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Days at the Coast
Greenock and its Environs


Sweet are the influences of the August morning as we plough in foamy furrows our pathway down the Frith; The brown Castle rock is already in our wake, steeped from base to summit in the slant radiance of the early day. Around us, in ripples of light, spreads the ample bosom of the estuary, with the heights of Cardross and Kilmalcolm swelling beautifully on either hand; while far awav in our front rises the bold girdle of hills, which seem to*bar the channel of the waters, and lend to the river the aspect of a mighty lake. How rich are the effects of light and shade on the everchanging features of the scene! A dreamy haze still lingers on the distant mountains, as if the last faint vestiges of dawn were yet unmelted on their shaggy slopes. As the clouds in snowy masses float in silence through the blue pro* found of heaven, their shadows travel over land and sea— vast patches of gloom which come and go like sin and sorrow over the world’s fair surface. But wherefore talk of sin and sorrow on this bright autumnal day, when loveliness and joy seem all-pervading and supreme? There is gladness in the breeze winch comes from the dancing waves to cool our cheek, and play in our u lifted hair ”—gladness in the wilding birds, which sail with glancing pinions around our prow, or swim in snowy clusters like specks of foam upon the rippled waters. And surely it is a joyous sight to mark the multitudinous ships in motion or at rest upon their a native dement.” Now a huge steamer comes rushing past, with her freight of happy faces, and her lengthened trail of smoke curling duskily along her foamy track; now it is a stately bark with bellying sails, slow moving on her seaward way; and anon it is some tiny yacht or gentle skiff, tacking as if in dalliance against the breeze. But our steamer, while we gaze upon the “shows and forms” of the bustling channel, is rapidly cleaving her onward course. Port-Glasgow, with its ancient Castle, is passed; and, rounding the low-wooded point of Garvel, we bear right down upon Greenock, the cynosure of its own sunny bay.

In a fine bold curve, the bay upon which we now enter, stretches away from Garvel Point on the east to a promontory which juts out into the water opposite the well-known anchoring - ground called the Tail-of-the-Bank. Between the margin of the bay and a picturesque range of hills, which runs in a parallel direction to it, there is a lengthened strip of level ground, varying in breadth from about a quarter to half-a-mile. Upon this space, and almost entirely covering it, is the town of Greenock. In various places also the lines of building encroach upon the rising ground, creeping upwards in streets and detached edifices to a considerable height. As we skirt the bay, there are everywhere abundant symptoms of a bustling and industrious population. Large spaces on the shore are enclosed as timber ponds, the dark slab railings of which certainly do not enhance the beauty of the locality; while the smoke from public works, of which there are many in this quarter, gives the surrounding houses a grim and unattractive appearance. As we proceed the town gradually becomes more dense; shipbuilding yards are seen at intervals, while the quay wall is interrupted by the entrances of spacious harbours and docks, which are bristling with the naked spars of ships at rest. Steamers are coming and going incessantly, and small craft of every size and build are ever passing to and fro* Arriving in front of the spacious Custom House, an oblong structure in the Grecian style of architecture with a handsome portico, our steamer comes to a pause, and, amidst the roar of the funnel, and the shouts of the porters on the quay, we step on terra firma, and at once, in company with a few genial friends, make our way into the bowels of the town.

With regard to the origin, or derivation of the name of Greenock, considerable diversity of opinion prevails among local etymologists. It is generally admitted to be a Celtic compound, but the exact meaning of the component parts is the rock upon which the various authorities have hitherto split. According to popular belief, the name is derived from a green-oak tree which once reared its leafy honours on the spot; but this is far too simple an elucidation of the mystery to be received by any one having a spark of the genuine Olbuckian spirit. Grian, a Gaelic word signifying the sun, and cnoc, a term, the signification of which is a hill, are, according to some, the roots of the name, which would therefore mean the hill of the sun, or the sunny hill. Others hold that grian-aig, a sunny bay, is the proper derivation; while certain parties do not scruple to affirm that the radical phrase is the British graen ag, a gravelly or sandy place. Amongst such conflicting readings, it is really difficult for a plain English scholar like ourselves to arrive at anything like the truth. There is some consolation in thinking that the matter is not one of vital consequence. It is amusing, however, to observe how pertinaciously'fche majority of these local word splitters lug in the sun, as if everybody did not know that the said luminary veils himself oftener in showers at Greenock than anywhere else in “the west countrie.” Why do you call such a one “nosie?” queried a stranger at an Irishman. “Oh, bedad!” was the reply, “bekase he has got no nose at all.” It cannot surely be on the same principle that the etymological sages of Greenock adhere so inflexibly to the solar adjective.

Greenock, in a certain sense, has little or no history. In another sense she has a very noble story indeed. Of barons bold and chivalrous retainers she has but little to tell; in raids and battles, and deeds of blood and rapine, her chronicles are wondrous scanty. All the more to her credit, say we, although of such stuff ordinary history is in a great measure composed. The annals of her victories are not inscribed with the red ink of war. Her battles have ever been the battles of industry and commerce; her noblest names have achieved distinction in far other fields than those of the bullet and the sword. In the successive advances of civilization she has kept a forward pace, and she can point to names among those of her children of which the world may well be proud. To take a rapid retrospective glance, however, we may mention that the earliest recorded name in connection with this place, is that of “ Hugh de Grenok,” which occurs on the infamous “Ragman’s Roll,” by which* to their lasting disgrace, so many of the Scottish barons, in 1296, consented to sacrifice the independence of their country. The next notice we have of Greenock is in the reign of Robert the Third, when, according to old Crawfurd, the prince of family historians, the barony was divided between the co-heiresses of Malcolm Galbraith, one of whom married Shaw of Sauchie, and the other Crawford of Kilbimie. From their division at this time until 1669 the lands formed two distinct baronies, which were known respectively as Easter and Wester Greenock—the former being held by the family of Crawford, and the latter by that of Shaw. On either barony was a stately castle or mansion. One of these, that of Easter Greenock, is now among the things that were —not one stone standing upon another to indicate its site, which lies about a mile to the eastward of the town. The other, or whatever vestiges of it may still be in existence, is incorporated with the mansion-house, a handsome structure which now occupies an elevated and commanding situation on the heights adjacent to the town. At the date we have alluded to, John Shaw purchased the estate of Easter Greenock from the Crawford of that day, and thus, after the lapse of centuries, again united the baronies. Since that period they have remained in the possession of his descendants, Sir Michael Shaw Stewart being the present representative of the family. The germ of the town of Greenock appears to have been a small duster or row of houses along the shore, which formed a kind of appendage to the adjoining castle. In process of time, under the fostering patronage of the Shaw family, it gradually increased in size and importance, although even to a comparatively recent date it seems to have been a village of “no particular mark or likelihood.” So late as the beginning of the seventeenth century it consisted of a single row of thatched cottages, principally inhabited by fishermen and small traders. In these days the exclusive privileges of Dumbarton, Renfrew, and Glasgow, exercised a withering influence on the commercial efforts of the less important communities along the river, and Greenock, in its early attempts at commerce, had to struggle against the invidious opposition of its more favoured burghal neighbours. Ultimately, in 1635, it was erected by Royal Charter into a free burgh of barony, after which it seems to have advanced steadily in wealth and enterprise. The herring fishing was still the principal item in its trade, and towards the end of the seventeenth century the inhabitants possessed no fewer than 900 boats, each of which was furnished with twenty-four nets, and carried a crew of four men. Some idea of the produce of the Greenock herring fisheries at this period may be formed from the fact that, in 1674, after the home market had been supplied, 20,000 barrels were exported to Rochelle, besides large quantities which were despatched to other French ports and to various places in the Baltic. A considerable coasting trade was also done by vessels belonging to Greenock, and at times a run was even made to1 the Continent or to the shores of Ireland.

About the beginning of the- last century Greenock had become a town of considerable importance. According to the contemporary history of Crawfurd, it .was then the principal town upon the coast, the houses being well built, the harbour large and commodious, while the inhabitants* were possessed of numerous vessels engaged in the coasting and foreign trades. The population was at this period about 2,000. In 1700 the people of Greenock petitioned the Scottish Parliament for a grant to enable them to construct a harbour; but, being refused, they entered into an arrangement with Sir John Shaw, the liberal-minded lord of the manor, who advanced the necessary funds on the security of a voluntary assessment of Is. 4d. on every sack of malt brewed into ale within the limits of the burgh. In 1707 this important work was commenced, and in three years thereafter it was satisfactorily completed, at a cost of nearly £5,600. The construction of the harbour was productive of the happiest consequences. Trade immediately increased, and the population of the burgh became considerably augmented. The burden of debt incurred was entirely liquidated in 1740, while a surplus of £1,500 remained in the hands of the corporation. Since that period, the prosperity of the town has advanced with astonishing rapidity. Additional quays and harbours have been formed from time to time, according to the requirements of an ever-extending commerce; and although circumstances have occasionally threatened to interrupt the welfare of the town, it has still risen superior to its difficulties, and continued to progress in its industrial resources, its population, and its wealth. The most important branches of manufacturing industry prosecuted in Greenock are shipbuilding, iron-founding, sugar-refining, rope-spinning, sail-making, and cooperage. In shipbuilding especially, the town has long occupied a prominent position, some of the establishments being of great extent, and producing vessels of the largest size and the most beautiful proportions. A volume, however, would be required to do anything like justice to the history and statistics of this flourishing town. For our purpose, the above rapid and imperfect outline must, in the meantime, suffice.

After resting for a brief space in the James Watt Tavern, the house in which the great improver of the steam-engine was born, we proceed in an easterly direction to visit the suburb of Cartsdyke. Passing the spacious Victoria Harbour, we soon find ourselves in this most ancient and picturesque part of the town. Cartsdyke was originally a distinct little community, possessing a harbour of its own, and being governed by its own local authorities. Crawfurd, writing in 1710, says, “Cartsdyke is built of one street, with a convenient harbour capable of containing ships of considerable burden. It was erected into a burgh of barony, with the privilege of holding a weekly market and several fairs, in favour of Thomas Crawford of Cartsburn, from a Charter from King Charles II., dated the 16th of July, anno 1669.” In the advancement of Greenock, Cartsdyke has been annexed to its more lusty neighbour, and now forms one of its integral parts. It consists principally of one main street, running parallel to the shore, with a number of narrow lanes or closses branching off in lateral directions. Many of the houses are time-worn and rickety, presenting, with their peaked gables and crawsteps, a curious auld world aspect. There is a dreary downcast expression, indeed, in the entire appearance of the locality, all filthy and smoke-begrimed as it is, which forcibly suggests the idea that it has seen better days. This is more especially the case in the immediate vicinity of the ancient harbour, which, in a woful state of decay, is still in existence. Here many of the edifices are absolutely ruinous and deserted, the roofs falling in and the windows being shattered and paneless. The old pier itself is weather-worn and crumbling, while the only tenants of the harbour at the time of our visit, are a group of Dutch-looking hulks of no great size, and evidently far past a sea-worthy condition. The glory has in truth departed from the harbour of Cartsdyke. Yet it has seen brave sights in its day. It was from this spot that a considerable number of the vessels engaged in the ill-fated Darien Expedition took their departure in 1699, amidst the blessings of their countrymen, and with the brightest hopes of success. Alas, alas! how different was the result from the anticipations of its too sanguine projectors! Ay, many a sad departure, and many a blithe return, has been witnessed by this old and time-battered quay. It was here, and in the adjacent domiciles, that poor Jean Adams, the humble poetess of Cartsdyke, saw those manifestations of genuine affection which she has embodied in her inimitable lyric, “There’s nae Luck about the House.”

“Is this a time to think o' wark
When Colin's at the door?
Rax me my cloak—In to the quay
And see him come ashore.”

Many such meetings must the poetess have seen here, and deliciously indeed has she given utterance to the sentiments of the overjoyed wife on the return of her ain gudeman. Burns says truly, 44 This is one of the most beautiful songs in the Scots or any other language.” This is high praise from the prince of singers. And he further observes:—

“And will I see his face again?
And will I hear him speak?’

as well as the two preceding lines, are unequalled almost by anything I ever heard or read.” Jean Adams, the authoress of this exquisite effusion, was a native of Cartsdyke, having been born there about the year 1710. Her father was a shipmaster in the village. Of her early days almost nothing is known. That she received a fair education, according to the standard of the period, is evident from the circumstance that she was afterwards able to earn a subsistence by the teaching of reading, writing, and needlework, in the village of her nativity. In 1734 she published a small volume of poetry by subscription, but the result in a pecuniary sense does not seem to have been very encouraging. In the school she is said to have treated the children placed under her charge with the greatest tenderness and care. Unfortunately for herself, however, she seems to have been of a highly excitable temperament, winch led her into certain harmless eccentricities, which tended to her disadvantage as a teacher. Ultimately this blasted her prospects, and she became reduced to a condition of extreme indigence. About the year 1760 she seems, indeed, to have fallen into a state of absolute beggary. Mrs. Fullarton, who was formerly a pupil of the unfortunate poetess, was afterwards in the habit of relating that, on one oceasion, she came to her house asking alms; and that although she at first refused, through a lingering feeling of pride, to accept some articles of dress which were kindly offered to her, she afterwards returned and was glad to receive them. Dependent on the cold hand of charity for her livelihood, she wandered from door to door, sometimes repaying her benefactors for their “ gowpen of meal” with a screed of her rhyming ware. The end of this unhappy daughter of song was in accordance with her miserable life. It is briefly recorded in the following extracts from the minutes of the Glasgow Poorshouse:—

“Glasgow Town’s Hospital, 2d April, 1765.

“Admit Jean Adams, a poor woman, a stranger in distress; for some time she has been wandering about; she came from Greenock; recommended by Bailies Gray and Miller.”

"Glasgow Town’s Hospital, 9th April, 1765.

“Jean Adams, the stranger admitted on Tuesday, the 2d current, died on the following day, and was buried at the house expense.”

Thus miserably terminated the earthly career of poor Jean Adams. On such a melancholy theme we might easily wax sentimental, but the naked truth, as it is thus briefly stated in the chronicles of poverty, is more impressive than aught that we could say. Peace to the ashes of the friendless pauper, in whatever nameless grave they may be lying! Sorrow and suffering were her companions in life; but her one sweet strain has been a comfort and a joy to many a heart, and her memory must ever be cherished by those who can appreciate the genuine utterances of simple pathos and feeling.

We are aware that the authorship of “There’s nae Luck about the House” has been ascribed to William Julius Miokle, the learned translator of the Lusiad of Camoens. The only reason assigned for the supposition that Mickle was the writer, is the fact, that a copy of the song, with emendations in his handwriting was found among his papers after <leath. On the other hand, Cromek, who investigated the subject thoroughly, adduced the evidence of Mrs. Fullarton and that of other pupils of Jean Adams in support of her claim. From their statements it appears that they had frequently heard her recite the song, and that she uniformly spoke of it as her own composition. This we are the more inclined to believe from the internal evidence of the song itself. To our mind it appears that only from the heart of a woman could it by possibility have sprung. There are certain strains, such as “Auld Robin Gray,” “The Flowers of the Forest,” and others that might be mentioned, which could only have issued from “the weeping blood of woman’s heart.” They are pervaded so completely with the delicacy and tenderness of the feminine nature, that there cannot be the slightest doubt in any discriminating mind with regard to the sex of their writers. In the peculiar characteristics alluded to, the song in question is particularly rich. It is surcharged with the woman. That the cold classical scholar, Mickle, whose every efiusion is of purest English, “all compact,” should have burst for once into the most genial Doric, and poured forth such an inimitable gush of womanly affection and minute domestic detail, we shall believe when men “ gather grapes of thorns and figs of thistles,” but certainly not a moment sooner. Either Jean Adams or one of her sex, we are firmly persuaded, must have produced the song. We have never either heard or seen it ascribed to any other woman; and as the evidence of Mrs. Fullarton and her schoolmates is sufficiently satisfactory to our mind, we shall continue to give the honour of its authorship to whom we conceive the honour is due, and that assuredly is to the humble poetess of Cartsdyke.

There are other names deserving of notice besides that of Jean Adams, however, associated with the now dingy suburb of Cartsdyke. The grandfather of James Watt, as we find duly recorded on his tombstone, was “Professor of the Mathematicks” in the village, which in his day must have been somewhat diminutive in its proportions. As we can learn nothing of a college having ever existed in the locality, we suspect the honest man, whose title is thus pompously recorded, must, in plain language, have been the dominie of the place. Who can say how much of his illustrious grandson’s mechanical genius may have descended to him from the good old teacher! It was in Cartsdyke that James Macrae, afterwards Governor of Madras, was born, about the beginning of the last century. This individual, who left his native village a poor friendless boy, gradually elevated himself by his industry, perseverance, and enterprise, to the dignity we have mentioned, while he realised at the same time a princely fortune. On retiring from his public position, he took up his residence in Glasgow, and it was to his munificence that our city is indebted for the equestrian statue of King William, at the Cross. The story of his life, to which we can only thus briefly allude, is indeed a striking illustration of the saying, that “truth is stranger than fiction.”

On the night of Saturday, the 21st of November, 1835, Cartsdyke was the scene of an awful catastrophe, by which about forty individuals lost their lives, and an immense destruction of property took place. Among the hills above the village, the waters of Cartsbum, a small rivulet which flows into the bay at this place, are reserved for the supply of the town. On the melancholy occasion alluded to, the dam gave way, in consequence of some defect in its construction, and the water, amounting in all to about three millions of cubic feet, was precipitated on the devoted village. The occurrence was all the more appalling that it happened at a late hour, when the inhabitants for the most part had retired to rest. Many were drowned in the raging torrent. Some were saved in an almost miraculous manner. In one case an individual volunteered to brave the perils of the flood, when at its height, for the purpose of saving two children. On making his way into the apartment where they were, he found them both lying sound asleep, while the bed upon which they lay was floating on the water that almost filled the room. Numerous other incidents of an interesting nature occurred on the night in question, which is still remembered with the most lively horror in the locality. Traces of the devastation occasioned by the destructive deluge are still pointed out to the inquiring visitor.

There is, it must be admitted, but little temptation to linger at Cartsdyke. After a cursory inspection of the vicinity of the old quay, which, in its connection with Jean Adams, may well be regarded as hallowed ground, we proceed, in a south-westerly direction, to the venerable and somewhat picturesque mansion of Crawfurdsburn, which is situated on a gentle slope of the adjacent hills. Crossing the line of the railway, and threading our way among edifices of recent erection, principally occupied by operatives engaged in the neighbouring public works, we soon arrive at the entrance of the beautiful grounds, and, without let or hindrance, at once make our way into their shadowy precincts. The environs of Greenock are somewhat deficient in sylvan accessories. Whatever charms may be possessed by the landscape in this neighbourhood—and few localities can boast such a rich variety of scenery—it is, in truth, sadly in want of stately and time-honoured trees. Young plantations, we are happy to observe, adorn the hills and girdle the mansions in every direction; but time is required for the production of the “leafy senators,” and as yet the woodfe of Greenock are comparatively in their infancy. Crawfurdsburn is an exception to the rule. Here there is a choice congregation of fine old sylvan giants. Nowhere, unless in the policies of some hoary ancestral mansion, do we meet with such impressive bosky attendants as now fling their shadows over our path. We have heard, with somewhat of scepticism, of “the divinity that doth hedge about a king,” but there is certainly a majesty in a grand old tree, which almost compels us to the doffing of our hat. That umbrageous plane, for instance, with its sturdy trunk and its lofty masses of green, is a sight to inspire awe. Things of a day, we pass beneath its outspread arms. From the sun and the rain it shelters us, as it has sheltered the generations of the past, and when the home which knows us now shall know us no more for ever, there it will stand in its “pride of place,” unfolding its leaves in the smile of spring, and bidding defiance with its naked boughs to the blasts of many a winter.

"In the days of old, when (he spring with gold
Had brightened its branches gray;
Through the grass at its feet crept the maiden sweet,
To gather the flowers of May;
She is gone, she is dead, in the church-yard laid.
Bat the old tree still remains."

We are the most treacherous of quoters, but the lines, all incorrect as they may be, come bubbling from our memory as we gaze upon the hoary forestling, and dream of the sights it may have seen. But there are many trees around the house of Crawfurdsburn, which would have delighted the soul of an Evelyn or a Gilpin. To us they are a joy unspeakable ; for be it known, that with all our reverence for these sages of the rugged stem and the whispering bough, we hold ourselves to be as devoted worshippers of the sylvan deities as they for their lives could have been. We . have indeed a perfect adoration of trees. Their various features are familiar to us as those of our intimate friends; and their voices—for every tree has an utterance of its own—are to our ears even as “household words.” You doubt the assertion, gentle reader 1 then come with us into the bosom of the wood at midnight’s mirkest hour, and let but the winds do their musical duty, and we shall convince thee of our lore. We shall read for thy edification every tone and cadence (and haply even reveal their hidden meanings) from the soft whispering rustle of the saugh, as it dips in the gurgling stream, to the deep dreary moan of the Scottish fir, as it stands apart in gloom, upon the cloud-cleaving summit of the hill.

The antique mansion of Crawfurdsburn is still in an excellent state of preservation, although it has now braved the storms of nearly three centuries. It is a fine specimen of the old baronial residence, and from various points of view would furnish abundant material for pictorial study. The edifice is situated on the summit of a gentle activity, round the base of which meanders the small streamlet of Cartsburn, which gives its name to the locality. It consists of two principal sections, of venerable aspect, which are connected by intervening walls of considerable height and strength, enclosing a courtyard of somewhat limited extent. The entrance to this is by a handsome doorway in one of the walls alluded to, which is surmounted by the armorial bearings of the family of Crawford, carved in stone, and coloured. The carving is as perfect and well defined as if it had just passed from the hands of the craftsman by whom it was executed. Our knowledge of heraldry, we are sorry to say, is not sufficiently extensive to enable us to describe in appropriate terms the symbols which it embodies. To borrow from old Crawfurd, however, and he is an authority on such matters, the arms of the family consist of—44 Gules; a Fess, ermine; betwixt a crescent in chief, and two swords saltyre-ways, hilted and pomelled; or, in Base: for crest, a sword with a balance, with this motto, 'Quod tibi hoc alteri.’ ”We spend some time right pleasantly inspecting the various features of this picturesque old dwelling, and musing upon the scenes of joy and sorrow which it may have witnessed in the past. Of its history we know but little, and that little is almost solely derived from the pages of Crawfurd: "A short distance to the south of Crawfurdsdyke,” says the good old historian of the shire, "stands the house of Cartsburn, well planted, the principal messuage of that barony, and the seat of Thomas Crawford of Cartsburn, which lands were anciently a part of the Barony of Kilbirnie, and became the patrimony of a younger brother of that ancient family (in the reign of Queen Mary), whose posterity ended in the person of David Crawford of Cartsburn, in the reign of King CharlesI.” Malcolm Crawford of Newton, the nearest heir, then succeeded to the barony, and the historian proceeds to trace the subsequent genealogical links in the family chain, with a degree of minuteness which may be sufficiently interesting to the antiquary, but which in the repetition would become tiresome, we are afraid, to the general reader. We may mention, however, that George Crawfurd, author of the History of Renfrewshire, was himself a scion of the Cartsburn family, and that he first saw the light within these time-honoured walls. According to tradition, Jean Adams, the sweet singer of Cartsdyke, was a frequent visitor at Cartsburn House, and it is also said that the Ayrshire ploughman spent at least one night beneath its hospitable roof. Such associations are worthy of remembrance, and lend an additional charm to the locality.

Making our descent into the channel of the burn, which is here shaded in many places by the foliage of overhanging trees, and threading its mazes to the vicinity of “Kennedy’s Mill,” a lonely and a song-hallowed spot, we turn to the west, and after a brief walk along the hill-side, soon find ourselves in the Wellington Park of Greenock. This spacious and most beautiful enclosure, the gift of Sir Michael Shaw Stewart to the inhabitants, is situated on a gentle but commanding slope immediately adjacent to the outskirts of the town. In extent, we should say, judging by the eye, it it about ten or a dozen acres. The authorities have shown their appreciation of the liberal donation so handsomely bestowed upon the community, by a lavish expenditure on the improvement of the grounds. A fine gravel walk has been formed round their entire extent, bordered externally with a belt of planting, while the wide expanse of the internal area has been levelled and covered with a smooth layer of turf. Seats for the accommodation of walkers have been erected at intervals along the pathway, while a handsome bowling-green has been constructed at the lower extremity of the park. Everything requisite, indeed, has been done to beautify the spot, and to adapt it to the purposes for which it was designed, as a place of popular recreation and leisurely G resort. From the more elevated portion of the esplanade, a series of most delightful prospects are obtained. At the spectator’s feet, as it were, lies the town in its canopy of smoke, with all its quays and harbours, its spires and stately edifices. Beyond, a bright expanse of the Frith stretches away to the distant hills of Dumbarton, Cardross, and Cowal; while the placid waters are fretted with ships and steamers, ever coming and going upon their various missions of usefulness.

After lingering for some time within the green precincts of the Wellington Park, we return to the bustle of the crowded streets. The “West. End” is yet unvisited, and we must now crave the company of our readers in a brief stroll of inspection through the better parts of the town. The portions we have hitherto traversed may well be called the worst, although, as we have seen, they are not altogether devoid of interest.

Our own Briggate, all-odorous and repulsively tenanted as it is, will at any time bear favourable comparison with many of the nasty thoroughfares which the stranger in Greenock is called upon to navigate. There, for instance, is the “Minchcollop-dose,” which our cicerone insists upon showing us, as the scene of Highland Mary’s death. It looks the very home of typhus and other nameless pestilences. No wonder the poor girl, all fresh and blooming from the green braes of Campbelton as she was, should have fallen a sacrifice to her brief residence here. Many have been the deaths of the young and the beautiful which have taken place in such vile localities under similar circumstances. The poor Highlanders of our own land, and the Celts of the sister isle, have too often been driven from the homes of their fathers, and compelled by their undeserved necessities to burrow in such unwholesome dens, amidst disease and death. Many a poor nameless Highland Mary has thus been pushed into an untimely grave, and thus has many a stalwart chiel been laid prostrate in the very pride of his manhood. for the children of the mountain and the glen, who are driven unwillingly to an abidance in the vennel and the dose, ’mongst “sights and sounds unholy.” That such things have been, is assuredly both a sin and shame to many a proud family.

Having accomplished the somewhat irksome task of threading the mazes of the more ancient and unattractive parts of the town, we pass the handsome terminus of the railway, and passing the theatre, which was erected by one of the Kemble family, ascend to the venerable mansion of the Shaw Stewarts. This spacious structure is situated on an elevated terrace quite adjacent to the town, and on the very spot where, in former times, stood the Castle of Wester Greenock. The site is one of the finest imaginable, commanding an extensive view of the town, with a splendid prospect of the Frith and the mountains beyond. There it stands with an appearance of offended dignity, while the common race of edifices are treading dose upon its privacy. And a stately edifice it is, albeit a little weather-worn and disjaskit. It is evidently a product of various periods. The more ancient portions, with their peaked gables and craw-steps, their angular projections and their narrow windows, approximate even to the picturesque; while the more modem additions, part of which are said to have been designed by the celebrated James Watt, are erected with greater attention to comfort and convenience. Over one of the entrances is the date 1637. In former times the hospitality of the Shaw family was, from generation to generation, dispensed within these hoary walls. It was here the loyal Sir John assembled his tenantry, and marched to the assistance of the second Charles, who was then engaged in a fierce struggle with Cromwell for the crown. At the bloody fight of Worcester, on September 3, 1651, the Greenock lads did yeomen’s service in the royal cause, although at length, with the whole army, they were compelled to flee. His authorities of Greenock, with a praiseworthy appreciation of the princely liberality displayed by the donor of the grounds, hare ex* pended considerable soma in their improvement and decora* tion. Everything about them is arranged with the greatest taste, while it is evident, from the aspect of neatness which pervades every nook and comer, that the greatest attention is paid to such operations as are necessary for the preservation of the amenities. Several fine prospects of the town, we may also mention, and of the neighbouring Frith, are obtained from various parts of the park, which altogether must be regarded as a privilege of no ordinary value by the denizens of the town. Few communities of equal size, indeed, are so fortunate in regard to places of recreation as Greenock is at the present time. For this, as we have already stated, she is primarily indebted to the generosity and public spirit of the Baronet of Ardgowan.

After mating a brief inspection of the Park, we descend the brae, and at once proceed along the main thoroughfare of the town, in a westerly direction. Passing the Middle area, a handsome edifice, with an elegant spire, occupying one side of a spacious square, the aspect of the locality gradually improves. The West End in Greenock, as elsewhere, asserts a decided superiority. The streets are more cleanly and agreeable in appearance—the buildings being generally of a superior description; while there is a marked ''condition of the atmosphere, dyke is begrimed, and the heart of the town” is so at the "West End,”

About 100 men from Greenock and Cartsdyke joined the Duke of Argyle in 1716, when he resisted the friends of the Stuart family in their attempts to overthrow the reigning dynasty. At the same time a large body of the townspeople were under arms, keeping watch on the movements of the cateran Bob Roy, who threatened to make a descent from the Cardross shore, for the purpose of plundering the district. It appears, indeed, that the bold outlaw alluded to was in the habit, both before and after this period, of crossing the Frith with his gillies, and helping himself to whatever suited his fancy in the shape of gudes and gear. It is satisfactory to learn, however, that the reiving scoundrel occasionally met with a warm reception from the townsfolk, and was glad to make his escape toom-handed. The old mansion of Greenock continued to be the residence of the family of Shaw, and latterly of their lineal descendants, the Shaw Stewarts, until 1754, when the family removed to Ardgowan, which still continues their favourite seat.

Adjacent to the mansion, and on the same elevated level, but a little to the westward, is Wellpark, a spacious and beautiful area for exercise and recreation, which has also been handsomely gifted to the townspeople by Sir Michael Shaw Stewart. This noble esplanade anciently formed part of the policies attached to the baronial residence immediately adjoining. Around the sides it is adorned in several places by rows of fine old trees, while a profusion of shrubbery has recently been planted over the grounds. In extent the park may be, guessing in a rough way, about from six to eight acres. It is covered with the most luxuriant green sward, and is intersected in every direction with fine gravel walks, having seats at convenient distances for the accommodation of promenaders. In one corner there is a quaint-looking old well, having the armorial bearings of the Shaw family carved upon its sides, with the letters “ H. H. S.M curiously blent together, and the date of 1629. The authorities of Greenock, with a praiseworthy appreciation of the princely liberality displayed by the donor of the grounds, have expended considerable sums in their improvement and decoration. Everything about them is arranged with the greatest taste, while it is evident, from the aspect of neatness which pervades every nook and corner, that the greatest attention is paid to such operations as are necessary for the preservation of the amenities. Several fine prospects of the town, we may also mention, and of the neighbouring Frith, are obtained from various parts of the park, which altogether must be regarded as a privilege of no ordinary value by the denizens of the town. Few communities of equal size, indeed, are so fortunate in regard to places of recreation as Greenock is at the present time. For this, as we have already stated, she is primarily indebted to the generosity and public spirit of the Baronet of Ardgowan.

After mating a brief inspection of the Park, we descend the brae, and at once proceed along the main thoroughfare of the town, in a westerly direction. Passing the Middle Kirk, a handsome edifice, with an elegant spire, occupying one side of a spacious square, the aspect of the locality gradually improves. The West End in Greenock, as elsewhere, asserts a decided superiority. The streets are more cleanly and agreeable in appearance—the buildings being generally of a superior description; while there is a marked improvement in the sanitary condition of the atmosphere. The smoke with which Cartsdyke is begrimed, and the dubious odours by which “the heart of the town” is so grievously haunted, are unknown at the “West End,” which, with its snug cottages along the shore and its regular lines of architecture creeping up the adjacent braes, is really a very pleasant place of abode. Some of the more recent streets, indeed, present most beautiful vistas of the Gourock shore, and of the broad Frith, with its magnificent boundaries of mountain and glen. It is unfortunate for Greenock that strangers who make their approach to it by the railway, or who merely pass through its streets from the terminus to the quay, are apt to be prejudiced to its disadvantage by the unprepossessing appearance of its eastern and central portions. Yet to those who linger in its precincts as we have done, and who visit its fairer quarters, Greenock presents many aspects of loveliness. It also possesses many attractions in the shape of creature comforts and intellectual appliances, which are unknown at the more fashionable summer resorts of our saut-water citizens.

Turning aside to the right of the thoroughfare along which we have been pursuing our westerly way, a walk of a hundred yards or so brings us to the gateway of the West Churchyard. The key is deposited in an adjacent house, and we readily obtain admission to “the field of graves,” which is of considerable extent, and thickly studded with headstones, monuments, and other records of departed mortality. The old church (the original place of worship of the people of Greenock, when Greenock formed but one parish) is situated at the eastern extremity of the enclosure. It is a plain edifice, apparently about a century and a-half old, irregular in outline, and surmounted by a small belfry. Of late it has been deserted, by preacher and congregation, for a more spacious and fashionably constructed house of prayer. Already it begins to wear a desolate and ruinous appearance. The windows are shivered and paneless, permitting free ingress to the winds and the rain. We hear the sparrows chattering among the empty pews as we pass; and on peeping into the interior, which we do for a minute or two, everything wears a dank and gousty look, which contrasts painfully with the spectacle which the place presented when we were last under the roof of the venerable building. At that time it was filled with an attentive congregation, the music of psalms resounded within its walls, and the voice of the minister was heard giving utterance to the glad tidings. We were then a little boy, and our attention was attracted by a mimic ship suspended from the roof, which we were told, in a solemn whisper from one we loved, was to remind the worshipping throng that their prayers were requested for those u who had gone down to the sea in ships.” Many a heart was doubtless there which needed not the remembrancer; but to our mind the circumstance was peculiarly affecting, and we have never forgotten the lesson which it conveyed. How different is the scene which now meets our gaze! how different the sounds which now fall upon our ear! The walls are damp and weather-stained, the thick dust lies heavy on pulpit and pew, and the murmur of the winds, as they play unchecked in the crevices, seems to mourn over a glory which has departed. We think of those who were then by our side, but who have now entered upon their rest; and our heart, like "a muffled drum,” beats thick as we recross the threshold, and enter the sunshine which brightens the auld kirkyard.

The West Church burying-ground is enclosed by a high stone wall, which gives it a half-secluded aspect, although it is nearly surrounded by houses and workshops of various kinds. The area, unless where covered with monumental erections, is mantled with rank verdure, and around the margin it is adorned in various places with recently planted shrubbery and trees. It is deficient, however, in those rugged old specimens of ash and elm which seem so appropriate to the home of the dead, and which lend so grateful a shade to those who, like ourselves, delight to meditate among the tombs. For people of such doleful taste there is abundant food for reflection in the space before us. The dead of all ages and conditions are here. These parallel stones mark the place of sepulture where the father and grandfather of James Watt are laid, with their wives and many of their kindred. The more ancient of the two informs us, that the grandsire of the great engineer was “professor of the mathematicks in Cartsdyke.” The other, as the legend imports, was placed here by James Watt himself, to the memory of his parents, and that of a beloved brother. A little distance to the westward of this hallowed spot we are once more brought to a pause beside an honoured grave. It is that of John Wilson, author of “ The Clyde,” a descriptive poem of genuine excellence, and one to which we are indebted for many an apt quotation. Good old John! thou hast often been our companion in spirit by wood and wild; we have crooned thy lines full oft amongst the very scenes which thy genius best loved to depict; we have sat for long, long hours of summer with thee on the banks of that stream which thy song has rendered sacred, and we have cherished thy memory for its dear sake. Instinctively our hat rises from off our head, as reverently we stoop to scan thy honoured epitaph. We read as follows from the flat stone which roofs thy narrow home:—

“Here are deposited the remains of Mr. John Wilson, Master of the Grammar School in Greenock, who died on the second day of Jane, 1789, in the 69th year of his age. His life was an example of the superiority of knowledge over wealth; for though comparatively in an obscure station, he enjoyed the friendship of many eminent and enlightened characters, whose esteem and converse were to him more than an equivalent for the want of fortune. His colloquial and literary talents, in which unaffected simplicity was united with exquisite humour, and profound learning with elegant poetical genius, rendered him worthy of their society. As an instructor of youth he was equally skilful and kind; in his intercourse with the world he was upright and friendly; in his domestic relations most tender and affectionate.”

In the same grave are deposited the remains of his wife, Agnes Brown, who survived him about ten years.

Such is the posthumous tribute, and a high one certainly it is which has been paid to the memory of the poet by the people among whom for so many years he dwelt. One would naturally imagine, on reading such a splendid encomium upon his character and genius that the good folks of Greenock must have been particularly proud of the natural abilities and the educational acquirements of their gifted teacher. The very reverse, however, seems to have been the case. At the time Wilson, who was a native of Lanark, finished his principal poem, “The Clyde,” he was a teacher in Ruther-glen, and his appointment to the Grammar School of Greenock in 1767, was conferred upon him on the express condition that he renounced entirely "the profane and unprofitable art of poem-making.” To this bitter humiliation the necessities of the poor poet compelled him to submit, and from that time forth he seems to have cut altogether the acquaintance of the Castalian ladies. The iron entered into his soul indeed, and we find him at a late period of his life still fretting under its pangs. In a letter to his son, written in 1779, he says,—“I once thought to live by the breath of fame; but how miserably was I disappointed, when, instead of having my performance applauded in crowded theatres, and being caressed by the great—for what will not a poetaster, in the intoxicating delirium of possession, dream!—I was condemned to bawl myself to hoarseness among wayward brats, to cultivate sand, and wash Ethiopians for all the dreary days of an obscure life, the contempt of shopkeepers and brutish skippers.” This is surely a sufficiently painful glimpse into the feelings of the dependent and down-trodden bard. Dr. Leyden, in narrating this circumstance, waxes exceedingly indignant at the good people of Greenock for thus placing the bushel of bigotry and intolerance on the sacred light of genius. It was in very truth a sorry sight. The Greenock authorities, however, were not one whit less liberal than the great majority of their countrymen at the period. The “rigidly righteous” were then rampant in the land. Only a few years previously Home was driven from his church for writing the beautiful tragedy of “ Douglas;” about the same time, the Glasgow Magistrates put Mr. Blackburn in jail for merely taking a Sunday walk; and the records of our kirk-sessions, if examined, would reveal such doings, over the length and breadth of Scotland, as would keep the Greenock folk abundantly in countenance, although they might well put us all to the blush for the intolerance of our sires. Robert Bums was the first to grapple with the gaunt genius of cant which then prevailed. With a master hand he unveiled the mysteries of hypocrisy and bigotry, while he flashed the lightnings of his scorching satire athwart the fearful hollows of sour-faced sectarian zeal. Thanks unto him, we shall have no more John Wilson’s gagged with a crust of bread on the blasphemous pretext of doing God service.

But "soft you now, the fair Ophelia!.” We are approaching the grave of Highland Mary. Had it been possible for the bard of Coila to have accompanied us to this hallowed spot, his big heart would have beaten with fondest recollection, and his black lustrous eyes would have glittered with the salt drops of sorrow. A sweet episode in the troubled life of the poet was his brief intercourse with that simple mountain girl. Shadows have gathered round the narrative of their connection, since both have left the scene, but her name remains without a single stain; and if we may judge of his feelings with regard to her from the songs in which her memory is embalmed, they were of the purest and most ennobling kind:—

"Wi’ mony a vow and locked embrace
Our parting was fu’ tender,
And pledging aft to meet again,
We tore ourselves asunder;

But, oh! fell death's untimely frost
That nipt my flower so early!
Now green's the sod and cauld's the clay
That wrap my Highland Mary.”

In sending the most affecting song from which we extract the above verse, to Thomson, Burns says, "The subject of the song is one of the most interesting passages of my youthful days; and I own that I should be much flattered to see the verses set to an air which would insure celebrity.” Recent revelations seem to prove that the poet was not so young when the passage occurred, but there can be no doubt that it was one which affected him deeply, and which he long continued to cherish in his heart of hearts.

The last resting-place of Highland Mary is situated at the western extremity of the burying-ground, within a few feet of the wall by which it is bounded. For many years the spot was all unmarked, save by a diminutive and somewhat quaint-looking headstone, on which was carved the effigies of a carpenter’s tools, with the following inscription:—“This burying-place belongs to Peter M‘Pherson, ship-carpenter in Greenock, and Mary Campbell, his spouse, and their children, 1760.” It was in the house of the said Peter M‘Pherson, whose wife was a cousin of the poet’s sweetheart, that the latter died, she haying been on a visit to her relatives at the time of the melancholy occurrence. In process of time, as the fame of Burns strengthened and extended, every scene associated with his memory became as hallowed ground to his countrymen. The place of his birth, and the locality where he died and was buried, were crowded from year to year with admiring pilgrims. The grave of his Highland lassie was also visited by many for the sake of him whose love she had reciprocated, and who after her early death had so beautifully sung her tearful praises. At length it was suggested that a monument should be erected over the spot where her ashes were laid. The scheme was submitted to the public, and ultimately a sufficient sum was subscribed to defray the cost of a neat structure. The workmanship was entrusted to our townsman, Mr. John Mossman, whose excellent artistic productions contribute so materially to the adornment of our local “ cities of the dead.” The monument, which was formally inaugurated on the 25th of January, 1842, consists of a tall and elegantly formed slab, on which are carved a group representing the parting of the lovers, surmounted by a figure of Grief hanging over a vase, on which is inscribed the simple name of “Mary.” Beneath the figures are the two lines,—

“Oh, Mary, dear departed shade,
Where is thy place of blissful rest?”

At the base is the little old-fashioned headstone, with its rude carvings, which originally marked the lair of Peter M‘Pherson, and which, with commendable taste, has been permitted to remain uninjured. The plot on which it stands is now, contrary to what it was a few years ago, neatly kept, and is shaded by some recently planted shrubs. A phenomenon similar to that observed at the grave of Burns is also visible here. There is actually a beaten footpath from the entrance of the church-yard to the narrow abode of poor Mary Campbell. That brown pathway winding among the tombs is more suggestive than aught that we could say, with regard to the estimation in which the memory of Bums and his Highland Mary is held by the people of Scotland.

But time does not linger, even within the precincts of the auld kirkyard, and as the day is rapidly wearing to its wane we must depart. Adjacent to the West Church is the extensive shipbuilding establishment of the Messrs. Scott. Taking a passing peep into the spacious area, where vessels in every stage of advancement are in busy preparation for their advent on the deep, we are shown an interesting relic of the past, in the shape of a gigantic piece of ordnance (half buried in the earth), which once did service on board one of the stately war-ships of the great Spanish Armada. The story of this time-honoured gun is briefly told in an inscription upon a brass plate, which is attached to one of its sides. It is as follows:—“The famous Spanish Armada sailed to conquer England in the year 1588, under the command of the Duke of Medina. The fleet was scattered in a tempest, and many of the ships were wrecked on the western islands of Scotland. This gun, saved from the wreck of one of these ships, was brought to Greenock, and placed on the West Quay, built in the year 1710, where it remained for one hundred years. Mr. Scott having purchased all the materials of that quay from the magistrates of Greenock, on the improvement of the harbour, the gun was by him placed here; not for the destruction of ships, but as a holdfast to convey them for repairs safely in and out of dock. Build-ing-yard, Greenock, 1810. Calibre of gun, 12-pounder; circumference at breach, 3 feet 6 inches; length of gun, 8 feet 3 inches; circumference at muzzle, 2 feet 8^ inches.” Notwithstanding the tear and wear which the ancient destroyer must have undergone, bpth from the tooth of time and from its being used as a “ holdfast,” it still presents a sturdy trunk, and bids fair to keep its ground for centuries.

Perambulating the labyrinths of the town in various directions, we visit in succession a number of the public establishments, many of which are well deserving of notice. The Mechanics’ Institution is a handsome edifice, fitted up with all the means and appliances of popular adult education. The tables of the reading-room are well supplied with newspapers and other periodicals, while the walls are garnished with a valuable collection of phrenological casts, apparatus, and objects illustrative of natural history, &c. An extensive library is attached to the institution, and on glancing at the catalogue we are pleased to observe that the selection of books is in every respect admirable. The lecturing-hall is equally elegant and comfortable—the platform, which is at one end of the apartment, being adorned with busts of James Watt and Mr. Wallace of Kelly, while a beautiful model of a full-rigged yacht hangs from the opposite wall. On the whole, the institution, so far as we could judge from a cursory inspection, appears to be exceedingly creditable to the working men of Greenock, and we sincerely trust that a large section of them take advantage of its privileges. If such is really the case, however, it is different, we are sorry to say, from our experience in other quarters. In Union Street, a pleasant, retired thoroughfare in the west end of the town, is situated a handsome structure, known as the Watt Memorial. This building was erected at a cost of £3,000, by the late Mr. Watt of Soho, son of the great improver of the steam-engine, for the reception of a beautiful statue of his father, which was executed by Chantrey —the cost having been raised by a public subscription. The statue is placed in a central compartment on the ground floor. It is of pure white marble, and is an exact counterpart of that with which our readers are already familiar in George Square, Glasgow. On the front of the pedestal is the following inscription, from the pen of the late Lord Jeffrey:—

“The Inhabitants of Greenock hare erected this statue of James Watt, not to extend a fame already identified with the miracles of steam, but to testify the pride and reverence with which he is remembered in the place of his nativity, and their deep sense of the great benefits his genius has conferred on mankind. Born 19th January, 1736. Died at Heathfield, in Staffordshire, August 25, 1819.’*

On the right of the pedestal is a shield containing the arms of the town, and on the left are carved representations of strength and speed. A likeness of the elephant adorns the back, a figure suggestive of Jeffrey’s fine simile of the steam-engine, that, like the trunk of the animal referred to, is equally adapted to lift a pin or to rend an oak. On the walls around are portraits of John Galt, author of the Annals of the Parish, who resided many years in Greenock, and who ultimately died ‘and was buried there, of James Watt, Henry Bell, the pioneer of steam navigation on the Clyde, and others. There is also a manuscript survey of the Clyde by Watt, and a letter by his son announcing his intention of erecting the present edifice., The Watt Memorial is principally devoted, however, to the reception of the Greenock Public Library. Its walls are accordingly so extensively lined with tomes of every size and shape, that the sight of them would have dumfoundered even such a bookworm as Dominie Samson, and compelled him to an audible utterance of his favourite “Pro-di-gi-ous! ”

A short distance to the southward of the Watt Memorial is the beautiful new cemetery of Greenock, and thither, after a brief inspection of the institution alluded to, we wend our way. The cemetery spreads over a gentle elevation, which commands a variety of delightful prospects. The grounds are nearly twenty-two acres in extent, and are intersected in every direction by upwards of four miles of carriage-way and walk. Large sums have been expended from time to time by the authorities in the adornment of this lovely place of burial. Trees and shrubs of the richest and rarest species are profusely introduced wherever they are calculated to produce a happy effect, while there is no end of the herbaceous plants which embellish the parterres and borders. Many of these are in bloom at the period of our visit; and, while we are threading the mazes of this city of the silent, it is with difficulty we can realize the idea that we are treading over the ashes of departed mortality. One is rather tempted, indeed, to the study of botany by the nodding blooms around, than to speculations on those who "sleep the sleep that knows no breaking ” in the dark chambers below. Yet there are promptings to solemn musing in the flower of the field which to-day is, and to-morrow is gone for ever. The withered leaf and the falling petal are beautiful but striking monitors of doom. They also are preachers, and the lesson they inculcate is that of Israel’s wise king, "All is vanity and vexation of spirit.”

‘We die even as the flowers,
And we shall breathe away
Our lives upon the chance wind,
Even as they.”

As we gradually, by many a winding sweep, ascend the hill, it is evident that there are already many tenants in the narrow mansions of the cemetery. Headstones and monumental erections are rising thickly in every direction, each with its own little legend of sorrow. Some of these mementoes of departed friendships are very tasteful and elegant, while others are rather flaunting manifestations of pride than chaste records of bereavement. On the summit, where it is intended, we understand, to raise a gigantic monument in memory of Greenock’s greatest son, James Watt, a considerable space is still permitted to remain in all its native wildness. The broom and the whin are here seen intermingled with the crimson of the heath-bell, while the lilac blossoms of the eyebright blend exquisitely with the deep blue of the bellflowers and the golden luxuriance of the hawkweeds and the lady’s bedstraw. Some of our prettiest wild flowers, indeed, are indigenous to this spot, which altogether presents a not unpleasing contrast to the cultivated flora of the lower terraces. But let us scan the landscape which is spread before us in the rich yellow radiance of an autumnal afternoon. At our feet the town of Greenock stretches aw^y along the shore, “sleeping in its smoke,” as the poet says, “like a monster in its own thick breath.” Beautiful is the upward glance of the river, with Dumbarton and Dumbuck in the distance, and Cardross, with all its darkening woods and yellowing slopes intervening on the farther shore. Turning by slow degrees from east to west, we have still the glittering Frith, with its ships and its steamers in motion or asleep, its birds and its shadows, and its long arms thrust far into the hollows of the mountain land beyond. On the shore immediately opposite gleam the snowy lines of Helensburgh cottages and villas. Roseneath, Kilcreggan, Cove, Kilmun, and Dunoon, are each but simple features of beauty in the marvellous scene, which like a fairy picture is now spread out in all its loveliness before us. *Tis a subject for the pencil, however, rather than for the pen, and we turn to the south where the Greenock braes swell rapidly to the horizon. There is ample scope for a long day’s rambling amidst these “heighs and howes,” and more than one happy day we have spent among their recesses. A bird’s-eye “glower” is all we can devote to them at present. Their outlines, however, are familiar to every one who has passed along the Frith, so that there is the less need of anything like a minute description. The most remarkable feature is the course of the Shaws rivulet, by which the town is abundantly supplied with water, and the machinery of numerous mills is impelled with unceasing regularity. From our present position we can trace the channel in all its downward windings, and observe the various industrial establishments with which it is beaded. This is one of the most remarkable efforts of engineering which the country can boast. The Shaws Water, which formerly debouched into the Clyde at Inverkip, is collected into a vast iteservoir in the bosom of the hills. From thence it is ingeniously conveyed by an artificial aqueduct, several miles in length, to the brow of the range before us, from whence it is gradually precipitated to the level of the town below, performing an immense amount of labour at every step, and ultimately contributing to the culinary and lavatory wants of the inhabitants. One of the wheels which is impelled by the descending stream is of gigantic size, and is reckoned one of the sights of the locality. This grand undertaking, which has materially advanced the prosperity and comfort of the community, was designed and executed in 1827, for an association called the Shaws Water Company, by Mr. Robert Thom, at a cost of £52,000. It is indeed a proud monument of mechanical genius and skill.

But, while we sit and gaze, our shadows are lengthening in the declining sun, and the hour of the last train is rapidly approaching. Descending from our lofty position, we retrace our steps into the town, which we reach after a few minutes’ leisurely walk. A most hospitable reception awaits us in the domicile of our friend and cicerone. In the enjoyment of his good things, and in the examination of his books, &c., over which we have some genial crack, the little space of time which we can now call our own is soon speftt. When we arrive at the spacious and most commodious terminus, the train is on the eve of starting, and we have barely time to shake hands when the final signal is given, and we are careering homeward with the speed of the wind through a delicious autumnal gloaming.


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