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Rambles Round Glasgow
Eaglesham and Lochgoin


The people of Scotland unquestionably owe a deep debt of gratitude to their Covenanting forefathers; to those brave men who, in defiance of a persecuting government, nobly, and ultimately with entire success, asserted their right to worship the God of their fathers according to the dictates of their individual consciences. Narrow-mindedness, bigotry, and superstition—the errors of the age in which they lived— to a certain extent, it may be admitted, existed among them; but it is unquestionable that it was to their stubborn and long-continued resistance to the aggressions of a dissolute and overbearing court that we are, in a great measure, indebted for the civil and religious liberty which, happily, we are now privileged to enjoy. It has latterly become fashionable in certain literary circles to underrate the character and services of these hardy and perhaps somewhat rude pioneers of spiritual freedom. Scott, in his Old Mortality, and Tales of a Grandfather, has rendered them but a scanty measure of justice; while in the Lays of the Cavalien, a recent poetical publication of merit, the heartless mercenary, Claverhouse, and his merciless minions are exhibited as models of excellence; whereas rebel and traitor are the best names which the writer has to bestow on his Covenanting countrymen. Blind loyalty to a crowned rake finds, it would seem, more favour with such parties than steadfast and honest adherence to principle. It is satisfactory to know, however, that, despite these attempts to throw a halo of false sentiment around their persecutors, the memory of the Covenanters is still fresh and unfaded in the hearts of the Scottish people. Old Mortality is at rest with his fathers. The clink of the venerable man’s renovating hammer is no longer heard on the .lonely moor, or in the green church-yard where the martyrs, after "life’s fitful fever, sleep secure;" but the homely inscriptions on their memorial stones are still religiously preserved from the effacing influences of time, and the tale of their sufferings, their struggles, and their triumphs, is still heard at the cottage-hearth. As the poet has well said, though

"The martyr’s hill ‘s forsaken
In simmer’s dusk sae calm,
And there’s nae gathering now, lassie,
To sing the e’ening psalm;
Yet the martyr’s grave will rise, lassie,
Aboon the warrior’s cairn,
Though the martyr sound may sleep, lassie,
Aaeath the waving fern."

Among the haunts of the Covenanters there are few which are more interesting, or which are more frequently visited, than the lonely farm-house of Lochgoin, situated in the moorlands of Fenwick, some fourteen or fifteen miles to the south-west of Glasgow. In a pilgrimage

O’er moors end mosses mony, O,"

to this humble and sequestered domicile, which we have long desired to visit, we now entreat, in imagination, at least, the company of our gentle readers.

At an early hour on a fine morning of August we bid adieu to the city, and proceed, by way of Cathcart, towards Eaglesham. The newly arisen sun is shining brightly over the Cathkin Braes, while

"llka blade o’ grass wi' its ain drap o’ dew"

is radiant with tints that might well "pale the ineffectual fires" of the overly-vaunted Koh-i-noor; and the webs of the field-spider, spread on the green hedgerows, and beaded with the tears of the bygone night, would take the shine, we have no doubt, out of Queen Isabella’s much talked of, and richly begemmed pair of bracelets. The luxuriant wheat, a perfect wall of bread, with the first faint russet tinge of autumn, is waving on the fertile fields, and contrasting sweetly with the fresher verdure of the oat and the silken awns of the bearded bere. The potato ridges are blooming as if such a thing as the destructive aphis had never existed; while the bean, not yet denuded of its flowers, lends a honeyed fragrance to the passing winds. Every now and again a country girl with her sour-milk cart passes onward to the thirsty city; or "gangrel bodies," such as wandering dealers in dew, packmen, and notaries of the gaberlunzie profession, may be observed commencing their daily rounds among the scattered farms and villages. It is really astonishing to witness the numbers of these poor creatures who daily issue from our wynds and vennels to pick up a precarious living beyond the police boundaries, partly by charity and partly by the disposal of some humble description of merchandise. One-half the world in reality does not know, and perhaps does not much care, by what a variety of shifts the other half manages to gain its meagre subsistence.

At a distance of some five or six miles from Glasgow we pass the villages of Clarkston and Busby; the former a small cluster of houses situated at the junction of four roads, one of which was formerly the way from our city to Kilmarnock. The formation of the new line by Pollokshaws and Newton of Mearns has, however, long diverted the traffic from this route. There is nothing of particular note in or about the village to interest or attract the rambler. Busby lies a short distance to the east, on the banks of the Cart, which are here of the most picturesque description. It is of considerable extent, the population being upwards of one thousand in number, and principally engaged in manufacturing operations. At the north end of the village, in a deep ravine, is an extensive cotton-spinning establishment, belonging to Messrs. Crum & Co.; while about half-a-mile farther up the stream are the printworks of Messrs. Inglis & Wakefield. The houses in the village are generally of a superior description, and the place altogether has a comfortable and tidy appearance. There is a handsome dissenting meeting-house in the vicinity, and we understand that there are also several seminaries for the education of the rising generation. Busby, singularly enough, seems to form the junction-point of three parishes, part of it being situated in Mearns, part in East Kilbride, and a portion in Carmunnock, the church of which, being the most convenient, is generally attended by that section of the inhabitants who adhere to the national Establishment. The country around Busby is of the most beautiful description, being composed of gentle pastoral undulations and fertile slopes, while the steep winding banks of the Cart, with their rich garniture of woods, present many scenes which might well please the eye of the poet or the painter.

Leaving Busby and proceeding to the southward, at the distance of about a mile, according to our reckoning, we arrive at Waterfoot, where, the Earn, a fine stream which comes meandering westward from the Mearns Moor, joins the Cart. A more lovely spot than that in which the union of the Cart and the Earn is thus consummated it would be difficult indeed to imagine. With Moore we might well say,—

"There is not in this wide world a valley so sweet,
As the vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;"

but brightness is not, by any means, a characteristic of either stream. They are both wanderers of the moors, with a rich brown tinge in their bosoms that suggests ideas of liquid amber, or a pretty strong infusion of tea. Immediately after the "meeting of the waters," they tumble lovingly together down a rocky steep that churns them into a foamy whiteness, which rivals in fairness the breasts of the ducks and geese that are swimming gracefully about in the dancing eddies. There are broken grounds and trees, and cottages and bridges, and an old mill, with picturesque wheel, strewn about in that beautiful confusion which the artist so dearly loves, and which he so often transfers to his canvas. It is just the very sort of place, in short, where a langsyne poet would have expected to meet a water-kelpie, and where a modern naturalist, with greater probability of success, we dare say, would linger lovingly in the hope of discovering the lonely water-ouzel.

The Earn, (what a sweet name!) as some of our readers will perhaps remember, was the stream of the celebrated Christopher North’s boyhood. On its banks he first donned his world-famous sporting-jacket. While living in the Mearns manse, as he did for several happy years, he could almost hear its murmuring voice in his bed-chamber, inviting him to its margin; "full many a time and oft," we need not doubt, he listened to the call of the charmer, and leaving books and bookish cares behind, stole forth, a truant Izaak Walton, to angle for the rich red-speckled trout in its brown waters. The lonely angle catches more than fish. He may not fill his creel, but he can hardly avoid filling his soul with sweet memories. A burn-side is indeed "a joy for ever."

"The muse nae poet ever find her.
Till by himsel' he learned to wander
Adown some trottin' burn's meander,
And no think lang."

Nay, we feel persuaded that even the most prosaic of mortals, if put on a proper regimen of burn-side wandering, might, by the benign influence of the "cold water cure," be transformed, if not into a veritable poet—for it seems he is born, not made—at least into a something infinitely superior to the mere worldling.

But we must for the present bid adieu to the Earn and proceed on our way to Eaglesham. We shall again meet the stream, however, and find it nursing another genius, whose name also our country will "not willingly let die." From Waterfoot to Eaglesham—a distance of some three miles—the country becomes by gentle degrees more elevated. The road, which is straight almost as an arrow’s flight, consequently presents what, in the language of the rail, is denominated "a pretty steep gradient." A marked change in the productive capabilities of the soil is also observable here as the rambler passes along. From a richly agricultural, it gradually assumes a decidedly pastoral character. The yellowing wheat disappears altogether, and we find instead a predominance of somewhat cold-looking pasture lands, relieved, at considerable intervals, with patches of oats, barley, and potatoes—the former much greener and thinner than in the warm lowlands which we are leaving behind. A straight road is seldom much to our liking; but, although somewhat stiff, the walk from Waterfoot to Eaglesham is really one of a very pleasant description. The way is fringed on either side by some of our sweetest wild flowers, while the surface of the country is of a fine undulating nature, with every here and there a picturesque farm-steading surrounded with its straggling belt of trees. It is somewhat provoking, however, to the sentimental traveller, while he is thus hedged into a right onward path, to see the Cart, a little to the left of him, at "its own sweet will," turning and winding with ever - varying curve amidst its banks of freshest green. What a contrast it presents in its playful gambollings here to its staid and sober self "alike, but oh! how different"—in the lower part of its course! It is really worth the while of our "Seestu" friends to make a pilgrimage to this district for the express purpose of witnessing the boyhood of their native stream. Not crabbed age and youth are more essentially opposite in their characters. The dull, sluggish, and withal filthy waters, which wash the shipping at the classic Sneddon, are here sportive, joyous, and pure, while every link and turn presents a new portraiture of sylvan or flowery loveliness. There is a deep moral in the contrast, which we have no doubt our sagacious readers will expiscate for themselves. Truth is said to have her habitation in a well; but the pensive observer will occasionally find her bathing in the rippled flow of the lonesome river.

The present village of Eaglesham is of comparatively modern origin—an ancient hamlet of the same name having been demolished in 1769 by Alexander, tenth Earl of Eglinton, to make way for it, he having some time previously drawn up a plan for its erection. It is consequently regular in its appearance, and consists principally of two lengthened rows of houses running from east to west, which are situated opposite each other on the sides of a kind of shallow valley or glen, in the face of a gentle declivity. At the upper end the rows of houses are 100, and at the lower 250 yards apart. Each house has a plot of garden-ground in its rear; while the space in front, down the middle of which a rapid streamlet gushes, is partly wooded and partly of a smooth sward, interspersed with trees, which forms the bleaching green and playground of the village. Between the rows at the lower end are situated a meal-mill, the Eglinton Arms Inn, and the parish school. Midway up, in a considerable hollow, lies the extensive establishment of the Eaglesham Spinning Company. Half-hidden from the eye, and with everything about them clean and orderly, these important works, contrary to what might have been expected, do not in the least detract from the rural aspect of the locality. The machinery is driven by an immense water-wheel of iron, about 45 feet in diameter, and of 50 horse-power. For the propulsion of this, 740 cubic feet of water per minute are required; yet so ingeniously is the fluid conducted to and from the wheel that it is neither heard nor seen within the walls of the factory.

At the south-east corner of the village is the parish church, a small octangular building of the most unpretending appearance. This structure was erected in 1790, on the site of a still more diminutive edifice of considerable antiquity, by Archibald, the eleventh Earl of Eglinton. It is surrounded by an extensive burying-ground, in which, with our usual penchant for "sermons in stones," we linger for some time, to the sad discomfiture of a pretty numerous flock of sheep which are nibbling the verdure from the grassy mounds of the dead. There are differences of taste no doubt, among men, but, for our part, we should really not like to have our mutton brought to us from the churchyard. We know one place where the field of graves is reserved for the minister’s cow, and we have more than once in our peregrinations come across a clerical pony meditating among the tombs; but, in truth, we think this custom of turning the fertilizing properties of decaying mortality into profit would be considerably "more honoured in the breach than the observance." Let the Eaglesham sexton endeavour to find perquisites without violating the amenities of the grave; as for the professional offenders we have alluded to, we shall not presume to interfere with their proceedings. As Burns has said, and as doubtless he knew to his cost,

"Corbies and clergy are a shot richt kittle."

There are a considerable number of old memorial stones in the Eaglesham burying-ground, but none which call for special remark, with the exception of a monument erected to the memory of two individuals who were put to death for their adherence to the Solemn League and Covenant, in the reign of the Second Charles. The structure is of comparatively recent erection, but the inscription is evidently old, and has probably been transcribed from a more ancient headstone. It is as follows:—

"Psalm cxil. 'The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance’

"Here lie Gabriel Thomson and Robert Lockhart, who were killed for owning the covenanted testimony, by a party of Highlanders and dragoons, under the command of Ardincaple, 1st May, 1885.

"Them men did search through moor and moss,
To find out all that had no pass;
These faithful witnesses were found,
And murdered upon the ground.
Their bodies in this grave do lie;
Their blood for vengeance yet doth cry;
This may a standing witness be
For Presbytery ‘gainst Prelacy."

Besides the parish church there are several other places of worship in Eaglesham. The inhabitants are principally weavers and factory workers; and as usual amongst a manufacturing population, considerable diversity of opinion prevails. Free Church, United Presbyterian, and Morisonian meeting-houses are pointed out to us, each having its own little knot of adherents; while there is a sprinkling of Roman Catholics, and also of those who, as our informant remarks, "care for none of these things."

Altogether, the village, both in respect to situation and arrangement is one of the most attractive that we have yet witnessed. It is indeed a pleasant habitation. The children, who in noisy groups are playing about as we pass, have a freshness and rosiness of complexion which the parents of the city might well look upon with envy; while the very weavers have a colour in their cheeks which tells of salutary sirs, and a not overly close attendance on the loom. This is accounted for by the circumstance that most of them have a patch of ground in the vicinity of the village, which they cultivate at spare hours, and which not only adds considerably to their domestic comfort, but administers to their bodily health by the out-door exercise which it induces. It is this combination of the manufacturing with the agricultural employments which, in general, renders the country weaver a more comfortable as well as a more robust and healthy individual than the webster of the town.

The barony of Eaglesham, which includes nearly the entire parish, was for many generations the property of the Montgomeries, who latterly became Earls of Eglinton. It came into their hands originally through a Robert de Montgomery, in the twelfth century. For two hundred years it continued the chief seat of this noble family, which has ever been honourably distinguished in the annals of our country. In the fourteenth century the baronies of Eglinton and Ardrossan were obtained by the marriage of John de Montgomery with Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir Hugh Eglinton, by a sister of Robert II., King of Scotland. This gentleman vanquished and took captive Harry Percy (the "Hotspur" of Shakspeare) at Otterbourne, and afterwards received a handsome sum by way of ransom for that gallant though unfortunate knight. Near Eaglesham the vestiges of an ancient castle are still pointed out, which is said to have been erected with the English gold obtained on that occasion. Some of our readers, we daresay, will remember the old ballad wherein the exploits of this doughty warrior are celebrated:-

"The Gordons good in English blood
They steeped their hose and shoon;
The Lyndsays flew like fire about,
Till all the fray was done.

"The Percy and Montgomerie met,
Of other they were richt fain,
They swakked swords until they swat,
And their red blude ran between.

"‘Yield thee, yield thee, Percy,’ he said,
‘Or I swear I’ll lay thee low!’
‘To whom shall I yield,’ said Earl Percy,
‘Since I see that it maim be so?’

‘As soon as he knew it was Montgomerie,
He stuck his sword-point in the ground;
But the Montgomerie was a courteous knight,
And quickly took him by the hand.

"This deed was done at Otterbourne
About the breaking of the day;
Earl Douglas was buried at the bracken bush,
And the Percy led captive away."

Sir Hugh Montgomery, the son of this hero, has also obtained a ballad immortality. Those who are familiar with "Chevy Chase," (and who is not?) will at once remember that this gallant knight was slain on that fatal field by an arrow from the bow of a stout English yeoman,—

"The gray goose-wing that was thereon
In his heart-blood was wet"

In our own day the Eaglesham estate has departed from the Montgomery family. It is now in possession of Allan Gilmour, Esq., a merchant prince of our own good city, one of a class which, by the peaceful conquests of industry and commerce, are, in modem times, gradually stepping into the shoes of the ancient lords of the soil.

After a little rest and needful refreshment at Eaglesham, we proceed towards Lochgoin, which is situated in a bleak moor, some four or five miles to the south-west, For about one-third of this distance there is an excellent country road, but after that the rambler must plunge into the bowels of the moorland, and trust very much to chance, or his own skill in regard to the cardinal points, as to whether he shall ever reach his destination. In some places there are faint traces of a footpath, but these are continually disappearing, or leading you astray. Sometimes into a brown moss-water burn, at others into a fine green spot that, siren-like, smiles in your face while luring you to wet feet. There are several extensive lochs or reservoirs in the moor. After passing in succession three of these, which are named respectively Ficketlaw Loch, Mid Loch, and Dunwan Loch—the latter of which, a broad sheet of water, supplies the Eaglesham mills—we fairly lose our reckoning. It is in vain that we endeavour to recover ourselves by observation of the sun, which is shining brilliantly in the zenith, so we resign the reins to fortune, and determine to enjoy the wild beauty of the scenery. We are surrounded by bleak hills and wide morasses, stretching far as the eye can reach. In the words of a poet who spent his boyhood here, we are encircled

"By hills and streams,
And melancholy deserts, where the sun
Saw, as he passed a shepherd only, here
And there, watching his little flock."

The wild cry of the curlew or the plover alone breaks the dreary silence, unless when the startled snipe springs from the rushy brink of a mossy pool, with a whirr and a shrill alarm-note, as the unwonted presence of man scares it from its solitary haunt. Yet Flora has her favours for the botanist even here. The snowy tufts of the canach wave gracefully in the breeze; the grass of Farnassus (Parnassia pulustris), with its beautiful corolla; and the bog asphodel (nartheciurts ossafragum), with their golden bloom, make the desert to rejoice Here also are the sun-dew (drosera rotundifolia), with its beads of pearl; the cinque-foil (commarum palustre), with its deep purple petals; and numerous other cultureless inhabitants of the untrodden wilds,—

"Born to blush unseen,
And waste their sweetness on the desert air."

While we are paying our devoirs to the goddess of scent and bloom, a stranger luckily heaves in sight, whom we at once hasten to meet. We have, he informs us, wandered considerably from the right track, which he points out; and at the same time describes certain landmarks, by observing which we shall be less likely to lose our course in future. He also gives us directions where we shall find a celebrated spring, the water of which he praises for all imaginable good qualities, and which he advises us by all means to visit. Taking leave of our obliging informant with a liberal outpouring of gratitude, we again proceed on our way, which, as formerly, lies

"O’er mosses, slaps, moor hags, and stiles."

We do not again lose ourselves, however, and soon arrive at the "Woofield well," to which we were so kindly directed, It is a tiny springlet, which bubbles out of a green bank, fringed with white-flowered water-cress, beneath a rocky declivity, near the east end of Lochgoin. Time out of mind, as we are informed, it has been a favourite rendezvous of the sportsmen on the Eaglesham moors. Nor do we wonder at the circumstance, for more limpid water or more intensely cold we certainly never tasted. It has apparently been designed by Nature as the scene of a pic-nic. Behind is the towering trap-rock; before is the dark placid waters of Lochgoin, unfretted by the shadow of bush or tree, with the dreary expanse of the moor and a perfect wilderness of hills in the distance. Puffing out our vasculum, which are starting we took the precaution to charge with a liberal allowance of provender, we set to work with an appetite which only a wanderer in such wilds can thoroughly appreciate while a teetotaller would be delighted to witness our frequent and deep potations of Nature’s own delicious brewing. It is questionable, however, whether he would sympathize altogether with our audible aspiration for a thimbleful of the forbidden dew at the termination of our repast. Be that as it may, it is something to our regret that the necessities of the locality enforce the iron rule of "touch not, taste not, handle not." A kenning of the creature would have formed such a treat in judicious combination with the almost gelid water!

We have scarce concluded our meal, al fresco, when we observe two lads from a neighbouring farm-house unmooring a boat on the loch below. One of them frankly accosts us, and offers us a passage, if we choose, to the west end of the water, a distance of perhaps two-thirds of a mile, where the farm of Lochgoin is situated. Closing with the offer, a very short period sees us gliding over the glassy surface of the lake to our destination.

The farm of Lochgoin is somewhat like an oasis in the dreary waste. Around the house are a few patches of oats and potatoes, with a small garden for kitchen vegetables and the hardier kinds of flowers. Fruit trees there are none, for the best of all reasons—they could not exist in such an exposed and barren situation. There are a few of our hardiest trees, however; but even these have a dwarfed and miserable appearance. For miles around stretches the wild moor-land, barren and desolate as it came from the hand of Nature, and the only practical use of which is as pasture for sheep and cattle. Some idea of the soil of this bleak Shetlandish locality may be formed from the fact that we find the farmers, as we pass, making hay on fields where the moisture, oozing from the ground, is from two to three inches in depth. The farm-steading of Lochgoin is a low range of houses, partly of recent erection and partly of considerable antiquity. The larger and most comfortable looking portion is devoted to the accommodation of cattle. The present occupant of Lochgoin is Mr. Thomas Howie, the descendant of a long line of ancestors, who have for many generations dwelt on the same spot, and who have been throughout honourably distinguished for their attachment to the cause of religious liberty. The founder of the family is said to have been one of the persecuted Waldenses, who in 1178 fled from his native land, and found a safe though solitary place of rest and peace at Loebgoin. The date of his arrival, with others indicating the various periods at which alterations and additions to the original tenement have been made, are carved on the lintel of the principal doorway. During the dark days of religious persecution,

"when the minister’s home was the mountain and wood,"

in the reign of Charles II., who was, in sad truth, no "merry Monarch" to Scotland, and that of his bigoted and priestridden brother James II., whom England flung from her like an unclean thing, Lochgoin formed a frequent asylum to those who had sacrificed their all for conscience’ sake, Cameron, Peden, and others, often found shelter under its hospitable though humble roof. For this the house was plundered not less than from ten to twelve times; while its inmates were as often driven to seek safety in the moors by the revengeful dragoons, who, by the way, it is some consolation to know, must have had considerable difficulty in finding their way on horseback to the place. The names of James Howie, the possessor of the farm, and that of his son, were also placed on the fugitives’ roll, and exposed on the church doors; while it appears from a proclamation, dated May 5, 1679, that they were both denounced as rebels and dangerous persons. Nevertheless, they continued firm to their principles, and although exposed to great hardships and perils both survived until after the Revolution. John Howie, father of the present possessor, was the author of the Scott Worthies, a work which contains biographical sketches of the leading personages who struggled and died for the covenanted work of Reformation in those times, and which has obtained an almost unrivalled popularity in the rural districts of Scotland.

At the time of our visit Mr. Howie is in the fields busy with his haymaking, but we are received in the most kindly manner by the goodwife, who at once proceeds to show us certain relics of the Covenanters, which have been religiously preserved in the family. These are the Bible and sword of Captain John Paton, one of the worthies who fought for his principles at Pentland and Bothwell Bridge, and who was afterwards executed at Edinburgh for his share in these transactions. The captain also served with the Covenanters against Montrose; and certain marvellous stories are told of his exploits with the sword in question, after his party had been routed at Kilsyth. In the memoir of him which is published in the Scott Worthies, the following extraordinary statement appears regarding his prowess on this unfortunate occasion

"Having made the best of his way through the enemy, he fell in with Colonels Hacket and Strachan. All three then rode off together, but they had not gone far till they were encountered by about fifteen of the enemy, all of whom they killed except two. when they had gone a little farther, they were attacked by about thirteen more, and of these they killed ten, so that only three of them made their escape. But upon the approach of about eleven Highlanders more, one of the colonels said in a familiar dialect, ‘Johnny, if thou dost not something now, we are an dead men.’ To him the Captain answered, ‘Fear not, for we will do what we can before we yield, or flee before thea’ They killed nine of them and put the rest to flight."

The Captain’s other feats, many of which are sufficiently wondrous, will be found recorded in the book alluded to. The sword is now rusty and time-worn, but even at its best it must have been a light blade, and all unlikely to do such deadly work. It is said at one time to have had a series of nicks on its edge, corresponding to the number of years during which the persecution lasted. These emblematic notches are not now visible. The Bible is dated 1652, and has the following inscription on the inside of one of the boards :—

"Captain John Paton’s Bible, which he gave to his wife from off the scaffold, when he was executed for the cause of Christ at Edinburgh, on the 5th of May, 1684. James Howie received it from the Captain’s son’s daughter’s husband, and gave it to John Howie, his nephew,"

Besides these interesting relics, we are shown the banner which waved above the heads of the Covenanters at the battle of Drumclog, when the bloody Claverhouse was sent to the right about by a handful of undisciplined peasants. It is of white linen, and has the figures of a Bible and crown, supported by the thistle, rudely traced on it with a reddish pigment, and the motto,

"Phinick for country and covenanted work of Reformation."

An old drum also, which beat the alarm on that memorable morning when the troopers hove in sight as the Covenanters were engaged in prayer on the lonely moor, is also placed in our hands, and we need scarcely say excites our deepest interest. An antiquary would be delighted with a collection of ancient silver coins which is in the possession of the family; and we cannot help picturing to ourselves the ecstasy which a Monkbarns might have felt had he been shown into the spence of Lochgoin, as we are, and permitted to examine the extensive assortment of old books which it contains. These were principally purchased, as we understand, by the author of the Scots Worthies, and many of them must have been of inestimable service to him for purposes of reference in the composition of that work. We pull out a number of them at random, and find them to be generally of a religious or historical character, and nearly all of venerable data One old Bible interests us considerably; it is of date 1599, and was "Printed by the deputies of Christopher Smart, printer to Queen Elizabeth." It is still in a good state of preservation, and contains a number of curious engravings, amongst which we observe a map wherein the geographical position of the garden of Eden is lucidly delineated. Altogether, we are highly gratified by our visit to this out-of-the-way nook; and we do not wonder that many hundreds annually, as we are informed is the case, should be attracted to its precincts. The wild beauty of the locality, the associations of an interesting nature which are entwined around it, and the venerable relics of the past which it contains, must ever render it a sacred spot in the eyes of those who sympathize with the trials and struggles of those brave men, from the darkness of whose sufferings has arisen for us the day-star of a brighter era. As we take leave of the obliging matron, and set out on our homeward way, we cannot help repeating the following lines from a genuine Scottish poet, which seem to us peculiarly applicable to the place:—

"And from that lonely rugged spot
Ascended rich and rare
The incense of the contrite heart,
The sacrifice of prayer;
And angels from the heights of heaven
Did look complacent down
On honoured heads that soon should wear
The martyr's glorious crown."

Before leaving Lochgoin, we may mention that the prospect from the vicinity of the house, looking towards the south and west, is of the most spacious and beautiful description, including within its range Loudon hill, near which the battle of Drumclog was fought, and an extensive portion of the Ayrshire coast, with Ailsa Craig and the picturesque mountains of Arran in the distance. The atmosphere is delightfully clear, and we consequently behold the land of Burns spread, as in a map, at our feet; while, on the blue sea beyond, the white sails are gleaming here and there like snowy specks of cloud on the summer sky. The motion of these fair children of the deep is of course imperceptible in the extreme distance, and to our gaze they seem

"As idle even as painted ships
Upon a painted ocean."

It is always monotonous and wearisome to retrace one’s steps on an excursion, and we determine, instead of returning by Eaglesham, to take a circuitous course, and to make our way home by Means. With this intention we strike across the moor in a northerly direction, towards the hill of Ballygeich. The way is rough enough in all conscience, and forcibly brings to our mind the exclamation of the Highlander on seeing the roads which General Wade had constructed through the wilds of his native country,—

"Bad you seen these roads before they were made,
You would hold up your hands and bless General Wade!"

The road from Lochgoin to Ballygeich is not yet made, and we would recommend any one who has a desire thoroughly to appreciate the benefits of modern road-making to try the walk from the one place to the other. The distance may be somewhere about two miles, and by dint of leaping, wading, and scrambling, we manage to get over them in rather more than an hour.

The hill of Ballygeieh is, with the exception of Mistilaw and the hill of Staik, the highest eminence in the county of Renfrew, being about 1,000 feet above the level of the sea. It is principally composed of the trap-rock prevalent in the district; but several specimens of barytes have been found in its vicinity, and a species of stone which bears extreme heat without renting, and has consequently been found well adapted for the construction of furnaces and ovens. It is also reported to contain silver and lead ores; but it must be admitted that nothing of the sort comes under our observation. The prospect from its summit, however, fully repays us for any disappointment which we may experience on this score. It indeed commands an extensive and beautiful series of landscapes, embracing many counties within its scope. On one hand are the moors of Fenwick, with the fertile woods and fields of Ayrshire, the giant rock of Ailsa, and the towering Goatfell in the distance; on the other, the rand basin and vale of Clyde, with Glasgow, Paisley, and countless other towns and hamlets in its capacious bosom, while a perfect wilderness of Bens rise proudly on the dim horizon. This was a favourite haunt of the author of The Course of Time, who was born and spent his early years in the vicinity. Here the youthful poet came full oft to feast his expanding soul with the elements of beauty and sublimity; and those who are familiar with his great poem will doubtless recollect that several of its most striking passages are evidently descriptive of the scenery which was here impressed upon his memory; We may mention, however, that in our admiration of the landscape here, we unfortunately dropt our vasculum, which, for the benefit of the non-initiated, we may explain to be a sort of japanned tin-canister, used by botanists for the convenient conveyance of their specimens. It has been our companion on many a flower-gathering excursion; and although of no great value in a pecuniary sense, we have a sort of affection for it, which makes us regret its loss considerably.

Leaving Ballygeich and proceeding in a north-west direction by Moorhouse, we soon, after crossing the Earn by a rustic bridge, arrive at the Glasgow and Kilmarnock road, about nine miles from the city. Being somewhat fagged with our devious wanderings, and evening drawing rapidly on, we make an effort and push smartly homeward. Including a few minutes’ rest at Newton-of-Mearns, we get over the distance in about two and a-half hours. Latterly, we must admit, the mile-stones, to our fancy, appear somewhat "lang o’ coming," but this is scarcely to be wondered at, when it is considered that our peregrinations must have extended, by a moderate computation, considerably over thirty miles.


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