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Days at the Coast
Lochgoilhead and its Environs


“Far lone amang the Highland hills,
’Midst Nature’s wildest grandeur,
By rocky dens, and woody glens,
With weary steps I wander.”—Taitnahill.

We are once more upon the bright blue Frith—once more out upon our mission in search of the beauties of our own romantic Clyde, and bounding over the ripple of her ever-changing bosom. In our former chapters we have conducted our readers along the southern shores of our peerless estuary. From Port-Glasgow to Largs we have wended our way through every nook and cranny, every town and village, every bay and glen, which gladdens the shores of our Queen of Scottish waters. On her isles of beauty have we also dwelt. We have trodden the rugged shores of Arrani and scaled her highest peaks. We have put a girdle round the waist of Bute, and lingered in rapture amidst her fairest scenes, while the twin Cumbraes can bear witness to our lingering, loving pilgrimage within their insulated precincts. Leaving the Lowland we have recently sought the Highland aspects of our river—her aspects of mountain and glen—of fierce dashing streamlet and far-winding loch.

The lochs of the Clyde I How suggestive of wildering beauty is the phrase—how redolent of romantic association! The Gareloch, Lochlong, Lochgoil, and the Holy Loch—their very names awaken dreams of all that is grand in our mountain scenery, of all that is gentle and sweet in our valleys and glens,

“Land of the mountain and the flood,
Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,
Land of my sires, what mortal hand
Can e'er untie the filial band
That knits me to thy rugged strand?”

But, as we have said, we are again bounding over the blue waters of the Frith. Our good vessel, the "Lochgoil,” leaving Gourock behind, is steadily churning her way into the vast portal of Lochlong. On one hand is the Strone (a Gaelic word, literally signifying a nose), like a huge sentinel guarding the pass, on the other the swelling heights of Kilcreggan and Cove, while right in front is a very wilderness of tempestuous mountain peaks. It is a day of mingled glory and gloom. At cne place the sun is sending down his golden slants of radiance, at another a trailing cloud of rain is sweeping along the hills with a darkness as of midnight, while a broken rainbow is gleaming between the regions of light and. of shadow. Onward steers our gallant vessel, now touching at the Cove, anon crossing to Port-in-stuck (or Blairmore, as the new-born village is now more euphoniously called), and again cleaving her foamy way into the bosom of the loch. On our left the huge ridge of Strone continues like a wall to confine the range of vision. A lovely boundary it is, however, with its tiny promontories and bays, its rocky steeps and sandy beaches, its lengthened stripes of coppice, and its fresh green slopes, fretted at frequent intervals with craggy projections and cliffs of sternest gray. Now we are passing a sequestered cottage, with its curling smoke, and its few furrows of green; anon a ravine scars the mountain side with,its thread of silver leaping from rock to rock, and at length melting calmly into the bosom of the loch; and again some bald and shattered peak seems nodding to its fall. At length the huge rampart relaxes into a wild and picturesque glen. On either shoulder are steep and thickly-wooded heights; while a level and fertile track stretches away between. In the lap of this beautiful vale—for such in truth it is—nestles a tiny hamlet or village, with a few cosie-looking cottages strewn in its environs. This is the “Arranteenie” of the Paisley poet—the Ardentinny of the gazetteer; and a sweeter, a more secluded, or a more picturesque spot has never been associated with the lay of the lyrist, or described by the pen of the topographer.

Lovely as are the landscape features of Ardentinny, however, it is chiefly as the scene of Tannahill’s song that it is entwined with our affections. When a mere boy, we heard that sweetest of lays chanted by lips we loved—loved, and have lost; and still in the greenest spot of memory’s waste it retains a foremost place. How strange that genius should thus indelibly associate itself with mere material things, borrowing from them the charm of reality, and lending them in return the golden halo of mingled fancy and feeling. What were the Doon wanting its Bums? What the Avon but that Shakspeare sported on its banks? Half a century has nearly elapsed since a party of Paisley weavers landed at the village of Ardentinny. “Paisley weavers! ” we can imagine some one repeating with a curled lip and a look of scorn that seems to say, 44 Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Yes, Paisley weavers, say we in return, and from amongst them have arisen names which the world will not willingly let die. One of the party we have alluded to was a pale, thin, nervous-looking, and exceedingly modest young man. His companions were joking and laughing, and scampering about, but he, although cheerful and smiling, was evidently deeply impressed with the grandeur of the surrounding scenery, and ever and anon his eye wandered from the friends around him to the craggy peaks above, while a shade of something like sadness flitted athwart his fine, expressive, and somewhat feminine features. This was Robert Tannahill. We see him now “in our mind’s eye, Horatio,” as he then appeared, and if we could but wield the pencil of a Gordon or a Graham, he would again "live, move, and have his being” in the sight of men. It may not be, however, and our readers must therefore have faith in our second sight, and trust to our mere word description. Well then, our weavers wandered far and wide over these very hills that now rise before us, and dived into these shadowy glens, and threaded over rock, and boulder, and foam-crested cliff—those deep ravines winch then as now furrowed the mountain side, and sent their watery tribute to the insatiate lake below. It was well on in the gloaming when, weary and hungry, they returned to the village inn— a lowly, one-storeyed bigging, with the smallest possible loopholes of windows, and a snug overlay of thatch. The principal apartment—the kitchen and receiving-room—was of moderate dimensions, and furnished in the most primitive style. The fire-place was in the middle of the floor, and the dense clouds of smoke which swelled from the blazing heap of peats filled the chamber to suffocation, and spewed forth from the doorway and from every chink and crevice in the dry stone walls. Humble as were the homes of the Paisley websters, they were palaces in comparison with this Highland hostelry. Weariness, however, is anything but nice with regard to quarters, and hunger lends a relish to the meanest fere. Our wayworn pilgrims were fain to accept the shelter of the smoky inn, and to partake of its homely viands. The oaten cake and whisky, however, were served out by one who seemed a very angel to the eye of the poet, as she flitted about among the clouds of peat-reek. With Wordsworth— had he known of such a man—he could have said:—

“Sweet Highland girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower.”

The Poet of the Lakes, however, was then unknown, and Tannahill had to seek in his own heart for the language of his admiration. Nor could he have found a better treasury of purest poetic imagery. All his songs are pervaded with a profusion of sweetest natural types and comparisons, while a silver vein of love links them one with another, and binds them as in a wreath round the brow of the favoured maid. On leaving that solitary hostel, or rather hut, next morning,

the poet left his heart behind him, and on returning to his loom—for it was at the loom alone his muse found happiest utterance—he gave vent to his passion in the following lovely lay:—

“THE LASS O’ ARRANTEENIE.

“Far lone amang the Highland hills,
’Midst Nature’s wildest grandenr,
By rocky dens, and woody glens,
With weary steps I wander.
The langsome way, the darksome day,
The mountain mist sae rainy,
Are nought to me when gaun to thee,
Sweet lass o' Arranteenie.

"Yon mossy rose-bud down the howe,
Just op’ning fresh and bonny,
Blinks sweetly ’neath the hazel-bough,
And *s scarcely seen by ony;
Sae sweet amidst her native hills,
Obscurely blooms my Jeanie,
Mair flair and gay than rosy May,
The flow’r o Arranteenie.

“Now, from the mountain’s lofty brow
I view the distant ocean.
There Av’rice guides the bounding prow,
Ambition courts promotion
Let Fortune pour her golden store,
Her laurell’d favours many;
Give me but this, my soul’s first wish,
The lass o’ Arranteenie.”

One of our weaknesses—for we are not altogether perfect, gentle reader—is to boast of an interview which on one occasion we were privileged to have with the warm-hearted Christopher North. Well, then, in the course of our two-handed crack, old Kit happened to quote with immense admiration—as in print he has done at least a hundred times —the following verse from the bard of Rydale in praise of a lovely maiden—

"A violet by a mossy stone,
Half hidden from the eve,
Fair as a star when only one
Is shining in the sky.”

We, of course, admitted the beauty of the imagery; but, by way of comparison, we repeated the second verse of the "Lass o’ Arranteenie,” and asked the "old man eloquent" if it was not, at the very least, equally felicitous. "Equally felicitous,” quoth he; “ay, it is more than equally felititons in simple beauty, while it is imbued with a music peculiarly its own. Tannahill’s song will be sung in cottage and in hall, while that of Wordsworth will only be read by the few.”

According to the story, Tannahill revisited Ardentinny, for the purpose of once again feasting his eyes upon the beauty of the Highland maid, but the charm had departed —the angel had lost her heavenly attributes and become a plain homely woman. Indifference took the place of love, and he returned to his loom perfectly cured of his romantic attachment. Such is the soul of man: what to-day it yearneth for, as the weary hart yeameth for the living brook, to-morrow it shrinks from with contempt and disgust.

But the steamer is on its way, and we must bid farewell to Ardentinny, with all its scenes of beauty, and all its suggestions of sentiment. The loch waxes more romantic as we proceed. The mountains seem to increase in altitude, and the glens to deepen into a more sublime profundity. Every moment the picture changes, and every change appears more striking than that which has gone before. At length between

“Mountains that like giant's stand,
To sentinel enchanted land.”

we approach the entrance to Lochgoil—a lovely branch of Lochlong, through which our course has hitherto lain.

Lochgoil, at the entrance of which we are now arrived, is one of the most lovable of lochs. It is girt with the wildest and most picturesque beauty as with a girdle. Mountain after mountain rises on either shore with the sublimest features of Alpine grandeur, while ever and anon some glen of softest green comes stealing down with its masses of shadowy foliage, and its streamlet dancing in foam from linn to linn, until at length it subsides into sleep, as it were, in the bosom of the lake. Lochgoil is an offshoot or branch of Lochlong, from which it diverges in a northerly direction. Its entire length, from the points of Corran and Tynlachan, where it separates from the parent loch, unto its termination at the embouchure of the little rivulet of the Goil, is only about six or six and a-half miles. Yet how much of material and of sentimental beauty is compressed into this comparatively brief space! All that is wildest in Highland scenery is here congregated—towering peaks and cliffs of shaggiest gray, with intervening snatches of gentler landscape that rival the fairest scenes of the Lowlands, and that seem only the more lovely from their proximity to the predominating sternness around. But we are on the deck of the good steamer “Lochgoil,” gentle reader, and under the command of our worthy friend Captain Macintyre, who never seems prouder of his trust than when his gallant vessel is bounding, as she is now, over her own peculiar waters, and in the shadow of her own romantic hills. As we enter the loch, a spot is pointed out on the left where a dreary tragedy occurred a goodly number of years ago. It is a rocky cliff of no great elevation, with a dump of willows on its crest. To this spot, one wild and stormy night, came a small weather-worn boat for shelter from the blast. Under the lee of that crag they found the refuge which they sought from the elements; and fastening their boat to the willow which even now throws its shadow askant the water, the party on board went to sleep—to the sleep, alas ! which knotfs no waking. The tide at the time was at the full, and in Lochlong it occasionally rises as high as ten feet above the level of low water. The boat was close fastened on one side to the willow, and while the unfortunate crew slept the sound sleep of weariness, the waters gradually receded, and the tiny craft as gradually edged over, until it was fairly capsized, and all its inmates were submerged among the hungry waves. Not one escaped to tell the dreary tale. Unseen, unheard, and in darkness, they all perished. The suspended boat, some days afterwards, attracted the attention of some passing eye, and but too surely indicated what had occurred. Such is one of thy many tales of disaster and death, thou most lovely and innocent-looking of lochs, smiling, as thou art now, in the sunshine and calm of summer.

But we are getting on our way; and now, upon our right is the vast tempestuous ridge, which, with a quiet Celtic stroke of humour, has been called the “ Duke of Argyle’s Bowling-Green.” This fierce rampart of clifis, and peaks, and wildly jagged summits—a strange jumbling of the fantastic and the sublime—has not only a most impressive and imposing effect as we thus glide by its green base, but it also presents a most picturesque background to many a distant landscape. Often from the southern shores of our Frith have we aduiired its wild and wildering beauty; often has our lip taken an involuntary curl as its name rose upon our memory; and perhaps quite as often have the lines of Scott upon another Highland scene suggested themselves to our mind—

“In shadow, hid
Round many a rocky pyramid
Shooting abruptly from the dell
Its thunder-splintered pinnacle;
Round many an insulated mass,
The native bulwarks of the pass—
Huge as the towers which builders vain
Presumptuous piled on Sliinar’s plain—
The rocky summits, split and rent,
Formed turret, dome, and battlement;
Or seemed fantastically set
ith cupola of minaret—
Wild crests as pagod ever decked,
Or mosque of Eastern architect”

It is something, however, to have a close look at such a grizzly monster, and to see his huge shadow glimmering in the quiet bosom of the waters at his feet. As the good steamer continues to chum her way, a gentler and a more interesting picture floats into our ken. On the left, we find the mountains standing apart as it were, and leaving a sort of tiny valley with a few level acres of green in its breast, and a picturesque old castle projecting into the margin of the loch. This is Carrick Castle, an ancient seat of the Dunmore family, but which, according to one tradition, was erected by the Danes, and by another, by Robert the Bruce, when he was Earl of Carrick. We suspect the latter supposition has been originated by the Ayrshire title of the Bruce; but the name of Carrick or Craig (a Celtic word, signifying a rock) is of common occurrence in the Highlands, and, indeed, over Scotland generally. The existence of the castle can be positively traced to the end of the fifteenth century; but there is reason to believe that it is of much older date. Carrick Castle is built upon a rock of gentle elevation, and which at one period was surrounded by water. It consists principally of one large tower, of an oblong and somewhat irregular figure. In length it is 66 feet, by 38 in breadth, and 64 in height. The walls in some places are from seven to eight feet in thickness. In its days of strength the castle was defended on the landward side by a drawbridge, and as this was the only way in which it could be approached, it must have been pretty safe from attack. Between the castle walls and the sea there was a level space protected by a rampart, and capable of accommodating about 1,000 men, so that maritime marauders were likely to have met a somewhat warm reception if, by any chance, they should have been tempted to invade its precincts. Thus protected, Carrick Castle, previous to the invention of gunpowder, must indeed have been all but impregnable. The days of foray and feud, however, are happily long past, and under the silent siege of Time—a conqueror whom none may withstand —Carrick is now a dreary and deserted ruin. The ivy is climbing freshly over its walls, and as we pass we can trace' the branches of some superincumbent trees, the rustling warders of decay, nodding mournfully over the weatherbeaten battlements. What was once a terror and a defiance has now become a mere thing of beauty, a silent invitation to musing melancholy, a subject to win the gaze of the painter, or a theme over which the wandering poet might love to dream. Yet, all tenantless save by the crannying winds as it is, we would not that the ancient castle were away. Loeh-goil, all lovely as it is, would be less lovely if that relic of other days were absent. It forms one of the finest, one of the most striking of its landscape features; while it lends an element of sentiment to its wild and varied beauties, which increases their interest, and doubly deepens their influence on the mind.

“Lonely mansion of the dead,
Who shall tell thy varied story?
All thine ancient line are fled,
Leaving thee in rain hoary.”

While we are dreaming over the veteran keep, and a ruin, be it of cottage or of hall, of lowly hut or lofty mansion, always sets our fancy adreaming—our good captain, and, as the song says, "gallant, gallant man was he”—pursues his foaming pathway without dallying or delay. Now he pauses for a moment to drop the should-be-happy tenant of yon most charmingly secluded cot, anon he resumes his onward course, and new mountains, new glens, new woods, and new fields, glide past us as we go. At length, in a vast amphitheatre girt with lofty peaks and gulfs of the most magnificent profundity, we find ourselves at the head of the loch, and are landed by a commodious wharf at the village to which it has lent so sweet a name. Lochgoilhead! there is a charm in thy very name, and oft in dreams we have visited thy shores—oft in fancy have we tried to picture to ourselves thy landscape lineaments; but never before were we privileged to scan with the naked eye, and face to face, thy wild and wondrous beauties. And yet we must in truth proclaim that reality exceedeth our sunniest dreams of thee, although even now thou art gathering thy mantle of clouds around thee, and preparing to welcome us with a rattling Highland shower. Never mind; thou art like a lovely woman—lovely even in thy anger, and we shall only rejoice the more in the sunny smiles with which thou wilt assuredly favour us when thy ill humour has passed away.

The village of Lochgoilhead is situated, as its name imports, at the termination of Lochgoil, and just where it meets Glengoil, with its brown tribute of water. The scenery around is of the most romantic description. A group of lofty mountains, separated from each other by spacious glens, and generally richly wooded with coppice and trees of larger growth towards their bases, rise proudly around, as if to shelter the spot from the rude winds of heaven. Among these gigantic Bens are Bein Donich, christened after a saint of that name—Bein Una, the rich in verdure—Bein Thiolare, abounding in springs and water-cresses—Bein Luibhan, profuse of herbs; and Bein-an-Lochan, so called from a freshwater tarn which skirts its base. Some of these, and others in the parish, rise to an immense height, and are cleft by ravines, and caves, and corries, of great depth. Nowhere oan the lover of landscape find a richer field of study— nowhere can the lover of the sublime revel in a wilder profusion of material variety and grandeur. Nestling on a comparatively level space at the feet of these giant mountains, and on the very margin of the loch, is the village. The old name of the locality was Kill nam brathaim kill, a Gaelic phrase signifying a spot of ground upon which a church or chapel was built. For the last two hundred and fifty years, however, it has been called by its present more euphonious designation. The old village is of the tiniest proportions, and consists principally of a scattered group of primitive Highland cottages, with a neat little church quietly seated amidst a quiet field of graves, which is finely circled and shaded by large and umbrageous trees.

“Beneath the rugged elms, the yew-trees’ shade,
Where heaves the turf In many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep/*

There is a handsome inn in the village near its centre, where everything necessary for man and beast may be obtained on the usual terms of,

“Drink, pilgrim, drink—drink and pay.’*

There is nothing of an architectural nature in the village— that is to say, in the old village—to‘call for particular attention, The houses are simply plain Highland cottages, for the most part covered with thatch, and stained with lichen and moss. Yet some of them are picturesque enough little structures, and would look tolerably well on the canvas of a MlCulloch. It is along the northern shore of the loch, and extending in an easterly direction, that the modern grandeurs of Lochgoilhead are to be seen. It is there, at the base of a finely coppiced ridge, that the cosie villas and ornamental cottages of the “ Glasgow folk ” are to be seen, with their tasteful freaks of architecture, their gay parterres, and their various appliances of taste and comfort. By and by we shall take a stroll in that direction, and introduce our readers to its beauties; but, in the meantime, we have to introduce them to a curious old dial, which is, perhaps, the only relic of antiquity in the locality. This venerable monitor of fleeting time is situated in a vacant area, near the church, and nearly opposite the old inn. It is in form a kind of irregular obelisk, about six or seven feet in height, and is curiously carved into grooves and niches, for the gnomes or indices, which seem to have been of unusual number and complexity of operation. Two centuries and more have elapsed sinoe the shadows of passing time commenced their silent march over the brow of this hoary chronicler—

“The clouds and sunbeams, o’er his head
That once their shades and glory threw,
Have left, in yonder silent sky.
No vestige where they flew.”

Yet there, despite the wind and the rain, he stands, telling from year to year his lesson of sunshine and shadow. No wonder the Lochgoilhead people are proud of their old timepiece, nor that, when some thoughtless or evil-disposed excursionists from Glasgow overthrew it the other year, their indignation was immensely excited. Thanks to a right-hearted friend of our own, it is again erect and steadfast; and, let us hope, that it is likely to remain long so. When looking at the prostrate pillar, we could very well fancy the big burly J. B. crooning to himself, with a most dangerous degree of fervour—

“O gin I had the loon that did it—
I ha’e sworn as weel as said it,
Though the Laird himsel’ forbade it—
I wad gie his neck a thraw.”

A late landlord of the Lochgoilhead Inn—somewhat of a character—had an immense veneration for the old dial, and was frequently in the habit of vaunting its capabilities. One evening an English traveller—a Cockney probably—inquired at him, “W’at was the meaning of that ’ere curious old thing?” Mine host at once launched forth in praise of the dial, ascribing to it all manner of virtues, possible and impossible. u She’s shist a tial, tae you see—a tial for tell tae hours; and tae ferry best tial tat ever you’ll saw. She can tell tae hours, tae you see, wi’ candle licht shist as weel as she can wi’ the licht o’ Got’s day.” “You don’t say so,” quoth the Southron, who seems to have been somewhat verdant; “I’ll bet you any odds, old boy, that it don’t.” “Ferry weel,” says the Celtic Boniface, “ferry weel, she’ll shist tak* you a wager o’ a pottle o’ yill to ane o’ whisky. Gudewife,” addressing his better half, “rax me doon the cruizie and we’ll sune see. Taking a sly glance at the dock as he went out, the landlord led the way to the side of the dial, where, of course, he easily adjusted the light so as to fling the shadow of the index in the required direction, at the same time exclaiming, “Noo, lad, shist you look for your nainsel, and see if she’s no richt.” “Let me see, says the Cockney, pulling out a fine gold watch; “a quarter-past eight to a minute.” “Hoo, yes,” chuckles mine host triumphantly, “an' you’ll see, lad, its shist the same here, a’ but about a minute, and that’s no far wrang for a Hielan* tial—teed no, teed no, lad; sae we’ll e’en gang our wa’s in, an* be preein’ your pottle o’ whisky.”

Of course there was a merry night over the wager won by the ancient dial; and, in after years, nothing pleased the old man better than to tell the tale of his victory over the credulous Englishman.

Your Glasgow merchant or manufacturer, while in Glasgow, is generally a keen, wide-awake man of the world. Coming in contact with him in the way of business, you could swear that he had not “a soul above buttons”—that he had devoted himself, with all his heart and all his mind, to the making of money. Pushing along the street, or lounging for half-an-hour at the Exchange, you would imagine that he had no higher aim on earth than the sale of calicoes, or the diffusion of muslin collars. And yet, under that mask of worldliness—that deep disguise of sordid self —there are ten chances to one that there lurks a heart to Nature true—a fancy that revels in dreams of the beautiful. We have been forcibly struck with this idea while visiting the watering-places of the Clyde. In these sweet nooks of retirement the genuine character of your Glasgow man is very apt to betray itself. The stiff and starched “ old buffer” who seemed as relentless as death on matters relating to s. d., and whom, if he happened to “haul you up” on some point of business, you would have denounced as a man utterly devoid of sentiment, turns out at the coast to be a perfect practical poet. “What a pretty little cottage is this,” you say, as you are wandering along; “how tastefully laid out are the grounds; how resplendent with choicest blooms these gay parterres; surely there has been a soul of the most genial poetic temperament at the designing of this little Eden!” “No such thing,” is the reply. “This is the seat of old Scrubbs the linen-draper, or Closefist the banker” —parties for whom you entertain the most cordial detestation. Ay, but here we have a glimpse into the better soul of the apparent worldling—here we have a material proof that the man of money cherishes an affection for Nature, the common mother, even as you or I may do, who reckon ourselves of the finer clay. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,” and here we have the votary of business, the ginhorse of profit, brought into the very lap of primeval Nature, and owning her gentle sway. He cannot be an utterly bad, an utterly selfish man, who loves the birds and the flowers, and who, in the pauses of life’s giddy whirl, rushes away to the companionship of the hills, and the streams, and the murmuring woodlands.

Along the northern shore of the sweet Lochgoil, and near its termination, is a string of handsome cottages and villas— the resting-places of a number of our most intelligent and enterprising citizens. Leaving the wharf at the head of the loch, we take our way in an easterly direction to one of the snuggest, one of the prettiest of the edifices alluded to. It is the home of a friend, and, of course, the home of a friend is our home. Passing through the coppice which here fringes the base of the overhanging hills, we seek our home under the guidance of our friend—perhaps the biggest man in the locality, and certainly the biggest and the warmest heart. ’Tis a sweet spot. The foxglove nods familiarly to us as we go, with its crest of purple bells, and the bog myrtle breathes an odorous welcome, while the hazel holds forth invitingly its bunches of yellow nuts. What a glorious harvest prospect for the callants! But, alas, alas! how many of our wee Glasgow chappies have no such fields to reap! Living in wynds and vennels—working in factories and mills—how many young hearts are withering—withering, day by day, in utter lack of the simple joys which nature yields, and which boyhood should ever have within its reach! Fortune to them is a harsh and unfeeling stepmother, and what nature would freely give is reluctantly withheld. But we must not speak of themes like these. If we scanned too closely the evils of the world there would be an end of all enjoyment. And who can think of evil while that merle, in his canopy of green, is pouring his "woodnotes wild” upon the passing wind and wakening the echoes of Lochgoil? Unseen in the bosom of the wood, like some true poet in obscurity, he touches the hearts of all, and wins our warmest gratitude. But here is the domicile of our friend, and here is his kindly, motherly wife, and here are his bonnie lasses, and here his rambling callants, all with an audible welcome on their lips, and what is far better, a glittering welcome in their eyes. Our friend is a thoroughgoing man of the world—a man who started at the foot of the ladder, and who, by his own industry, intelligence, and perseverance, has managed to get up “ a step or twa; ” just the very man, you would imagine, that would mind “ number one,” and let the world go to the deuce. That, however, is not exactly his character. Unlike some that we have known, he has retained in the battle of life all the freshness of heart that he had in youth, With an ever-increasing charity towards those who have been less successful than himself in the struggle. Until now, however, we never knew our friend altogether. We had thought him an almost, if not wholly, prosaic specimen of our genus. One that had a due respect for the “loaves and the fishes,” but one who would have turned up his nose and pooh, poohed! anything that appealed to the poetic and the beautiful. We have caught him now. Look at that charming spot in which he has dropt his house, or we should rather say houses, for the principal structure has some "companions.” Like a backwoodsman, he has cleared a certain space out of the surrounding wood, and the desert now blossoms like the rose. On a huge mass of rock that has tumbled from the overhanging hill, there is a Cupid perched with his drawn bow, apparently launching his shafts at the spectator. Let them laugh at scars who never felt a wound, or who, like ourselves, are scarred all over. Then in front of the neat little villa are a couple of chubby urchins blowing up water in a pretty jet that falls in glittering showers into a tiny pond below, around which are parterres of choicest flowers, exotics and wildings gathered from the neighbouring woods. Here there is a goddess in her temple; there an old figurehead borrowed from some defunct steamer, and in some other nook some other curiosity that nobody, unless our friend B., would ever have dreamed of turning to account. Of course we admire everything, but between our teeth we cannot help muttering, “ By Jing [and who the deuce is Jing ?] he’s a queer fellow! ” Queer, ay, very queer, but a kindlier never was made.

About hospitality, and all that sort of thing, we must not say a single word; although we rather guess the gudewife must have been somewhat amazed at an unusual display of voracity that afternoon. “Lord, Sam, how he walked into the muffins!” is an exclamation which Charlie Dickens puts into the mouth of old Mr. Weller, and “Lord, John, how he walked into the ham!” is what we could very well fancy Mrs. B. whispering to her gaucy worse half after the dreadful saut water meal. We knew that we were welcome as the flowers of May, but there is no denying that some people play the very deuce with a pantry at the coast.

Lochgoil gave us a gloomy reception. At our coming the hills put on their densest mantles of mist, and the clouds sent down their rains in the most drenching showers. And “ in the scowl of heaven each face grew black as we were speaking.” But the frown passed away. Ere yet our kind hostess had put aside the “tea-things,” the sun threw aside his veil and smiled the landscape into a softer beauty. The hills came out of the gloom, and showed us all their streaks of silver; the ripple of the loch was quivering in richest radiance, while the clouds—the dark and weeping clouds—began to turn up their “silver lining,” and to reveal the bonnie blue of a summer sky. “What house is that?” we inquired, “which stands so stately and alone on the other side of the loch, amidst the gloomy hills of larch and pine?” “Drim-synie House, the seat of Mrs. Campbell, a widow lady,” was the reply, “and immediately adjacent is a wild and romantic ravine which you would do well to visit.” We at once consent, and launching our little boat, we are soon cleaving the blue waters of Lochgoil. Landing at the embouchure of the streamlet of the Goil, we wend our way up the glen of Drimsynie. In the olden time there was a castle of some strength at this place, but time and ruin have done their work so effectually that not one stone remains upon another, and the very spot where it stood is now a matter of doubt. “The place which knew it once shall know it no more for ever.” The modern mansion is a plain but spacious edifice of some fifty or sixty years’ date. The gardens and grounds in the vicinity are luxuriant in the extreme, and many of the individual shrubs and trees are worthy of especial study. The larch-covered hills, however, form the finest features of the surrounding landscape. So beautifully regular are they in their growth, that they resemble rather the nicety of art than the wild luxuriance of nature. As we penetrate the dim recesses of the glen or ravine, the shades of gloamin’ descend upon us, and lend a strange, weird feeling to the locality. Down a rugged channel of rock and boulder—streams and cataracts of stones—the foaming torrent dashes in fierce and imposing magnificence. Every step brings a new and ever-varying picture into view. To the very water edge the banks are clad with densest foliage of the larch, the hazel, and the pine, while “feathery brackens fringe the rocks,” and countless wild flowers peep from the crevices along our path. Near the highest point of the ravine—the road does not extend quite to the summit—there is a cave of some size, and through it, in the gathering gloom, we crawl in search of a fern—a species of some rarity—which one of our boy companions at length discovers. By this time the darkness has thickened almost into night; and the living foam of the streamlet, as it hurries down the steep, might well to mistaken for a flittering wraith. The Highlands are steeped in superstition, but no one who has been among the hills and the glens—no one who has seen the sights or heard the sounds of the wild mountain land, can wonder that the natives of such a country have peopled it with supernatural beings—that there the banshee haunts the ruined tower, the fairy dances in the glimpses of the moon—or that there the kelpie lingers at the swollen ford, or revels in the roar of the cataract.

Returning to our tiny bark, we re-cross the darkened loch, our oars at every stroke sending phosphorescent flashes along the seething waters. Landing at the cottage of our friend, we experience a sweet surprise. On the lawn, for the first time in our lives, we see

“The glow-worm’s lamp a-gleaming, love."

Often and often had we read in the inspired page of the poet of these little stars of the summer earth, but never previously had we seen their lamps of paley gold upon the dewy green. It was a new sensation. We had heard of Americans, on coming to the old country, falling down in adoration almost to the primrose, the daisy, or some of our common flowers — familar in name, but strangers to the eye—or listening with a rapture too deep for tears to the warblings of our common birds. Something like the same feeling must have thrilled through our heart when, on the dusky side of Lochgoil, the taper of the glow-worm for the first time beamed upon our admiring eye. Like a little child, we gathered the glowing treasures, and caged them till daylight should reveal the mystery. The result may be given by Charlotte Smith—

"When, on some balmy breathing night of spring,
The happy child to whom the world is new,
Pursues the evening moth on mealy wing,
Or from the heathbell shakes the sparkling dew,
He sees before his inexperienced eye
The brilliant glow-worm like a meteor shine
On the turf bank; surprised and pleased, he cries,

"8tar of the dewy grass, I make thee mine; ’
Then, ere he sleeps, collects the moistened flower,
And bids soft leaves his glittering prize enfold.
And dreams that fairy lumps illume his bower;
But, in the morning, shudders to behold
His shining treasure viewless with the dust
He fades the world’s bright joys to cold and blank disgust**

Morning among the mountains I Arising from our dreamless slumber, how calm, quiet, and beautiful is the scenery which greets our opening eyes! The roseate smile of the pew-born day beams warmly on the swelling heights, and lends a joyous radiance to the swelling slopes and the grim old peaks of the everlasting hills. Shadows still linger in the comes and the glens, as if the "skreich o’ day*—the earliest dawn—still clung reluctant to depart from their silent and solitary recesses. The loch, unruffled as a mirror, reflects in its azure depths the minutest and most majestic features of the surrounding landscape. There, in its moveless bosom, are the hills in magnitude reversed, there the gloomy woods of pine, the far-stretching coppice, and the glades of freshest green, dotted with woolly specks. In the water, as on the shore, we see the castle stern and gray, the curling reek from cot and hall, the skiffs stranded and afloat, and deeper, farther up and farther down, the blue and white of the all-embracing sky. *Tis a double picture—one real and material, the other vague, dreamy, and illusory—a glimpse of fairy-land. As if to deepen the charm, a sweet Sabbath calm rests over all, which saddens and subdues the soul to a perfect peace. Slowly and silently the white seabird sails in curves of grace athwart the sleeping waters— a spirit of beauty in an atmosphere of the most perfect purity. Looking upon a scene so fair, where is the heart that e’er could dream of sin, of sorrow, or of death? And yet these glittering waters have ere now blushed with the crimson of death, and these lone, unpeopled vales have had their echoes startled by the savage shouts of onslaught, and by the agonizing screams of perishing mortality. In the times of feud and foray, full many a fierce encounter has been witnessed in these dreary vales; and, if these vast44 heaven-kissing ”heights could but reveal the past, they might“ a tale unfold” which would send a chill to the warmest heart, and drive the coward colour from the boldest cheek. Even yet tradition tells of the descent of the "Athol men,” of women and children put to the sword, of burning cottages, of cattle driven away, of ravished fields, and of families hiding for life among the rocks and caves of the earth.

But this was in the "good old times”—times which. thank Heaven, are long passed away. Now we can take our raid among the glens, and under the mountain shadows, without fear of the cateran or of the hostile clan. So here is our machine, and here our provender for the day, and here our genial peace-loving companions ready for an excursion amongst the wildest grandeur of the vicinity. Away we whirl into the spacious bosom of Glengoil. The loch is soon left behind, and passing through the woods and crossing the foaming stream, we are fairly environed by the hills. The glen of the Goil, down which a living water of the same name meanders in wildest freedom, is a spacious amphitheatre, level at the bottom, and girt with swelling ridges of various elevation. One could almost fancy, from the basin-like bosom of the vale, that at some former period the blue waters of the adjacent lake had extended their dominion throughout its entire length. If this was the case, however, it must have been long, long ago. For the sheep and cattle of “ the natives ” have for ages pastured on its fertile meads, and the wild flowers have grown in richest profusion along its scented borders. As we pass, the wild rose blushes an odorous greeting amidst its rustling leaves of green, while the foxglove nods a gentle recognition with its crest of purple “ dead man’s bells,” from every sunny, every shady nook. There is a perfect treasury, indeed, for the botanist in the solitary recesses of Glengoil; while the angler, the ornithologist, the entomologist, and we know not how many lists beside, might here find a superabundant provision for their several recreations.

Near the head of the glen, which, although of great beauty, is but of limited extent, our cicerone points out to us the ruins of a bothie or shieling upon the northern flank of the vale. The roof has fallen in; the walls are weatherworn and shattered; while a raven, as we pass, rises with a croak from the deserted habitation. ’Tis an eerie spot; bare, barren, and repulsive. One wonders, in looking at it, how any human being could have voluntarily chosen it as a place of residence. “It looks like a place,” we say, “on which a curse is lying; the scene of some foul and heart-harrowing transaction.” “And so it well may,” was the reply, “for there, within the narrow compass of these crumbling wallsy was perpetrated a most base and treacherous murder.” The particulars may be briefly given. Mary Dhu was the daughter of a shepherd; a solitary tender of flocks in the bosom of Glengoil. Far from companionship of her own age, she grew up a thing of beauty and of innocence. Alike unknowing and unknown, she grew from childhood unto the riper condition of woman. Even in the desert the wild flower attracts the wandering bee; and lonely, indeed, must be the cottage in which a lovely maiden has her home, towards which the foot of a lover will not find its way. A sweetheart sought the sequestered shieling of Mary Dhu—sought it, and won the unsuspecting heart of its simple occupant. There was sunshine then in the shady place. Love, the source of so many joys, of so many sorrows, seemed like light from heaven to the guileless lassie of the glen. Mary loved not wisely, but too well; she became the prey of a heartless and most subtle villain. The usual consequence ensued; the snood was lost, and Mary was at the mercy of a knave. On her knees she prayed to be saved from shame, and that the old folk might be spared the sorrow and the disgrace of a wanton daughter. One Sabbath-day, when the heads of the house were absent at church, the lover of Mary Dhu came across the hills to that lonely shieling. What passed between them is known to Heaven alone. In the gloaming her father and mother arrived at their solitary home. There was no wreath of blue smoke curling over the lowly roof— no gleam of ruddy light smiling a welcome in the narrow pane. The unhoused cattle were clustered around the door, and the eerie howl of the watch-dog sounded mournfully in the breeze. “Gude help me! there’s something surely wrong wi* Mary,” says the anxious mother, “or things wadna be this unco gate.” “Nonsense,” quoth the old man. though his heart also beat hard in his manly breast—“nonsense, the lassie*"ha’e fa’n asleep in weariness for our return.” Even their worst fears, however, were exceeded by the reality. On entering they found their lovely and affectionate Mary, the light of their home and of their hearts, cold and stiff upon the floor—her snowy throat gashed from ear to ear, and her raven locks clotted in a pool of blood. Over the subsequent scene we shall let the curtain fall. Our pen is powerless to depict such a crushing grief. Under the sycamore of the auld kirkyard lies the flower of Glengoil; and there also lie her father and mother—a family united in death. The murderer, for aught we know, still walks the earth. Murder, despite the proverb, will sometimes hide; and although suspicion, strong almost as certainty, pointed her finger at the villain, there was not sufficient legal proof to bring him to the fate he merited. He was left alone with his conscience; and the home which he harried became the prey of the winds and the rain. There it moulders, a melancholy monument of guilt—the one dreary and desolate spot in this otherwise beautiful glen.

While our tale is a-telling, however, our vehicle keeps steadily on its way. Passing the sequestered farmhouse of Pole, which is finely situated at the head of Glengoil, and crossing an adjacent ridge, we are soon at the picturesque entrance of the celebrated “Hell’s Glen.” Skirting in frightful proximity a wild and wooded steep, far down at the base of which a brawling torrent is fretting and foaming amidst rocks and boulders, now roaring in fiercest fury over some jutting crag, and anon dashing as if in the pride of power into some yawning chasm which bubbles, and seethes, and moans, as if in never-ending torture. If ever there were kelpies in Scottish waters this must have been their favourite dwelling-place. Looking over, one shudders at the prospect of this awful gulf. Our friend, the coachman between Lochgoilhead and St. Catherine’s—a wicked wag—sometimes tries the faith of his Cockney passengers at this point. Stopping his vehicle on the brink of the precipice, he gravely inform^ the awe-stricken tourists that once or twice in a season he takes a canter down for the purpose of letting the sight-seers understand the mysteries of Highland coachmanship. "God bless me,” says an old lady, "you are surely not in earnest.” “Perfectly sincere, I assure you, ma’am,” replies the imperturbable Jehu; u but never unless on the condition that all the passengers are quite agreeable to the performance of the exploit.” “Then for the love of God don’t do it this time,” shrieks the terrified dame, "and here’s haif-a-crown for you, my good man.” "All right,” says coachee, pocketing the tin, and giving the whip a smart crack, they are in a few moments out of the “Jaws of Hell”

There are two glens which rejoice in the infernal prefix, a greater and a less. The latter, a savage-looking gorge, turns off to the left, and is traversed by the road from Lochgoilhead to St Catherine’s and Inverary. By this route we shall return, after a spacious circuit, to Lochgoil. In the meantime our way is through the greater valley of Hell, which stretches away in a northerly direction. It is a scene of wild and soul-subduing grandeur. On either hand majestic mountain ranges heave their shagged heads on high, while their huge sides are scarred every here and there with gloomy glens and ravines, down which the high-born streams are ever leaping in foamy glee, and filling the solitude with strange and eerie voices. Down the rude bosom of the glen, also, a fierce streamlet for ever dashes on, over linns and pools and water-worn gullies, which indicate, as with natural hieroglyphics, a wild story of long-continucd floods. Fantastic indeed are the freaks which that hurrying torrent has played along its fretted and ever-varying channel.

"Amidst this vast tremendous solitude,
Where nought is heard except the wild wind’s sigh,
Or savasre raven's deep and hollow cry,
With awful thought the spirit is imbued.

Around—around for many a weary mile
Toe alpine masses stretch; the heavy cloud
C|eaves round their brows, concealing with
Its shroud Bleak, barren rocks, unthawed by summer's smile.

Nought but the desert mountains and lone sky
Are here—birds sing not, and the wandering bee
Searches for flowers in vain; nor shrub, nor tree,

Nor human habitation greets the eye
Of heart-struck pilgrim; while all around him lie
Silence and desolation; what is he?”

“Nor human habitation,” from the entrance of the glen to its termination at Benlyon, not a single wreath of smoke greets the eye of the wanderer; not a single human form, save, perhaps, that of a passing shepherd, gladdens his eye. All is dreary, dull, and desolate, as if the home of man had never been here; yet it was not so. Half a century since, as people yet living can testify, there were at least a hundred families living in the glen, as their fathers had done from time immemorial. You may still see their ruined homes covered with lichen and moss, and crumbling in bIow decay upon the mountain side, dreary records of what has been. But there no more the blazing hearth shall burn—no more shall the wearied stranger find hospitable welcome there. The Highland lairds—and an accursed race they have ever been—preferred sheep to men, dumb creatures to their own flesh and blood, and they hounded—like beagles as they were—their kinsmen from their ancient homes, from the homes which, by every right, were their own inalienable property. The Celt was no slavish tenant of his chief-—no leaseholder at will—but a privileged shareholder in the possessions of the clan, and although subordinate in the field, in times of peace, a free and independent man. But the Sassenach crept upon the territory of the Gael, and the love of gold severed the ancient ties which bound the clan even as a family (as the word imports) one to another. The Highlanders were evicted in thousands, and over all the mountain land scenes were enacted which, even yet, make the blood run cold, and the curse start venomous to the lip. Well, well, they are perhaps better away—better in the Canadas, or in our own towns, than struggling with an ungrateful nature in these beautiful but barren glens. Still the thing was foully done; and the Highland lairds—those shabby incarnations of pride and poverty—may yet have their reward.

“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
"Where wealth accumulates and men decay.
Princes and lords may flourish or may fade—
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied."

As we thread the mazes of the glen, a frown suddenly gathers on the mountain peaks; for the day is composed of

“That beautiful, uncertain weather.
When gloom and glory meet together."

Deeper and more deep grows the shadow; the mists in whirling wreaths are rolling down the steeps: while there is a kind of darkness visible in the deep corries and glens which is almost frightful to contemplate. We can see the wheatear, that weird wilding of the lonely waste, hastening to the sheltering heap of stones, and the stonechat flitting uneasily among the quivering leaves of the marsh myrtle, as if they were already conscious of a coming storm. Down at length comes the rain; and never speak of rain, we prithee, until thou hast experienced, as we full oft have done, the dense, drenching deluge which the mountain peaks occasionally draw downward from the weeping skies. On we go in the rain, however; and at every turn some fresh glimpse of sublimity bursts upon our gaze—a sublimity all the more impressive for the lurid shadow of the storm. At length the head of the glen is attained, and turning to the right, near the vast base of Benlyon, we are ushered into the presence of Ben Arthur, while, stretching away to his very feet, lies the vast gorge of Glencroe. The Cobbler retains his misty bonnet for a time, and is only imperfectly visible; but the glen, at one rich sweep, is seen through all its extent. The streamlet far below is seen turning and twining in its channel, as if in imitation of the living convolutions of a gigantic snake; while the pathway pursues a parallel, but less tortuous course along the northern side of the valley. Our point of view is dose to the famous "Rest-and-be-Thankful ” stone, erected to commemorate the formation of this portion of the road by the 22nd Regiment. The period when this arduous operation was performed was immediately subsequent to the rising in 1745. On the defeat of the Highlanders, and for the purpose of effecting their complete subjugation, the Government resolved to open up the country by means of good military roads. This politic measure was entrusted to Gen. Wade, who seems to have executed his difficult commission in the most able manner, and to the utter astonishment of the natives, who are represented in after times as exclaiming—

“Had you seen these roads before they were made
You would lift up your hands and bless General Wade.”

A new stone has recently been erected in room of the old one, which was much defaced, and, strange to say, in the new inscription the honour of making the road alluded to is ascribed to the 93rd instead of the 22nd Regiment. We need scarcely remark, that for many a year after the days of General Wade there was no such thing as a 93rd Regiment in the British service. In fact, it is of comparatively recent origin. This is a favourite resting-place for those who have climbed the magnificent but laborious ascent of Glencroe. Here they can pause, and, looking back, scan at one comprehensive glapce what they have perhaps taken hours to examine in detail. The poet Wordsworth penned the following sonnet on “Rcst-and-be-Thankful:”

“Doubling and doubling, with laborious walk,
Who that at length has gained the wished for height,
Tills brief, this simple, wayside call can slight,
And rest not thankful? Whether cheered by talk
With some loved friend, or by the unseen hawk
Whistling to clouds and sky-born streams, that shine
At the sun's outbreak, as with light divine,

Ere they descend to nourish root and stalk
Of valley flowers. Nor while the limbs repose,
Will we furjret that, as the fowl can keep
Absolute stillness, poised aloft in air,
And fishes Iront unmoved the torrent’s sweep—
So may the soul, through powers that faith bestow.
Win rest, and ease, and peace, with bliss that angels share."

Such were the musings of the wise man of the lakes while resting for a brief space in this secluded but commanding spot. “Streams that shine at the sun’s outbreak” is a beautiful image, and see how very truthful it is, for even as we speak the clouds are melting away; the sun comes struggling through the haze, and the grand old mountains slowly emerging from the rain are glittering as in coats of shining mail, while the streams, which after the storm are countless, are leaping down the steeps in a radiance as of pure gold. Ben Arthur, as we turn to depart, clears his scarred and shattered brow as if to bid us a kind farewell, while the long meandering streamlet of the glen is flashing far away a lengthened maze of loveliest living light. Though yet untrodden by our devious foot, Glencroe! thou art to our heart a familiar picture, and in the hidden chambers of our memory this parting glimpse of thy silent summer beauty shall be a cherished dream.

Our course is now a downward one, and the landscape, as we descend, waxes gradually less wild and romantic in its character. Passing a solitary mountain tarn, called Loch Restal, and keeping a direction nearly parallel to a sportive Highland stream, to which it gives birth, we soon find ourselves dashing rapidly adown the green pastoral valley of Glenkinlas. In any other place this spacious mountain gorge—with its far-swelling slopes, its avalanches of stone and rock, its frequent ravines and water-courses, and its scattered tufts of wood—would have been reckoned peculiarly grand and impressive; but, seeing it as we do with the crushing remembrances of Glencroe and Hell’s Glen fresh upon our minds, it seems a place of comparatively mild beauty. There are many fertile slopes and meadows here, but, as in so many other Highland valleys, there are no people—

“Like the dew from the mountain,
The foam from the river.
Like the bubble from the fountain,
They’re gone, and for ever."

Mile after mile is passed; but, save in one solitary instance where there is a shepherd’s hut, and where we are regaled 1rith cakes and milk, there is no human habitation in that magnificent glen. A few scattered flocks of sheep, and a few herds of moorland cattle, may be seen here and there, but all besides is a lifeless and dreary solitude.

Towards the opening of Glenfinlas, and where its waters find their way into Lochfine, are the mansion and beautiful grounds of Ardkinlas—the seat of a family named Callender. Having put up our beast at the adjoining inn of Cairndow, and attended somewhat to the cravings of the inner man, rendered peculiarly keen by the mountain air, we take a stroll through the pleasant policies of Ardkinlas. They are embosomed in a profusion of wood, in belts and clumps, and individual specimens of the most stately proportions. There are old lawns of the most velvetty pasture, dotted with oaks, and elms, and beeches, of greatest beauty. There are gardens of richest luxuriance, replete with fruits and flowers; bosky banks, where the wild blossoms love to dwell, and the fern holds forth her freshest plumes, streamlets that linger and murmur amidst the leafy shadows as if loath to depart; and one of the loveliest little artificial lakes that ever gladdened the eye of a man of taste. It is girt with verdure to the very lip—while shrubs and flowers are finely strewn around, and reflected as in a perfect mirror on the glassy waters. We have seen nothing of the kind previously of such exquisite design, or productive of such a sweet fairylike effect. The mansion of Ardkinlas, a structure of modern erection, is a plain but spacious and elegant edifice, situated on a green lawn overlooking Lochfine, which is here a beautiful estuary of about half-a-mile in width. A former mansion was burned some years ago by the carelessness, it is said, of some workmen who had been employed making repairs. Whether this was what has been called the old Castle of Ardkinlas we had no means of ascertaining. If so, it has been described as a place of some strength and antiquity. While rambling about the grounds we were struck with the giant proportions of a fine Spanish chestnut, which, on measurement, we find to be 19$ feet round the crown at the root, and 14 feet at four feet above the ground. Still more remarkable, however, was a row of majestic yews, which we found near the margin of the Kinlas. These, from their size, are evidently of great age, while the branched are contorted, twisted, and jerked about in the most fantastic manner imaginable. A more ridiculous, and yet at the same time, a more stately old tree than the principal individual of the group, is not, we are persuaded, to be found in all the woods of Scotland. This grim old fellow measures 17 feet round the trunk at four feet above the ground, while the span of his branches—some of which would make huge trees themselves—is not less than 73 feet. Taking off our hats to the sylvan giant, however, we must now bid him adieu. The sun is westering fast, and we have yet a longish drive to Lochgoil. Starting on our return, we skirt the far-spreading policies of Ardkinlas, and leaving them gradually behind, we begin to ascend the ridge which separates the valley of Lochfine from the gorge of the lesser Hell’s Glen. This is a pretty stiff speel, as the highest point to be scaled by the road is about 2,400 feet above the level of the sea. With many a turn, and many a panting pause, we gradually get up in the world, and, at every new point of elevation, are rewarded by a rich extension of prospect.

From the summit the view is extensive and beautiful in the extreme. Looking over the intervening slopes, we have Lochfine outspread before us, dotted with fishing-boats, and glittering in the afternoon sun. On the further shore the Castle of Dunderaw rises proudly over the beach, with its reminiscences of other years; while still more distant, yet still most clearly visible, is the town of Inverary, and the conical peak of Duniquoich. A tempestuous wilderness of grim and hoary mountains forms the horizon— the lofty shoulders and crest of the mighty Bencruachan towering proudly over all. Such a picture—so extensive, 60 varied in its features withal, and so wildly beautiful— •would of itself abundantly reward the journey of a long summer day.

We are now careering with frightful velocity down hill, and into the very bosom of “ Hell’s Glen.” Unaccustomed as we are to such break-neck roads, we confess to a little nervousness as we are whirling so rapidly on the very ledges, as it were, of the adjacent precipices. Our driver is a canny hand, however, and manages the ribbons to admiration. As the glen deepens it waxes more wildly romantic. Huge cliffs, fretted with peaks and angry projections, rise abruptly on either hand, and seem to threaten destruction to all below. One terrible cataract of jagged masses, which actually seems on the verge of rolling down, is called "the Devil’s Teeth,” and certain wicked low country wag3 assert that his sooty majesty broke them all here in a vain and unprofitable attempt to speak the Gaelic. More than Clooty, we suspect, have found the tongue of the Gael to abound in jawbreakers.

Nearly under the Satanic teeth there is a delicious little well—cold as ice, and clear as crystal—a very treasure to the weary and thirsty traveller. Alighting from our machine, and crossing the intervening streamlet by a tiny bridge of stone, we and our companions are soon seated by the precious spring which bubbles beautifully from the base of the rugged hill. Cup after cup goes sparkling round, with perhaps a pungent drop or two to kill the animalculae. The water is none the less refreshing for the infusion, we trow, nor do the sandwiches commend themselves one whit the less for the whet or the wash-down with which they are accompanied. Ay, a blessing be with thee, thou well of the desert, thou gladdener of the pilgrim’s eye, and thou soother of his parched and burning lips. May the wild flowers haunt thee ever as they do now; spring come to thee with the primrose and the violet; summer with the wilding rose and that glowing saxfrage of golden hue, which is even now glittering on thy verge. May autumn linger to the latest ere she lays her searing finger on the verdant fringe with which thou art girt; and winter—the surly, but not the unkind—forbear to fetter in his icy chains thy ever-dancing waters. So a parting cup unto thee, and a sweet farewell.

Remounting, we pursue our homeward way. After a short interval we find ourselves once more within the precincts of Glengoil, retracing our pathway of the morning. Ere we reach the hospitable sanctum of our friend, gloaming has begun to thicken, and the mists to gather on the mountain tops. As we are retiring to rest for the night the glow-worms are lighting their fairy lamps upon the lawn, and the crescent moon—u a silver bow new bent in heaven ” —is sending a shaft of golden radiance over the quivering bosom of the lake. If beauty could keep us awake, we should have little sleep to-night; but wearied nature presses for repose, so friends, good nightI

[Note.—Ardkinlas has a kind of indirect association with one of the darkest events in Scottish history—the massacre of Glencoe. It will be remembered that the chief of the devoted clan was somewhat late of giving in his adhesion to the Government, and taking the necessary oaths. The 31st of December, 1691, was the last day on which submission could be accepted. By that time all the discontented chieftains save one had signified their compliance with thn demands of the ruling party, and had sworn fealty to the government of William and Mnry. Macdonald of Glencoe, alone—whether from a feeling of pride or from ignorance of the consequences is not known—had not bent the knee when the last day of grace arrived. On that day, however, he appeared at Fort-Willlam. accompanied by his leading vassals, and prepared to take the oaths. To his infinite consternation there was no person in the locality empowered to administer them. The governor was not a magistrate, and none but a magistrate had the necessary authority. A sense of the danger which he had incurred by his delay Hashed upon him, and, with a letter from the governor, he rushed off towards Inverary, for the purpose of laying his case before Sir Colin Campbell of Ardkinlas, who then held the office of Sheriff of tire county. It was the dead of winter. The hills were wrapt in clouds, and the glens were choked up with snow. Although his own house lay near the road, Macdonald stopped not for a moment, but hastened on his way. Owing to the bad state of the roads, the shortness of the days, and the misty weather which prevailed, it was the 6th day of January before he reached his destination at Ardkinlas. We can well fancy his trepidation as he may have passed under the old yews referred to in p. 326 (for there they must have been for centuries previously), and wended his way to the neighbouring portal of the Sheriff. Ardkinlas hesitated, under the circumstances, to administer the oath. His power, he said, was limited by the Royal Proclamation to the 31st of December. Overcome by the earnest entreaties of the old man, however, he at length consented. The oath was administered, and a statement was drawn up and transmitted to Edinburgh, explaining the circumstances of the case. With a comparatively light heart Macdonald returned from Ardkinlas to his native Glen, where ho doubtless hoped to enjoy the protection which he had earned by his obedience to the Royal commands. How dreadfully he was mistaken Is too well known to every student of Scottish history. Sir Colin Campbell acted in good faith; but at head quarters the crafty Earl of Stair, the selfish Marquis of Breadalbane, and the double-dealing Argyle, represented matters in the worst possible light The destruction of the unhappy Macdonalds was consequently determined on, and the end was. that the wild and dreary Glen which they and their fathers had for ages inherited, became ere long the scene of a tragedy almost unparalleled for atrocity in the records of crime. There is many a bloody stain upon the pages of Scottish story, but that “damned spot” retains its foul pre-eminence as the most deep, dark, and diabolical.


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