone, the thud of the wooden levers, the whirr of spindles, and the bang-bang of trap-doors that opened and closed. I was amused at the distance the oats travel before they emerge finally as meal. From the kiln on the second floor they are shovelled into a chute down which they drop to the ground level, to be carried on a tiny elevator to the sifters, from which they fall to the first floor to be cleaned in a riddle; then up they go once more to the roof, to drop to the "shieling-stone" where the husks are crushed and blown off. Up again they go, and fall through a pipe to the oatmeal-stone, from which the meal itself goes down in a steady stream through the riddles. The stuff that fails to pass makes another journey to the roof, to be recrushed, while the perfect oatmeal sets out on its final ascent and then drops down to the waiting bags. An amazing process: a lighthouse keeper's work is a flat crawl compared with the journeys of the oats before they reach the storeroom. As for the miller himself, it was obvious that he loved his job. At each bin, as he raised his voice to explain the process, he scooped up handfuls of the stuff that earned him his living and let it trickle through his fingers with pride as though each oat were a pearl, and the meal itself he tasted and rolled round his tongue like a man savouring a vintage port. "There's no' a healthier job in Scotland," he declared. "D'ye see yon boy that's helping me? Ay, a fine big chap. Aweel, he came here a poor-like thing, but he's off next month to join the police. It's the healthy work and the good porridge that's set him up. Ay, it's a grand life."

The miller came to the door and stood in the morning sunshine. We talked of the days when people burned the husks from the grain, and beat it into meal in a "knocking-stone," or ground it in the hand-mill they called a quern. There was a time when a tenant held his land on condition that he had his crops ground at the laird's water-mill, and the profits of the mill went into the laird's pocket. To-day at Doune it is the farmers themselves who have clubbed together to keep the old mill going for their mutual benefit. The water is taken from the Ardoch about half a mile upstream, and glides swiftly down the "lade" to the wheel at the riverside.

I said good-bye to the miller, and went to the castlekeeper's cottage. He had recently been appointed, I found, and had not acquired the irritating habit of - spouting forth his story in the turgid stream that usually flows from the mouth of an official guide. Far from being a peripatetic hose-pipe, he was human, and answered my questions in a simple way; and he was as proud of his job as the miller across the burn. "If ye like old castles," he said confidently, while he unlocked the door below the arch, "ye'll like Doune." For half an hour I became a boy again, the same boy that had cycled out from Edinburgh scores of times and had scrambled dangerously upon Craigmillar's ruined walls.

Doune is one of the most impressive castles I have ever explored. It is built of the same reddish sandstone I had noticed in the village, and it gives a vivid idea of the lay-out of a medieval fortified palace. There is the guard-room, the prison, the baron's hall, the banqueting-hall, the living-rooms, the cellars, the lodgings for domestics, the kitchens, the chapel with its piscina and credence-niche and ambry, and the courtyard with its well. When a medieval nobleman travelled from one of his castles to another, one of the items in his baggage was tapestry for the bare stone walls, and in the banqueting-hall at Doune you can see the hooks where these tapestries were hung. The castle was built five hundred and fifty years ago by the first Duke of Albany (brother of the rascally Wolf of Badenoch), and his son Murdoch may have added to it. Murdoch was the king's cousin, and soon after James I came to the throne he arrested him and seized the castle. Convicted of many crimes, Murdoch was executed with two of his sons on the Heading Hill at Stirling, and the last view that met his eyes was his own castle of Doune looking down over the wide valley of Menteith. Thereupon James gave the castle to his queen, that "high born English lady" Joan Beaufort; afterwards it was owned by three other Scots queens, the fickle Mary of Gueldres, the young Margaret of Denmark, and Margaret Tudor, sister of Henry VIII; it passed back to a descendant of the Duke of Albany who had built it; and for several centuries it has been handed down in the family of the present owners, the Earls of Moray. It has no ghost, this old fortress; no famous battle was fought around it; it withstood no impetuous siege. The centuries have dozed away peacefully while it has stood there on the "Doune of Menteith," a fortified place long before history began, with the Teith and the Ardoch prattling amiably below its walls. And yet the absence of wild legend matters nothing. Doune has its own peculiar fascination : the sad glamour that steals over a man in a solitary moment when he thinks of the slow passage of time-birth and manhood and death-and the wheel of life inevitably turning. This, I think, is the mood of Doune Castle; at least, it was the mood that settled upon me that mellow autumn morning. But it passed away like mist before the wind when I mounted the battlements and looked down across the Ardoch to the red-stone house of Old Newton, where Prince Charles Edward paused on his southward march. The Edmonstones lived there, loyal Jacobites whose ancestor had fought and died on Flodden field. They asked the Prince to come in to take refreshment, but time was short, and he would accept only a stirrup-cup. Greatly daring, a cousin of the pretty Edmonstone girls burst from the group, ran to the Prince, and asked if she might be allowed to "pree the mou" of His Royal Highness. The Prince was puzzled as he looked down into the dancing eyes, for he understood little of the broad Scots tongue, and then the request was explained to him. With a laugh, he leant from his horse and gave her the kiss she had begged for. Some say he gave her more than one; probably he did. I wonder if Robina Edmonstone ever saw him again.

Half an hour later, I was crossing the Teith by the big stone bridge that was built by Robert Spittel. According to the inscription carved upon the parapet, he was tailor to "the most noble Princess Margaret, spouse of James IV." Evidently Robert Spittel was proud of his appointment, for he ornamented the bridge with a pair of scissors, but I refuse to believe the story that he built it to pay off an old score with a slack and surly ferryman. The charge for being rowed across the river was a doit, or one-twelfth of an English penny, and one day Spittel found he had no coin smaller than a bodle, which was two doits. The ferryman, who may have come to life again as a taxi-driver, swore he had no change. Spittel whipped out his scissors, cut the bodle into two, handed a half to the ferryman, and stepped out of the boat. Evidently the Scots nation cracked this kind of joke about itself long before the days of Harry Lauder. I looked again at the inscription. "In God is all my trust," wrote Spittel. "The tenth day of September, in the year of God, 1553 years, founded was this bridge, by Robert Spittel." After saluting this careful old Scot (who could be as generous as he was careful, for he built two other, bridges, as well as a hospital in Stirling, out of the profits of his shears), I set out southward across the Vale of Menteith. But I have no idea whether I should blame the map or myself for the fact that I had not gone many miles before I realised that I was lost.

I had clearly marked out the Prince's route, and it ran near the Loch of Watson; but while my map showed a road going past the loch, I could find only a footpath. I knew I was in the estate of Blair Drummond (which by marriage became the property of that famous Scots judge Lord Kames), and since the ground immediately ahead of me was thick with woods, I decided that my best plan would be to push ahead blindly in the hope of picking up the road further on. Soon, towards the right I caught a glimpse of the blue water of the loch, bright in the morning sunlight, with a wide field to cross before I reached it.

I have reason to remember the crossing of that field. There was a herd of cattle in the middle of it, and I veered a little to the right, passing between them and the margin of the loch. The short thick grass was pleasant to walk upon, and I was telling myself I could tramp all day without fatigue over such magnificent turf, when I glanced towards the herd and saw that one of the animals was coming slowly towards me. I stopped and stared, but I did not stare long: it was a bull. That was an unpleasant moment. I wondered whether I should retreat, but I decided I had better push quickly forward. I was close to the edge of the loch now, and the nearest fence was a good hundred yards away. I began to run, and the bull came after me. Panic is an ugly thing; I felt its hot agony in my vitals. I had read of how a matador in the ring faces a charging bull and deflects the animal by a swing of his red cape; but I had no red cape to swing, even if I had possessed the courage to halt and face the brute, which I certainly had not. I could hear his hoofs on the turf behind me. With twenty yards still to go before I reached the fence, I slipped the heavy pack from my back and scuttled like a rabbit, wriggling through the strands of the wire in a sweat of terror. I shall never forget my relief when I turned round and looked at the animal with the fence between us, and then in sudden self-contempt I wanted to shout aloud with laughter. The black fellow was not a bull. He was a "stot," or what I believe the English call a steer - as friendly a steer as I could have hoped to see, with big brown eyes that had an expectant and even benign expression. Either he had followed me out of curiosity, or had imagined I was an old friend, or perhaps it was my terrific rush to safety that had made him amble in my wake. He stuck his big black head over the top strand of the fence and gazed at me, as though he expected me to put out a companionable hand and pat him. Climbing back into the field, I retrieved my rucksack. To show that there was no ill-feeling, I wanted to give him a parting gift, and I remembered that cattle and deer are fond of salt. With obvious satisfaction, he licked from my palm the contents of the tiny packet of salt I carried with my food, and we parted the best of friends. Though I swore I would never run from a bull again until I was quite certain he was a bull, I am not at all confident that I shall keep this vow.

That morning had one other surprise for me. Beyond the loch, I got into some woods on the south, and when I came to a clearing I looked upon a scene that made me think hard. Myself, I do not shoot wild things, and I do not help to hunt the fox, although I have taken part in the dismal sport of hunting the hare and the less dismal one of coursing with greyhounds in the open. A man is entitled to hold his own opinions about those matters. I think they are more a question of feeling than of logic, and surely the logical attitude is that, while hunting is cruel, it is good fun. Now, to go ratting with a terrier strikes me as excellent fun, but a fox-hunter can reasonably argue that this is cruelty to rats, although less cruel than getting rid of the rats by poison. The fox is a wily devil, much more wily than the hounds; and the main reason why I dislike beagling is that the hare is a fool, and he screams like a child when killed. To shoot grouse and the swifter black game upon a moor cannot be called an unmanly sport even by those who dislike shooting any wild thing, but I fail to see the fun in hunting a caged deer, capturing it, and hunting it again. Nor do I see the fun in shooting at pheasants which have been reared by hand and have become almost as tame as barn-fowls. It was such pheasants that I saw before me in that pretty clearing of the woods.

On the ground were dozens of wooden coops, and the lovely birds were wandering about like peacocks on a terrace. They scuttled away when they saw me, but I stood still, and they soon came back, their brownish feathers and green tails glistening in the sunlight. I broke up some biscuits for them; and so, having nobly done my share in helping to fatten them for the guns, I made my way through the trees and came out upon the road beyond. I was now upon the edge of the old Kincardine Moss, and twenty minutes later I had picked up the Prince's route and was heading for the Forth.

Kincardine Moss is at the eastern end of the Vale of Menteith, and it is set out like a "dambrod" with neat fertile fields, the river on its southern edge, and the hills of Gargunnock and Touch beyond. But it was not fertile one hundred and fifty years ago; it was a barren place, and it was Lord Kames who transformed it. He was an amazing man, that judge of Session. Tall, thin, and awkward, he took pleasure in his broad Scots tongue, which claret loosened and made more racy, although I am sorry to say he afterwards gave up claret for port because he thought it patriotic to drink what the English recommended. At the age of eighty-three, his sight and hearing were perfect, and he was as nimble on his feet as at twentyfive. He had a cruelly witty way with him at times, and they used to tell a story of a murder trial over which he presided at Ayr. He personally knew the man he was trying, and had often played chess with him; after he had pronounced the death sentence, he leant forward with a chuckle and exclaimed: "That's checkmate for ye, Mathie!" He seemed to regard the word "bitch" as a term of endearment, to be applied to one of either sex, and his usual salutation was, "Weel, ye bitch, how are ye the day?" When he realised in the end that his strength was going, he decided to retire from the bench, and he took an affectionate farewell of his colleagues in Parliament House at Edinburgh; then he paused at the door as he was going out, and in a low voice that was full of emotion he said, "Fareweel, ye bitches!" He was a terrific worker all his life and turned out books on philosophy, religion, criticism, history, law, farming, and I know not what else. He believed that if you want to understand a subject you should write a book about it, and he followed his own advice, with quaint results. I wish Boswell had had a retort ready when, trying to stand up for Scotland, he said to Dr. Johnson, "But sir, we have Lord Kames," and Johnson, who at times could be a most kickable man, replied: "Keep him; ha, ha, ha!"

That Scotland did keep him was a good thing for Scotland, because Kames was one of the greatest farmers of his day. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, farming in Scotland was in the doldrums; the methods used were far behind those in England; and it was people like Lord Kames who gave the impetus which in a few generations sent Scotland so far ahead that men came up north to learn, and Scotsmen went south to take over farms on which Englishmen had failed. So keen was Lord Kames that, if he arrived home in the dark, he would go out with a lantern ard walk round his fields to see how his crops and young plantations were doing, and he would be up at six o'clock next morning urging his men: "On, ye bitches, on!" Perhaps his greatest achievement was the clearing of the Kincardine Moss. For centuries this had been waste land, and Kames discovered that deep below the moss there was good clay soil. He hit upon a plan which his friends told him was a ridiculous dream. Under his orders, several burns were diverted into new channels, and the moss was hacked up and floated to the river Forth. Hundreds of acres were cleared, and small-holders (called the Moss-lairds) were settled with their families at a rent of threepence per acre on a long lease. The son of Lord Kames continued the work; and Andrew Meikle of Alloa (the threshing-machine man) devised for him a huge wheel which lifted the water from the Teith at Doune and sent it down across the plain to help in the job of floating away the peat. Ramsay of Ochtertyre, the laird of a neighbouring estate, had scoffed at the project of clearing Kincardine Moss, but he lived to watch the peat bobbing down on its journey to the North Sea, and to look upon a fertile land. Kincardine-in-Menteith is a thinly populated parish now, but a century ago (thanks largely to Lord Kames) it supported over a couple of thousand souls. As I walked over the countryside that had once been a waste, I thought of the old Court of Session judge stumping about late at night with his lantern, and noting the work that had been done since his last visit, and muttering to himself, "Guid, ye bitches, guid!"

Half an hour after noon, I climbed into a meadow, dropped my pack, and settled down beside a beech hedge to eat my lunch. As I looked westward over the flat countryside of Menteith to Ben Lomond, and eastward to the Firth of Forth, I felt that I had at last come into the Lowlands of Scotland. I had, indeed, left the Highlands behind me at Dunkeld; but travelling down the three straths, Strathmore, Strathearn, and Strathallan, I had felt all the time the nearness of the mountains. These mountains had now receded; Ben Vorlich, which I imagined I could see on the skyline, looked very far away; and when I took to the road again, it was with a new feeling in my bones, the feeling that I had passed the climacteric of my journey; and there was a quiet thrill in the thought that the end of it was near.

A note on the margin of my map reminded me of an injunction I had received from Harold Forrester in Edinburgh: I must on no account pass a house called The Coldoch, for there I would be warmly welcomed, and there I would find the most fervent Jacobite in Scotland. Harold Forrester had smiled mysteriously: all I knew was that her name was Veronica.

Without much difficulty I found the house called The Coldoch, for there was no other on the left side of the road. To make quite certain, I asked a girl I met on the drive. She was about ten or twelve years old - I am a poor hand at guessing the age of young ladies-and her blue eyes opened wide when she caught sight of my pack. " You aren't the Prince Charlie man ? " she exclaimed.

I replied that I had walked from Moidart on the Prince's road, and she gave a little cry, then drew herself up and held out her hand.

"I am Veronica," she said, and so I was welcomed to The Coldoch by the most fervent Jacobite in Scotland. Word had been sent from Edinburgh that a stranger who had travelled from Moidart would pass that way about the end of the week, and Veronica took me at once to the orchard, where her father and mother were casting critical glances at the ripening fruit; and there, for the Prince's sake, I received a second welcome.

The Coldoch I declare to be a delightful house, part of it probably dating from early in the sixteenth century. The lands of "Coldochis" were given by James IV to Robert Spittel, the royal tailor who built the Breeches Bridge at Doune, and the house was occupied by an uncle of Lady Margaret Drummond, the king's mistress, who with her two sisters died a sudden and mysterious death after drinking the sacramental wine one morning at Mass : a murder which, it was said at the time, was contrived to prevent the king from marrying his lover. The new portion of the house was added by a man with a sensitive taste for the comely. Outside, it is white-washed, and indoors there is some panelling which was built since the War by local carpenters. This woodwork is as fine as anything of the kind I have seen, old or new, and it gives the lie to those who declare that craftsmanship is dead in Scotland. The industrial era smashed a lot of it, but did not kill it, and we have come to a time when men are beginning to think hard about machinery and the good and the ill it has done for the world. The good is staring us in the face every day we live, and the bad is the fault of man, who has lacked the wit to use decently the tremendous toys he has invented. Only a half-blind reactionary, brooding behind medieval walls, can be such a fool as to scoff at the machine, and in painting pictures of the economic paradise of the Middle Ages he forgets that the happy craftsmen and the merchants who bought and sold their handiwork fought like cat and dog. Are things so essentially different to-day? To be sure, Jack is not his own master, but I do not think Jack ever was. I wish some clever fellow would devise more and more machines of the kind that lighten the labour of poor devils whose job is filthy and sweaty and dangerous. The sentimentalists would be cured of their illusions if they were put into the hold of a schooner and ordered to fill baskets of coal, one after another endlessly, while a chain comes down from the winch on the deck above to jerk the creels up through the hatch and swing them across to the quay. I have watched men at this job; from nine o'clock in the morning until five, they have sweltered in an atmosphere that was black with coal dust, and their pay was eightpence a ton. My point is not that their pay was too little, but that the work should have been performed by a machine. In the dear old medieval days when most things were done by hand, there were many vile jobs which we can do to-day by pressing a button,; and I think one of the most thrilling sights in the world is a huge factory going at full blast, with men and women tending the machines, nursing them into efficiency, living day after day with the hum of them in their ears. A smooth-running machine is almost a human thing, and to imagine that the man who tends it has no love for it-has none of the craftsman's pride in its products-is to misinterpret the attitude of the machine-worker. He understands the sweetness of the monotony; his blood flows quietly to the rhythm of the machine; and when he comes to his machine he enters into a waking dream with its own peculiar quality. His state of mind is that of the weaver at his loom swinging his body in monotonous and rhythmic movements; and I look forward to the day when machinery will be so perfect that factory workers will be on duty for no more than four hours in the day, and will have leisure to cultivate their souls. To try to put back the clock is to stop the clock, and one of the things mankind has yet to learn is how to use the leisure that will one day be the greatest product of the machine. But this is a far cry from the wooden panelling made by the hands of local carpenters at The Coldoch, where we sat and drank tea and talked on that gracious September afternoon.

I was taken to look at the remains of a Pictish broch or keir in the corner of the garden. Can there be a more remarkable garden "ornament" in all Scotland? This broch is small, and most of its stones, I suppose, have long ago been used for dykes : but the sight of that thick circular wall took my thoughts into the past, and it was easy to picture men sitting around the low doorway talking in the Pictish tongue about the Roman soldiers, and the roads they had made, and that great rampart they had built and failed to hold, a rampart that ran from somewhere in the west to Peanfahel near Abercorn by the shore of the inland sea.

I had a fine long talk with Veronica, who promised me that one day she would write a book about Prince Charles Edward, and I was driven in a motor-car to the bridge over the Forth. We descended to look at the Ford of Frew beside the farmhouse past which the old road led. [The old name, the Fords of Frew, possibly referred to the two fords at this place, one through the Forth, the other through the Boquhan Burn.] There the Highland army crossed the river. The ford had been a place of importance for centuries; it is referred to in the old Welsh laws, and in the Pictish Chronicle we are told it was fortified by Kenneth the son of Malcolm who died in the year 995. There is no ford across the Forth between here and the causewayed Roman ford at Drip near Stirling, and in the -days before men had learned to build bridges it was a key-position. Even so late as the thirteenth century, when the English overran Scotland, Edward I defended it from a peel-tower.

Gardiner's dragoons had come valiantly out from Stirling to the ford; but instead of waiting to meet the Highlanders they had flung into, the river some calthrops - iron crows' feet, brutal instruments for wounding men and horses-and had scuttled back again. The Prince had sent a few hundred men towards Stirling to create a diversion, and the officer commanding the castle imagined that the Jacobite army intended to force the bridge. He sent out his dragoons; and the group of Highlanders blazed away with their muskets, then hurried eight miles westward to cross the river at the ford with the main body. A man who was there said that the Prince was the first to plunge into the water. If Veronica's mother had not protested against my spending the rest of the day in wet clothes, I might have been tempted to follow. It would have been picturesque to splash waist-deep through the water in the Prince's footsteps, like a lesser Byron emulating Leander in the Hellespont : instead, I flipped a "chuckie" across the river, and with an undeserved reputation for common-sense, I went back to the car. We sedately crossed the Forth by the bridge.

It was a happy thought of my host and hostess to run me up the steep hill into Kippen to see a remarkable little parish church. From a casual glance at the outside, you would never dream there were such glories to be found within. The church was obviously built some time last century, and the fabric was good and plain; but within recent years, enough thought and time and money had been lavished on it to have built three such churches; and the Kippen congregation, inspired by one of the greatest of living Scotsmen, Sir David Y. Cameron, has indeed made this place of worship a place of beauty: the centre of life in the parish, the focus of its inspiration. The walls of the vestibule are of the same unpointed red sandstone you see outside; the exquisite iron door handles were made by the local blacksmith, and so was much of the other ironwork in the building. Beyond the wide arch, the place for the altar has been dug out of solid rock; the oak pulpit is austerely and charmingly decorated in gilt, and the reading-desk in gilt and crimson. The floor is of stone slabs, and the walls have a plain cream-coloured wash. The chair behind the altar-table has been made of good Scots oak, and the red altar cloth was designed by the late Lady Cameron, who is remembered in the parish with deep affection. The choir is placed down among the congregation, giving unity to the worship; and the pine-wood pews were stripped of their old disfiguring varnish by the hands of the minister himself. The two lamps of remembrance are of gilded metal with deep crimson glass, and in this church is the first cross to have been displayed in a Presbyterian church since the Reformation. The church-room on the west has walls of oak, a roof of Scots cedar, and the great refectory table has been built of Scots elm; the stained-glass windows are by that fine artist Hendrie. The effect of it all upon the mind of the beholder is one of breath-taking simplicity and beauty. This desire for beauty in the sanctuary is one of the clearest signs of spiritual regeneration; and among the floods of talk about decay in the Church of Scotland, the kirk at Kippen stands upon its hill like a beacon-light.

After my host and hostess from The Coldoch had departed, I talked in his studio with the artist who has lovingly given so much to make the kirk of Kippen what it is. Over a garden rich with autumn flowers, the big windows of his work-room look down northward upon the green Vale of Menteith. He spoke of art and religion and of his confidence that the one will in the near future be a spring of inspiration to feed the other. The old strong sense of nationality is beginning again to assert itself in Scotland both in art and religion. He sees sorrow and struggle in the years to come, but these are the birth-throes of a new and nobler age. D. Y. Cameron (a direct descendant of Dr. Archibald Cameron, younger brother of Locheil of the 'Forty-five) will be long remembered in Scotland, not only as an artist who has richly depicted the outward aspect of the country he loves, but as a spiritual inspirer during a critical time in Scotland's history. His words were echoing in my ears as I descended to the highway near the Frews and continued my journey on the Prince's road.


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