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Rambles Round Glasgow
Partick and Kelvin Grove


THE finely wooded vale of the Kelvin, next to that of our own river, has long formed one of the most favourite haunts conveniently accessible to our citizens, many of whom, both old and young, we have no doubt, must find its name a talisman capable of exciting their sweetest langsyne memories. Our purpose on the present occasion is to notice, in our usual cursory manner, a few of the more remarkable objects and scenes which meet our gaze during a walk of a few miles, principally in the track of the Kelvin, immediately above its embouchure into the Clyde. Taking our start from the Pointhouse, on a fine day of October, we proceed leisurely towards Partick, which lies about half-a-mile to the northward. The air is as mild and genial as the vaunted Indian summer of the far west. Bright snowy masses float in the deep blue sky, and the sunlight has a rich golden tinge, that lends additional lustre to the many-tinted trees which, even in the absence of the slightest breath of wind, are dropping their seared and leafless foliage while the long rank grasses that fringe the margin of the water are fast assuming that dry skeleton aspect which, despite the spring-like temperature of the season, unerringly indicates that "the summer is past, the harvest is ended," and that the time of storms is at hand.

In the immediate vicinity of Partick, on the western bank of the Kelvin, until within the past few years, there stood a ruinous edifice of no great extent, which was supposed to have been erected as a country residence, at an early date, by one of the bishops of the opulent See of Glasgow. Around the spot a number of fine old trees were scattered, and the scene altogether was just such a one as a dreamy poet or painter would have loved to linger by, peopling the deserted walls with the forms of other days. The appearance of the venerable structure has been preserved by a loving pencil; and a goodly number of years ago a poem of considerable merit was addressed to it by some nameless bard in one of the local periodicals. The following verse of the production is all that we have been able to recover from the leaky memory of a friend who committed it to "heart" in his boyhood, and who thinks that it was in a number of the Bee or the Glasgow Magazine that he must have seen it originally:—

Lo, Partick Castle, drear and lone,
Stands like a silent looker-on,
Where Clyde and Kelvin meet;
The long rank grass waves o’er its walls;
No sound is heard within its halls,
Save noise of distant waterfalls,
Where children lave their feet"

The antiquity of this building, we may mention, has been recently denied, on the authority of certain papers preserved by a descendant of Mr. George Hutcheson, one of the brothers who founded the hospital of that name in the city, and who, according to these papers, also erected the house in question. One of the documents alluded to is a contract with William Miller, mason in Kilwinning, for the erection of the stonework of the aforesaid house, wherein the standard of measurement is pawkily stated to be according to the length of "ye said George’s am fate." In corroboration of this statement also we find in Hamilton of Wishaw’s description of Lanarkshire a passage to the following effect:—"Above this, where Kelvin falls into Clyde, is the house of Pertique, a well-built and convenient house, well planted with barren timber and large gardens, which are enclosed with stone walls, and which formerly belonged to George Hutcheson in Glasgow, but now to John Crawford of Myltoun." It would therefore seem that "the Castle," as it was generally called, was not in reality of so ancient a date as was traditionally supposed. It is certain, however, that the proud prelates of Glasgow had for many years a favourite rural residence in the vicinity of Partick; and nothing is more probable than that it was situated at this spot, which in those days must have been invested with a landscape beauty of no ordinary kind. The locality is now occupied by a dyework, while lengthened lines of street are shooting out rapidly in the vicinity, and will soon entirely cover the spot where once flourished the spacious gardens of Pertique.

The village of Partick is romantically situated on the banks of the Kelvin, which at this place rushes dinsomely over a rocky bottom, and is in several places dammed up by artificial barriers for the service of the extensive Corporation Mills. The channel also is here spanned by a time-honoured bridge, which commands a picturesque prospect of the old-fashioned little town, many of the houses of which are evidently of no recent date. It possesses, however, but few architectural features of a remarkable description. Partick altogether has a pleasant half-rural aspect, while the reputed salubrity of its air and its vicinity to the city has rendered it a favourite place of resort on holidays, and on the long summer evenings, with certain classes of our citizens. Numerous handsome villas and cottages also have recently been erected in its environs, principally by thriving business men from Glasgow, which lend it a peculiar air of prosperity and cheerfulness, while the inhabitants generally have an appearance of robust health, which contrasts favourably with that of our urban population.

The Mills of Partick, as is generally known, have for many years belonged to the Incorporation of Bakers in our city, to whom they were granted by the Regent Murray, after the victory of Langside. It is said the Glasgow "baxters" of that day, besides supplying his army with bread while it continued in the neighbourhood, actually sent an armed deputation of their number to assist the Regent in his encounter with the Queen’s forces. This party, it seems, did good service on the occasion, and materially aided in the overthrow of die unfortunate Queen’s adherents. On his return to the city after this decisive skirmish, Murray publicly expressed his gratitude to the bakers for the important services which they had rendered, when Mathew Fawside, the Deacon, who seems to have estimated properly the value of mere word gratitude, humbly suggested that a gift of the Crown mills at "Fertique," by way of acknowledgment, would be highly acceptable to the Incorporation. The Regent, who was naturally in high spirits at the time, acceded to the opportune request, and granted the mills to the sturdy craftsmen, in whose hands and those of their successors they have ever since remained. The establishments, however, have gone on gradually extending their productive powers, as the wants of the community have increased, until, in our own day, they have become of the most stately dimensions, while the Incorporation to whom they belong is one of the most wealthy in the city.

Leaving Partick by what is called the Byres Road, we now proceed, in a northerly direction, for a distance of about a mile, during which nothing calling for special remark comes within our observation, until we arrive at the Great Western Road, immediately in front of the entrance to the Botanic Gardens. We know of no place in the neighbourhood of Glasgow where the lover of nature can more profitably linger for a few hours than in the flowery recesses of this excellent establishment. "From the cedar which groweth on Lebanon to the hyssop on the wall," all kinds of plants are to be found congregated here. The student will find in its spacious grounds, or on the shelves of its tastefully arranged conservatories, innumerable specimens of the infinitely various vegetable families of the earth. At all times and seasons the attentive observer may find some "thing of beauty" here exhibiting its charms to the eye of day,—

"Whether the genial summer warms
To life and light,
Or winter howls in gusty storms
The long dark night."

The situation of these gardens is exceedingly well adapted for horticultural purposes, and embraces a variety of fertile slopes, with a fine southern exposure, tastefully arranged into green lawns, which are elegantly intersected by numerous parterres and flower-bordered walks. The grounds are screened on all sides by stripes of planting, composed of the principal trees and shrubs of our country, indigenous and exotic. At the base of the hill or brae over which the gardens are spread, is a large pond for the cultivation of aquatic plants, and a rockery, in the crevices of which many specimens of our rarest wild flowers are appropriately located. During the season, these spacious and well-conducted gardens are generally largely attended by the rank and fashion of our city. Nor, thanks to the princely generosity of our townsman, William Campbell, Esq., of Tillichewan, are the humbler classes altogether excluded from a participation in their beauties. By a munificent donation, this gentleman has secured the right of entrée to the Botanic Gardens for five days of the Fair week to the working people of Glasgow. On these occasions the grounds present a highly animated and cheerful appearance. Many thousands of respectably attired individuals have each year availed themselves of the privilege thus considerately accorded to them; and it must be highly gratifying to Mr. Campbell, and the friends of the operative population generally, to learn, from the exemplary conduct of these promiscuous crowds, that his munificence has been appreciated in a far higher degree by its recipients than could almost have been anticipated.

At the western extremity of the Botanic Gardens a narrow passage, in popular parlance called the "Kyber Pass," leads over a green knoll to the valley of the Kelvin at the famous "Pear-tree Well." From the summit of this height an extensive prospect is obtained of the surrounding country, which is of a gently undulating character. Among the more remarkable objects in the landscape, which is bounded by the Campsie and Kilpatrick Hills are the Observatory, where our learned townsman, Professor Nichol, pursues his nocturnal study of the starry heavens; and the Lunatic Asylum at Gartnavel, which stands a melancholy thing, apart from the noise and bustle of the neighbouring city. This benevolent establishment is indeed most appropriately situated here, in a quiet and secluded place, where ministration to the "mind diseased" is completely undisturbed, as in an urban locality it would necessarily to some extent be by the distractions of discordant external influences. The descent to the river on the northern side of this height passes through a shallow ravine, where many years ago a horrid murder was perpetrated; the very spot, although the scene has undergone considerable alteration, being still remembered and pointed out. It is about midway down the declivity, and was long marked by an immense tree, every vestige of which has now been removed. The victim was a young and beautiful woman, who, from the fact that she had evidently "loved not wisely but too well," was supposed to have been put to death by her guilty paramour. The body was found shockingly mangled one quiet summer morning lying among the dewy grass and trampled flowers, which in several places were stained with her blood. Great excitement was naturally kindled in the public mind at the time by this atrocious occurrence, but strange to say, in spite of the most vigilant search, no trace of the murderer has ever been discovered; the popular maxim that murder will not hide having been, in this instance, as well as, we are sorry to say, in many others, completely falsified. A poem of considerable merit on this tragical event appeared in a small volume which was published a few years ago by our townsman Mr. James Lemon. At the period of our visit the very spirit of peace seems brooding over the spot, and it is with difficulty that we can associate, even in fancy, such loveliness and quietude with a tale of blood.

The scenery of the Kelvin in the vicinity of the Pear-tree Well is of the most romantic and beautiful description. The banks are bold, and in many places fringed with masses of foliage to the wnter-lip; while the rustic bridge, the lonely cottage, and the picturesque mill, seem planted by the very hand of taste, along the meanderings of the rippled and murmuring stream, wherever they are likely to produce a telling effect. A flock of ducks are floating like specks of foam on the brown breast of Kelvin; as we linger on its margin, a loving pair are leaning on the parapet of the bridge, watching the falling leaves, and doubtless whispering those honeyed nothings which only the initiated can appreciate; while a fair-haired boy is launching a mimic bark, to the huge admiration of his little sister, who claps her hands and shouts in the exuberant lightsomeness of her heart, to see it borne rapidly away by the current. Altogether the scene and its accessories present the very choicest of those harmonious combinations of colour and form which the landscape limner loves to gaze upon, and fondly endeavours, in the pride of his skill, to transfer to the living canvas. No wonder it is that Kelvin Grove has long been the favourite haunt of our city lovers, and the favourite theme of our local poets; for nature has indeed strewn its recesses with charms as fresh and beautiful as though it were situated far from the dwellings of men, instead of almost under the wing of our most dinsome and dusky of towns.

The Pear-tree Well issues from the bottom of a steep and thickly wooded bank, which, at this point, rises gracefully, from the rocky bed of the streamlet. The crystalline and deliciously cool water is collected into a considerable cavity in the earth; immediately over which three large trees, a plane and two handsome ashes, raise on high their umbrageous beads, while their sturdy roots, in serpentlike convolutions, twine around the watery hollow beneath, as if to defend it from the intrusion of the penetrating noonday sun. Some suppose that it is from this trio of sylvan guardians that the fountain has received its name—and that the "Three-tree," and not the "Pear-tree," Well is its proper denomination. The advocates of the latter theory further remark, that there is no pear-tree in the vicinity, and that consequently the popular name is probably but a corruption of "Three-tree." There is high authority for saying that names are things of slight consequence; but however that may be, we are inclined, in the present instance, to be conservative of the old name for this favourite well, and to retain it in spite of all attempts at innovation. Whether from langsyne associations or not, we shall not attempt to discover, but Pear-tree Well sounds most musically on our ear—and we should be loath to have it suppressed by the word-coinage of any crotchety theorist; and besides, who can tell what kind of trees may have formerly graced the locality? A perfect orchard of the pear tribe may, at some past period, have clothed the banks of Kelvin, for anything that these violators of a time-honoured name—"these men who are given to change"—know to the contrary. No, no! Pear-tree Well it has been, and Pear-tree Well to us, at least, it must remain. We had as lief meet an old friend with a new face as an old haunt with a new name.

Having done our devoirs to the spirit of the fountain, by draining a bicker of the translucent water, which, by the way, is slightly impregnated with iron, we sit ourselves down on the bank above, under the ashen tree, when one of two friends with whose company we - have been honoured inspired by the half-gelid beverage, bursts suddenly out with—

"Let us haste to Kelvin Grove, bonnie lassie, O."

We of course join heartily in the measure, which has for many years been highly popular in the west of Scotland, and which we naturally enjoy with double zest amid the scenery to which it refers. A musical connoisseur, were he here, might grumble a little at our unskilful execution of the air, which bears the stamp of R. A. Smith’s fine genius. It is, nevertheless, entirely to our own satisfaction; and old Kelvin seems to murmur more complacently as his own song goes ringing down the vale. It is well known that this beautiful lyric was composed by Mr. Thomas Lyle, formerly a surgeon in Glasgow, and who is now, in a green old age, after pursuing his vocation in the village of Airth, in Stirlingshire, for many years, once again resident amongst us. [Dr. Lyle is again (1858) pursuing his vocation in the High Street of Glasgow, a little below the Bell o’ the Brae. He holds the office of District Surgeon to the Barony Parochial Board.] The song was originally published in 1820, in the Harp of Renfrewshire, a collection of poetical pieces, to which an introductory essay on the poets of the district was contributed by William Motherwell. In the index to that work the name of John Sim is given as that of the author of "Kelvin Grove." Mr. Sim, who had contributed largely to the work, and for a time had even acted as its editor, left Paisley before its completion, for the West Indies, where he shortly afterwards died. In the meantime the song became a general favourite, when Mr. Lyle laid claim to it as his own production, and brought forward evidence of the most convincing nature to that effect. So clearly, indeed, did he establish the fact of his authorship, that a musicseller in Edinburgh, who had previously purchased the song from the executors of Mr. Sim, at once entered into a new arrangement with him for the copyright. Mr. Lyle, it seems, was in the habit of corresponding with Mr. Sim on literary matters, and on one occasion sent him "Kelvin Grove," with another song, to be published anonymously in the Harp of Renfrewshire. In the meantime Mr. Sim, who had transcribed both the pieces, was called abroad; and after his death, his executors finding the two songs among his papers, and in his handwriting, naturally concluded that they were productions of his own genius, and published them accordingly. In 1827 Mr. Lyle published a small collection of his poetical effusions, and we learn that even in his old age the muse has not entirely deserted him. Let us hope that the good old bard may also find the evergreen verdure of love and sweet content brightening that wintry portion of the path of life towards which his steps must now be tending.

We now proceed up the Kelvin by a somewhat devious path, for the purpose of visiting the aqueduct bridge in the vicinity of Maryhill. The distance between the two places, according to our computation, may be somewhere about a mile. On the way we pass several mills or bleachworks, situated at intervals along the margin of the river, and which, however useful they may be, and far be it from us to call their utility into question, certainly detract considerably from the picturesque beauty of the scenery. Mr. Lyle, in one of his verses, mentions, among the charms of "Kelvin Grove,"

"That the rose in all her pride
Paints the hollow dingle side,
where the midnight fairies glide," &c.

We are afraid, however, that the green-coated gentry, who are said to be rather finical in their tastes, must long ago have taken their departure from the locality. Professor Aytoun himself has not a greater horror of everything in the shape of calico than (according to those who are skilled in fairy lore) the leaf-clad subjects of Oberon and Titania. We may therefore reasonably enough conclude that, where printworks, bleachfields, and papermills, not to mention snuff manufactories, &c., continue so abundant on the Kelvin, the "men of peace" must to a man have ere this indignantly emigrated to a more congenial province. Be that as it may, however, there are still many delightful nooks among the banks and braes, through which, as rapidly as it is permitted by dams and other artificial barriers, the streamlet rolls its seaward course. Not the least attractive of these is in the vicinity of Gairbraid House. This handsome edifice is situated on an elevated position on the north bank of the Kelvin, and commands an extensive prospect of the surrounding country. A fine lawn slopes smoothly down in front to the water-edge, which is shaded by a belt of planting; while a shallow glen or dell, in its immediate neighbourhood, has won our especial esteem as the habitat where the snowdrop (galanthus nivalis) makes its first appearance near Glasgow in the early spring months. Our favourite locality, however, for this delicate looking but really hardy little flower, is Castlemilk Glen; there they are to be seen in greater luxuriance and beauty than we have ever observed them elsewhere.

The aqueduct bridge which conveys the Forth and Clyde Canal over the valley of the Kelvin, at this place about 80 feet in depth, is a superb production of architectural skill. The structure is 350 feet in length, 57 feet broad, and 51 from the parapet to the surface of the water. It consists of four arches, each 50 feet wide, by 37 high, and has altogether a most imposing appearance. Mr. Whitworth was the designer of this beautiful edifice, and it was executed under the superintendence of Mr. Gibb, between June, 1787, and June, 1790, at a cost of £8,509. The view of the Kelvin from the summit of the bridge is of the most lovely description, the banks on each side being thickly covered with stately trees, which, bending over the water, here smooth and unruffled, are reflected as in a mirror. The canal in the vicinity of the bridge passes over a considerable incline, and at the period of our visit, a number of vessels are progressing slowly up the watery staircase, moving from lock to lock as gently and securely as on the most placid lake.

The village of Maryhill is in the immediate vicinity of the bridge, from which it is seen in its most favourable aspect. Being nearly, if not altogether, of modern erection, the village has a clean and tidy appearance, and is arranged with considerable regularity. There is a number of public works, such as printfields and establishments for bleaching, in its vicinity, in which the population (a large proportion of whom are of Irish origin) are principally employed. The village itself presents few attractions to the rambler, but the country in its neighbourhood, especially along the valley of the Kelvin, is characterized by a more than ordinary degree of beauty.

Leaving Maryhill and turning eastward, we now proceed by Wyndford along the highway towards Glasgow for about half-a-mile. At. this point we turn to the right by the Gairoch Road, which, after a brief walk, brings us once more to the Kelvin opposite the Botanic Gardens. Passing the Gairoch Mill, which is finely situated on the margin of the water, we next direct our devious steps along the North Woodside Road, with the intention of returning homeward by that favourite route. As most of our readers are doubtless aware, the scenery on this portion of the Kelvin is possessed of many and various charms,—wood, water, and architectural grace being most effectively and pleasingly intermingled. Wherever the eye is tuned it meets a new picture. It is seldom, however, that we have witnessed it under more favourable auspices than on the present occasion, when the searing influences of brown October have tinged the masses of foliage on either hand with a brilliancy of colour unknown at other seasons. The very depth of beauty, however, which the landscape now wears, is suggestive of serious reflection. ‘Tis the loveliness of consumption—the herald blush that indicates the silent approach of death, and forcibly reminds us of our own leaf-like mutability.

It is now more years than we care to number since, by the winter evening hearth, we read the narrative of Lieutenant George Spearing, who accidentally fell into an old coal-pit at Woodside, in the year 1769, where he remained undiscovered for seven days and seven nights, when he was happily rescued. The circumstances of the case took a firm bold on our youthful imagination, and it is with something like a feeling of awe that we proceed to visit the spot where the casualty occurred. The pit, after the lapse of so many years, is still open. It is situated within the extensive and romantic grounds of Matthew Montgomerie, Esq. of Kelvin-side, about sixty yards or so to the north of what is called the Flint-mill. We may mention, however, that there is little danger of a similar accident occurring now-a-days, as the place is not only secured from intrusion by a high stone wall, but the mouth of the pit is further fenced round with a girdle of stout stabs. [Since this was written the Woodside pit was reopened but at the present time, as we understand, the working, have been again deserted, and the dreary prison of the poor lieutenant once more consigned to silence and soilitude. Let us hope that the proprietors will not permit it as formerly to remain an unfenced trap.] The narrative of Lieutenant Spearing was originally published in the Gentleman’s Magazine. We extract the principal features of it, as by this time it must be almost as good as manuscript to the majority of readers :— "On Wednesday, September 13, 1769," says the narrator, who speaks in the first person, "between three and four o’clock, I went into a little wood called North Woodside (situated between two and three miles N.W. of Glasgow), with a design to gather a few hazel nuts.

"I think I could not have been in the wood more than a quarter of an hour, nor have gathered more than ten nuts, before I unfortunately fell into an old coal-pit, exactly seventeen yards deep, which had been made through a solid rock. I was some little time insensible. Upon recovering my recollection, I found myself sitting (nearly as a tailor does at his work), the blood flowing pretty freely from my mouth; and I thought that I had broken a blood-vessel, and consequently bad not long to live; but to my great comfort, I soon discovered that the blood proceeded from a wound in my tongue, which I suppose I had bitten in my fall. Looking at my watch, it was ten minutes past four; and getting up I surveyed my limbs, and, to my inexpressible joy, found that not one was broken.

"Night now approached, when it began to rain, not in gentle showers, but in torrents of water, such as is generally experienced at the autumnal equinox. The pit I had fallen into was about five feet in diameter; but not having been working for several years, the subterranean passages were choked up, so that I was exposed to the rain, which continued with very small intermission, till the day of my release; and, indeed, in a very short time, I was completely wet through. In this comfortless condition I endeavoured to take some repose. A forked stick that I found in the pit, and which I placed diagonally to the side of it, served alternately to support my head as a pillow, or my body occasionally, which was much bruised; but in the whole time I remained here I do not think that I ever slept one hour together. Having passed a disagreeable and tedious night, I was somewhat cheered with the appearance of daylight, and the melody of a robin redbreast that had perched directly over the mouth of the pit; and this pretty little warbler continued to visit my quarters every morning during my confinement, which I construed into a happy omen of future deliverance; and I sincerely believe the trust I had in Providence, and the company of this little bird, contributed much to that serenity of mind I constantly enjoyed to the last. At the distance of about 100 yards, in a direct line from the pit, there was a water-mill. The flint-mill was still nearer. I could frequently hear the horses going this road to and from the mill frequently I heard human voices; and I could distinctly hear the ducks and hens about the mill. I made the best use of my voice on every occasion; but it was to no manner of purpose, for the wind, which was constantly high, blew in a line from the mill to the pit, which easily accounts for what I heard; and, at the same time, my voice was carried the contrary way: I cannot say I suffered much from hunger. After two or three days that appetite ceased, but my thirst was intolerable; and, though it almost constantly rained, yet I could not till the third or fourth day preserve a drop of it, as the earth at the bottom of the pit sucked it up as fast as it ran down. In this distress I sucked my clothes; but from them I could extract but little moisture. The shock I received in the fall, together with the breaking of my ribs, kept me, I imagine, in a continual fever; I cannot otherwise account for my suffering so much more from thirst than I did from hunger. At last I discovered the thigh-bone of a bull (which, I afterwards heard, had fallen into the pit about eighteen years before me) almost covered with the earth. I dug it up, and the large end of it left a cavity that, I suppose, might contain a quart. This the water gradually drained into, but so very slowly, that it was a considerable time before I could dip a nutshell full at a time, which I emptied into the palm of my hand, and so drank it. The water now began to increase pretty fast, so that I was glad to enlarge my reservoir, insomuch that, on the fourth or fifth day I had a sufficient supply; and this water was certainly the preservation of my life.

"At the bottom of the pit there were great quantities of reptiles, such as frogs, toads, large black snails or slugs, &c. These noxious creatures would frequently crawl about me, and often got into my reservoir; nevertheless, I thought it the sweetest water I had ever tasted; and at this distance of time the remembrance of it is so sweet, that were it now possible to obtain any of it, I am perfectly satisfied I could swallow it with avidity. I have frequently taken both frogs and toads out of my neck, where I suppose they took shelter while I slept. The toads I always destroyed, but the frogs I carefully preserved, as I did not know but I might be under the necessity of eating them, which I should not have scrupled to have done had I been very hungry.

"Saturday the 16th there fell but little rain, and I had the satisfaction to bear the voices of some boys in the wood. Immediately I called out with all my might, but it was in vain, though I afterwards learned that they actually heard me; but being prepossessed with an idle story of a wild man being in the wood, they ran away affrighted.

"At length the morning, September 20th, the happy morning for my deliverance, came; a day that, while my memory lasts, I will always celebrate with gratitude to Heaven. Through the brambles and bushes that covered the mouth of the pit I could discover the sun shining bright, and my pretty warbler was chanting his melodious strains, when my attention was roused by a confused noise of human voices, which seemed to be approaching fast towards the pit; immediately I called out, and most agreeably surprised several of my acquaintance, who were in search of me. Many of them are still living in Glasgow, and it is not long since I had the very great satisfaction of entertaining one of them at my apartments. They told me that they had not the most distant hope of finding me alive, but wished to give me a decent burial, should they be so fortunate as to find me. As soon as they heard my voice, they all ran towards the pit, and I could distinguish a well-known voice exclaim, ‘Good God! he is still living!’ Another of them, though a very honest North Briton, betwixt his surprise and joy, could not help asking me, in the Hibemian style, if I were still living. I told him I was, ‘and hearty, too;’ and then gave them particular directions how to proceed in getting me out. Fortunately, at that juncture a collier, from a working pit in the neighbourhood, was passing along the road, and hearing an unusual noise in the ‘wood, his curiosity prompted him to learn the occasion. By his assistance and a rope from the mill, I was soon safely landed on terra firma. The miller’s wife had very kindly brought some milk warm from the cow; but, on my coming into the fresh air, I grew rather faint and could not taste it. Need I be ashamed to acknowledge that the first dictates of my heart prompted me to fall on my knees, and ejaculate a silent thanksgiving to the God of my deliverance, since, at this distant time, I never think of it but the tear of gratitude starts from my eye?"

The poor Lieutenant afterwards suffered severely, however, from ailments contracted during his lengthened exposure. His limbs having been benumbed by cold and want of exercise, injudicious means were taken to restore the circulation, which caused inflammation and ultimately mortification to ensue. On the 2d of May following, all remedies having failed, he had to undergo an amputation of his left leg, after which, fortunately, he rapidly regained his health. Lieutenant Spearing concludes his narrative, written many years after the unfortunate occurrence at Woodside, by stating—"To this day I bless God I do enjoy perfect health, and I have since been the happy father of nine children."

Pursuing our course toward the city, and immediately before emerging into the Great Western Road where it crosses the Kelvin, we pass North Woodside House, which is beautifully situated near a bend of the river, a little to the northward of the bridge. This venerable pile is remarkable as having been the residence, in boyhood, of our distinguished townsman, Sir Thomas Munro, who will long be remembered for his brilliant and highly useful career in India, during which he rose by undoubted merit from the rank of a simple Cadet to the Governorship of Madras. Sir Thomas was born and educated in the city; but during the summer months his parents resided at this place, which then wore a more rural and retired aspect than it does now, when the extending suburbs are threatening speedily to absorb it. The days he spent at Woodside seem to have been in his estimation the happiest in his life "youth’s morning march" being ever the most delightful portion of our earthly pilgrimage. His biographer, the Rev. Mr. Gleig, says, "Young Munro appeared to enter upon a new state of being as often as he visited Woodside. If he read, it was either seated upon a rustic bench which stood beneath a tall tree in the garden, or perched among the highest branches of the tree itself. If a fit of idleness took him, he indulged it by rambling, sometimes from sunrise to nightfall, among the woods; or he would fish the Kelvin with his brothers or companions, and when weary of that amusement, would refresh himself by swimming in the dam." In after years, when pursuing the "bubble reputation in the cannon’s mouth," he makes frequent allusions in his correspondence to the haunts of his youth. "Were I to go home to-morrow," he says in an epistle to his mother, "one of my first excursions would be to Woodside, to swim down Jackson’s mill stream" and when, in 1808, after an absence of nearly thirty years, he who had gone out to the far East, an unfriended Cadet, returned laden with honours, wealth, and fame, one of the first places he turned his steps to was the Kelvin. In a beautiful letter to his sister, who had invited him to visit her at Ammondel, the following fine passage occurs:—"A solitary walk is almost the only thing in which I have any enjoyment. I have been twice at North Woodside, and though it rained without ceasing on both days, it did not prevent me from rambling up and down the river, from Clayslap to the aqueduct bridge. I stood above an hour at Jackson’s dam, looking at the water rushing over—while the rain and withered leaves were descending thick about me; and while I recalled the days that were past, the wind whistling through the trees, and the water tumbling over the dam, had still the same sound as before; but the darkness of the day, and the little smart box perched on the opposite bank, destroyed much of the illusion, and made me feel that former times were gone. I don’t know how it is, but when I look back to early years, I always associate sunshine with them. When I think of North Woodside, I always think of a fine day, with the sunbeams streaming down upon Kelvin and its woody banks. I mean to devote the first sunny day to another visit to Kelvin, which, whatever you may say, is worth ten such paltry streams as your Ammon." Again and again he visited the spot, bathed in the dam, wandered through the woods, and, it is even said, climbed the aged tree on which he was wont to sit when a boy. Afterwards he returned to India, where still higher honours awaited him, and where he remained in active service until 1819, when he once more returned from the East, and took up his residence for several years in England. We hear of no more visits to the Kelvin, however; and it is supposed that, feeling somewhat shocked by the changes which had been wrought during his lengthened absence, and the melancholy associations which they excited in his mind, he had taken a final farewell of the locality on his second departure to India. In 1826 he received the honour of knighthood, and had the Governorship of Madras, an office of great responsibility, conferred upon him. This distinguished position, however, he was not destined long to enjoy. He died of cholera at a place called Putteecondah, in the East India Company’s territories, on the 5th July, in the following year. Among the numerous distinguished warriors and statesmen who have attained distinction in the vast Eastern Empire of Britain, there are few who deserve, or will obtain, more honourable mention on the page of history than Sir Thomas Munro.

Leaving Woodside, near which a spacious crescent has recently been erected, we now proceed toward the city by the Great Western Road. A few minutes’ walk brings us to the hospitable house of a friend, where we may as well take leave of our courteous readers, who, by this time, we dare say, are as tired as we ourselves are after our peregrinations along the windings of the classic Kelvin.


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