Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Carlisle is one of the most ancient cities in England, dating quite back to the time of the Romans. Wonderful! How these Romans left their mark every where !

Carlisle has also its ancient castle, the lofty, massive tower of which forms a striking feature of the town.

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed]

This castle was built by William Rufus. David, King of Scots, and Robert Bruce both tried their hands upon it, in the good old times, when England and Scotland were a mutual robbery association. Then the castle of the town was its great feature; castles were every thing in those days. Now the castle has gone to decay, and stands only for a curiosity, and the cotton factory has come up in its place. This place is famous for cottons and ginghams, and moreover for a celebrated biscuit bakery. So goes the world,

the lively, vigorous shoots of the present springing out of the old, mouldering trunk of the past.

Mr. S. was in an ecstasy about an old church, a splendid Gothic, in which Paley preached. He was archdeacon of Carlisle. We stopped here for a little while to take dinner. In a large, handsome room tables were set out, and we sat down to a regular meal.

One sees nothing of a town from a railroad station, since it seems to be an invariable rule, not only here, but all over Europe, to locate them so that you can see nothing from them.

By the by, I forgot to say, among the historical recollections of this place, that it was the first stopping-place of Queen Mary, after her fatal flight into England. The rooms which she occupied are still shown in the castle, and there are interesting letters and documents extant from lords whom Elizabeth sent here to visit her, in which they record her beauty, her heroic sentiments, and even her dress ; so strong was the fascination in which she held all who approached her. Carlisle is the scene of the denouement of Guy Mannering, and it is from this town that Lord Carlisle gets his title.

And now keep up a bright lookout for ruins and old houses. Mr. S., whose eyes are always in every place, allowed none of us to slumber, but looking out, first on his own side and then on ours, called our attention to every visible thing. If he had been appointed on a mission of inquiry he could not have been more zealous and faithful, and I began to think that our desire for an English cicerone was quite superfluous.

And now we pass Gretna Green, famous in story - that momentous place which marks the commencement of Scotland. It is a little straggling village, and there is a roadside inn, which has been the scene of innumerable Gretna Green marriages.

Owing to the fact that the Scottish law of marriage is far more liberal in its construction than the English, this place has been the refuge of distressed lovers from time immemorial; and although the practice of escaping here is universally condemned as very naughty and improper, yet, like every other impropriety, it is kept in countenance by very respectable people. Two lord chancellors have had the amiable weakness to fall into this snare, and one lord chancellor's son; so says the guide book, which is our Koran for the time being. It says, moreover, that it would be easy to add a lengthened list of distingués married at Gretna Green; but these lord chancellors (Erskine and Eldon) are quoted as being the most melancholy monuments. What shall meaner mortals do, when law itself, in all her majesty, wig, gown, and all, goes by the board ?

Well, we are in Scotland at last, and now our pulse rises as the sun declines in the west. We catch glimpses of the Solway Frith, and talk about Redgauntlet.

“Do you remember the scene on the sea shore, with which it opens, describing the rising of the tide ?”

And says another, “ Don't you remember those lines in the Young Lochinvar song? —

One says,

Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide.'”

I wonder how many authors it will take to enchant our country from Maine to New Orleans, as every foot of ground is enchanted here in Scotland.

The sun went down, and night drew on; still we were in Scotland. Scotch ballads, Scotch tunes, and Scotch literature were in the ascendant. We sang “ Auld Lang Syne," “ Scots wha ha'," and "Bonnie Doon," and then, changing the key, sang Dundee, Elgin, and Martyrs.

“ Take care,” said Mr. S.; “don't get too much excited.”

“Ah,” said I, “ this is a thing that comes only once in a lifetime; do let us have the comfort of it. We shall never come into Scotland for the first time again.”

“Ah,” said another, “how I wish Walter Scott was alive!”

While we were thus at the fusion point of enthusiasm, the cars stopped at Lockerby, where the real Old Mortality is buried. All was dim and dark outside, but we soon became conscious that there was quite a number collected, peering into the window, and, with a strange kind of thrill, I heard my name inquired for in the Scottish accent. I went to the window; there were men, women, and children there, and hand after hand was presented, with the words, “ Ye're welcome to Scotland !”

Then they inquired for, and shook hands with, all the party, having in some mysterious manner got the knowledge of who they were, even down to little G-, whom they took to be

Was it not pleasant, when I had a heart so warm for this old country? I shall never forget the thrill of those words, “ Ye're welcome to Scotland,” nor the “Gude night.”

After that we found similar welcomes in many succee ding stopping-places; and though I did wave a towel out of the window, instead of a pocket handkerchief, and commit other awkwardnesses, from not knowing how to play my part, yet I fancied, after all, that Scotland and we were coming on well together. Who the good souls were that were ihus watching

5

my son.

a

VOL. I.

66

for us through the night, I am sure I do not know; but that they were of the “one blood,” which unites all the families of the earth, I felt.

As we came towards Glasgow, we saw, upon a high hill, what we supposed to be a castle on fire great volumes of smoke rolling up, and fire looking out of arched windows. Dear

me, what a conflagration !” we all exclaimed. We had not gone very far before we saw another, and then, on the opposite side of the car, another still.

“Why, it seems to me the country is all on fire.”

“I should think,” said Mr. S., “if it was in old times, that there had been a raid from the Highlands, and set all the houses on fire."

“Or they might be beacons," suggested C.

To this some one answered out of the Lay of the Last Minstrel,

[ocr errors]

“Sweet Teviot, by thy silver tide

The glaring bale-fires blaze no more.”

As we drew near to Glasgow these illuminations increased, till the whole air was red with the glare of them.

“What can they be?”

“ Dear me,” said Mr. S., in a tone of sudden recollection, “it's the iron works! Don't you know Glasgow is celebrated for its iron works ?”

So, after all, in these peaceful fires of the iron works, we got an idea how the country might have looked in the old picturesque times, when the Highlanders came down and set the Lowlands on fire; such scenes as are commemorated in the words of Roderick Dhu's song:

« ZurückWeiter »