The Country of Sir Walter Scott by Olcott, Charles S. (Charles Sumner)

[Frontispiece: Sir Walter Scott]



_Author of George Eliot: Scenes and People of Her Novels_





Published September 1913






I. The 'Making' of Sir Walter II. The Lay of the Last Minstrel III. Marmion IV. The Lady of the Lake V. Rokeby VI. The Bridal of Triermain VII. The Lord of the Isles VIII. Waverley IX. Guy Mannering X. The Antiquary XI. The Black Dwarf XII. Old Mortality XIII. Rob Roy XIV. The Heart of Midlothian XV. The Bride of Lammermoor XVI. A Legend of Montrose XVII. Ivanhoe XVIII. The Monastery XIX. The Abbot XX. Kenilworth XXI. The Pirate XXII. The Fortunes of Nigel XXIII. Peveril of the Peak XXIV. Quentin Durward XXV. St. Ronan's Well XXVI. Redgauntlet XXVII. Tales of the Crusaders XXVIII. Woodstock XXIX. The Fair Maid of Perth XXX. The Chronicles of the Canongate and Other Tales The Highland Widow The Two Drovers The Surgeon's Daughter Anne of Geierstein Count Robert of Paris Castle Dangerous XXXXI. A Successful Life



Portrait of Sir Walter Scott . . . . . . Frontispiece Photogravure from an engraving by William Walker of a painting by Sir Henry Raeburn, R.A., 1822.


Kelso Abbey

The Popping Stone

Lasswade Cottage

Map Of Scotland Showing localities of Scott's writings

St. Mary's Loch

Branksome Hall

Melrose Abbey


Entrance to Norham Castle

Llndisfarne Abbey

Tantallon Castle

Loch Achray



Stirling Castle

Brackenbury Tower, Barnard Castle

The Valley of the Tees From Barnard Castle

The Valley of St. John Showing Triermain Castle Rock

Turnberry Castle, Coast of Ayrshire

Grandtully Castle

Doune Castle From the Teith

Ullswater Waverley's retreat after the defeat of the Chevalier

Caerlaverock Castle

Edinburgh from the Castle


The Black Dwarf's Cottage

Craignethan Castle (Tillietudlem)

Crichope Linn

Chillingham Castle

Loch Lomond from Inversnaid

St. Anthony's Chapel

Crichton Castle

Loch Lubnaig

Map of England Showing Localities of Scott's writings

Castle of Ashby de la Zouch

The Buck-Gate Entrance to the Duke of Portland's estate, Sherwood Forest

The Avenue of Limes, Sherwood Forest

Interior of Fountains Abbey

Coningsburgh Castle

Cathcart Castle

Leicester's Buildings, Kenilworth

Cæsar's Tower, Kenilworth

Entrance to Warwick Castle

Mervyn's Tower, Kenilworth

Lerwick, Shetland

A Crofter's Cottage, Orkney

Sumburgh Head, Shetland

Scalloway, Shetland

The Standing Stones of Stennis

Stromness, Orkney

Map of London Showing localities of Scott's writings

The Pack-Horse Bridge, Haddon Hall

The Saxon Tower, Isle of Man

The Tweed and Eildon Hills

Scott's Tomb, Dryburgh

Hoddam Castle

Powis Castle, Wales

Godstow Priory Burial-place of 'The Fair Rosamond'

Loch Tay

House of the Fair Maid of Perth


Scott Monument, Edinburgh



On the first day of May, 1911, we began our exploration of the 'Scott Country.' I say we, because I was accompanied by the companion of a much longer journey, of which that year was the twenty-fifth milestone. Whether from reasons of sentiment resulting from the near approach of our silver anniversary, or because of more prosaic geographical considerations, we began at the place where Walter Scott discovered that he would be likely to see more of the beauty of life if he were equipped with two pairs of eyes rather than one. This was at the village of Gilsland, in the north of England, where the poet first met the companion who was to share the joys and sorrows of the best years of his life. A pony and dogcart took us clattering up to the top of the hill, where, leaving our conveyance, we started down the glen to the banks of the river Irthing. Here the camera promptly responded to the call of a beautiful view and the first exposure was made:--a gently flowing stream of shallow water, scarcely covering the rocky bed of the river; a pleasant path along the bank, well shaded from the sun; and a slender little waterfall in the distance;--the same scene which so often met the eyes of Walter Scott and his future bride as they strolled along the stream in their 'courting' days.

This was the beginning of a tour which eventually led into nearly every county of Scotland, as far north as the Shetland Islands, and through a large part of England {xiv} and Wales. We went wherever we thought we might find a beautiful or an interesting picture, connected in some way with the life of Sir Walter, or mentioned by him in some novel or poem. Knowing that he had derived his inspiration from an intimate knowledge of the country, we sought to follow his footsteps so far as possible. Months of preparation had been devoted to the work before leaving home. Every novel and poem had to be read, besides many books of reference, including, of course, Lockhart's _Life_, for it would not have been safe to trust to the recollections of earlier reading. Notes were made of the places to be sought, and two large maps were prepared on which I marked circles with a red pencil around all points which I thought ought to be visited, until my maps began to look as though they were suffering from a severe attack of measles. Then the route was laid out by 'centres.' The first was Carlisle, then Dumfries, Melrose, Edinburgh, Berwick, Glasgow, Stirling, Callander, the Trossachs, Oban, and so on until the entire country had been covered. From each 'centre' as a convenient point of departure we explored the country in many directions, visiting so far as possible every scene of the novels and poems that could be identified.

It was surprising to find so many of these scenes exactly as Sir Walter had described them. The mountains and valleys, the rivers, lakes, and waterfalls, the wild ruggedness of the seaside cliffs, the quaint little old-fashioned villages, the ruined castles and abbeys, all brought back memories of the romances which he had so charmingly set amidst these scenes. It was like actually living the Waverley Novels to see them. And in seeing {xv} them, we came to know, on intimate terms, Sir Walter himself; to feel the genial influence of his presence as if he were a fellow traveller, and to love him as his companions had done a century ago.

But our constant purpose was to do more than this. With the help of the camera we sought to catch something of the spirit of the scenery and to bring it home with us, in the hope that those who have never seen the 'Scott Country' might at least have a few glimpses of it, and that those who have seen all or a part of it, might find in these views a pleasant reminder of what must have been a happy experience.

There is no occasion to add at the present time to the volume of literary criticism of such well-known novels and poems as those of Scott, nor is it possible to add any material facts to his biography. This book makes no such claim. It does not attempt to retell the romances, except in so far as may be necessary to explain their connexion with the scenery or to introduce the 'original' of some well-known character. If a glimpse of the novelist's genial face is seen now and then, it is because his spirit pervades every nook and corner of bonnie Scotland, and it would be impossible for appreciative eyes to view the scenery without seeing something of the man whose genius has added so greatly to its charm.

If this book shall add to the pleasure of any of the readers of Sir Walter Scott by bringing them into the atmosphere of his novels and poems, and so a little nearer to the kindly personality of the man, its purpose will have been fulfilled.





'He was makin' himsel' a' the time, but he didna ken maybe what he was about till years had passed; at first he thought o' little, I dare say, but the queerness and the fun.'

In these expressive words, Robert Shortreed, who guided Walter Scott on the celebrated 'raids' into the Liddesdale country, correctly summarized the youth and early manhood of the future poet and novelist. Scott was thirty-four years old when the 'Lay of the Last Minstrel' appeared, and had reached the mature age of forty-three before he published the first of the Waverley Novels. But from early childhood he was busily engaged, with more or less conscious purpose, in gathering the materials for his future work.

It is the purpose of this chapter to show, by a brief survey of these preparatory years, how he acquired that intimate knowledge of human nature that enabled him to record so truthfully and with such real sympathy the thoughts and feelings, the hopes and fears, the manners of life, the dress, the conversation, and the personal peculiarities of people of every degree, from Mary, Queen of Scots, to Meg Merrilies, the Queen of the {2} Gipsies; from the lordly Earl of Montrose down to the humblest of the Children of the Mist. It will also aim to suggest something of the method by which he learned to paint such charming pictures of ancient castles and ruined abbeys, of princes' palaces and fishermen's cottages, of rocky shores and wild paths through the woods, of rivers, lakes, and mountains, and all the other elements that make up the varied and beautiful scenery of Scotland and England.

In the hilly country south of Edinburgh, standing alone on a high rock, is an old feudal tower called Smailholm. Outlined against the western sky, in the glow of a summer sunset, it seemed to us like a proud and beautiful capital letter 'I,' saying with some emphasis on the personal pronoun, '_I_ am a thing of some importance.' We forgave the egotism, for the old tower really is important, marking the very beginning of Walter Scott's career, the spot where he received his first poetic impulse. Here at the age of three years, he rolled about on the rocks with the sheep and lambs as if he were one of them. He had been brought to Sandy Knowe, the home of his grandfather, in an effort to save his life, for he had been a sickly child, and six brothers and sisters had died in infancy, so that his parents were naturally more than anxious. The life out of doors soon brought a marked improvement, and except for the lameness, which never left him, the boy became healthy and vigorous. He was attended by an old shepherd, known as the 'cow-bailie,' who had a great fund of Border stories, to which the lad listened eagerly.

[Illustration: SMAILHOLM]

A devoted aunt, Miss Janet Scott, who lived at the farm, often read to him stories of Bible heroes and of the {3} great men of Scottish history. From a few volumes of miscellaneous poetry which the family chanced to own, she read some Scottish ballads which quickly seized upon his childish fancy. He was especially fond of historical tales, and under the shadow of the old tower he used to marshal the armies of Scotland and England, fighting their battles with mimic forces of pebbles and shells, and always ending the conflict with the complete rout of the English and the triumph of the Scottish arms. One day he was missed during a violent thunderstorm, and the household set out in search of him. He was found lying on his back on the rocks, kicking his heels in the air and clapping his hands with delight as he watched the vivid lightning; and as one flash followed another, each more brilliant than the one before, he would shout, 'Bonnie! Bonnie!! Dae it again! Dae it again!' I like to think of this scene as symbolic; as a prophecy of the time, soon to come, when the lad, grown to manhood, would be sending out flash after flash of his genius while the whole world looked on in delight, shouting, 'Bonnie! Bonnie!! Dae it again! Dae it again!'

How much the old tower of Smailholm really had to do with Scott's earliest poetic fancy he has himself told in a touching reference in the Introduction to the Third Canto of 'Marmion':--

And still I thought that shattered tower The mightiest work of human power, And marvelled as the aged hind With some strange tale bewitched my mind.

He made it the setting of one of his earliest poems, 'The Eve of St. John,' and probably had it in mind, when {4} writing 'The Monastery' and 'The Abbot,' as the original of Avenel Castle. Smailholm was once surrounded by water, all of which has been drained off except a very small portion on the eastern side. With the addition of the original lake it would make a very good prototype of Avenel.

At the age of six, Scott was taken for a visit to Prestonpans, where he made the acquaintance of George Constable, the original of Monkbarns in 'The Antiquary.' This statement should be qualified, however, for Scott himself was the real 'Antiquary' in many ways. None but a genuine antiquarian could ever have written that keen bit of humorous characterization. This old gentleman, besides giving Scott his first knowledge of Shakespeare, told him many excellent stories of the 'affair of 1745' and of the battle of Prestonpans. Here he also made the acquaintance of an old man who had seen much service in the German wars and who was delighted to find a good listener to his tales of military feats. Under the guidance of this old soldier, whose name, Dalgetty, subsequently reappears in 'A Legend of Montrose,' he explored the battle-field, heard the story of Colonel Gardiner's death, and found the grave of 'Balmawhapple,' 'where the grass grew rank and green, distinguishing it from the rest of the field.' This was in 1777, when Scott was only six. Thirty-seven years later these early impressions found a place in 'Waverley.'

At about the same period young Walter was presented with a Shetland pony, an animal not so large as a full-grown Newfoundland dog. He soon learned to ride, and often frightened his Aunt Jenny by dashing recklessly {5} over the rocks about the tower. The importance of the event lies in the fact that it was the beginning of Scott's fondness for horseback riding, his proficiency in which played an important part in later years, enabling him to gather valuable material that would not otherwise have been accessible. Scott's father now thought best to bring him back to Edinburgh, where he lived the life of an average schoolboy, with this difference, that his lameness frequently confined him to the house, compelling him to seek his amusement in books instead of romping with his fellows in George's Square. At twelve years, and again a little later, he went for a vacation visit to his Aunt Jenny,--Miss Janet Scott,--who was then living at Kelso in a small house, pleasantly situated in a garden of seven or eight acres, 'full of long straight walks, between hedges of yew and hornbeam' and 'thickets of flowery shrubs.' The Grammar School of Kelso was attached to the old Abbey. Here he met the two men who, though lifelong friends, were destined to bring to Walter Scott the saddest experience of his career--James and John Ballantyne, the publishers, whose failure clouded the last years of the novelist's life, forcing upon him the payment of a debt of £117,000,--a task which he manfully assumed, and wore out his life in the execution of it. Another school fellow here was Robert Waldie, whose mother showed Scott many attentions. It was through his association with 'Lady Waldie,' who was a member of the Society of Friends, that Scott in subsequent years was enabled to paint the lovely picture of the home life at Mount Sharon of Joshua Geddes and his sister, which adds so much to the pleasure of 'Redgauntlet.'


An old vault in Kelso Abbey was used as the village prison--the kind of a jail which Edie Ochiltree thought 'wasna so dooms bad a place as it was ca'd.' No doubt the real Edie was often confined here. He was an old mendicant, well known in the neighbourhood, by the name of Andrew Gemmels. Scott met him often. Many curious stories are related of his eccentricities. He was once presented with a good suit of clothes which he thankfully accepted. The friendly donor chanced to meet him later in the day, dragging the clothes behind him along the road through the dirt and mud. Being asked why he treated the gift in that way he replied that he would have 'to trail the duds that way for twa days, to mak them _fit for use_.'

[Illustration: KELSO ABBEY]

A few miles southeast of Kelso, in the village of Kirk Yetholm, Scott picked up another of his most famous characters--the picturesque Meg Merrilies. Kirk Yetholm was in Scott's boyhood, and even later in his life, the headquarters of a large gipsy tribe. Such a people could not fail to interest one of his temperament and he soon came to know them on familiar terms. The Queen of the Gipsies introduced herself by giving him an apple. She was a woman of extraordinary height, dressed in a long red cloak, who naturally inspired the boy with a feeling of awe. Her name was Madge Gordon, a granddaughter of Jean Gordon, the most famous of the Gipsies. Jean's history was well known. She was an ardent Jacobite, and met her death at Carlisle in 1746, in a most inhuman fashion, being drowned by a mob in the river Eden. She was a powerful woman and as the men struggled to keep her head under the water, she kept coming to the surface, each time screaming, {7} 'Charlie yet! Charlie yet!' Scott as a child often heard her story and cried piteously for old Jean Gordon. She was the real Meg Merrilies.

During his frequent visits to Kelso and subsequent residence at Rosebank, near by, Scott explored the country in every direction. He rode over the battlefield of Flodden, becoming convinced that 'never was an affair more completely bungled.' He explored the heights of Branxton Hill, and riding through the village of Coldstream, passed the old town of Lennel, where Marmion paused on the eve of the battle. Then recrossing the river, he came to Twisel Bridge, and following the course of the Tweed, reached the ruins of Norham Castle, where Marmion was entertained by Sir Hugh Heron. This was an old Border fortress which passed from Scottish to English hands and back again for several centuries. Thus, without conscious effort, Scott laid the foundation for 'Marmion' early in life, though the poem did not take final shape until nearly twenty years later.

When not spending his vacations in the country, Scott was attending the college in Edinburgh and later preparing himself for the practice of the law. During all these years the gathering of materials for his future writings continued. A favourite companion of the days in Edinburgh was John Irving. On Saturdays, or more frequently during vacations, the two used to borrow three or four books from the circulating library and walk to Salisbury Crags, climb high up to some sequestered nook and read the books together. After continuing this practice for two years, during which they devoured a prodigious number of volumes, Scott {8} proposed that they should make up adventures of their favourite knights-errant, and recite them to each other alternately--a pastime in which Scott greatly excelled his companion. At this time the former began to collect old ballads, and as Irving's mother knew a great many, he used to go to her and learn all she could repeat. Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat found their way into 'Waverley,' and later, with St. Leonard's Hill, in the same vicinity, became the background for the earlier chapters of the 'Heart of Midlothian.' The ruins of St. Anthony's Chapel, on the ascent to Arthur's Seat, must have been one of these favourite nooks. Blackford Hill, the third of these resorts, lies south of Edinburgh. Here Scott carried Marmion for that superb view of Edinburgh, 'mine own romantic town,' so well described in the poem:--.

Still on the spot Lord Marmion stayed, For fairer scene he ne'er surveyed.

The scene is still a beautiful one, for though the plain that held the Scottish camp is now filled with well-built suburban homes, we still may see

Yon Empress of the North Sit on her hilly throne, Her palace's imperial bowers, Her castle, proof to hostile powers, Her stately halls and holy towers.

So great was Scott's love of the picturesque and especially of the old feudal castles that he yearned to become a painter. But it was of no use. His lessons came to naught and he could make no progress. Perhaps this was fortunate, for, as Lockhart points out, success with the pencil might have interfered with his future greatness {9} as a 'painter with the pen.' At fifteen, Scott entered upon an apprenticeship to his father as a writer's (lawyer's) clerk, during which period he formed an intimate companionship with a relative of his friend Irving, William Clerk, a young man of good intellect and many accomplishments. The experiences of these two young law students will be found in 'Redgauntlet.' William Clerk was the Darsie Latimer of that story, while Scott himself was Alan Fairford. Alan's precise and dignified father, Mr. Saunders Fairford, whose highest hope in life was to see his son attain 'the proudest of all distinctions--the rank and fame of a well-employed lawyer,' was a fairly good portrait of Scott's own father. The house in which the Fairfords lived was in Brown Square, then considered 'an extremely elegant improvement.' It is still standing, and is now used as a dental college. Old 'Peter Peebles,' whose interminable lawsuit was used for young lawyers to practise on, actually existed and haunted the law courts at this time. Scott himself admits that he took his turn as 'counsel' to the grotesque old litigant.

The Edinburgh of Scott's day was still chiefly confined to the Old Town. High Street in those days was considered the most magnificent street in the world. Again and again Scott refers to it. At one end is the great Castle, old enough to remember the time when even the Old Town did not exist. Lower down is St. Giles and the Parliament House. Next to St. Giles is the site of the Old Tolbooth, which, after serving the city as a prison for two hundred and fifty years, was pulled down in 1817. In Writer's Court in the same locality was the tavern where the lawyers held 'high {10} jinks' in 'Guy Mannering.' Greyfriars Church, where Colonel Mannering heard a sermon by Scott's old friend, the Rev. John Erskine, is not far off. Down the street, in the part called the Canongate, is the house of the Earl of Murray, the Regent of Scotland in Queen Mary's time, who figures prominently in 'The Abbot.' Street fighting was a common occurrence in Edinburgh in those days and there is a good description of such a broil in 'The Abbot.' 'My Lord Seton's Lodging,' where Roland Graeme took refuge after a scrimmage, is in the same street, and a little farther on is the 'White Horse Close,' where the officers of Prince Charles made their headquarters in 'Waverley.' Holyrood Palace is at the extreme end of the street, about a mile from the Castle. The great ball, which Scott describes in 'Waverley,' was given here by the young Chevalier, Charles Edward Stuart, on the evening of September 17, 1745.

While still in his fifteenth year, Scott made his first excursion into the Highlands of Perthshire through scenery unsurpassed in natural beauty by any other region in all Scotland. Approaching from the south, he rode over the mountains, through a pass no longer accessible, known as the Wicks of Baiglie. Here 'he beheld, stretching beneath him, the valley of the Tay, traversed by its ample and lordly stream; the town of Perth, with its two large meadows, or Inches, its steeples and its towers: the hills of Moncreiff and Kinnoul faintly rising into picturesque rocks, partly clothed with woods; the rich margin of the river, studded with elegant mansions; and the distant view of the huge Grampian Mountains, the northern screen of this exquisite landscape.' These words were written as part of the Introduction to the {11} 'Fair Maid of Perth' in 1828. The impression they record was made upon the mind of a boy of fifteen, forty-two years earlier. On this visit, no doubt, he saw the original house of Simon Glover in Curfew Street, and also the home of Hal o' the Wynd, not far away. Both houses still remain, and the stories connected with them were of course current in Scott's time.

During all the time that the scenes and the stories connected with this and other excursions were making their impress upon the mind of Walter Scott, it must be remembered that he was not thinking of any ultimate use of them in literature, but was only ambitious to make a success of his chosen profession of the law. It so happened that one of the earliest duties which fell to his lot as a writer's apprentice was to serve a writ upon a certain obstreperous family in the Braes of Balquhidder, the country made famous by the exploits of Rob Roy. Fearing that the execution of the summons would be resisted, an escort of a sergeant and six men was procured, and Scott, a young man of scarcely sixteen, marched into the Highlands, 'riding,' as he said, 'in all the dignity of danger, with a front and rear guard, and loaded arms.' The sergeant was full of good stories, principally about Rob Roy, and proved to be a very good companion. This expedition was Scott's first introduction to the scenery around Loch Katrine, which later owed most of its fame to his pen. It enabled him, by actual contact with the Highland clans, to learn for the first time some of the thrilling tales with which the region abounded and to become familiar with the habits, the speech, the dress, and all the other marked characteristics of a romantic people. The delightful {12} scenery of Loch Vennachar, Loch Achray, and Loch Katrine, the rugged slopes of Ben Venue and Ben An, the more distant peaks of Ben Lomond and Ben Ledi, the tangled masses of foliage in the 'deep Trossachs' wildest nook,'--all appealed at once to the artistic sense within him, to his poetic feeling, and to his love of nature. 'The Lady of the Lake' was not written until twenty-three years later, but the germ of that poem was planted in his bosom by this first youthful experience and its writing was only a labor of love.

On his subsequent excursions to the Highlands, Scott gathered some valuable material which later appeared in 'Waverley.' He found one old gentleman who had been obliged to make a journey to the cave of Rob Roy, where he dined on 'collops' or steaks, cut from his own cattle. This cavern is on Loch Lomond in the midst of most beautiful scenery. Scott makes it the retreat of Donald Bean Lean in 'Waverley,' but does not refer to it in his story of 'Rob Roy.' From another aged gentleman he heard the history of Doune Castle, a fine old ruin on the river Teith, near Stirling, and this he also introduced into 'Waverley.' The story of Waverley's saving the life of Colonel Talbot and the death at Carlisle of Fergus MacIvor are based upon incidents related to Scott at this time.

Among the many places visited was Craighall, in Perthshire, from which some of the features of Tully Veolan were copied. The situation of this country-seat was convenient for the story, and near by was a cave, similar to that in which the Baron of Bradwardine sought concealment. But there is another house, a little to the west, on the river Tay, which is said to correspond {13} even more closely with Scott's description. This is Grandtully Castle, the beautiful estate of the Stewart family. Another house which entered into this composite picture was the residence of the Earl of Traquair, a place on the Scottish Border well known to Scott and frequently visited by him during the time when he was writing 'Waverley.' It has a curious entrance gate, surmounted by some queer-looking bears, which doubtless suggested the Bears of Bradwardine.

These numerous excursions, however fruitful they may have proved in later years, were not by any means the chief business of Scott's life at this time. They were only vacation trips, except the first, which seems to have had a business purpose. He was for the most part hard at work in Edinburgh in the study of the law and in the duties of a writer's apprentice, which meant copying by hand page after page of legal documents, sometimes accomplishing as much as a hundred and twenty pages in one day. In 1792, at the age of twenty-one, he successfully passed the law examinations and was admitted to the Bar, very much to his father's delight. The real Alan Fairford and Darsie Latimer 'put on the gown' the same day, a solemn ceremony followed by a jolly dinner to their companions.

Scott was now a fine, handsome young fellow with a host of friends. The sickliness of childhood had given way to a robust and vigorous manhood. His lameness still remained, but in spite of this he had acquired the frame of a young athlete. He was tall, well formed, big-chested, and powerful. His complexion was fresh and even brilliant; his eyes were bright and twinkling with fun; there was a queer little look about his lips as though {14} they were about to break out into some funny remark--an expression that was the delight of all his friends and the despair of portrait painters. Perhaps the most striking feature of his face was the high forehead, bespeaking intellectual power and dignity, yet in perfect consonance with his good humour and affectionate kindliness. In every company of young people he was easily the life and soul of the group. They crowded around him to revel in his store of anecdotes and ballads à propos to every occasion, and his jokes usually kept them in a gale of merriment. He was fond of every kind of outdoor amusement, especially of fishing, hunting, and riding. Few could excel him in horsemanship, either in skill or endurance. From the days of his first Shetland pony he had loved horses, and but for his ability to make long journeys on horseback to remote regions at a time when there were no railways and few coach-roads, he would have been unable to acquire the knowledge of places and people which gave a peculiar charm to all his writings.

The day after his admission to the Bar, Scott 'escaped' to the country, going first to Rosebank and then to Jedburgh, where he met Robert Shortreed, a sheriff-substitute of Roxburghshire, who consented to become his guide on a visit to the wild and inaccessible district of Liddesdale. For seven successive years they made these 'raids' as Scott called them, 'exploring every rivulet to its source and every ruined peel from foundation to battlement.' 'There was no inn or public-house of any kind in the whole valley; the travellers passed from the shepherd's hut to the minister's manse, and again from the cheerful hospitality of the manse to the {15} rough and jolly welcome of the homestead; gathering, wherever they went, songs and tunes, and occasionally more tangible relics of antiquity.' To his friendly familiarity with these unsophisticated people and the intimate knowledge thus acquired of their manner of living, we are indebted for some of the most charming pages of 'Guy Mannering.' Whether the future poet had any plan in his mind for using the material so gathered is doubtful, though much of it went into the 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border' and perhaps these raids suggested that undertaking.

In the summer vacation of 1797, Scott set out for a visit to the English Lakes. He was accompanied by his brother John and Adam Ferguson, an intimate friend through whom he had been introduced to the highest literary circles of Edinburgh. Their first stop was at the country home of Dr. Ferguson, the distinguished philosopher and historian, and the father of Scott's friend. This was at Hallyards, in the vale of Manor Water, near Peebles. The venerable old gentleman, then in his seventy-third year, had become interested in one of the strangest men, physically and mentally, who ever lived,--a poor, ungainly, and hideous dwarf named David Ritchie. Dr. Ferguson conducted his young friend to the rude hut of this horrible being, and Scott, strong and fearless as he was, is said to have come away as pale as ashes and shaking in every limb. This singular meeting resulted, nineteen years later, in the story of 'The Black Dwarf,' where Scott skilfully combined some good traits, which Ritchie was known to possess, with the grotesque and terrifying external figure.

Proceeding to the English Lakes, Scott now saw for the {16} first time the wild and rugged beauty of Saddleback and Skiddaw and the desolate loneliness of Helvellyn, contrasting with the calm loveliness of Grasmere and Windermere and with the sweet homeliness of the dalesmen's cottages, their pastures and peaceful flocks. Like all other scenes of beauty, it made its impression upon his mind. He found a home here for Colonel Mannering; when Waverley was hard-pressed after the failure of the insurrection of 1745, he found it convenient to make a home for his hero with a farmer at Ullswater; and he marched his gallant Baron of Triermain into 'the narrow Valley of St. John' in search of the mysterious castle, as directed by the sage of Lyulph's tower. The tower of Lyulph may be seen near the shores of Ullswater, and on the side of a hill rising above St. John's Beck, a little stream flowing out of Lake Thirlmere, is a huge rock now called 'Triermain Castle,' which at a distance, under certain conditions of the atmosphere, bears a fancied resemblance to the phantom castle of the poem.

Scott frequently showed his profound admiration for the English Lake district, and if he did not love it with all the devotion of his friend Wordsworth, it was only because his own beloved Highlands had a prior claim upon his affections.

On a summer day soon after his return from the Lake District, in the same year, Scott and his friend Adam Ferguson were riding together along a country road near the pleasant little village of Gilsland, in the north of England. The former was then twenty-six years of age. He was a tall man of athletic frame, who rode as though incapable of fatigue. There was a peculiar grace and charm in both face and figure, which almost irresistibly {17} caused a passer-by to follow his first glance with a second and longer scrutiny.

As they rode along, the two companions chanced to pass a young lady, also on horseback, who immediately attracted their notice. Her form was like that of a fairy, light and full of grace. Her long silken tresses were jet black, her complexion a clear olive, and her eyes a lovely brown, large, deep-set, and brilliant. Young and vivacious, with a natural air of gaiety, she was both pleasant to meet and charming to look upon.

At the ball which took place in the evening there was much rivalry among the young men for the honour of dancing with this vision of loveliness, who had blotted out all other thoughts from their morning ride. To the tall young man fell the privilege of taking the fair stranger to supper, and this was the introduction of Walter Scott to Miss Charlotte Margaret Carpenter. The evening of September 30, immediately following the ball, was one of the happiest Scott ever knew. A friend records that he 'was _sair_ beside himself about Miss Carpenter;--we toasted her twenty times over--and sat together, he raving about her until it was one in the morning.'

This was not Scott's first love affair, but it was equally genuine. Some four years previously he had chanced to meet at the Greyfriars Church in Edinburgh, a very charming young lady of seventeen. As the Sunday service closed, an unexpected shower came up. Scott had an umbrella and the lady had none--sufficient reason for escorting the fair one to her home. There was also sufficient reason for falling in love with her, for Miss Williamina Stuart was not only beautiful in face and {18} figure, but lovely in character. Highly educated, accomplished in music and painting, well versed in literature, and with the best family connections, she was still a sweet girl, of charming manners and no affectation. For three years Scott cherished the most ardent feelings of love, but in silence. He was then a young man of small worldly prospects. He had written nothing and was unknown outside the circle of friends in the law courts, where he was but a beginner. This, however, would not have been an insurmountable difficulty had the love been mutual. But the young lady had already given her heart unreservedly to an intimate friend of Scott's, William Forbes, a man of noble character. She gave Scott no encouragement, but frequently, wrote him in a friendly way, chiefly concerning literary topics. After many months of patient restraint, Scott finally wrote her a frank and unreserved declaration of his feelings, and received in reply a letter which filled him with many forebodings but with 'new admiration of her generosity and candour.' She urged upon him the continuation of their simple friendship as the 'prudent line of conduct.' Unfortunately, Scott read between the lines, as too hopeful persons sometimes do, sentiments which were not intended. The final disappointment came in the autumn of 1796, and in the following January Miss Stuart became the bride of Walter Scott's successful rival. It is pleasant to think that the success of the one and the disappointment of the other led to no bitterness. Both were men of noble and generous minds. And in the days of Scott's adversity, when he was wearing away his vitality in a desperate but honourable endeavour to pay his debts, Sir William Forbes, though {19} his own bank was one of the heavy losers in the disaster that overwhelmed Scott, came forward with offers of assistance, and even went so far as to pay secretly a large and pressing debt, that his friend Sir Walter might not be entirely crushed.

The poet never forgot the tender experiences of these years, and long afterward drew a lovely picture of Williamina in 'Rokeby':--

Wreathed in its dark brown rings, her hair Half hid Matilda's forehead fair, Half hid and half revealed to view Her full dark eye of hazel hue. The rose, with faint and feeble streak, So lightly tinged the maiden's cheek, That you had said her hue was pale: But if she faced the summer gale, Or spoke, or sung, or quicker moved, Or heard the praise of those she loved, The mantling blood in ready play Rivalled the blush of rising day.

But Walter Scott was a young man, and in his great big heart there was still room for love. If he thought his heart was broken, he admitted that it was 'handsomely pieced' again. Fascinated with the vivacity and attractiveness of Miss Carpenter, Scott remained at Gilsland much longer than he had intended. The lovers strolled through many delightful paths--walks which left their impress upon the poet's mind and gave him many backgrounds for his future verses and tales.

Miss Carpenter had rooms at a large hotel, known as Shaw's, where the momentous ball was held, and Scott was at Wardrew House, a private residence with a picturesque walled-in garden on the slope of a hill not far away. We followed them in fancy as they descended {20} into the glen which separates these two houses, where they might drink of the mineral spring which gives a local fame to the place. Then like the faithful page of the Baron of Triermain, no doubt they 'crossed green Irthing's Mead' and wandering along the shady bank of this pleasant stream, reached

the favourite glade, Paled in by copsewood, cliff and stone, Where never harsher sounds invade To break affection's whispering tone Than the deep breeze that waves the shade, Than the small brooklet's feeble moan.

Then, turning a bend in the stream, perchance he invited her to

Come! rest thee on thy wonted seat; Mossed is the stone, the turf is green, A place where lovers best may meet Who would not that their love be seen.

Here is the so-called 'Popping Stone,' where, local tradition asserts, Scott asked the all-important question. Whether this is true or not makes no difference. The question was asked and the stone is there. Whatever virtue there may be in the stone, it is certain that thousands of young couples have found their way thither, and they have literally worn it away until now it is scarcely half its original size.

[Illustration: THE POPPING STONE]

A little farther west we came to the beautiful old ruins of Lanercost, in which is the tomb of Thomas, Lord Dacre, to whom Marmion, with his last dying gasp on the field of Flodden, sent a message with his signet ring. Near by and entered through a beautiful park is the fine old feudal castle of Naworth, the stronghold of the {21} Dacres and later of the Howards, both of whom are mentioned in 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel.'

The place which seems to have interested Scott the most in these rambles was the old ruined wall of Triermain Castle. He saw more of it than can be seen to-day, for a great part of it remained standing until 1832. But it was a ruin in the time of Queen Elizabeth. Scott's imagination, however, soon rebuilt and repeopled it, and Sir Ronald de Vaux became immortalized in 'The Bridal of Triermain,' though forgotten in the pages of history. In almost the latest years of his life, the novelist came back to these scenes of his early manhood for another character whom he took from the same old castle of Triermain, the big and burly, but always faithful, Sir Thomas de Multon of 'The Talisman.'

During the autumn of 1797, Scott was a frequent visitor to the city of Carlisle, where Miss Carpenter was living in Castle Street. A few steps beyond the site of her house is Carlisle Cathedral, the most striking feature of which is the beautiful East Window, said to be the finest in England. The cathedral was founded by Henry I in 1101. During the Civil War it was occupied by soldiers, who pulled down ninety-six feet of the nave to build fortifications. The portion that remained, thirty-nine feet, was later enclosed and used as the parish Church of St. Mary. Here, standing between two great Norman pillars of red sandstone, on the day before Christmas, 1797, Walter Scott and Charlotte Carpenter were married.

They went to live in Edinburgh, but during the following summer took up their abode in a charming little cottage with a thatched roof and a delightful garden on {22} the banks of the river Esk at Lasswade. It was then a small house with only one room of fair size, though now very much enlarged. The thatched portion, however, is carefully preserved. Mrs. Scott's good taste and her husband's enthusiasm soon converted the house and grounds into a veritable bower of delight. Unfortunately, the rustic archway of ivy, which Scott took so much pleasure in fashioning, has disappeared. But the vale of the Esk still remains, to thrill the souls of the romantic. Not even in lovely Scotland is there a river or glen to surpass it. Deep down between precipitous cliffs and rocks, shaded by tall trees and overgrown by a bewildering profusion of creeping plants and overhanging vines, the little river flows merrily along, seeming to sparkle at every bend with some new recollection of the romantic legends or fantastic tales of the barons of old, who once peopled its ancient castles and drank their wine while they listened to the rhythmic stories of the minstrel bards. Here six happy summers were spent. Friends came down from Edinburgh and new friendships were formed with important personages living in the villas and castles of the vicinity. All found that Scott had formed a connection with one who had the 'sterling qualities of a good wife,' to quote Lockhart's phrase. The brothers of the _Mountain_--a group of boon companions who were closely associated and very fond of each other's society--welcomed Mrs. Scott with the greatest delight. A married life of perfect serenity was inaugurated, which lasted until the death of 'the ever faithful and true companion' in 1826.

In a confidential letter to Lady Abercorn, written in 1810, Scott refers to his attempt, in the 'Lady of the {23} Lake,' to make 'a knight of love who never broke a vow,' and mentions his own melancholy experience of early days. He adds: 'Mrs. Scott's match and mine was one of our own making, and proceeded from the most sincere affection on both sides, which has rather increased than diminished during twelve years' marriage. But it was something short of love in all its forms, which I suspect people only _feel_ once in their lives; folks who have been nearly drowned in bathing rarely venturing a second time out of their depth.'

These words should not be misconstrued. Whatever the ardency of his first love, the second was no less sincere and true. If the first was the highly poetic type, the young dream of a peculiarly sensitive nature, the second was the kind that enables young couples to meet in peace and serenity all the varied problems of life, to establish their housekeeping in mutual helpfulness, to laugh away their cares, as Scott wrote to Miss Carpenter, or if the load is too heavy, to share it between them, 'until it becomes almost as light as pleasure itself.' It was in this spirit that the young people established their household gods in the cottage at Lasswade.

To a man of Scott's disposition, happy in his new home life, with every incentive to improve his opportunities, his mind steeped from infancy in the rude ballads of the border country and his heart bounding with delight at the beauties of nature, this new environment seemed all that was needed to turn his whole thought to poetry.

Sweet are the paths, O passing sweet! By Esk's fair streams that run O'er airy steep through copsewood deep Impervious to the sun.


There the rapt poet's step may rove, And yield the muse the day; There Beauty, led by timid Love May shun the telltale ray.

No afternoon stroll could be more delightful than one through the valley of the Esk as far as Roslin. Many go to Roslin by coach from Edinburgh, but they fail to see the glen. Guided by a Scottish friend, we found that the better way is to go to Hawthornden and walk through the gardens and grounds of the ancient castle where the poet Drummond lived and wrote to his heart's content of the beauties of the scene. Here we saw the caves, cut out of the solid rock beneath the castle, which sheltered Robert Bruce during the troublous times when Fortune seemed to frown. Here, too, we stood under the sycamore tree where Drummond welcomed Ben Jonson to his home. Descending the path to the river, we crossed by a little wooden bridge, with a gate in the middle, which can be opened only from the Hawthornden side. Then a walk, which was half scramble, brought us finally to Roslin Castle, on a rock peeping over the foliage, high above the river. Both Roslin and Hawthornden are mentioned in 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel' in the ballad of the lovely Rosabelle:--

O'er Roslin all that dreary night A wondrous blaze was seen to gleam; 'T was broader than the watch-fire light, And redder than the bright moonbeam.

It glared on Roslin's castled rock, It ruddied all the copsewood glen; 'T was seen from Dreyden's groves of oak, And seen from caverned Hawthornden.


[Illustration: LASSWADE COTTAGE]

The quiet of Lasswade gave Scott the opportunity for the compilation of the 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,' and its romantic beauty furnished the inspiration for his first serious attempts to write new ballads in imitation of the old ones. 'It was amidst these delicious solitudes,' says Lockhart, 'that he produced the pieces which laid the imperishable foundations of all his fame. It was here that when his warm heart was beating with young and happy love, and his whole mind and spirit were nerved with new motives for exertion--it was here in the ripened glow of manhood he seems to have first felt something of his real strength, and found himself out in those splendid original ballads which were at once to fix his name.'

At this period Scott was a man of unusually robust health. In spite of the lameness with which he had been afflicted from infancy, his powers of endurance were very great. He could walk thirty miles a day or ride one hundred without resting. He was quartermaster of the Edinburgh Volunteers and had a great reputation as a skilful horseman. 'He had a remarkably firm seat on horseback,' said Mr. Skene, 'and in all situations a fearless one: no fatigue ever seemed too much for him, and his zeal and animation served to sustain the enthusiasm of the whole corps.' His companions called him 'Earl Walter,' and whenever there came, at drills, a moment of rest, all turned intuitively to the quartermaster, whose ever ready fun never failed to lighten the burdens of the day. It was really this remarkable gift of good companionship, coupled with his fondness for horses and unusual powers of endurance, that enabled Scott to gather the materials for his poems.


'Eh me,' said Shortreed, his companion and guide in the Liddesdale raids, 'sic an endless fund o' humour and drollery as he then had wi' him! Never ten yards but we were either laughing or roaring or singing. Wherever we stopped, how brawlie he suited himsel' to everybody! He aye did as the lave did; never made himsel' the great man, or took ony airs in the company.' It was literally true, as he said, that he 'had a home in every farmhouse.'

To his rare good fellowship and his powers of endurance, Scott added one other quality without which his vigorous search for literary material might have been of little use, namely, a most extraordinary memory, which enabled him to retain what he had heard and use it many years afterward. James Hogg, the eccentric Ettrick shepherd, gives a fine instance of this power. One night Scott, with his friends, Hogg and Skene, was out on a fishing expedition. 'While we three sat down on the brink of a river,' says Hogg, 'Scott desired me to sing them my ballad of Gilman's Cleugh. Now be it remembered that this ballad had never been printed: I had merely composed it by rote, and, on finishing it three years before, had sung it over once to Sir Walter. I began it, at his request, but at the eighth or ninth stanza I stuck in it and could not get on with another verse, on which he began it again and recited it every word from beginning to end. It being a very long ballad, consisting of eighty-eight stanzas, I testified my astonishment, knowing that he had never heard it but once, and even then did not appear to be paying particular attention. He said he had been out with a pleasure party as far as the opening of the Firth of Forth, and, {27} to amuse the company, he had recited both that ballad and one of Southey's ("The Abbot of Aberbrothock"), both of which ballads he had only heard once from their respective authors, and he believed he recited them both without misplacing a word.'

Living in a country where new beauty appears at every turn in the road and romance is echoed from every hillside, happy in his domestic relations, blessed with the faculty of making friends wherever he went, whether among farmers and shepherds or lords and ladies, active in travelling into every nook or corner where material could be found, keen to appreciate a good story or a pleasing ballad, and able to remember all he ever heard or read, Walter Scott became a poet as easily and naturally as the rippling waters of his beloved Tweed find their way to the sea.




The years at Lasswade were marked by one of the most momentous decisions of Scott's life. He had reached the parting of the ways; one leading to the practice of the law; the other--and the more alluring one--to literature as a profession. Had his father been alive, it is probable that a high sense of duty and loyalty would have determined him to continue in the law, for the old gentleman had set his heart upon that, and Scott would have submitted to almost any irksome requirement rather than wound the feelings of his parent. But the worthy barrister's death a year or two after his son's marriage had put an end to any scruples on his account. Although Scott had not made a failure, his success at the Bar was not remarkable. In the year preceding his marriage and the fifth year of his practice, his fee-book showed an income of only one hundred forty-four pounds, ten shillings. He never had any fondness for the law. As he afterwards expressed it: 'My profession and I came to stand nearly upon the footing which honest Slender consoled himself on having established with Mistress Anne Page: "There was no great love between us at the beginning and it pleased Heaven to decrease it on farther acquaintance."' He began to realize that 'the Scottish Themis was peculiarly jealous of any flirtation with the Muses,' and that a young lawyer could not expect to succeed unless he kept up the appearance of {29} being busy even when he had nothing to do. A barrister who spent his time 'running after ballads' was not to be trusted. To succeed in the law meant, therefore, a farewell to literature. It meant other sacrifices, too. His vigorous health at this period enabled him to indulge a natural fondness for country sports, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and the like. His membership in the Edinburgh Volunteers gave him a most agreeable companionship with a fine class of men, among whom he was extremely popular and with whom he spent some of the happiest hours of his life. All this would have to be given up if he continued at the Bar, and instead he would feel obliged to tie himself down to a severe course of study in some musty old office in Edinburgh.

Two circumstances combined to make feasible the more attractive path. The first was Scott's appointment as Sheriff of Selkirk with an income of three hundred pounds a year, which gave him a certain degree of independence, while the duties were not onerous. The second was the success of the 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border.' For several years Scott had travelled extensively through many remote nooks and corners in search of material for this compilation, and its publication had brought him into public notice as a man of no small literary skill. His gratification with its success may be judged from a letter to his brother-in-law, Charles Carpenter, in 1803:--

I have continued to turn a very slender portion of literary talents to some account by a publication of the poetical antiquities of the Border, where the old people had preserved many ballads descriptive of the manners of the country during the wars with England. This trifling collection was {30} so well received by a discerning public, that, after receiving about £100 profit for the first edition, which my vanity cannot omit informing you went off in six months, I have sold the copyright for £500 more.

This enterprise, paying as much as the entire proceeds of Scott's first five years of legal effort, gave assurance of a financial success in literature, which coupled with a certain income as Sheriff seemed to make the future fairly secure. Reasoning in this way, Scott finally reached his decision to abandon the law and devote his life to literature.

[Illustration: Map of Scotland]

'The Lay of the Last Minstrel' was the immediate result. Scott felt the responsibility of his position. He was now the head of a family, having a wife and three children of whom he might well be proud, and he felt impelled to make a financial as well as literary success of his chosen profession. He had previously tried his hand at original composition. Inspired perhaps by his familiarity with the old Scottish ballads, he had essayed something of the same character. The first of these productions was 'Glenfinlas,' growing out of his early visits to the Highlands. Glenfinlas is a forest in Perthshire, north of the Trossachs and east of Loch Katrine. Next came 'The Eve of St. John,' in which Scott rebuilt and repeopled the old tower of Smailholm which had so fascinated his boyish fancy. In 'The Gray Brother,' an incomplete ballad of this period, the poet sang the praises of the vale of the Esk, then the scene of his almost daily walks. The fourth of these early poems was 'Cadyow Castle,' a ballad on the assassination of the Regent Murray. Cadyow Castle is a very dilapidated old ruin in a park of wondrous beauty near Hamilton, {31} southeast of Glasgow. There is a deep glen, through which runs a little river, the Avon, and on the banks are many tall and beautiful trees. The park was once a part of the old Caledonian forest, a few of the ancient oaks of which still remain standing. It was the habitation of the fierce wild cattle which furnished the liveliest and most dangerous sport whenever a hunt was arranged. Something of the spirit and fire of Scott's later work is seen in these lines:--

Mightiest of all the beasts of chase That roam in woody Caledon, Crashing the forest in his race, The Mountain Bull comes thundering on.

Fierce on the hunter's quivered band He rolls his eyes of swarthy glow, Spurns, with black hoof and horn, the sand And tosses high his mane of snow.

The man who could write such lines as these must have felt an instinct for poetry which no amount of reasoning could ever set aside. It was, therefore, well that Scott did not attempt to resist his natural inclinations.

We find him, then, deliberately turning to poetry, and carefully surveying the field to choose his first subject. Three influences, widely different in character, combined to solve this problem. The first was his interest in the stories of Border warfare aroused by the tales of his childhood and immensely stimulated by his thorough search for ballads to make up the 'Border Minstrelsy.' The second was his membership in the Edinburgh Volunteers which gave a military trend to his thoughts. The third was his desire to oblige a lady. The young Countess of Dalkeith, afterward Duchess of Buccleuch, {32} was an intellectual woman of extreme beauty and lovely character. She was, moreover, the wife of the chief of the clan of Scott, and therefore entitled, in the poet's view at least, to the fealty of her kinsmen. Having heard the legend of Gilpin Horner, a goblin dwarf in whom most of the people implicitly believed, the Countess, much delighted with the story, enjoined upon Scott the task of composing a ballad on the subject. The slightest wish of one so beloved was a command.

The poet soon realized that the goblin was likely to prove a veritable imp of mischief, threatening to ruin his ballad, and before the poem was finished, relegated him to the kitchen where he properly belonged. With the goblin story reduced to a mere incident, the poem expanded to a tale of Border warfare in which all of Scott's military spirit and knowledge of history and legend came to the front. He wrote it, as he declared in a letter to Wordsworth, to discharge his mind of the ideas which from infancy had rushed upon it. In a letter to George Ellis in 1802, he refers to it as a 'kind of romance of Border chivalry in a light-horseman sort of stanza.' In the autumn of that year, while on duty with his troop at Musselburgh, during a charge on Portobello sands, he received a kick from his horse which confined him to his rooms for three days. This accident gave an unexpected opportunity, and in these three days the actual writing of the poem was started and the whole of the first canto completed except the introductory framework. It is easy to recognize the 'light-horseman' stanza. Indeed, the clatter of horses' hoofs is heard distinctly as Sir William of Deloraine sets forth upon his night ride to Melrose:--


'O swiftly can speed my dapple-grey steed Which drinks of the Teviot clear; Ere break of day,' the warrior 'gan say, 'Again will I be here: And safer by none may thy errand be done Than, noble dame, by me!'

* * * * *

Soon in his saddle sate he fast, And soon the steep descent he passed, Soon crossed the sounding barbican, And soon the Teviot side he won.

* * * * *

And soon he spurred his courser keen Beneath the tower of Hazeldean. The clattering hoofs the watchmen mark: 'Stand ho! thou courier of the dark!' 'For Branksome, ho!' the knight rejoined, And left the friendly tower behind.

The spirited ride to Melrose; the opening of the wizard's grave; the delightful picture of the ruined abbey; the meeting of Lady Margaret and Lord Cranstoun; the telling encounter of the latter with the Knight of Deloraine; the manly spirit of the young heir of Branksome; the tales of Watt Tinlinn and the Scotts of Thirlstane, of Harden and of Eskdale, the coming of the Englishmen, Belted Will Howard and Lord Dacre, the duel resulting in the death of Richard of Musgrave, and the triumph of Cranstoun's love for the fair Margaret, all combine to produce a vivid impression of the stirring events, the conditions of life, and the ideals of the Border country in the days of chivalry.

The framework of this picture, from which it takes its name, is generally considered the most beautiful part of the poem. The old minstrel is supposed to relate the tale, with the accompaniment of his harp, to the noble {34} Duchess of Buccleuch. The minstrel, with his reverence and enthusiasm for the old ballad poetry, now in its decadence, is of course the poet himself and the Duchess is his patron, who first suggested the poem. In no more beautiful and delicate way could the poet have shown his devotion to the lord and lady who had so greatly inspired him. Moreover, it gave him the method of showing, as he said, that he had no intention of setting up a new school of poetry, but was only making 'a feeble attempt to imitate the old.' The historical basis of the poem is told in a letter to Lady Dalkeith:--

Dame Janet Beatoun, Lady Buccleuch, who flourished in Queen Mary's time, was a woman of high spirit and great talents. According to the superstition of the times, the vulgar imputed her extraordinary abilities to supernatural knowledge. If Lady Dalkeith will look into the Introduction to the 'Border Ballads,' pages xv and xxix, she will find some accounts of a deadly feud betwixt the clans of Scott and Kerr, which, among other outrages, occasioned the death of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, the husband of Janet Beatoun, who was slain by the Kerrs in the streets of Edinburgh. The lady resented the death of her husband by many exploits against the Kerrs and their allies. In particular the Laird of Cranstoun fell under her displeasure, and she herself headed a party of three hundred horse with the intention of surprising and killing that baron in the chapel of St. Mary, beside St. Mary's Loch at the head of Yarrow. The Baron escaped, but the lady burned the chapel and slew many of the attendants.... The feud was finally ended by Cranstoun marrying the lady's daughter.

[Illustration: ST. MARY'S LOCH]

About this fragment of history Scott wove his stirring tale of the Scottish lowlands in the sixteenth century.

The last of all the bards was he Who sung of Border chivalry,


The aged minstrel is introduced as he passes

where Newark's stately tower Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower.

The old ruin was a favourite resort for Scott, and many a happy holiday excursion was made to those 'rich groves of lofty stature' which Wordsworth celebrated in his 'Yarrow Visited.' The ancient tower stands on high ground above the Yarrow, on a road leading westward from Selkirk, over which Scott often walked or rode. About two miles away is Bowhill, a country-seat of the Duke of Buccleuch, where the poet was always a welcome guest. He refers to it affectionately in the closing stanza of the 'Lay':--

When summer smiled on sweet Bowhill.

Still farther south is Oakwood Tower, a stronghold of the celebrated Wat of Harden, one of the poet's ancestors.

Wide lay his lands round Oakwood Tower And wide round haunted Castle-Ower.

This was 'Auld Wat,' who married the 'Flower of Yarrow,' one of the most beautiful women of the Border, who lived at Dryhope, near the foot of St. Mary's Loch.

High over Borthwick's mountain flood His wood-embosomed mansion stood.

The Borthwick joins the Teviot just above the town of Hawick. The house of Harden stands high up above a deep and romantic glen where there was ample room to conceal 'the herds of plundered England.'

Marauding chief! his sole delight The moonlight raid, the morning fight; Not even the Flower of Yarrow's charms In youth might tame his rage for arms.

{36} Auld Wat's son, afterwards Sir William Scott of Harden, a remarkably handsome man and an early favourite of King James VI, inherited some of his father's propensities for driving off his neighbour's cattle and other irregularities common to the time. In a raid upon the lands of Sir Gideon Murray of Elibank he was captured and carried in chains to the castle. Elibank is now a ruin on the banks of the Tweed not far from Ashestiel, whither Scott was fond of walking on Sunday mornings. The legend which Scott tells, about as it was told to him in his youth, and not, perhaps, in exact accordance with the facts, is as follows:--

When the young marauder was brought to the castle in chains, the Lady Murray asked her lord what he proposed to do with him. 'Why, hang the robber, assuredly,' was the answer. 'What,' answered the lady, 'hang the handsome young knight of Harden when I have three ill-favoured daughters unmarried! No, no, Sir Gideon, we'll force him to marry our Meg.' 'Meikle-mouthed Meg' was the ugliest woman in the country, and young Sir William promptly decided that he would rather hang. Three days were given him to think the matter over, after which he was led out beneath a convenient oak, with a rope tied around his neck and the other end was passed over a stout limb of the tree. Then he began to reconsider and decided that, as between nooses, he preferred the matrimonial one. There may be some advantages in ugly wives after all, and one of them, in this case at least, seemed to be an entire absence of jealousy. It was said, moreover, that 'Meg' had 'a curious hand at pickling the beef which Sir William stole.' They lived a very happy life. The marriage {37} contract was written on the head of a drum and the parchment is still preserved. Scott was so fond of the legend that he wanted to make it the subject of a comic ballad. He accordingly began, but never finished 'The Reiver's Wedding.' The grandson of this couple was Walter Scott, known as 'Beardie,' the great-grandfather of the poet.

About a mile above the junction of the Teviot with the Borthwick stands the castle of Branksome. Seen from the opposite side of the river standing on a terraced slope, partly hidden by the trees and shrubs, it makes a pretty picture.

All, all is peaceful, all is still,

and there is nothing to suggest the time when

Nine and twenty knights of fame-- Hung their shields in Branksome Hall.

It seemed to us more modern than it really is, for it was completed in its present form in the year 1576. The barony of Branxholme, or Branksome, came into the possession of Sir William Scott of Buccleuch in the early part of the fifteenth century and still remains in the family. The towers which formerly occupied the site were attacked by the English again and again, and the castle burned and pillaged. It will be remembered that after a preliminary survey of the castle and its attendant knights, the minstrel tells the story of how Lord Walter fell, of the widow's desire for vengeance, and of the Lady Margaret's love for Lord Cranstoun, her father's foe. Then for some purpose which is not clearly defined, the 'Ladye' calls to her side the boldest knight of her train, Sir William of Deloraine, and bids him ride with all {38} haste to Melrose Abbey, there to open the grave of the wizard, Michael Scott, and to take from it the 'Mighty Book.' Sir Michael Scott was a man of learning who flourished in the thirteenth century. He wrote several philosophical treatises and devoted much time to the study of alchemy, astrology, chiromancy, and other abstruse subjects, whence he gained the reputation of being a wizard. Many weird tales are told of his performances. Being sent as an ambassador to France to demand satisfaction for certain grievances, he opened his magic book and caused a fiend in the shape of a huge black horse to fly out. Mounting, he flew across the sea and presented himself to the king. His demands were about to be met with a curt refusal when Michael begged the king to defer his answer until the black horse had stamped three times. The first stamp set all the bells in Paris to ringing; the second tumbled over three towers of the palace; the horse raised his foot for the third stamp, but the king would not risk another and gave to Michael what he wanted. It was this same wizard who 'cleft the Eildon Hills in three,' the triple peaks which so picturesquely dominate the entire landscape in the vicinity of Melrose, having been formerly, so it is said, a single summit. It has always been understood that the 'magic book' was buried with the wizard, and that no one dared remove it because of the 'terrible spells' which it contained.

[Illustration: BRANKSOME HALL]

The knight arrived after a spirited gallop, and shortly after midnight rapped with the hilt of his dagger on the wicket gate. The porter hurried to admit him, and soon he greeted the aged monk of St. Mary's Aisle. Sighing heavily the monk conducted the man of arms through {39} the cloisters, which may still be seen looking very much as the poet described them in lines not only poetically beautiful but literally true:--

Spreading herbs and flowerets bright Glistened with the dew of night; Nor herb nor floweret glistened there But was carved in the cloister arches as fair.

Seven graceful arches, forming stalls or seats once used by the dignitaries of the church, make a continuous line along the eastern wall. Above the arches, and joining one to another, are stone carvings of rare delicacy and beauty. Of the more than a hundred separate figures in this frieze no two are alike. There are roses, lilacs, thistles, ferns, oak leaves, and scores of other representations of the forms of nature, all exquisitely carved with inimitable accuracy. Scott admired these arches so greatly that he copied one of them for the fireplace of the entrance hall at Abbotsford.

The 'steel-clenched postern door,' through which the monk and the knight now entered the chancel, stands nearly intact. Its three arches rest on graceful pilasters surmounted by capitals, with carved foliage so delicate that a straw can be passed behind the stalks of the leaves. We found it interesting upon entering this door to note the accuracy of the poet's descriptions, which the guide quoted with great fluency. The pillars supporting the lofty roof spread out to form the great arches, seeming to be 'bundles of lances which garlands had bound.'

We stood beneath this arched roof for a long time to admire the beautiful East Window, and the guide quoted:--


The moon on the East oriel shone Through slender shafts of shapely stone By foliaged tracery combined.

It is almost impossible to realize that these long and slender shafts are really carved out of stone and that the work was done many centuries ago. Scott accounts for it poetically:--

Thou wouldst have thought some fairy's hand Twixt poplars straight the osier wand In many a freakish knot had twined, Then framed a spell when the work was done, And changed the willow wreaths to stone.

Beneath the window lies the heart of Robert Bruce. It had been the desire of the monarch that his heart be interred in the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem. After his death the body was buried beneath the high altar of the church at Dunfermline, but the heart was taken out and committed to the keeping of James, Lord Douglas, who undertook to carry it to the Holy Land. But James was defeated and killed by the Saracens, and the heart of his royal master was taken to Melrose and buried there. This was as it should be, for the heart of Bruce, figuratively speaking, was always in Melrose. After the destruction of the abbey in 1322 by Edward II on his retreat from Scotland, Bruce made a grant of £2000 sterling, a sum equivalent to about £50,000 in the money of to-day. Because of this munificence the abbey was rebuilt in all the beauty and perfection which Gothic architecture could suggest, so that even in ruins it is still a structure of graceful magnificence. In 1384, the abbey was again destroyed, but later restored. In 1544, 1545, and finally a century later under the Reformation, {41} the abbey suffered serious damage from which it never recovered.

The grave of Michael Scott which Deloraine was sent to open was pointed out to us, as it is to all visitors, but in reality its exact position is not known. Johnny Bower, an old guide of whom Scott was very fond, discovered the position of the grave by noting the direction of the moonbeams through the oriel window. 'I pointed out the whole to the Shirra,' said he, 'and he couldna' gainsay but it was varra clear.' 'Scott,' says Washington Irving, who tells the story, 'used to amuse himself with the simplicity of the old man and his zeal in verifying every passage of the poem, as though it had been authentic history, and always acquiesced in his deductions.'

Like all other visitors we wanted to see the abbey properly, and that, according to the poet, could only be done by moonlight.

If thou wouldst view fair Melrose aright, Go visit it by the pale moonlight.

The moon was full while we were there and seemed to offer a splendid opportunity. But an unexpected obstacle appeared. In Scotland, in the summer time, the evenings are very long, the twilight lasting until ten or eleven o'clock, while the moon makes very little impression until a late hour. And the custodian of the abbey goes to bed early! So it was impossible to see the moon shining through the east oriel, but fortunately we could see the outer walls from the windows of our hotel, which adjoins the ruin, and the moon kindly favoured us by making

Buttress and buttress alternately Seem framed of ebon and ivory.

{42} The next day we were treated to a superb view from the private grounds of a gentleman whose estate adjoins the abbey. From this point the entire southern wall, which remains nearly intact, gives at first glance the impression of a complete and beautiful Gothic structure. The distant hills furnish a fine background and the well-kept lawns and graceful birches perform the double duty of shutting out the graveyard and making a charming foreground.

But to return to the story. While William of Deloraine, with the mystic book pressed close to his breast, was eagerly returning to Branksome, the fair Lady Margaret was early awake and seeking the greenwood at dawn of light to meet her lover, the Baron Henry.

A fairer pair were never seen To meet beneath the hawthorn green. He was stately and young and tall, Dreaded in battle and loved in hall; And she, when love, scarce told, scarce hid, Lent to her cheek a livelier red, When the half sigh her swelling breast Against the silken ribbon pressed, When her blue eyes their secret told, Though shaded by her locks of gold-- Where would you find the peerless fair With Margaret of Branksome might compare!

Lockhart finds in this passage 'the form and features of Scott's first love,' and also says that the choice of the hero was dictated by the poet's affection for the living descendants of the Baron of Cranstoun. One of these, George Cranstoun, afterward Lord Corehouse, was one of Scott's earliest friends. His sister, the Countess of Purgstall, was the confidante of Scott at the time of his early disappointment in love.

[Illustration: MELROSE ABBEY]


The meeting of the lovers was all too brief. The Baron's horse pricked up his ears, 'as if a distant noise he hears,' and the goblin dwarf signed to the lovers to part and fly. William of Deloraine, returning from his all-night ride, was seen coming down the hill into 'Branksome's hawthorn green.' No words were wasted.

Their very coursers seemed to know That each was other's mortal foe.

Like the bursting of a thundercloud the two champions met, and in another moment William of Deloraine lay on the ground, with Cranstoun's lance, broken, in his bosom. The goblin page was directed to attend the wounded knight, and in doing so discovered the 'Mighty Book' from which he learned some mischievous 'spells.' The son of the Ladye of Branksome was lured into the woods and fell into the hands of an English yeoman who took him, a captive, to Lord Dacre. Scouts hurrying into the castle brought news of the approach of three thousand Englishmen led by 'Belted Will Howard' and 'Hot Lord Dacre.'

Naworth Castle, the home of the Dacres and later of the Howards, was one of the first places we visited. It is a fine old baronial castle in Cumberland County, about twelve miles from Carlisle. It was built in the fourteenth century by the Dacre family, who derived their name from the exploits of an ancestor who was conspicuous at the Siege of Acre in the Holy Land, under King Richard the Lion-Hearted. In the sixteenth century it passed into the possession of Lord William Howard, a famous 'warden of the marches,' who became known as 'Belted Will Howard.'


His Bilboa blade, by Marchmen felt, Hung in a broad and studded belt; Hence, in rude phrase, the Borderers still Called noble Howard Belted Will.

One of the towers of Naworth, which this celebrity occupied, still remains much as he left it, even to the books that formed his library. Lanercost Priory, the burial-place of the Howards and Dacres, is an unusually picturesque and interesting ruin in the same vicinity.

The beacon fires soon summoned a goodly array of the best blood of Scotland to meet the English invaders, among whom were Archibald Douglas, seventh Earl of Angus, a descendant of James, Lord Douglas, who attempted to carry the heart of Bruce to the Holy Land. But the battle was averted, and instead a single combat arranged between Richard of Musgrave and William of Deloraine, the prize of the field to be the young Buccleuch, who had fallen into the hands of the English. The Lady of Branksome was escorted to the field of the tournament by Lord Howard, while Margaret had the stately Douglas by her side. The strife was desperate and long, and in the end Musgrave was slain. But not by the hand of William of Deloraine. Lord Cranstoun, by the aid of magic learned from the 'Mighty Book' and assisted by the goblin page, had contrived to array himself in the armour of Sir William and so had won the fight.

'And who art thou,' they cried, 'Who hast this battle fought and won?' His pluméd helm was soon undone-- 'Cranstoun of Teviot-side! For this fair prize I've fought and won'-- And to the Ladye led her son.


Then and there the feud was ended. The Ladye of Branksome, declaring that 'pride is quelled and love is free,' gave the hand of Margaret to the Baron of Cranstoun, with all the noble lords assembled to grace the betrothal with their presence.

The sixth canto is superfluous if we consider that the story ends with the betrothal. And yet it contains some of the finest passages in the whole poem. It opens with that superb outburst of patriotism, beginning,--

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land?--

which shows, better than anything else, the extent to which Scott's inspiration was derived from his own Scotland.

O Caledonia, stern and wild, Meet nurse for a poetic child! Land of brown heath and shaggy wood, Land of the mountain and the flood, Land of my sires! what mortal hand Can e'er untie the filial band That knits me to thy rugged strand!

Here, too, we find the ballad of the lovely Rosabelle, having its scene in the Castle of Roslin, in the vale of the Esk, which Scott learned to love during those six bright years spent at Lasswade. This alone would almost justify the extra canto, but we have in addition the stately requiem of Melrose Abbey, bringing the poem to a solemn and beautiful close.

Then comes the final word of the old minstrel:--

Hushed is the harp--the Minstrel gone. And did he wander forth alone? Alone, in indigence and age, To linger out his pilgrimage?


No: close beneath proud Newark's tower Arose the Minstrel's lowly bower, A simple hut; but there was seen The little garden hedged with green, The cheerful hearth, and lattice clean.

These lines are but the embodiment of one of Scott's dreams at the time he wrote them. The small estate of Broadmeadows, near the ruins of Newark, was about to be offered for sale, and Scott, dreaming of the time when he might have a home of his own, rode around it frequently with Lord and Lady Dalkeith, earnestly hoping that some day he might possess it. But the vision faded when the success of the poem gave him larger ambitions, leading ultimately to the purchase of Abbotsford.




There was no title of which Scott was more fond than that of 'Sheriff of Ettrick Forest.' The 'Shirra,' as he was affectionately called, was a welcome guest in every farmhouse and there were few in the region where he had not been entertained. The 'Forest' comprises the great tract of hilly country lying between the Tweed and Ettrick Water and extending as far east as Selkirk. Perhaps because we were familiar with the Adirondacks and the Blue Ridge Mountains, where one may travel for hours in the shade of the 'forest primeval,' it was to us a distinct disappointment, and recalled the remark of Washington Irving, that you could almost see a stout fly walking along the profile of the hills. Centuries ago these hills, now completely denuded, were clothed with a dense growth of trees and the entire region was set apart as a royal hunting-ground. It is recorded that in the sixteenth century King James V gave a royal hunting-party, in which the nobles and gentlemen of Scotland to the extent of twelve thousand men participated. But love of sport at length gave way to royal cupidity. For the sake of increasing his revenue, the king turned the forest into a huge sheep pasture, and these hungry animals, still retaining possession, have literally destroyed the forest and changed the whole aspect of the land. Scott, nevertheless, loved the bare hills, and said, 'If I {48} could not see the heather at least once a year, I think I should die.'

The duties of the Sheriff's office compelled a change from Lasswade to a place nearer the town of Selkirk, and Scott found a small farm well suited to his fancy, near the northern limits of the 'Forest,' at Ashestiel, on high ground overlooking the Tweed. Here he spent some of the happiest summers of his life. In a letter to Dr. Leyden, he gives a pleasant picture of his happy family at this time:--

Here we live all the summer like little kings, and only wish that you could take a scamper with me over the hills in the morning, and return to a clean tablecloth, a leg of forest mutton, and a blazing hearth in the afternoon. Walter has acquired the surname of Gilnockie, being large of limb and bone and dauntless in disposition like that noted chieftain. Your little friend Sophia is grown a tall girl, and I think promises to be very clever, as she discovers uncommon acuteness of apprehension. We have, moreover, a little roundabout girl with large dark eyes, as brown, as good-humoured, and as lively as the mother that bore her, and of whom she is the most striking picture. Over and above all this, there is in _rerum natura_ a certain little Charles, so called after the Knight of the Crocodile; but of this gentleman I can say but little, as he is only five months old, and consequently not at the time of life when I can often enjoy the 'honour of his company.'

[Illustration: ASHESTIEL]

Of the house itself and its surroundings Lockhart has given a charming description:--

You approached it through an old-fashioned garden, with holly hedges, and broad, green terrace walks. On one side, close under the windows, is a deep ravine, clothed with venerable trees, down which a mountain rivulet is heard, more than seen, in its progress to the Tweed. The river itself is {49} separated from the high bank on which the house stands only by a narrow meadow of the richest verdure. Opposite, and all around, are the green hills. The valley there is narrow and the aspect in every direction is that of perfect pastoral repose.

They were eight miles from the nearest town and four from the nearest neighbour. The latter circumstance Scott did not regret, though he found the former somewhat inconvenient for obtaining needed supplies and naïvely complains to Lady Abercorn that he had been compelled to go out and shoot a crow to get a quill with which to write her. Nearly the whole country roundabout belonged to the Duke of Buccleuch, who gave the poet full liberty to hunt upon his estates. The Tweed in the vicinity of Ashestiel and of Elibank, a little above, was unsurpassed for fishing. A favourite sport was 'leistering kippers,' or spearing salmon at night by the light of a blazing peat fire. Perhaps the most exhilarating pastime of all was the horseback riding, in which the poet was an expert. Accompanied by one or more of his most congenial friends, he would make excursions into remote regions, never dismounting in the very worst paths and displaying powers of endurance and fearlessness that made him the wonder and the envy of his companions.

Scott was now in the full vigour of his manhood. The weakness of earlier years had disappeared, and with the exception of the lameness, which never left him, he was strong and healthy in body as well as mind. He was in the full flush of his first great fame as a man of letters, and the trials of his later life had not yet begun.

It was at this period and under these circumstances {50} that the poem of 'Marmion' was written. The poet's enthusiasm for the locality in which he lived, and for the friends who made that life a joy, found expression in the Introductions to the six cantos, each addressed to one of his intimate companions. Most readers of 'Marmion,' becoming absorbed in the story, have regarded these introductions as unnecessary interruptions. But no one would wish them to be omitted, for they reveal the author who is telling the tale, and we seem to see him in his changing environment, through the successive seasons as the poem advances, beginning with the day at Ashestiel, when

November's sky is chill and drear November's leaf is red and sear;

and closing with the Christmas-time, a year later at Mertoun House, where the poet passed the happy days in the house where his great grandsire came of old, 'the feast and holy tide to share.'

The introductions were originally intended to be published in a separate volume as 'Six Epistles from Ettrick Forest.' The first, as of course every one knows, is inscribed to William Stewart Rose, a poet who is chiefly known for his translation of Ariosto's 'Orlando Furioso.' It opens with a fine description of the beginning of winter at Ashestiel, then turns to thoughts of 'My country's wintry state,' and the loss to Britain brought by the death of the two rival statesmen, Pitt and Fox, who had passed away in the same year, 1806, in which the poem was begun.

The second canto, inscribed to the Rev. John Marriott, is reminiscent of scenes and incidents of the Ettrick Forest. The third canto is the most important of {51} all because of its autobiographic character. It is addressed to William Erskine, a warm friend of the poet's youth, in whose literary judgment Scott reposed the firmest faith. He had been from the beginning a kind of literary monitor, sympathizing fully with Scott's feeling for the picturesque side of Scottish life, but strongly urging him to follow more closely the masters of poetry in some of the minor graces of arrangement and diction. This the poet declares is impossible, and exclaims:--

Though wild as cloud, as stream, as gale Flow forth, flow unrestrained, my tale!

In this Introduction the poet's mind reverts to the scenes of his childhood, the old farm at Sandy Knowe, where he lived with his grandfather, and the ancient tower of Smailholm near by.

Then rise those crags, that mountain tower, Which charmed my fancy's wakening hour. * * * * * It was a barren scene and wild, Where naked cliffs were rudely piled, But ever and anon between Lay velvet tufts of loveliest green; And well the lonely infant knew Recesses where the wall-flower grew, And honeysuckle loved to crawl Up the low crag and ruined wall. I deemed such nooks the sweetest shade The sun in all its round surveyed.

The preparation for the writing of 'Marmion' began right here, for the love of martial tales so early implanted in the poet's breast never ceased to grow until it reached its full maturity.

While stretched at length upon the floor, Again I fought each combat o'er, {52} Pebbles and shells, in order laid, The mimic ranks of war displayed; And onward still the Scottish lion bore, And still the scattered Southron fled before.

The fourth canto is inscribed to the poet's artist friend, James Skene, with whom he made many an excursion on horseback through the Border country. It recalls many memories of summer days and winter nights, happily spent with mutual friends. The fifth is addressed to George Ellis, a man of wide knowledge of poetry and extensive literary attainments, with whom Scott was on terms of almost brotherly intimacy. It was written from Edinburgh, more than a year after the beginning of the poem, and is distinguished by a fine outburst of enthusiasm for the poet's native city, 'Caledonia's Queen.' The sixth canto and the last is dedicated to Richard Heber, who had rendered able assistance in the preparation of the 'Border Minstrelsy.' He was a member of Parliament for Oxford and a man of profound knowledge of the literary monuments of the Middle Ages. He possessed an extensive library to which he gave the poet free access, and his oral commentaries were scarcely less important. The introduction was written at Mertoun House, where Scott had gone to spend the Christmas season at the home of the head of his clan.

Heap on more wood!--the wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, We'll keep our Christmas merry still.


A brief review of the well-known narrative will serve to point out the most important of the many interesting and often beautiful scenes which the poet so graphically {53} describes. The story opens, as everybody knows, at Norham Castle at close of day, when Lord Marmion, mounted on his red-roan charger, proudly enters,--

Armed from head to heel In mail and plate of Milan steel,

with helm richly embossed with burnished gold and surmounted by a flowing crest, amid which

A falcon hovered on her nest, With wings outspread and forward breast.

He was followed by two gallant and ambitious squires; then came four men-at-arms 'with halbert, bill, and battle-axe,' bearing their chieftain's lance and pennon; and finally twenty yeomen, each a chosen archer who could bend a six-foot bow, and all with falcons embroidered on their breasts. They were welcomed with blare of trumpets and the martial salute of cannon, making a clangor, such as the old turrets of Norham had seldom heard. Marmion responded to the noisy welcome of soldiers and minstrels by a lavish distribution of gold and was ushered into the presence of Sir Hugh the Heron, with whom he spent the hours till midnight in sumptuous feasting.

Norham Castle, the ruins of which we reached at the close of day, after a long tour by motor from Berwick, was once a magnificent mansion and fortress, standing on high ground overlooking the Tweed. For a thousand years it was the scene of alternating peace and turmoil. Founded in the seventh century, it passed from English to Scottish hands and back again for many years. By the beginning of the thirteenth century it had become one of the strongest of English fortresses. James IV captured it just before the battle of Flodden Field, but {54} after that event the English recovered it. For the past three hundred years it has been crumbling to ruins, and now there is little left except a single wall and a remnant of the

sable palisade, That closed the castle barricade

before which Marmion's bugle-horn was sounded.

Like so many of Scott's characters, Marmion, though a fictitious personage, moved among the real people of history and could boast a genuine ancestry. There was a distinguished family of Marmion, Lords of Fontenoy in Normandy, one of whom became a follower of William the Conqueror and received a grant of the castle and tower of Tamworth and the manor of Scrivelby, in Lincolnshire. The family became extinct in the latter part of the thirteenth century.

In the second canto the scene changes to St. Cuthbert's Holy Isle, where Constance de Beverley is a prisoner. She had broken her vows as a nun and deserted the convent to follow Marmion, in the guise of a page, as his paramour--

And forfeited to be his slave All here, and all beyond the grave.

The island, so called, is on the English coast of the North Sea, about ten miles southeast of Berwick. We reached it by crossing the sands in a two-wheeled vehicle, something like an Irish jaunting-car, in which springless instrument of torture we were compelled to travel about three miles. At intervals along the route there are little groups of poles standing in the water, with miniature platforms near the top. These are havens of refuge. If {55} you get caught by the rising tides you have only to make for one of these, and, after watching your horse drown, wait for five or six hours until, with the turn of the tide, somebody comes along to rescue you. Our enterprising Jehu assured us that the tide would be running out, and that there was no danger. But when about halfway over we began to notice that the ride was rising, and the water was soon nearly up to the bed of the wagon. We had made the entire journey in the face of a rising tide and reached the island none too soon, for it was nearly high tide.

Cuthbert, the patron saint of the Holy Island, flourished in the seventh century. He was a prior of the original Melrose Abbey--not the one which is now a ruin in the town of that name, but its predecessor which occupied a site farther down the Tweed. Later he became Prior of Lindisfarne and afterward Bishop. The ruins of the abbey show that it must have been a very extensive establishment of great antiquity. Besides the foundation stones, little now remains except part of the walls of the church which are best described in the poet's words:--

In Saxon strength that abbey frowned, With massive arches broad and round, That rose alternate, row and row, On ponderous columns, short and low, Built ere the art was known By pointed aisle and shafted stalk The arcades of an alleyed walk To emulate in stone.

We searched in vain for the dreadful 'Vault of Penitence,' the awful dungeon below the abbey, its position known only by the abbot, to which both victim and {56} executioner were led blindfold. There is no trace of any underground vaults nor of anything resembling the niche where poor Constance was immured, to die a slow death from starvation. As a matter of fact, Lindisfarne was never a convent at all. But at Coldingham Abbey, on the coast of Scotland not many miles away, there was discovered, in Scott's time, a female skeleton which, from the shape of the niche and the position of the figure, seemed to be that of a nun immured very much as Constance was supposed to have been.


Returning to Norham Castle, and continuing the narrative, we find Marmion and his men preparing to depart at an early hour of the morning following their arrival. Guided by the supposed Holy Palmer, they travelled all day, following the mountain paths straight across the Lammermuir Hills, in a northwesterly direction, until at close of day they came to the village of Gifford, four or five miles south of the town of Haddington. A night at the village inn, a weird ghost story by the landlord, and a strange, uncanny adventure of Marmion resulting from it, complete the experiences of the first twenty-four hours. The next day the travellers meet a messenger from the King, Sir David Lindsay, by whom they are escorted to Crichton Castle and entertained in royal magnificence. We found the ruins of this picturesque old castle on the banks of the Tyne, a dozen miles southeast from Edinburgh. From his boyhood they had exercised a fascinating influence upon the poet.

Crichtoun! though now thy miry court But pens the lazy steer and sheep, Thy turrets rude and tottered keep Have been the minstrel's loved resort.

{57} During his school days, Scott took many a vacation tramp to visit the scenes in the neighbourhood of Edinburgh which appealed to his fancy, and nothing ever made a stronger appeal than some old ruin to which was attached a bit of history or legend. Referring to the time when he was about thirteen years old, he says, in the brief fragment of his 'Autobiography':--

To this period I can trace distinctly the awaking of that delightful feeling for the beauties of natural objects which has never since deserted me.... The romantic feelings which I have described as predominating in my mind, naturally rested upon and associated themselves with these grand features of the landscape around me; and the historical incidents, or traditional legends connected with many of them, gave to my admiration a sort of intense impression of reverence, which at times made my heart feel too big for its bosom. From this time the love of natural beauty, more especially when combined with ancient ruins, or remains of our fathers' piety or splendour, became with me an insatiable passion, which, if circumstances had permitted, I would willingly have gratified by travelling over half the globe.

It was with something of this same feeling that the poet caused Marmion to travel from Norham to Edinburgh by a circuitous route, in order that he might visit Crichton and afterward view Edinburgh from the Blackford Hills. Mr. Guthrie Wright, a friend and relative of Scott's friend, Erskine, once asked the poet: 'Why did ever mortal coming from England to Edinburgh go by Gifford, Crichton Castle, Borthwick Castle, and over the top of Blackford Hill? Not only is it a circuitous detour, but there never was a road that way since the world was created!' 'That is a most irrelevant objection,' said Sir Walter; 'it was my good pleasure to bring Marmion {58} by that route, for the purpose of describing the places you have mentioned, and the view from Blackford Hill--it was his business to find the road and pick his steps the best way he could.'

At Crichton, Marmion heard from Sir David Lindsay a legend of King James and the Palace of Linlithgow.

Of all the palaces so fair Built for the royal dwelling In Scotland, far beyond compare Linlithgow is excelling.

This famous palace, now a ruin, lies about midway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. It is beautifully situated on a small loch, from the opposite shores of which it makes an imposing appearance. The walls are in a good state of preservation and still give some intimations of the early magnificence of the royal residence. Three of the Stuart kings, James III, IV, and V, occupied it in succession. Mary, Queen of Scots, was born here in what was once a large and beautiful room. On the opposite side of the building is a room ninety-eight feet long and thirty feet wide, formerly used by the Scottish Parliaments, and the scene of many a state banquet. At one end is an immense fireplace which still remains in almost perfect condition. In the large court are the remains of a fine fountain, with elaborate carvings, erected by James V in anticipation of his marriage with the Princess Madeleine of France. The most striking feature of the palace is Queen Margaret's Bower, a lofty turret, where it is said the Queen watched all day for her husband's return from Flodden Field, only to learn of his disastrous defeat and death. As I stood on the parapet opposite the bower, preparing to make its photograph, {59} the custodian reminded me that I was standing where many famous people used to promenade.

Adjoining the palace is the ancient church of St. Michael's, where, according to Lindsay's story, King James received the ghostly visitor in the semblance of the Apostle John, bearing the prophetic warning:--

'My mother sent me from afar, Sir King, to warn thee not to war,-- Woe waits on thine array; If war thou wilt, of woman fair, Her witching wiles and wanton snare, James Stuart, doubly warned, beware: God keep thee as he may!'

From Crichton the journey to the Scottish camp was resumed, and the party now traverses ground even more familiar to the poet:--

Early they took Dun-Edin's road, And I could trace each step they trode; Hill, brook, nor dell, nor rock, nor stone, Lies on the path to me unknown.

Over this well-worn road they reached the top of Blackford Hill, and the view that met their eyes aroused an enthusiasm that even Marmion, sullen warrior that he was, could scarcely suppress. The Scottish camp, lying on the plain below, is painted in all the colours of the rainbow:--

A thousand streamers flaunted fair; Various in shape, device, and hue, Green, sanguine, purple, red, and blue.

The city, too, is pictured in colours no less vivid and glows 'with gloomy splendour, red.' The Ochil Mountains, reflecting the morning rays are like a 'purple {60} amethyst'; the islands in the Firth are like 'emeralds chased in gold'; and a 'dusky grandeur clothed the height, where the huge castle holds its state.'

The scene which Marmion saw, the poet admits, was far different in his own time; and it has changed, perhaps, even more since Sir Walter's day, for the plain where King James's army lay is now filled with well-built cottages. But the dominating features of the view, the huge castle on the left, Arthur's Seat and the Salisbury Crags on the right, Calton Hill, and the crown-shaped steeple of St. Giles still remain to command our admiration and delight.

[Illustration: TANTALLON CASTLE]

Passing through the Scottish camp, Marmion and his train soon came to Holyrood Palace. The tower on the left was built by James IV as a royal palace in 1498-1503. In the latter year it was the scene of the marriage of the King to Princess Margaret, the daughter of Henry VII of England. The wedding was celebrated with great magnificence. Here Marmion is received by the King, who, on the night before marching to the south, is making Holyrood ring with 'wassail, mirth, and glee.' He is devoting much attention to the wife of Sir Hugh the Heron, who sings for him the song of the young Lochinvar. A glance, thrown by 'the witching dame' to Marmion, arouses the jealous displeasure of the King, and Marmion is hurried off to Tantallon Castle, under conduct of the owner of that stronghold, Douglas, Earl of Angus, known as Archibald Bell-the-Cat. Tantallon is on the north coast of Haddingtonshire, near the town of North Berwick. The ruins still remain,

Broad, massive, high, and stretching far.

{61} They stand on a high, projecting rock, guarded on three sides by the ocean, while on the land side the remnant of the 'double mound and fosse' may still be seen. The castle was a favourite residence of the Douglas family, though its fame owes less to history than to the genius of Sir Walter. It was here that Marmion dared

To beard the lion in his den The Douglas in his hall,--

and in defiance of Lord Angus gave utterance to one of those dramatic passages which have made the poem linger so long in the memory of all its readers. This is one of the chief characteristics of Scott's poetry, that certain lines will insist upon 'running in one's head.' George Ellis pointed out the significant fact that 'everybody reads Marmion more than once' and that it improves on second reading. Perhaps this is why so many people can quote freely from the poem, particularly such passages as the quarrel of Marmion and Douglas.

From Tantallon, Marmion and his men, with the Lady Clare, proceed to Flodden Field, reaching at eve the convent of Lennel where 'now is left but one frail arch.' This resting place is on the river Tweed just below the town of Coldstream and not far from the famous ford at the mouth of the river Leet, used by Edward I in the invasion of Scotland near the close of the thirteenth century and by the contending armies of England and Scotland for nearly four hundred years afterward. Over this ford Marmion rushes impetuously to throw himself into the thick of the battle.

Then on that dangerous ford and deep Where to the Tweed Leet's eddies creep He ventured desperately: {62} And not a moment will he bide Till squire or groom before him ride; Headmost of all he stems the tide, And stems it gallantly.

Sir Walter wrote this passage, and many more like it, from experience, for it was one of his chief delights to ford a stream. James Skene said he believed there was not a single ford in the whole course of the Tweed that he and Scott had not traversed together. 'He had an amazing fondness for fords, and was not a little adventurous in plunging through, whatever might be the state of the flood, and this even though there happened to be a bridge in view. If it seemed possible to scramble through, he scorned to go ten yards about, and in fact preferred the ford.' There was a ford at Ashestiel that was never a good one. At one time, after a severe storm, it became quite perilous. Scott was the first to attempt the passage, which he accomplished in safety, thanks to his steady nerve and good horsemanship, for his favourite black horse, Captain, was obliged to swim nearly the whole distance across.

Many of the landmarks of Flodden Field may still be seen. The Twisel Bridge over which the English crossed the Till; Ford Castle, the residence of Sir William Heron, whom Scott transfers to Norham, changing his name to Hugh; Etal Castle, which with Ford, Norham, and Wark was captured by King James; a remnant of the old cross in the field where Marmion died; the well of Sybil Grey, a spring running into a small stone basin, upon which has been cut an inscription something like that referred to in the poem; and 'Marmion's well' at the edge of the village of Branxton, which the local {63} inhabitants are certain is the real spring where Clare filled Marmion's helm with the cooling water,--all these are easily visited in a day's drive. On the summit of Piper's Hill a monument has been erected, marking the spot where King James fell.

The King failed to heed the warning given in Linlithgow. He insisted upon going to war and wasted too much precious time with the Lady Heron. As a result he seemed to do everything that a good general would not have done and he failed to do all that a competent leader would have done. The poet gives full vent to his righteous indignation:--

And why stands Scotland idly now, Dark Flodden! on thy airy brow, Since England gains the pass the while, And struggles through the deep defile? What checks the fiery soul of James? Why sits that champion of the dames Inactive on his steed? * * * * * O Douglas, for thy leading wand! Fierce Randolph for thy speed! Oh! for one hour of Wallace wight, Or well-skilled Bruce, to rule the fight And cry, 'Saint Andrew and our right!' Another sight had seen that morn, From Fate's dark book a leaf been torn, And Flodden had been Bannockbourne.

The King fell, bravely fighting, it is said, within a lance's length of the Earl of Surrey. The noblest of the Scottish army lay dead and dying about the field. Never before in Scottish history had there been so great a disaster as that

Of Flodden's fatal field Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear And broken was her shield!

{64} Richard H. Hutton thinks that Scott's description of war in this account is perhaps the most perfect which the English language contains, and that 'Marmion' is Scott's finest poem. 'The Battle of Flodden Field,' he says, 'touches his highest point in its expression of stern, patriotic feeling, in its passionate love of daring, and in the force and swiftness of its movement, no less than in the brilliancy of its romantic interests, the charm of its picturesque detail, and the glow of its scenic colouring.'

Lockhart, whose judgment must always be regarded, also believed 'Marmion' to be the greatest of Scott's poems, because of its 'superior strength and breadth and boldness both of conception and execution.' It has been severely criticized. That Marmion, a knight of many noble qualities, should have been guilty of the contemptible crime of forgery, is a blot which Scott himself acknowledged. Mr. Andrew Lang thinks that 'our age could easily dispense with Clara and her lover.' George Ellis, on the contrary, thought it too short, that 'the masterly character of Constance would not have been less bewitching had it been much more minutely painted--and that De Wilton might have been dilated with great ease and even to considerable advantage.' Lord Jeffrey denounced it in characteristic fashion as an 'imitation of obsolete extravagance.' Such a thing, he thought, might be excused for once as a 'pretty caprice of genius,' but a second production imposed 'a sort of duty to drive the author from so idle a task.'

But Jeffrey's crabbed remarks were universally condemned as unjust and the public responded to 'Marmion' with enthusiasm. Scott had painted a picture full of lofty patriotism and glowing with life and colour. {65} He had glorified his native city with a fervour that went straight to the hearts of its people. The bravery of the Scottish troops as they rallied around their king and fought to the bitter end seemed to turn the worst disaster in their history into a scene of which every Scotchman might well be proud. The great chieftains of Scotland had been exalted. The hills and mountains, the rivers and brooks, and all the delightful scenes of the southern border had been painted in charming colours. And so the poet had touched the pride of his countrymen and if there were faults of composition or of diction they saw them not.




The most popular of all Scott's poems, as 'The Lady of the Lake' has proved to be, is in reality a romantic story set to music and staged in an environment of wondrous natural beauty. It is like an open-air play, but with this advantage, that the audience seems to move continually from one scene of beauty to another, each more entrancing than the one before. You may travel from Stirling to Loch Katrine and from the Trossachs to the Braes of Balquhidder and all the time feel the thrill of the poem, which seems fairly to permeate the atmosphere. It is full of incident, and there is never a dull moment from the beginning of the stag hunt in the solitudes of Glenartney to the final scenes of generosity and gratitude, of love and joyous reunion, in the King's Palace of Stirling Castle. The characters are types, each presenting a poetic interest of his own, of a race of men famous in history and in song for deeds of personal prowess, for skill in the use of claymore and battle-axe, for loyalty to friends, for bitter resentment of wrongs, for courage, for endurance, for hospitality, for love of music and poetry, for strength of physique and for picturesque personal appearance and attire.

The spell of the Wizard of the North came upon us as we entered the enchanted land and his whole company of players appeared as if by magic. In the centre of the group there seemed to be the figure of a young woman, {67} pure, beautiful, and good--yet not too good to be human, for she was at least sensitive to the admiring glances of a certain handsome, well-built, and courteous stranger. But Ellen Douglas was nevertheless true to her accepted lover, faithful to her father, and loyal to her own ideals of truth and right.

And ne'er did Grecian chisel trace A Nymph, a Naiad, or a Grace Of finer form or lovelier face. * * * * * A chieftain's daughter seemed the maid: Her satin snood, her silken plaid, Her golden brooch, such birth betrayed. And seldom was a snood amid Such wild, luxuriant ringlets hid Whose glossy black to shame might bring The plumage of the raven's wing: And seldom o'er a breast so fair Mantled a plaid with modest care, And never brooch the folds combined Above a heart more good and kind.

Grouped about the maiden were the figures of a Lowland king, a Highland chieftain, a stalwart father, and a sturdy lover. The first two presented a striking contrast. The King, disguised as a hunter in Lincoln green, with a bold visage upon which middle age had not yet quenched the fiery vehemence of youth; with sturdy limbs fitted for any kind of active sport or contest; with stately mien and ready speech, 'in phrase of gentlest courtesy'; jovial, kindly, even gleeful and frolicsome at times, with the will to do and the soul to dare, made a splendid picture as he stood upon the Silver Strand, face to face with Ellen Douglas. Far different was the sullen visage of Roderick Dhu, as


Twice through the hall the Chieftain strode: The waving of his tartan broad, And darkened brow, where wounded pride With ire and disappointment vied, Seemed, by the torch's gloomy light, Like the ill Demon of the night.

Yet in spite of the fierce aspect of this terrible chief, one cannot withhold his admiration, and we feel like echoing the shout of enthusiasm of the cheering boatmen as they approach the island, singing,--

Loud should Clan-Alpine then Ring from her deepmost glen, Roderigh Vich Alpine dhu, ho! ieroe!

When Roderick scorns to take advantage of Fitz-James, though the latter is in his power, and shares with him his camp-fire, his supper, and his bed, finally conducting him in safety through hundreds of hostile Highlanders to the very limits of Clan-Alpine's territory, there to battle single-handed and on equal terms, we begin to feel what real Highland hospitality and chivalry mean and to realize the true nobility of character beneath the rough exterior of this stern soldier.

Ellen's father, the exiled Douglas, was a giant in stature who could wield as lightly as a hazel wand a sword which other men could scarcely lift.

The women praised his stately form, Though wrecked by many a winter's storm; The youth with awe and wonder saw His strength surpassing Nature's law.

Contrasting with this fine old man was Malcolm Graeme, Ellen's lover:--

Of stature fair, and slender frame But firmly knit was Malcolm Graeme. {69} The belted plaid and tartan hose Did ne'er more graceful limbs disclose; His flaxen hair, of sunny hue, Curled closely round the bonnet blue.

His mind was 'lively and ardent, frank and kind,' and he had a scorn of wrong and a zeal for truth that promised to make his name one of the greatest in the mountains. But poor Malcolm was to the poet's mind not an artistic success. The latter confessed that he compelled him to swim from Ellen's Isle to the shore merely to give him something to do, but 'wet or dry,' he said, 'I could do nothing with him.'

[Illustration: LOCH ACHRAY]

Behind these five figures we could fancy a white-haired minstrel, harp in hand; a hermit monk, in frock and hood, barefooted, with grizzled hair and matted beard, naked arms and legs seamed with scars, and a wild and savage face that spoke of nothing but despair; three young men in kilt skirts and Highland plaids, every movement showing the agile strength of their youthful limbs, passing from one to another a cross of fire,--Malise, Angus, and Norman, the messengers who summoned the clans to battle; and back of all, filling up the picture, Highlanders of high and low degree, men, women, and children, all fired with intense loyalty to the Clan-Alpine. The whole picture seemed to project itself upon a background of mountains and valleys, lakes, rivers and waterfalls, fantastic rocks and weather-beaten crags, grey birches and warrior oaks, ferns and wild flowers, all

So wondrous wild, the whole might seem The scenery of a fairy dream.

Scott was always fond of brilliant hues, but here he fairly revels in colour:--


The western waves of ebbing day Rolled o'er the glen their level way: Each purple peak, each flinty spire, Was bathed in floods of living fire. * * * * * All twinkling with the dew-drop sheen, The brier rose fell in streamers green And creeping shrubs of thousand dyes Waved in the west wind's summer sighs. * * * * * Boon nature scattered, free and wild, Each plant or flower, the mountain's child, Here eglantine embalmed the air, Hawthorn and hazel mingled there: The primrose pale and violet flower Found in each clift a narrow bower.

The best way to read 'The Lady of the Lake' is to see the Trossachs; the best way to see the Trossachs is to read 'The Lady of the Lake.' There is a peculiar affinity between the poem and the country that makes each indispensable to the other. Those who read the poem without some knowledge of the scenery are likely to have an inadequate conception of its real significance, or possibly to feel that the poet has painted in colours too vivid and that his enthusiasm is not perhaps fully justified by the facts. Those who see the Trossachs without reading the poem are apt to say, as one man did say to me, 'Yes, this is beautiful, but after all I have seen just such roads in New Hampshire.' He might have added, 'The Rocky Mountains are much higher and more sublime, and the Italian lakes reflect a sky of more brilliant blue and are bordered by foliage infinitely more gorgeous in its colourings,'--all of which is true. But when you come to read the poem with a mental vision of the Trossachs {71} before you and to see the Trossachs with the exquisite descriptions of the poem fully in mind, each acquires a new charm which alone it did not possess.

Before the poem was written the Trossachs were scarcely known and Loch Katrine was no more than any other Highland lake. Now these regions are visited yearly by thousands of tourists and to those who know the poem, every turn in the road seems to suggest some favourite stanza. To us the tour was one of unfailing delight and productive of mental visions that will never fade. The Brig o' Turk is to me not merely an old stone bridge over a placid rivulet; but, rushing over it at full speed, eagerly spurring his fine grey horse to further effort, I see the figure of a gallant hunter clad in a close-fitting suit of green, his eyes intently fixed on the road ahead, where a splendid stag, now nearly exhausted, is straining his last ounce of energy in a final effort to distance the pursuing hounds. To me the low ground on the edge of Loch Vennachar, known as Lanrick Mead, appears like a military camp, with great crowds of giant clansmen, in Highland kilts and plaids of many colours, their spears and battle-axes glistening in the sun. The aged oak, bending over the water's edge on Ellen's Isle, is not merely an old dead tree, but it brings the vision of Ellen Douglas putting forth in her frail shallop to answer (as she supposes) the bugle call of her noble father from the Silver Strand.

This is the secret charm of the Trossachs. The tourist who goes through, as many do, with whole-hearted devotion to the time-table and guide-book, and whose mind is fixed upon the absolute necessity of 'making' all the points in his itinerary, does not see these scenes any {72} more than do the horses who draw the lumbering coaches. The more leisurely traveller who can follow the course of the poem, viewing each scene as Scott has so charmingly described it, finds exhilaration and delight in every step of the way.

Scott was only fifteen when he began to make those merry expeditions to the Highlands in the company of congenial companions which gave him so much material of the right kind as to make a poem inevitable. He learned to know the strange but romantic Highland clansmen; he heard many tales and bits of history which his memory stored up for the future, and the rare beauty of the scenery fascinated him as it does every one else. 'This poem,' he said, 'the action of which lay among scenes so beautiful and so deeply imprinted on my recollections, was a labour of love and it was no less so to recall the memories and incidents introduced.'

In one of these excursions (in 1793), he visited the home of the young Laird of Cambusmore, John Buchanan, one of his associates, and subsequently revisited the place many times. Cambusmore is a charming estate about two miles southeast of Callander. Entering by the porter's gate, we drove through a beautiful winding road, lined with rhododendrons. The shrubs, or rather trees (for their extraordinary height and wide-spreading branches entitle them to the more dignified name), were in full bloom, thousands of great, splendid clusters vying with each other to see which could catch and reflect the most sunlight. Here we were hospitably received by the present owner, Mrs. Hamilton, a great-granddaughter of Scott's friend, John Buchanan. The house has been considerably enlarged, but the older portion, {73} thickly covered with ivy, is very much as it was when Scott was a guest and sat on the porch, listening to the story of Buchanan's ancestors. While he was writing 'The Lady of the Lake,' Scott revisited Cambusmore and recited parts of the poem to Mrs. Hamilton's grandfather. He also demonstrated, by actually performing the feat himself, that it would be possible for a horseman to ride from the foot of Loch Vennachar to Stirling Castle in the time allotted to Fitz-James.

[Illustration: CAMBUSMORE]

From the road in front of this mansion, far away to the north, but faintly visible through the trees, we could see the 'wild heaths of Uam Var,' where the stag first sought refuge when, driven by the deep baying of the hounds, he left the cool shades of Glenartney's hazel woods. From another side we caught a fine glimpse of what the huntsmen saw

When rose Ben Ledi's ridge in air.

These hills of Scotland have witnessed many a hunt where scores of men dashed wildly after the frightened game. But no stag, ever before or since, has been pursued by so many eager hunters as the creature of Scott's fancy. We joined in the hunt, as all tourists are supposed to do, provided they have the time, which many, especially Americans, have not, for as one Scotchman put it, 'they go through so fast, sir, that you could set a tea-table on their coat-tails, sir.'

We saw 'the varied realms of fair Menteith,' a lovely little lake with irregular shores and studded with bright green islands. I remember I had to walk a long way over a lonely heath to get my picture of the lake, and that I was closely followed by a large flock of angry plovers {74} who feared that I might harm their nests. They flew so close that I had to keep one arm above my head for defence, and all the time they were screaming vociferously.

We visited 'far Loch Ard' and Aberfoyle, both associated more closely with Rob Roy. We found

the copsewood grey That waved and wept on Loch Achray;

and climbed up among

the pine trees blue On the bold cliffs of Ben Venue.

We passed along 'Bocastle's heath' and reached the shores of Loch Vennachar, more fortunate than the huntsmen of the poem, most of whom gave up from sheer exhaustion before they reached that place. For,

when the Brig o' Turk was won, The headmost horseman rode alone.

This picturesque old stone bridge, spanning the little stream that waters the valley of Glen Finglas, is the entrance to the Trossachs, a region, as the name implies, of wild and rugged beauty.

Alone, but with unbated zeal, That horseman plied the scourge and steel; For jaded now, and spent with toil, Embossed with foam, and dark with soil, While every gasp with sobs he drew, The labouring stag strained full in view.

Thus the race went along the shore of Loch Achray until they reached the dense woods that lie between this little lake and Loch Katrine. Then just as the hunter,--

Already glorying in the prize, Measured his antlers with his eyes,

{75} the wily stag dashed suddenly down a darksome glen and disappeared

In the deep Trossach's wildest nook.

The place thus indicated may be reached by leaving the fine wagon road and walking up the hill on the right by a path that leads along a little rill to a dense thicket, over which hang some rugged cliffs. We spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon exploring the dark ravines,--

Where twined the path in shadow hid, Round many a rocky pyramid, Shooting abruptly from the dell Its thunder-splintered pinnacle.

This is one of the most delightful spots in the Trossachs, though never seen by the thousands who whirl through all this enchanted land in a single day, packed five or six in a seat on a jolting coach, breathing the dust of the road and frittering away their golden opportunity in idle chatter. You cannot catch the spirit of this wild and rugged region unless you walk into the unfrequented parts and see the 'native bulwarks of the pass,' where

The rocky summits, split and rent, Formed turret, dome, or battlement, Or seemed fantastically set With cupola or minaret.

Here Fitz-James found himself alone and on foot, for his good grey horse had fallen, exhausted, never to rise again. Marvelling at the beauty of the scene, he wandered on, until, seeing no pathway by which to issue from the glen, he climbed a 'far-projecting precipice'; when suddenly there burst upon his sight the grandest view of all, Loch Katrine,--


gleaming with the setting sun One burnished sheet of living gold.

As sentinels guarding an enchanted land, two mountains stood like giants: on the south rose Ben Venue, its sides strewn with rough volcanic rocks and its summit 'a wildering forest feathered o'er': on the north 'Ben An heaved high his forehead bare.'

The stranger stood enraptured and amazed. Then, thinking to call some straggler of his train, he blew a loud blast upon his horn. To his great surprise the sound was answered by a little skiff which glided forth

From underneath an aged oak That slanted from the islet's rock.

The old oak was the supposed landing place of Ellen Douglas on what has since been known as 'Ellen's Isle.' The oak, old in Scott's day, is dead now, but singularly enough it died not of old age but by drowning. Loch Katrine is now the reservoir that supplies the city of Glasgow. In preparing it for this service the engineers raised the level of the lake about twenty-five feet, creating many new islands to keep the 'lone islet' company, and completely submerging the 'Silver Strand' so often mentioned in the poem. But the beauty of the lake has not been marred, and the scenes, though changed, are still as lovely as when they aroused the poetic fervour of Sir Walter Scott.

[Illustration: GLENFINGLAS]

The visitor who takes the trouble, as we did, to row out to Ellen's Isle, will find nothing to suggest the imagined home of Roderick Dhu and the temporary shelter of the Douglas and his daughter. But he will have an excellent opportunity to indulge his fancy and call back {77} to memory the stirring incidents which served to bring together all the leading people of the tale. He may stand on the shore of the island and see the barges, filled with the warriors of Roderick Dhu, bearing down upon him, their spears, pikes, and axes flashing and their banners, plaids, and plumage dancing in the air. He may hear the sound of the war-pipes and the chorus of the clansmen as they shout their chieftain's praise. Then, as the storm of war rises higher and higher, he may fancy Brian the Hermit with wild incantations calling the clans to battle and uttering a terrible curse upon any who failed to heed the summons. He may see the fiery Cross placed in the hands of the young Malise, and watch the fleet messenger as he crosses the lake to the Silver Strand where he lightly bounds ashore. Then, if he be a real enthusiast, he may follow the course of the fiery cross. Malise carried it through the Trossachs, and along the shore of Loch Achray to the hamlet of Duncraggan, just beyond the Brig o' Turk, and in sight of Lanrick Mead, the gathering-place of the clans. Then young Angus, the stripling son of Duncan, seized the fatal symbol, and hurried over the mountains, crossing the southern slopes of Ben Ledi, until, reaching the river Leny at the outlet of Loch Lubnaig, he swam the stream, and after a desperate struggle with the swollen torrent, reached the opposite bank at the chapel of St. Bride. No chapel now exists, but a stone wall marks the site where the little church once stood, and within the enclosure is a single grave. As Angus arrived, a little wedding party was issuing from the churchyard gate. The dreadful sign of fire and sword was thrust into the hands of Norman, the bridegroom, and the command given to 'speed {78} forth the signal.' Not daring to look a second time upon the tearful face of his lovely bride, Norman manfully seized the torch and hurried to the north. He followed the shores of Loch Lubnaig and the swampy course of the river Balvaig, then, turning sharply to the left, entered the Braes of Balquhidder and passed along the northern shores of Loch Voil and Loch Doine, two lovely little Highland lakes that lie hidden away in the solitude of the hills. Thence, turning to the south, he crossed the intervening mountains until he came to the valley of Strathgartney on the northern shore of Loch Katrine.

The scene now changes to the slopes of Ben Venue, a rugged mountain peak, towering high above the south-eastern end of Loch Katrine and dominating the entire region of the Trossachs. On the side nearest the lake is a confused mass of huge volcanic rocks overhung here and there by scraggly oaks or birches. Ancient Celtic tradition assigned this wild spot to the Urisk or shaggy men whose form was part man, part goat, like the satyrs of Greek mythology. In later times the Celtic name of Coir-nan-Uriskin gave way to the more euphonious title of the Goblin Cave. To this 'wild and strange retreat,' fit only for wolves and wild-cats, Douglas brought his daughter for safety. Roderick Dhu, hovering about the place like a restless ghost, heard the soft voice of Ellen, singing her 'Hymn to the Virgin.' Then, goaded by the thought that he should never hear that angel voice again, the chieftain strode sullenly down the mountain-side, and crossing the lake soon rejoined his men at Lanrick Mead.

In the night Douglas silently departed, resolved to go to Stirling Castle and give his life as a ransom for his {79} daughter and his friends. In the morning Fitz-James found the retreat of Ellen and offered to carry her away in safety. But Ellen in simple confidence told of her love for Malcolm Graeme, and warned the knight that his life was in danger from his treacherous guide. Fitz-James then gave a signet ring to Ellen, telling her to present it to the King, who would redeem it by granting whatever she might ask. The wanderer then went on his way, passing through the Trossachs again, where he met the half-crazed maid, Blanche of Devon. The poet actually saw the original of this strange character in the Pass of Glencoe. 'This poor woman,' he says, 'had placed herself in the wildest attitude imaginable upon the very top of a huge fragment of rock: she had scarce any covering but a tattered plaid, which left her arms, legs, and neck bare to the weather. Her long shaggy black hair was streaming backwards in the wind and exposed a face rather wild and wasted than ugly, and bearing a very peculiar expression of frenzy. She had a handful of eagle feathers in her hand.'

Following the dramatic death of Blanche and the swift justice to her murderer, the treacherous guide Murdoch, comes the well-remembered meeting of Fitz-James and Roderick Dhu. Clan-Alpine's chief extended to his enemy the hospitality of 'a soldier's couch, a soldier's fare,' and conducted him safely through countless hordes of his own men concealed behind every bush and stone until they reached the ford of Coilantogle, at the extreme limit of the Highland chief's territory. The place is at the outlet of Loch Vennachar, about two miles west of Callander, and is readily seen from the main road to the Trossachs. Here occurred the terrific {80} combat, so vividly painted by the poet, and Roderick was left upon the field, severely wounded, a prisoner in the hands of Fitz-James's men, who had responded to the bugle call of their leader. The latter, accompanied by two of his knights, rode rapidly along the shores of the Forth. They passed 'the bannered towers of Doune,' now a ruin, which makes a pretty picture seen in the distance from the bridge over the river. Pressing on, they were soon in sight of Stirling Castle, when Fitz-James saw a woodsman 'of stature tall and poor array,' and at once recognized 'the stately form and step' of Douglas.

Cambus Kenneth, from which Douglas had just come, is a tall square tower on the banks of the Forth, west of Stirling. It was once a large abbey, founded in the twelfth century and built on the site of the battle-field, where the Scots under Kenneth MacAlpine defeated the Picts. The tower is all that now remains, but the foundations of some of the walls show the great extent of the structure. Amid the ruins is the grave of King James III, over which is a monument erected by Queen Victoria. It is supposed to be in exactly the place where King James was buried, under the high altar, but is so far away from the tower as to indicate that the original abbey must have been unusually large.

Next to Edinburgh Castle, Stirling is the most imposing fortress in Scotland. It stands on a rock four hundred and twenty feet above the sea, commanding a fine view in every direction. On the esplanade is a statue of King Robert the Bruce. The figure is clad in chain armour and the king is sheathing his sword, satisfied with his great victory as he gazes toward the field of {81} Bannockburn. Across the valley on the Abbey Craig, two miles away, is a tall tower in memory of that other great national hero, the mention of whose name still brings a tingle into the blood of the loyal Scotsman, William Wallace. The castle is entered by a gateway between two round towers, beneath one of which is the dungeon where Roderick Dhu may be supposed to have been carried after the fatal duel. Here one may fancy the aged minstrel Allan-bane, singing to the dying chief the story of the Battle of Beal' an Duine. A poem that can hold the attention of a company of soldiers when actually under fire themselves must be thrilling, indeed; yet this test was successfully applied to the tale as Scott told it through the minstrel. Sir Adam Ferguson received the poem on the day when he was posted with his company on a point of ground exposed to the enemy's artillery. The men were ordered to lie prostrate on the ground, while the captain, kneeling at their head, read the description of the battle. The soldiers listened attentively, only interrupting occasionally with a loud huzza, when a shot struck the bank just above their heads.

On the left of the castle gate is the Royal Palace, built by James III and a favourite residence of James IV and James V. All the windows have heavy iron bars, making the palace look more like a prison than a king's mansion. They were placed there for the protection of the infant James VI, son of Mary, Queen of Scots. He was born in Edinburgh Castle; but considered unsafe there, he was lowered over the walls in a basket and carried to Stirling Castle. Queen Mary had lived here for four years in her childhood and it was here that she was secretly married to Darnley. Two years later, on a {82} visit to the castle to see her son, she was intercepted by Bothwell and carried away to Dunbar, probably with her own connivance, where a month later the two were married. James VI, afterward James I of England, spent most of his boyhood here, and when he left to assume the English crown, Stirling ceased to be a royal residence.

Among the many strange and much mutilated statues on the exterior of the palace is one representing King James V as the 'Gudeman of Ballengeich.' It was the custom of this king, as it had been of his father, to disguise himself and mingle with the people, thereby finding relief from the strain of more serious affairs and doubtless learning at first hand what the people thought of him. Their opinions must have been favourable, for the King enjoyed the experiences and the intercourse was always friendly and often amusing. Once on a hunting expedition, the King became separated from the others of his party and was obliged to spend the night at a cottage in the moorlands. The 'gudeman,' like all true Highlanders, was extremely hospitable to the stranger, and ordered the 'gude wife,' to kill for supper the plumpest of the hens. The stranger, departing the next morning, invited the farmer to call on the 'Gudeman of Ballengeich' when he next visited Stirling. The farmer soon accepted the invitation and was much astonished to find himself received by the King, who enjoyed his confusion most heartily and gave him the facetious title, 'King of the Moors.' This story and others like it gave the idea to Scott which he so skilfully made the basis of 'The Lady of the Lake.'

[Illustration: STIRLING CASTLE]

Another gateway leads into the upper court, on the right of which is the old Parliament House, where {83} the last Scottish Parliament met. At the north end of the court is the Chapel Royal. A third gateway leads to the Douglas Garden, at the left of which is the Douglas Room, where James II treacherously stabbed the Earl of Douglas. The latter had visited the castle under a safe-conduct granted by the King himself. The body was dragged into an adjoining room and thrown out of the window. Later it was buried just where it fell. Scott makes James Douglas refer to the incident as he sadly returns to Stirling to surrender himself and die for his family.

Ye towers, within those circuit dread A Douglas by his sovereign bled.

From the parapet along the walls of this garden, built on a rock three hundred feet high, a splendid landscape may be seen. Down below appear the windings of the river Forth and the old Stirling Bridge, known as the 'Key to the Highlands,' the only bridge across the Forth during all the stirring times of Scottish history. There too is the 'Heading Hill' to which Douglas also refers:--

And thou, O sad and fatal mound! Thou oft hast heard the death-axe sound, As on the noblest of the land Fell the stern headsman's bloody hand.

From another place on the wall, far down on the plain below, we could see the King's Knot, a curiously shaped, octagonal mound of great antiquity, near the base of the precipitous rock upon which the castle stands. This plain, so easily seen from the castle, was the place where many a knightly tournament was held, and it was to this castle park that Douglas went to take part in the games, so that


King James shall mark If age has tamed these sinews stark, Whose force so oft in happier days His boyish wonder loved to praise.

Here was held the archery contest where Douglas won the silver dart; here was the wrestling match where he won the golden ring; here his brave dog Lufra pulled down the royal stag, and Douglas knocked senseless with a single blow the groom who struck his noble hound; and from here Douglas was led a captive into the fortress.

Meanwhile Ellen had found her way to the castle determined to see the King and with his signet ring beg the boon of her father's life. She learned to her astonishment that the King and Fitz-James were one, and that her suit was granted before it was asked, for the genial monarch announced Lord James of Douglas as 'a friend and bulwark of our throne.'

The monarch drank, that happy hour, The sweetest, holiest draught of Power,-- When it can say with godlike voice, Arise, sad Virtue, and rejoice!

Then Ellen blushingly craved, through her father, the pardon of her lover, and the King in jovial mood commanded Malcolm to stand forth, exclaiming,--

'Fetters and warder for the Graeme!' His chain of gold the King unstrung, The links o'er Malcolm's neck he flung, Then gently drew the glittering band, And laid the clasp on Ellen's hand.

Looking out from Stirling Castle over the delightful scenery of the Scottish Highlands, made a hundred times more lovely by the romantic poem, whose magic has {85} seemed to touch every lake and river, hill and valley, with its influence, we felt a strange reluctance to leave the scene, akin to that of the poet himself as he bids farewell to the Harp of the North:--

Hark! as my lingering footsteps slow retire, Some Spirit of the Air has waked thy string! 'T is now a seraph bold, with touch of fire, 'T is now the brush of Fairy's frolic wing. Receding now, the dying numbers ring Fainter and fainter down the rugged dell; And now the mountain breezes scarcely bring A wandering witch-note of the distant spell, And now, 't is silent all!--Enchantress, fare thee well!




The town of Barnard Castle, where we arrived one evening after a long tour through Yorkshire, is on the left bank of the river Tees and on the southern boundary of the county of Durham. In the morning we were told by 'Boots,' the one man in an English hotel who knows everything, that the castle, which gives its name to the town, could be reached through the stable-yard back of the house. After travelling far out of our way to view the setting of Rokeby, which in the natural beauty of its scenery is unsurpassed by that of any of Scott's other poems, except 'The Lady of the Lake,' the suggestion of such an entrance to the locality of the opening stanzas was a rude shock to our sense of romantic propriety. The reality was worse than the suggestion and we began to think that possibly Mr. Boots might have misdirected us, supposing we wished to see the barnyard instead of Barnard Castle. We proceeded on our way, however, soon coming to a small cottage with a pretty little garden,--nearly every English cottage boasts one of these delightful little areas of colour and of fragrance,--and passing through, reached the enclosure where all that is left of the castle, or nearly all, now stands. Two impressive ruined towers and a short connecting wall are practically all that remain of a once splendid royal residence. On the left is 'Brackenbury's dungeon-tower,' no longer 'dismal,' for the ancient stones are partly clothed with {87} the foliage of fruit trees, trained English fashion against the walls, while a bed of bright-blooming flowers on the right, the fresh green leaves of some overhanging branches on the left, and the lawn, plentifully besprinkled with the dainty little English daisies, each catching its own ray of sunshine and giving a sparkle to the whole scene, all spoke eloquently of the change from death to life since the time when these walls cast only deep shadows of darkness and despair.

On the right of the enclosure is the old Baliol Tower, and in the wall connecting it with Brackenbury is an oriel window, where the arms of King Richard III may still be faintly traced in the stone.

Baliol Tower is a heavy round structure of great antiquity. It has a remarkable vaulted ceiling composed entirely of keystones arranged in circles. A narrow staircase within the walls leads to the battlements from which we obtained a magnificent view of the valley of the Tees.

What prospects from his watch-tower high Gleam gradual on the warder's eye! Far sweeping to the east he sees Down his deep woods the course of Tees, And tracks his wanderings by the steam Of summer vapours from the stream.

If Barnard Castle appeared unromantic, approached from the yard of the inn, exactly the opposite feeling took possession of us when we viewed it from the footbridge, just above the dam. Here the river widens until it looks like a placid lake. The castle rises high above the stream, its base concealed by trees of heavy growth, but not tall enough to cover the two great towers and {88} the oriel window of King Richard. It is no longer a single ruined wall, but the imposing front of a vast structure, well placed for defence, once strong in war but now beautiful in peace.

Barnard Baliol, whose father was one of the followers of William the Conqueror, founded the castle in the beginning of the twelfth century. He was the grandfather of John Baliol, who contested with Robert Bruce the claim to the Scottish crown. The original castle or fortress covered an extensive area of over six acres, most of which is now given over to sheep-raising or to the cultivation of fruit trees. An extensive domain, comprising much of the surrounding country, was granted to the descendants of Barnard Baliol in the reign of King Rufus. Edward I granted it to Guy Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, in whose family it remained for several generations. Through the marriage of the daughter of Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, famous as the king-maker, to the Duke of Gloucester, afterward King Richard III, the estate came into possession of the Crown. The castle was a favourite residence of Richard, who made many additions to it. In the reign of Charles I it was purchased by Sir Henry Vane the elder. When Scott makes it the property of Oswald Wycliffe, he does not go very far astray, for John Wycliffe, the great forerunner of the Reformation in England, was born on the banks of the river Tees and received his education at Baliol College, Oxford, which was founded by the Baliols of Barnard Castle, who were the neighbours of his family.


Barnard Castle, however, interesting as it is, was not the magnet that drew the poet to this region for his {89} scenery. In 1808, Scott began his intimacy with John B. S. Morritt, a man of sterling character and high literary attainments, for whom he came to entertain a genuine affection. Morritt had inherited the estate of Rokeby, situated about four miles southeast of Barnard Castle. The Rokebys, like their neighbours, the Baliols, were descended from one of the followers of the Conqueror. The old manor house was destroyed by the Scotch after the battle of Bannockburn (1314), and the Rokeby of that day built the Castle of Mortham, much of which still remains standing on the opposite bank of the Greta. The present Hall was built in 1724. It stands in the midst of an extensive and beautiful park, which Scott, on the occasion of his first visit, thought 'one of the most enviable places' he had ever seen. 'It unites,' said he, 'the richness and luxuriance of English vegetation with the romantic variety of glen, torrent, and copse, which dignifies our Northern scenery. The Greta and Tees, two most beautiful and rapid rivers, join their currents in the demesne. The banks of the Tees resemble, from the height of the rocks, the Glen of Roslin, so much and justly admired.' The letter containing this enthusiastic praise of his friend's estate was written in 1809. Two years later, when the purchase of Abbotsford seemed to require another poem for its consummation, it was to the one place worthy of comparison with his beloved Glen of Roslin that the poet instinctively turned for his backgrounds.

Scott's ambition to be the 'laird' of an estate was gratified in the summer of 1811 when he became the owner of an unprepossessing farm of about one hundred acres. The land was in a neglected state, but little of it {90} having been under cultivation. The farmhouse was small and poor, and immediately in front of it was a miserable duck pond. The place, from its disreputable appearance, had been known as 'Clarty Hole.' But Scott's prophetic vision could look beyond all this and see something, if not all, of the transformation which was to be wrought in the next twelve years. The farm lay for half a mile along the banks of the beautiful Tweed, the river which Scott loved. He knew the fertility of the soil and saw the possibility of making the place a beautiful grove. At first he thought only of 'a cottage and a few fields,' but as the passion for buying, planting, and building grew with his apparent prosperity, the farm became a beautifully wooded estate of eighteen hundred acres, the cottage grew into a castle, and 'Clarty Hole,' its name changed into 'Abbotsford' within less than an hour after the new owner took possession, became one of the most famous private possessions in the world.

The farm cost £4000, one half of which was borrowed from the poet's brother, Major John Scott, and the other half advanced by the Ballantynes on the security of 'Rokeby,' though the poem was not yet written. The plans for the purchase out of the way, Scott wrote to his friend, Morritt, outlining the new poem, having for its scene the domain of Rokeby and its subject the civil wars of Charles I. Morritt was delighted and immediately responded with a letter full of valuable information. The following summer was a busy one. Until the middle of July, Scott's duties as Clerk of the Court of Sessions kept him at Edinburgh five days in the week. Saturdays and Sundays were spent at Abbotsford. He composed poetry while planting trees and wrote down the verses {91} amid the noise and confusion incident to building his new cottage. 'As for the house and the poem,' he wrote to Morritt, 'there are twelve masons hammering at the one and one poor noddle at the other.' Both 'Rokeby' and 'The Bridal of Triermain' were written under these conditions and at the same time, while Scott found opportunity also to continue his work on the 'Life of Swift,' which eventually reached nineteen octavo volumes, and to render other literary services to his publishers, the Ballantynes.

It was not long before Scott found an opportunity to visit Rokeby again, where he remained about a week. On the morning after his arrival, he informed Morritt that he needed 'a good robber's cave and an old church of the right sort.' Morritt promptly undertook to supply both, and to find the former rode with his friend to Brignall Woods, where the Greta flows through a deep glen, on one side of which are some perpendicular rocks, the site of an old quarry. I could not find any robber's caves, but it was easy enough for Scott to make one in such a rock formation. I could, however, form a pretty good idea of the wild flight of Bertram Risingham as he

Now clomb the rocks projecting high To baffle the pursuer's eye: Now sought the stream, whose brawling sound The echo of his footsteps drowned.

In all probability, the scene is the same to-day, as it was in Scott's time, wild and beautiful. The stream winds around through shady nooks, here rippling over the rocks and then widening out into a placid pool; occasionally passing out from beneath the trees into an open glade, where the well-worn boulders that punctuated its {92} course lay gleaming in the sun, and presenting at every turn some new and changing view.

O, Brignall banks are wild and fair, And Greta Woods are green.

In describing the visit to this place Mr. Morritt gives an excellent idea of Scott's method:--

I observed him noting down even the peculiar little wild flowers and herbs that accidentally grew round and on the side of a bold crag near his intended cave of Guy Denzil; and could not help saying that as he was not to be upon oath in his work, daisies, violets, and primroses would be as poetical as any of the humble plants he was examining. I laughed, in short, at his scrupulousness; but I understood him when he replied, 'that in nature herself no two scenes were ever exactly alike, and that whoever copied truly what was before his eyes would possess the same variety in his descriptions and exhibit apparently an imagination as boundless as the range of nature in the scenes he recorded; whereas whoever trusted to imagination would soon find his own mind circumscribed, and contracted to a few favourite images, and the repetition of these would sooner or later produce that very monotony and bareness which had always haunted descriptive poetry in the hands of any but the patient worshippers of truth.

The 'old church of the right sort' was found on the other side of Rokeby Park. We reached it from Barnard Castle by crossing the high Abbey Bridge, beneath which the Tees flows in a narrow, rippling, foaming lane of water, flanked on either side by trees of rich foliage whose bright green branches wave to each other continually across the stream in a sort of friendly salute. The old grey Abbey of Egliston is pleasantly situated on rising ground near where the Tees is joined by the rivulet known as Thorsgill.


Yet scald or kemper erred, I ween, Who gave that soft and quiet scene, With all its varied light and shade, And every little sunny glade, And the blithe brook that strolls along Its pebbled bed with summer song, To the grim God of blood and scar, The grisly King of Northern War.

The abbey was founded in the twelfth century and dedicated to St. Mary and St. John the Baptist. It was once a beautiful cruciform building in the Early English style, but has been allowed to fall into decay and now only parts of the walls of the choir and nave remain.

The reverend pile lay wild and waste, Profound, dishonoured, and defaced. Through storied lattices no more, In softened light the sunbeams pour, Gilding the Gothic sculpture rich Of shrine and ornament and niche.

This was the scene which Scott chose for the culminating tragedy of the poem.

There are many other places in the neighbourhood to which the poet refers. There is 'Raby's battered tower,' a large castle which boasts the honour of twice entertaining Charles I. There is the Balder, 'a sweet brooklet's silver line,' which flows into the Tees a few miles above Barnard Castle, and farther to the northwest, where the three counties of York, Durham, and Westmoreland meet, is the place

Where Tees in tumult leaves his source Thundering o'er Cauldron and High-Force.

These two cataracts are most impressive when rainstorms have swelled the stream to its full capacity. Just {94} outside the park of Rokeby is a charming spot where the Greta meets the Tees,--

Where, issuing from her darksome bed, She caught the morning's eastern red, And through the softening vale below Rolled her bright waves in rosy glow All blushing to her bridal bed, Like some shy maid in convent bred, While linnet, lark, and blackbird gay Sang forth her nuptial roundelay.

Half hidden by the trees, the old stone 'dairy bridge' crosses the Greta, just where the river emerges from the park. It makes a pretty picture as you look through the single arch into the cool shades of the peaceful domain. Passing over this bridge we came to the old tower of Mortham. We did not find it deserted as did Wilfrid and Bertram, for it is now used as a farm and the tower is almost completely surrounded by low buildings of comparatively recent construction. From the garden, however, a fairly good view can be obtained.

And last and least, and loveliest still, Romantic Deepdale's slender rill. Who in that dim-wood glen hath strayed, Yet longed for Roslin's magic glade?

The glen which Scott would compare with his favourite Roslin must be romantic, indeed. The rill of Deepdale joins the Tees just above Barnard Castle. The scenery increases in beauty as the stream is ascended, to the solitary spot near the Cat Castle rocks--

Where all is cliff and copse and sky,--

and reaches its climax at the pretty waterfall of Cragg Force.



The Cavaliers and Roundheads whom Scott introduces into the midst of this beautiful scenery are not, it must be confessed, particularly interesting, nor is the villain Bertram, in spite of the fact that the poet was a little proud of him as a sketch full of dash and vigour. There are three people, however, who hold the attention. The first is Matilda, who, by the poet's faintly veiled admission, was intended to be the picture of his early love, Williamina Stuart. In Wilfrid, the youth of poetic temperament, who loved in vain, and Redmond, his successful but generous rival, there is a suggestion, which one can scarcely escape, of the poet himself and Sir William Forbes, who married Williamina. Redmond showed his kindly heart and soldierly strength by fighting desperately over the prostrate figure of his wounded rival, at length carrying him in his arms from the burning castle to a place of safety, after his entire train had deserted their leader. Sir William Forbes was one of the first to offer aid when financial misfortune overtook Sir Walter, and when one creditor undertook to make serious trouble, privately paid the entire claim of nearly £2000, taking care that Scott should not know how it was managed. As a matter of fact, Sir Walter did not learn the truth until some time after the death of his generous friend.




One of Scott's chief delights was the little game of _fooling the critics_. No sooner had he arranged for the publication of 'Rokeby' than he began to _lay a trap for Jeffrey_, whose reviews of the earlier poems had not been altogether agreeable. From this innocent little scheme the poet and his confidant, William Erskine, anticipated great amusement. The plan was to publish simultaneously with 'Rokeby,' a shorter and lighter romance, in a different metre and to 'take in the knowing ones' by introducing certain peculiarities of composition suggestive of Erskine. The poem thus projected, of which fragments had already been published, was 'The Bridal of Triermain.' The scheme so far succeeded that for a long while the public was completely mystified. A writer in the 'Quarterly Review,' probably George Ellis, thought it 'an imitation of Mr. Scott's style of composition,' and added, 'if it be inferior in vigour to some of his productions, it equals or surpasses them in elegance and beauty.' Jeffrey escaped the trap by the chance of a voyage to America that year, though it may be doubted whether he would have fallen into it.

I have already referred to the fact (chapter I) that much of the material for this poem came to Scott in the summer of 1797, when, after a visit to the English Lakes, he found some weeks of real romance near the village of {97} Gilsland. To this period the poet's recollection turned for his 'light romance.' In the passage where Arthur derides the pretensions of his military rival,--

Who comes in foreign trashery Of tinkling chain and spur, A walking haberdashery Of feathers, lace, and fur,--

Lockhart finds an allusion to some incident of the ball at Gilsland Spa where Scott first met his future wife. Whether the walk along the Irthing River below the 'Spa' was really in the poet's mind, when he wrote of the 'woodland brook' beside which Arthur and Lucy wandered, is of course unknown, but I do not doubt that it may have been, since so much of the poem was suggested by the experiences of that pleasant summer. Triermain Castle, or what is left of it, is about three miles west of Gilsland. Only a fragment about the size of an ordinary chimney is now standing, though Scott saw more of it, for a considerable portion of the ruin fell in 1832. The Barons of Gilsland received a grant of land from Henry II sometime in the twelfth century, and Robert de Vaux, son of the original grantee, was probably the builder of the castle. On his tombstone in Lannercost Priory, near by, is this inscription:--

Sir Robert Vaux that sometime was the Lord of Triermain, Is dead, his body clad in lead, ligs law under this stane; Evin as we, evin as he, on earth a levan man, Evin as he, evin so maun we, for all the craft of men.

The castle was built of the stones of the old Roman wall which passes near the place. From Triermain, Sir Roland de Vaux sent his page to Ullswater, passing {98} through Kirkoswald, a village of Cumberland on the river Eden. He came to Penrith, to the south of which is a circular mound supposed to have been used for the exercise of feats of chivalry, which the poet calls 'red Penrith's Table Round.' In the same locality near the river Eamont is 'Mayburgh's mound,' a collection of stones said to have been erected by the Druids. Continuing to the southward, he came to the shores of Ullswater, where he found the wizard of Lyulph's Tower. The venerable sage then related the story of King Arthur's adventure in the Valley of St. John.


We set out in quest of the mysterious phantom castle and found the drive through the narrow valley a delightful one. Nearly everybody who visits the English Lakes drives over the hills from Ambleside to Keswick. After passing Dunmailraise and skirting the shores of Thirlmere Lake beneath the shadows of Helvellyn, we turned off the main road near the mouth of St. John's Beck, one of the many pretty brooks that are found everywhere in the neighbourhood. A huge pile of rocks, projecting curiously from the side of a green-coated hill, is called, from the poem, Triermain Castle Rock. Following the course of the streamlet, upward, we found a view much like that which appeared to King Arthur, after the goblet with its liquid fire had disenchanted him.

The monarch, breathless and amazed, Back on the fatal castle gazed-- Nor tower nor donjon could he spy, Darkening against the morning sky; But on the spot where once they frowned, The lonely streamlet brawled around A tufted knoll, where dimly shone Fragments of rock and rifted stone.


As we proceeded up the valley, looking back time and again for a last view of the rock, it was easy to fancy that what we saw in the distance might well be a castle and that under certain atmospheric conditions the illusion might be heightened.




'The Lord of the Isles,' was another effort to deceive the critics. A long poem acknowledged by Walter Scott, following soon after 'Waverley' and only a month preceding 'Guy Mannering,' was calculated to 'throw off' those who were trying to identify the mysterious author of the Waverley Novels with the well-known poet. It was the result of a vacation journey of about six weeks in a lighthouse yacht, made in the summer of 1814 in the company of a party of congenial friends. The chief of the expedition was Robert Stevenson, a distinguished civil engineer in charge of the lighthouse service on the north coast of Scotland, and the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson. After circling the Shetland and Orkney Islands they came down into the Minch or channel which separates the west coast of Scotland from the Hebrides, and stopped at Dunvegan, on the Isle of Skye, to see the ancient castle. Two days later they stopped to examine Loch Corriskin, which made a profound impression upon the poet's mind. 'We were surrounded,' he said in his Diary of the expedition, 'by hills of the boldest and most precipitous character and on the margin of a lake which seemed to have sustained the constant ravages of torrents from these rude neighbours. The shores consist of huge layers of naked granite, here and there intermixed with bogs and heaps of gravel and sand, marking the course of torrents. Vegetation there was {101} little or none, and the mountains rose so perpendicularly from the water's edge that Borrowdale is a jest to them. We proceeded about one mile and a half up this deep, dark, and solitary lake, which is about two miles long, half a mile broad, and, as we learned, of extreme depth.... It is as exquisite as a savage scene, as Loch Katrine is as a scene of stern beauty.' In the poem he gives a little more vivid description:--

For rarely human eye has known A scene so stern as that dread lake With its dark ledge of barren stone. Seems that primeval earthquake's sway Hath rent a strange and shatter'd way Through the rude bosom of the hill, And that each naked precipice, Sable ravine, and dark abyss, Tells of the outrage still. The wildest glen but this can show Some touch of Nature's genial glow; On high Benmore green mosses grow, And heath-bells bud in deep Glencroe, And copse on Cruchan-Ben; But here--above, around, below, On mountain or in glen, Nor tree nor shrub, nor plant, nor flower, Nor aught of vegetative power The weary eye may ken. For all is rocks at random thrown, Black waves, bare crags, and banks of stone, As if were here denied The summer's sun, the spring's sweet dew, That clothe with many a varied hue The bleakest mountain-side.

No wonder that the exiled monarch, Bruce, should say:

A scene so rude, so wild as this, Yet so sublime in barrenness, {102} Ne'er did my wandering footsteps press Where'er I happed to roam.

Returning to their vessel after an extraordinary walk, the party left Loch Scavig and, rounding its southern cape, sailed into the Loch of Sleapin, where they visited Macallister's Cave. Here they found a wonderful pool, which, 'surrounded by the most fanciful mouldings in a substance resembling white marble, and distinguished by the depth and purity of its waters, might be the bathing grotto of a Naiad.'

In the morning they sailed toward the south and

Merrily, merrily goes the bark On a breeze from the northward free, So shoots through the morning sky the lark, Or the swan through the summer sea. The shores of Mull on the eastward lay, And Ulva dark and Colonsay, And all the group of islets gay That guard famed Staffa round.

They were following the same route, or nearly so, which the poet afterward laid down for Robert Bruce on his return from the Island of Skye to his native coast of Carrick.

They stopped at Staffa to view the famous basaltic formation,--

Where, as to shame the temples decked By skill of earthly architect, Nature herself, it seemed, would raise A minster to her Maker's praise.

'The stupendous columnar side walls,' says the Diary; 'the depth and strength of the ocean with which the cavern is filled--the variety of tints formed by stalactites {103} dropping and petrifying between the pillars and resembling a sort of chasing of yellow or cream-coloured marble filling the interstices of the roof--the corresponding variety below, where the ocean rolls over a red, and in some places a violet-coloured rock, the basis of the basaltic pillars--the dreadful noise of those august billows so well corresponding with the grandeur of the scene--are all circumstances unparalleled.'

They also stopped to view 'Old Iona's holy fane,' the ancient burial-place of kings and abbots and other men of eminence. It is said that Macbeth was buried here and before him sixty other Scottish kings whose names are now unknown.

The vivid descriptions of scenes along the route of Bruce to Scotland, with which 'The Lord of the Isles' abounds, were gathered on this memorable journey of the poet. It was not so, however, with the arrival of Bruce at his ancestral castle of Turnberry on the coast of Ayr, the information for which was supplied by Scott's indefatigable friend, Joseph Train, whose investigations brought to light the ancient superstition that on each anniversary of the night of Bruce's return a meteoric gleam reappeared in the same quarter of the heavens.

The light that seemed a twinkling star Now blazed portentous, fierce and far, Dark red the heaven above it gleamed, Dark red the sea beneath it flowed, Red-rose the rocks on ocean's brim, In blood-red light her islets swim.

The ruins of Bruce's castle may still be seen close by the lighthouse at Turnberry. So little remains that they are scarcely visible from the land side, and though {104} thousands visit the locality for a run over the superb golf links, few realize that here was the birthplace of Robert Bruce, and that the skirmishes here begun, when the future king returned prematurely from exile, led eventually to the series of successes which terminated in the great victory of Bannockburn.

The poetic description of this terrific combat lacks nothing of the vigour and dramatic force that characterize the story of Flodden Field. The scene where the Bruce, suddenly attacked by Sir Henry de Bohun, rises in his stirrups and fells the fierce knight with a single blow of his battle-axe; the stratagem of the concealed ditches into which the English rode with fearful losses; the kneeling of the Scottish army in prayer before the battle; the charge of the cavalry against the English archers; the sudden appearance of the Scottish camp-followers on the brow of the hill, waving their spears and banners, so that they resembled a fresh army of reinforcements; the tragic death of De Argentine and the final triumph of the Scottish cause are vividly portrayed with all the poet's accustomed power.

'The Lord of the Isles' was the last of Scott's important poems. Two other attempts followed, 'The Field of Waterloo' and 'Harold, the Dauntless,' but neither was considered successful.


'Rokeby,' 'The Bridal of Triermain,' and 'The Lord of the Isles,' though well worthy of the genius of the poet, had failed to equal in popularity the three greater poems by which his fame had been established. The brilliant success of Byron was, as Scott feared, 'taking the wind out of his sails.' Moreover, his own interest in poetry had waned under the influence of his greater achievements {105} in prose. As the author of the Waverley Novels he had stepped into a new and vastly more important field, where he now stood alone. So with the passing of Walter Scott the poet came the rising star of the novelist, and the world was the richer by the transition.




One morning during our stay at Melrose, we drove by motor westward along the Tweed, passing Ashestiel, situated high up on the opposite bank, but catching only a glimpse of it through the trees. Here 'Waverley' was begun in 1805 and laid aside because of the criticism of a close friend. Here, too, in 1810, it was resumed and again put aside because of the faint praise of James Ballantyne. This time the manuscript was lost and completely forgotten. It came to light in 1813 when Scott was searching in an old cabinet for some fishing-tackle. He was seized with a desire to finish it, and the work was done so fast that the last two of the original three volumes were written in three weeks. It was published on the 7th of July, 1814.

Farther up the stream we could see in the distance on a high elevation the ruins of Elibank, where Scott's ancestor, young Wat of Harden, came so near paying the penalty for 'lifting' a few head of his neighbour's cattle. Scott always said that the blood of the old cattle-drivers of Teviotdale still stirred in his veins, and in this way he accounted for his 'propensity for the dubious characters of borderers, buccaneers, Highland robbers, and all others of a Robin Hood description.'

Our journey on this particular morning was for the purpose of visiting an old baronial mansion which Scott no doubt had very much in his mind during the writing {107} of 'Waverley.' This was Traquair House, situated in the village of that name, about two miles south of Innerleithen. It presents some striking resemblances to the description of Tully Veolan. There is a long and wide avenue, having an upper and a lower gate. 'This avenue was straight and of moderate length, running between a double row of very ancient horse-chestnuts, planted alternately with sycamores, which rose to such huge height, and flourished so luxuriantly, that their boughs completely overarched the broad road beneath.' Two narrow drives, one on each side of the broad avenue, converge immediately in front of the inner gate. Between these is a broad space 'clothed with grass of a deep and rich verdure.' The outer entrance to the avenue is barred by a pair of iron gates, hung between two massive pillars of stone, on each of which is a curious beast, standing on his hind legs, his fore legs resting on a sort of scroll-work support. The animals face each other like a couple of rival legislators holding a joint debate from behind tall reading-desks. Scott says somewhat dubiously that these 'two large weather-beaten mutilated masses of upright stone ... if the tradition of the hamlet could be trusted, had once represented, or at least been designed to represent, two rampant Bears, the supporters of the family of Bradwardine.' If any of the village people, who stood around as I arranged my camera, their wide-stretched eyes and open mouths betraying their curiosity, had told me that these 'bears' were 'rampant hippopotami,' I should have rewarded them with my usual credulous nod and 'thank you.' There can be little doubt that Scott took the idea of the Bears of Bradwardine from this gate, although he {108} multiplied the two and scattered them all over the place.

Like Tully Veolan, the house seems to consist of high, narrow, and steep-roofed buildings, with numberless windows, all very small, while the roofs have little turrets, 'resembling pepper-boxes.' It was built 'at a period when castles were no longer necessary and when the Scottish architects had not yet acquired the art of designing a domestic residence.'

Scott no doubt was a frequent visitor here. In one of his letters he refers to the owner in connection with a plan to plant some 'aquatic trees,--willows, alders, poplars, and so forth,'--around a little pond in Abbotsford and to have a 'preserve of wild ducks' and other water-fowl. He says, 'I am to get some eggs from Lord Traquair, of a curious species of half-reclaimed wild ducks, which abound near his solitary old château and nowhere else in Scotland that I know of.' This denotes a somewhat intimate acquaintance with the Earl of Traquair. The house, indeed, was so near Ashestiel that Scott could hardly fail to visit so interesting a place many times. It is doubtful if there is another inhabited house in Scotland more ancient than Traquair. The present owner takes care to preserve its appearance of antiquity. No repairs or alterations are made except such as are absolutely necessary, and then the work is done in such a way as to conceal its 'newness.' Among the early owners of the estate was James, Lord Douglas, the friend of Bruce, who attempted to carry his chief's heart to the Holy Land. The founder of the family of Traquair was James Stuart, and his descendants have held the estate for nearly four centuries.


The great gate with the grotesque bears has been closed for more than a century. One tradition is that the defeat of the young Prince Charles at the battle of Culloden in 1746 was the direct cause of its final closing. The Prince visited the Earl of that day (Charles, the fifth Earl of Traquair) to persuade him to lend his active support to the Jacobite cause. The Earl felt compelled to decline, but in escorting his visitor from the park, made a vow that the gate should never be opened again until a Stuart was on the throne. The defeat of the Prince was a severe disappointment to the Traquair family and the vow of the Earl has been kept to this day, even though the earldom is now extinct.

It is not correct, however, in spite of the striking resemblances, to speak of Traquair House as the 'original' of Tully Veolan. Scott himself says in his note in the edition of 1829, 'There is no particular mansion described under the name of Tully Veolan; but the peculiarities of description occur in various old Scottish seats.' Among these were the house of Sir George Warrender upon Bruntsfield Links; the old house of Ravelston, owned by Sir Alexander Keith, the author's friend and kinsman, from which he took some hints for the garden; and the house of Dean, near Edinburgh. He adds,'The author has, however, been informed that the house of Grandtully resembles that of the Baron of Bradwardine still more than any of the above.'

Acting upon this hint, when we were making the city of Perth our centre, we took a long journey by motor with Grandtully Castle as the objective point. I doubt if there is a more beautiful drive in all Scotland. We followed the left bank of the river Tay through a fertile {110} valley of surpassing loveliness. In the whole journey of nearly one hundred miles it seemed as though there was never a blot on the landscape. No neglected farms, no rough patches of naked earth, no tumble-down fences, no unsightly railroad excavations nor bare embankments, no swamps filled with fallen timber, no hideous bill-boards, none of the hundreds of unsightly objects which mar the scenery of so many country drives. Everything seemed well kept. The big estates were filled with beautiful trees and shrubs, many of them in full bloom, and the humbler places did equally well, though on a smaller scale. I remember passing a hedge of beeches, half a mile long, the trees growing ninety feet high and so close together as to make a wall impenetrable to the sunlight. I was told that this hedge was trimmed once in three years at an expense of fifteen hundred dollars each time. This is only one item in the care of a large estate. We passed the park and palace of Scone, where the coronation stone was kept before its removal to Westminster Abbey, and from which it received its name. Farther to the north we stopped a few minutes at Campsie Linn, which I shall mention later in connection with 'The Fair Maid of Perth.' A little beyond Cargill our course turned sharply to the West, although the main road continues to the north until it reaches Blairgowrie, some two or three miles beyond which is another 'original' of Tully Veolan, the house of Craighall. Unfortunately lack of time did not permit a visit to this place, but I must digress long enough to explain its significance. It was the seat of the Rattray family, who were related to William Clerk, one of Scott's most intimate companions of the early days {111} spent among the law courts of Edinburgh. During one of the Highland excursions the friends stopped at Craighall. When 'Waverley' came out, twenty-one years later, Mr. Clerk was so much struck with the resemblance of Tully Veolan to the old mansion of the Rattrays that he immediately said, 'This is Scott's.' The reason for the conviction was probably not so much the similarity of the real house to the fictitious one as the recollection of a little incident of the early excursion. Clerk, seeing the smoke of a little hamlet before them, when they were tired and heated from their journey, is said to have exclaimed, 'How agreeable if we should here fall in with one of those signposts where a red lion predominates over a punch-bowl!' In spite of the lapse of so many years, Clerk recognized his own expression (with which he knew Scott had been particularly amused) in that part of the description of Tully Veolan where 'a huge bear, carved in stone, predominated over a large stone basin.'


Following the course of the beautiful river, upstream, we came at length, far up in the Perthshire hills, to the Castle of Grandtully. It is a large and stately mansion, situated in one of those beautiful parks with which the region abounds. It has the pepper-box turrets and small windows of Tully Veolan. It is now, as in Scott's time, the home of a family of Stewarts, one of whom, Sir George, supported the cause of 'the Young Chevalier' in 1745. The gardener, who, in the absence of the family, did the honours of the place, told me that Scott had visited the house many years after 'Waverley' appeared and had said then that it was more nearly like what he had described than any other castle, and that {112} 'the only mistake he had made was in putting bears on the gateway instead of bees.' There is a fine wrought-iron gate at Grandtully with the figures of two bees, forming a part of the coat of arms of the Stewart family. An avenue of limes formerly led to this gate, but it is no longer used and only two of the trees remain. Scott was always cautious about admitting any connection of his writings with definite 'originals,' but was ever ready to humour those who fancied they saw certain resemblances. It is curious that he does not mention either Traquair House or Craighall in his note, though both were identified as 'originals' during his lifetime. No doubt, consciously or unconsciously, he wove into his novel partial descriptions of both, as well as of Grandtully, while the houses which he particularly mentions also furnished some of the details.

The historical value of 'Waverley' lies in its picture of the rising of the Highland clans in favour of Charles Edward Stuart, called the 'Young Pretender' by the supporters of the reigning king, but affectionately known among his Scottish adherents as 'Bonnie Prince Charlie.' The ambitious young man, the grandson of James II, left France in the summer of 1745 in a small vessel, with only seven friends, and landed on one of the Hebridean Islands. Before the end of August he had raised his standard in the valley of Glenfinnan and found himself at the head of an army of fifteen hundred men, chiefly of the clans of MacDonald and Cameron. He soon made a triumphant march to Edinburgh, where he established himself in the Palace of Holyrood, which the Stuart family had already made famous. On Tuesday, the 17th of September, he caused the proclamation {113} of his father, 'the Old Pretender,' as King James VIII, to be read by the heralds at the old Market Cross in Parliament Square. The people crowded around the 'Young Chevalier,' eager to kiss his hand or even to touch for a single instant the Scottish tartan which he wore. So great was the crowd that he was compelled to call for his horse, for otherwise he could make no progress. It is said that his noble appearance so won the hearts of all who beheld him that before he reached the palace the polish of his boots was dimmed by the kisses of the multitude.

That night the old palace reawakened to something of its former brilliancy, on the occasion of a great ball, given by the Prince. The old picture gallery, with its array of queer portraits of long-forgotten Scottish kings, was a scene of glittering splendour. The long-deserted halls, now brilliant with a thousand lights, were crowded with an assembly of men of education and fortune, accompanied by their ladies in gowns of such elegance as the confusion of the times might permit. Mingling with these representations of the Jacobean gentry of Edinburgh were the handsomely arrayed officers of the clans, the Highland gentlemen of importance, with their many coloured plaids and sashes, their broadswords glittering with heavy silver plate and inlaid work, and all the other elegant appurtenances for which the picturesque Highland costume offered abundant scope. In the chapter on the Ball, Scott merely introduced into an historic assemblage two handsome women, Flora MacIvor and Rose Bradwardine, and two men, Fergus MacIvor and Edward Waverley.

The palace is to-day much the same as it was in the {114} time of the Prince, though the adjoining abbey is now roofless and very much more of a ruin. A walk through the Canongate, from Holyrood to the Market Cross, would give one a very fair idea of the street through which Fergus MacIvor and Waverley passed to the lodgings of the former in the house of the buxom Widow Flockhart, where Waverley received his new Highland costume from the hands of James of the Needle. At the other end of the town, beneath the castle, is St. Cuthbert's Church, then called the West Kirk, where the honest Presbyterian clergyman, MacVicar, preached every Sunday and prayed for the House of Hanover in spite of the fact that many of the Jacobites were present. In one of those petitions he referred to the fact that 'a young man has recently come among us seeking an earthly crown' and prayed that he might speedily be granted a heavenly one!

Much of the material for 'Waverley' was stored up in the retentive memory of the novelist when he was a mere boy. At six years of age he was taken for a visit to Prestonpans. If the old veteran of the German wars, Dalgetty, whom he met here and who found a ready listener in the bright-eyed little boy, was able to tell the story of the battle in anything like a graphic manner, it must have made a profound impression upon the mind of a lad who had already learned to fight the battles of Scotland with miniature armies of pebbles and shells. On one side was an army of Highlanders, the chief men of each clan proudly dressed in their distinctive tartans. They were tall, vigorous, hardy men, all proud of their ancestry, each capable of deeds of individual daring and courage, but all loyal to their chiefs and to their temporary leader, {115} Prince Charles Edward Stuart. They were not only well dressed but well armed, each man having a broadsword, target, dirk, and fusee, or flintlock gun, and perhaps a steel pistol. These were the gentlemen of the Highlands. Contrasting strangely with them and forming the larger part of the army was the rear guard, a motley crowd, bearing every appearance of extreme poverty. They were rough, uncouth, half-naked men of savage aspect, armed with whatever weapon could be most easily obtained. Some had pole-axes; some carried scythes, securely fastened to the ends of poles; a few had old guns or swords; while many had only dirks and bludgeons. But all had the fighting spirit and a keen desire for plunder. To complete this curious but formidable array, there was an old iron cannon, dragged along by a string of Highland ponies. This constituted the entire artillery of the army and it could only be used for firing signals, yet the leaders allowed it to be retained because of the belief on the part of the men in the ranks that it would in some miraculous way contribute to their expected victory.

On the English side a complete army of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, well equipped and disciplined, confronted the Highland hordes. As they wheeled into line the fixed bayonets of the infantry glistened in the sun like 'successive hedges of steel.' These, with the trains of artillery and troop after troop of well-equipped dragoons, presented a formidable appearance. But they struck no terror into the hearts of the wild 'petticoat-men.' With terrific yells the forces of the rebellious Scotchmen rushed into battle. Discipline and order gave way before the impact of savage zeal, and panic {116} seized the English army. The result was what the child Scott always contrived to accomplish in his mimic battles of pebbles,--the complete victory of the Scots and the utter rout of their enemy. There is now little to be seen on the battle-field. The old thorn tree, which was once the central landmark, has almost disappeared. The fertile fields, once trampled by hostile armies, have given way to railroad tracks and unsightly collieries. Colonel Gardiner's house, however, where that hero died after receiving a mortal wound upon the battle-field, still remains standing, and in front, at the end of a fine avenue of trees, is a plain but dignified monument to his memory.

The principal incident of the battle, as told in 'Waverley,' is based upon a true story, which Scott heard from Alexander Stewart of Invernahyle, on one of his early visits to the Highlands. When the Highlanders in 1745 attacked the army of Sir John Cope at Prestonpans, Stewart was one of the leaders in charge. Noticing an officer of the English army standing alone, sword in hand, too proud to fly with the others, he called on him to surrender. The officer answered by a thrust of his sword which Stewart received in his target, breaking the blade. A huge Highlander rushed up to the defenceless man with lifted battle-axe, and in another moment would have killed his victim but for the chivalrous interference of Stewart, who protected him from injury, took care of his personal property, and finally secured his release on parole. This officer was a Scotch gentleman, serving in the King's army, whose name was Colonel Whitefoord. Stewart later paid him a visit at his home in Ayrshire. After the battle of Culloden had put an end to the hopes of Prince Charles and his loyal Scottish {117} friends, when those who had supported the rebellion were in grave danger of death and the confiscation of their property, Colonel Whitefoord took occasion to repay the debt to Mr. Stewart. He called in person on the Duke of Cumberland to plead for his friend's life, or at least for the protection of his family and property. On receiving a positive refusal, he took his commission from his pocket, and laying it on the table before the Duke, with great emotion begged leave to retire from the service of a king who did not know how to be merciful to a vanquished enemy. The Duke was deeply affected and granted the desired protection. It was none too soon, for the troops were even then beginning to plunder the country in the immediate vicinity of Invernahyle's home. That unfortunate gentleman had lain for many days concealed in a cave, his food being brought by one of his daughters, a child so young that she was not suspected by the soldiers.

The rescue of Colonel Talbot by Waverley and the subsequent friendly assistance of that officer, upon which so much of the plot of the novel depends, was founded upon this incident, which the old soldier related to Walter Scott, a boy of fifteen. It will be remembered that Scott's first Highland visit took place in 1786, so that Stewart, who was 'out' in the rebellion of 1715, must have been a very old man when he told the story. The lad, who no doubt listened eagerly, absorbing every detail into his extraordinary memory, did not use the tale until nearly a quarter of a century later.

An example of Scott's remarkable way of remembering and reproducing the little details of the stories he heard is the use he made of Stewart's experience in {118} hiding in a cave. The Baron of Bradwardine is supposed to have concealed himself in similar manner and to have had important assistance from 'Davie Gellatley,' the Baron's 'natural' or fool, who was 'no sae silly as folk tak him for.' Colonel Stewart, a grandson of Stewart of Invernahyle, in his book on the Highlands, points out that while some gentlemen 'who had been out' in the rebellion were obliged to conceal themselves in the woods near his grandfather's house, they were supplied with food and other necessaries by one of these poor, half-witted creatures, who showed an extraordinary sagacity as well as fidelity in protecting the friends of his patron.

'Davie Gellatley' was a type common enough, especially in the country districts of Scotland, a century ago. These rustic fools were usually treated with kindness, the good people feeling a sense of duty to help those to whom Providence had denied their full share of mental power. They frequently possessed a certain sagacity or cunning, combined with sly humour, which enabled them at times to make quick and unexpected answers, causing much amusement and wonder. Such a man was Daft Jock Gray, who lived on a farm in Ettrick and was well known to all the Border people. He was a frequent visitor at Ashestiel, where he entertained the family with his wild snatches of songs and ballads and his eccentric performances. Jock was once travelling with a man of his own type, Jamie Renwick. When night came, they lodged in a convenient barn. Jock could not sleep and got up and walked about singing his wild and incoherent songs. This so irritated Jamie that he shouted, 'Come to your bed, ye skirlin' deevil! I canna get a wink o' sleep for ye; I daur say the folk will think us daft! Od, if ye {119} dinna come and lie down this instant, I'll rise and _bring ye to your senses_ wi' my rung!' 'Faith,' says Jock, 'if ye do that, it will be mair than ony ither body has ever been able to do.'[1]

The visit of Waverley to the cave of Donald Bean Lean was based upon another incident, told to Scott on a later excursion to the Highlands in 1793, when he stopped for a time at Tullibody, the residence of Mr. Abercrombie, the grandfather of his intimate friend and companion, George Abercrombie. The old gentleman related how he had been compelled to make a visit to the wild retreats of Rob Roy, where he was entertained with great courtesy by that Highland chief in a cave very much like that described in Waverley. He was treated to a dinner of 'collops' or steaks, cut from his own cattle, which he recognized hanging by the heels in the cavern. He found it necessary to arrange for the payment of blackmail to the cateran, which insured the protection of his herds against not only Rob Roy himself, but all other freebooters.

We found just such a cave on the east shore of Loch Lomond in the heart of the Rob Roy country. It is reached by rowing from Inversnaid about a mile up the lake, and clambering over some rough rocks to the opening. It is known as Rob Roy's Cave and gave an excellent idea of the place where Waverley was entertained by Donald Bean Lean and the good-natured Highland girl, his daughter, who thought nothing of walking four miles to 'borrow' enough eggs for his breakfast. From the rocks we enjoyed a superb view of Loch Lomond, {120} strongly suggesting the Highland loch of 'Waverley,' 'surrounded by heathy and savage mountains, on the crests of which the morning mist was still sleeping.' I was fortunate enough to get a good photograph of these mists as they rose above the summit of Ben Vorlich on the opposite side of the lake.

On this same excursion to the Highlands, Scott learned from another old gentleman something of the history of Doune Castle, the ruins of which now stand on the banks of the Ardoch, a tributary of the Tieth, some ten miles or more north of Stirling. We found the most beautiful view from the bridge on the main road, crossing the Tieth. The ruins show that the castle was once of great extent. It was built by Murdoch, Duke of Albany, while governor of Scotland in the exile of James I. When James returned in 1423, he took vengeance upon the unfaithful guardian of his kingdom and beheaded Murdoch on the Heading Hill of Stirling Castle. The Scottish monarchs, or several of them, utilized the castle as a dower-house for their queen consorts. James II in 1451 bestowed it upon his queen, Mary of Gueldres; James III gave it to his consort, Margaret of Denmark, in 1471; and James IV presented it to Queen Margaret in 1503, making it one of his royal residences. In the year 1745 it came into the possession of Charles Edward, the Young Pretender, who used it as a prison. Scott is quite consistent with the facts of history, therefore, when he causes Waverley to be detained there on his way to Holyrood Palace.


One other incident of this same Highland excursion must be mentioned. It was then that Scott first visited the home of his friend, Buchanan, the Laird of Cambusmore. {121} Francis Buchanan, the great uncle of the young laird, was carried away from this house to Carlisle, where he was hanged on a charge of treason, this estate and another at Strathyre being confiscated. The property was later restored to the family, by whom it is still owned. The account of the execution of Fergus MacIvor at Carlisle Castle was based upon this story, as told to Scott on the porch of Cambusmore by his friend Buchanan.

Another spot in the Highlands of which Scott was very fond is the little waterfall of Lediard. We found the place because we were looking for it, but the casual tourist would not be likely to see it. It is reached from the road leading along the north shore of Loch Ard, west of Aberfoyle and south of the Trossachs. I found it necessary to walk through a lane to a near-by farmhouse and then go up a slight incline by a narrow winding path along a little brook until I came to a thick wood. There the rush of the waters could be plainly heard, and guided by the sound, I was able after some search to find a rock where I could place my camera for a view of the little cascade. It is not remarkable either for the height of the fall or for the volume of water, but its charm comes from the dense foliage through which the sunlight dances and sparkles, from the rough rocks clothed in ferns and moss and wild flowers, except where the fantastic play of the streamlet keeps them bare, and from the deep pool at the bottom filled to the brim with pure, cold water.

This exquisite scene was chosen by Scott for one of his most romantic pictures--the meeting of Waverley and Flora MacIvor, when the graceful and beautiful daughter of the Highlands, blending her voice with the music of the waterfall and the accompaniment of the harp, {122} sang the Celtic verses so full of devotion to her native land and the cause of the Prince, calling to the clans:--

For honour, for freedom, for vengeance awake!

It is interesting to compare the character of Flora MacIvor and her devotion to the fortunes of the exiled Stuarts with that of the famous Flora MacDonald. In the circumstances of their environment there is no similarity between the two heroines, one of fiction and the other of real life. Flora MacDonald was born in the Island of South Uist and brought in infancy to the neighbouring island of Skye. Except for a brief visit to Argyleshire, she never left those islands until after the stirring events which made her famous. She did not meet the Prince until she engaged in her efforts to rescue him, after the battle of Culloden.

In personal characteristics there is a very striking resemblance. Flora MacDonald, though reared in the solitude of a remote island, acquired an excellent education, to which she added the natural love of poetry and romance peculiar to her people. 'There was nothing unfeminine, either in her form or in her manners, to detract from the charm of her great natural vivacity, or give a tone of hardness to her strong good sense, calm judgment, and power of decision. Her voice was sweet and low; the harsher accents of the Scottish tongue were not to be detected in her discourse.'[2] She always manifested a perfect modesty and propriety of behaviour coupled with a noble simplicity of character which led her to regard with surprise the many tributes of praise which her conduct merited. These were the characteristics {123} with which Scott invested his heroine. Flora MacDonald's family belonged to the clan of MacDonald of Clanronald, and one of Scott's most valued friends, Colonel Ronaldson MacDonnel of Glengarry,[3] was a descendant of the same clan. He was an eccentric character who tried to play the chieftain and thought, felt, and acted about as he might have done a hundred years earlier, but could not do in his own time without provoking censure and ridicule. He even attempted to have himself recognized as the chief of the whole clan of Clanronald, though his own ancestors had been unable to establish the right. Scott regarded him as a treasure, 'full of information as to the history of his own clan, and the manners and customs of the Highlanders in general.' In his effort to make Fergus MacIvor, Vich Ian Vohr, a typical leader of one of the Highland clans, Scott no doubt received considerable help from Glengarry, whose castle of Invergarry was on Loch Oich, in Inverness, in the very heart of the country of the rebellious chiefs and only a few miles distant from Culloden, the scene of their final defeat.

Cosmo Comyne Bradwardine, Esq., the pompous, tiresome, but laughable bore, with his endless quotations in Latin, the honourable soldier, the excellent father and the lovable friend, is one of Scott's most interesting characters. Though an original creation, there was more than one man of his time who might have sat for the portrait of the brave, honourable, kind-hearted gentleman who spoke Latin as fluently as his native Scotch dialect and who loved his 'Livy' so much that {124} after escaping from some soldiers who had arrested him, he risked recapture in order to return and secure the beloved volume which he had forgotten in his haste. The absurd old Baron is represented as insisting upon his right and duty, under a charter of Robert Bruce, by which his lands were held, to pull off the boots of the King. Two difficulties present themselves:--first that Prince Charles is not the King, and second that he does not wear boots. But it is decided that Charles represents the King, and that a service performed to him is done for the King; also that brogues are a legitimate substitute for boots. So with the good-natured consent of the Prince, the ridiculous ceremony takes place with due solemnity. This incident, fantastic as it seems, is only an example of the way in which certain Scottish tenures were held. Mrs. Hughes, of Uffington, says that Scott told her of a similar tenure under which the Howistons of Braehead held their lands, namely, by presenting a basin and ewer with water and a towel for the King to wash whenever he came to Holyrood.

The Laird of Balmawhapple was a purely fictitious character, but the method of his death at Prestonpans was one of the true stories told to Scott as a child when he first visited the battle-field. A brave and honourable gentleman, one of the few cavalrymen who followed Prince Charles, was pursuing some fugitive dragoons. Suddenly discovering that they were followed only by one man and his two servants, the soldiers turned and cut down the courageous Highlander.


As in many of Scott's novels, the hero is less attractive than some of the subordinate characters. The author himself characterized Edward Waverley, somewhat too {125} severely, as a 'sneaking piece of imbecility' and added, 'if he had married Flora, she would have set him up upon the chimneypiece, as Count Borowlaski's wife used to do with him.' Yet in the third chapter, where the subject is Waverley's education, he is really giving a bit of autobiography. He refers to Edward's power of imagination and love of literature and mentions the pleasure which his uncle's large library afforded him. 'He had read and stored, in a memory of uncommon tenacity, much curious though ill-arranged and miscellaneous information. In English literature he was master of Shakespeare and Milton, of our earlier dramatic authors, of many picturesque and interesting passages from our old historical chronicles, and was particularly well acquainted with Spenser, Drayton, and other poets, who have exercised themselves on romantic fiction.'

'Waverley' will always be remembered for its graphic picture of the Scottish Highlands in the period just before they ceased to have a distinctive individual existence, and for the portrait of the Young Pretender, who in 'the affair of 1745' achieved such a remarkable hold upon the affections of the Scottish people. Scott pictures the young Prince in the most brilliant period of his career, and if he does so in colours more attractive than his character deserves, it must be remembered that these were the traits which won the love of his followers and by which alone that affection can be explained. The excesses of later years had not yet marred the fine promise of youth, which, under happier circumstances, might have developed into a higher type of manhood.

[1] From _Illustrations of the Author of Waverley_, by Robert Chambers.

[2] From a Memoir, by Mrs. Thomson, 1846.

[3] It was to this good friend that Scott was indebted for the gift of his famous staghound Maida.




For the principal scenery of Scott's second novel, we found it desirable to change our headquarters to the city of Dumfries, a royal burgh of great antiquity, on the banks of the river Nith. A mile or more to the north, where the Cluden flows into the Nith, are the picturesque ruins of Lincluden Abbey, to which Robert Burns made many a pilgrimage. His favourite walk was along the opposite bank of the stream, and here, at the close of a summer's day, he would promenade in the twilight, enjoying the calm of the evening while he composed his lyrics. Several miles farther north is Ellisland, where Burns endeavoured to combine the pursuit of farming with the collection of the king's revenue in the excise service, and incidentally 'met the Muses' to the extent of producing 'Tam o' Shanter' and several other well-known poems.

South of the city the Nith is a tidal river, gradually broadening until it becomes an arm of the Solway Firth. Two fine old ruins guard its outlet, one on either side. On the west is Sweetheart Abbey, a beautiful ruin in an excellent state of preservation. Its name comes from a pretty story. The Lady Devorgilla, mother of John Baliol, who became King of Scotland, founded the abbey in 1275 and erected a tomb near the high altar. At her husband's death, six years before, she had caused his heart to be embalmed and enclosed in a casket adorned {127} with precious stones, which she ever after carried with her wherever she went. She gave orders that at her death her body should be laid in the tomb which she had built and that the precious casket should be laid on her breast. Thus the two 'sweethearts' were to rest together. In the opening chapter of the novel, Scott refers to some monastic ruins which the young English gentleman, Guy Mannering, had spent the day in sketching. Doubtless Sweetheart Abbey was in his mind, or possibly Lincluden.

On the opposite side of the river, or of the bay, for it is difficult to tell where the river ends and the Solway begins, is the fine old ruin of Caerlaverock Castle, the original of 'Ellangowan Auld Place,' the ancestral home of the Bertram family and the place around which revolves the whole plot of 'Guy Mannering.'

The day after our arrival at Dumfries we set out to examine this ruin, stopping first at Glencaple, a small town on the Nith just below the place where the river begins to widen into an arm of the sea. It was low tide, and there was a sandy beach of extraordinary width which the receding waters had sculptured in waving lines of strange contour. The sky above was filled with fleecy clouds, and in the distance the summit of Criffell reared its height in a majestic background. It was on such a coast that Van Beest Brown, or Harry Bertram, landed when he returned to Scotland after many years, and found himself at the ruins of the house of his ancestors. The locality might be taken for the original of Portanferry, if geographical relations were to be considered.

Caerlaverock Castle is one of the most picturesque ruins in Scotland. Enough of the original walls remain {128} to show the unusual extent of the building. It was triangular in form, with two massive round turrets at one angle, forming the entrance, and a single turret at each of the others. The two entrance turrets and one of the others are still intact and well preserved. The turret which once stood at the third angle has completely disappeared. Between the front towers is a very tall arched doorway, now reached by a little wooden bridge over the moat. Many of these old ruins have mounds showing where the moat used to be, but this is one of the few in which the water still remains. For centuries the lofty turrets have been appropriated by rooks, and the moat is now a safe retreat for geese.

The inner court was three stories high, containing a magnificent suite of apartments, all richly sculptured. Behind these was a great banqueting-hall, ninety feet long, extending between the two rear towers along the base of the triangle. There was a great dais and ample arrangements for the seating of all guests of high and low degree. Judging from an ancient document, the castle was richly furnished. According to this inventory, there were eighty-six beds, five of them so sumptuous that they were valued at £110 sterling each. There were forty carpets, and a library worth more than £200. These figures would not, perhaps, seem large to a twentieth-century millionaire, but they indicate a scale of magnificence almost without parallel in the period when this castle flourished.


Caerlaverock was in existence as early as the sixth century, when it was founded by Lewarch Og. From him it received the name of Caer Lewarch Og, which in Gaelic signifies 'the city or fortress of Lewarch Og.' This {129} was subsequently corrupted to Caer-laverock. In the beginning of the fourteenth century it was besieged and captured by Edward I and recovered by Robert Bruce, changing hands twice again during the wars for independence that ensued. Murdoch, Duke of Albany, who was arrested for treason on the return of James I from exile, was imprisoned in one of these towers, and the castle was the residence of James V when he heard the news that broke his heart, the defeat of his forces at Solway Moss and the serious disaffection of his nobles.

On the day of our visit the ruin made a charming picture. The sky was partly filled with cumulus clouds of a foamy, filmy whiteness through the open spaces of which the sun was shining brightly. The clear water of the moat reflected the azure tint of the heavens, so that the old ruin, its turrets and walls thickly covered with the deep green of the ivy, was clearly defined against a background of white, bordered above and below with shades of the loveliest blue. The dry, yellow grass of the field in the foreground, the green rushes bordering the moat, some purple flowers at the base of the turrets and hundreds of bright golden wallflowers in the broken interstices of the walls completed a brilliancy of colour which I have seldom seen equalled in any landscape.

The surroundings of Caerlaverock do not in any way correspond with the environments of Ellangowan Auld Place. I had already learned, however, not to depend too much upon geographical considerations. It requires only a superficial knowledge of Scott's method of work to understand that while he was a most careful observer of all that interested him and wrote many accurate descriptions of scenery, he did not hesitate to use his {130} material with a free hand. It was perfectly simple for him to transplant an old ruin, which admirably fitted one requirement of the story, to a rocky coast, thirty or forty miles away, where the other necessary features were to be found, or even to combine two different parts of the coast for his purpose.

We found it necessary, therefore, to return to Dumfries, for there is no bridge below the city, and there, crossing the river, travel again to the south, this time on the west shore, to the town of Kirkcudbright, where we stopped long enough to learn to pronounce the name ('Kir-koo'bry') and to have our lunch. Then, continuing southward, we stopped our motor at Balmae, the country-seat of Lady Selkirk, and walked about a mile to the rocky coast of the Solway at Torr's Point, where we could enjoy a superb view of the Irish Sea, the English coast far away on the left, and the Isle of Man, faintly visible in the distance. The coast is high and rocky. It is broken into many coves or bays, which were a convenient resort for pirates and smugglers. It would be easy to imagine Ellangowan Auld Place situated on one of these cliffs, except that some other features have to be taken from another part of the coast. Scott's description of the smuggling trade carried on by Dirk Hatteraick and others of his kind was taken from the local traditions. The coast, to sailors who knew it well, offered many a haven of refuge, but was an extremely dangerous place for a stranger ship. There are many stories current regarding the exploits of Paul Jones, who was a native of Kirkcudbright. After embracing the American cause in the War of the Revolution, he cruised in his little ship, the Ranger, along the coasts of England and Scotland, {131} his familiarity with the Solway enabling him to make use of its numerous coves to excellent advantage.

To complete the investigation of the scenery which Scott supposed to be within a mile of Ellangowan, I made another long journey the next day, taking the train from Dumfries to Kirkcudbright and thence driving westward by pony-cart, through Gatehouse-of-Fleet to Ravenshall Point on the coast of Wigtown Bay. Here we put up the horse at a farm and walked westward along the shore, my driver acting as guide. Chancing to meet a gentleman whose family are large land-holders in the neighbourhood, I was conducted to the Gauger's Loup,[1] a cliff on the rocky coast, beneath which were some huge rocks that had dislodged and fallen to the shore. At this point a revenue officer was once attacked by smugglers and thrown over the cliffs, dashing out his brains on the ragged rocks below. This well-known incident gave Scott the basis for his account of the death of Kennedy. Standing on this cliff, my new-found friend pointed out a notch in a distant hill, called the 'Nick of the Doon,' which he said local tradition assigned as the place where Meg Merrilies pronounced her malediction upon the Laird of Ellangowan. Not many hundred yards away is the original of Dirk Hatteraick's Cave, so called because it was once used by smugglers and particularly by a Dutch skipper named Yawkins, who was the prototype of Scott's famous character. To reach it by direct line was impossible, so we walked down the road a quarter of a mile, crossed a field, climbed a stone wall, and dropped into a thick {132} wood. Here the land sloped at an angle of forty-five degrees. The ground was thickly covered with garlic, emitting a strong odour. We finally reached the rocks and began a scramble worthy of a mountain goat, until at last we discovered the cave. The entrance is a narrow opening between two great rocks, barely large enough to admit a man of moderate size. We could look down a steep incline of about thirty feet, full of dirt and slime. It would be very easy to enter, for it would be like pushing a cork into an empty bottle. The difficulty would be to get the cork out. Having no desire to experiment, I took the guide's word for it, that the cave is about sixty feet long, from six to twelve feet wide, and high enough for a man to stand erect. It would, therefore, afford plenty of room for the crew of a smuggler's boat and a large cargo of whiskey and other contraband stores.

I asked the driver to impersonate Dirk Hatteraick for a few minutes, and he, good-naturedly, complied, crawling into the opening, which he completely filled, and looking out at me with a pipe in his mouth and a broad grin. I took his picture, but his honest young face and amiable smile made a very poor pose for the desperate old smuggler. It served, however, to show the small size of the opening, which might easily have been concealed by shrubbery or brushwood.

Scott's information regarding this coast came from Joseph Train, a resident of Newton-Stewart, a town in Galloway on the river Cree, just above its outlet into Wigtown Bay. He was an excise officer who performed his duties faithfully. He had early in life developed a passion for antiquarian research as well as a taste for poetry. With a friend he had begun the collection {133} of material for a History of Galloway, when he was surprised and delighted to receive a letter from Walter Scott, asking for some copies of a poem which he had written. In a subsequent letter Scott asked for any local traditions or legends which he did not wish to turn to his own account, adding, 'Nothing interests me so much as local anecdotes; and, as the applications for charity usually conclude, the smallest donation will be thankfully received.'

Train immediately abandoned the idea of attempting any work of original authorship and determined to devote himself to collecting material for the benefit of one who could make far better use of it,--a decision in which his friend acquiesced. 'Upon receiving Mr. Scott's letter,' he said, 'I became still more zealous in the pursuit of ancient lore, and being the first person who had attempted to collect old stories in that quarter with any view to publication, I became so noted, that even beggars, in the hope of reward, came frequently from afar to Newton-Stewart, to recite old ballads and relate old stories to me.'

In later years Train often visited Abbotsford; a genuine affection sprang up between him and the novelist; he became one of the few who knew the secret of the authorship of 'Waverley'; and no other of the author's many friends ever did so much in furnishing him material of the kind he wanted. Not only stories and ballads, but more tangible objects of antiquarian interest were picked up by him and forwarded to his patron. One of the most interesting possessions now in the study at Abbotsford is the Wallace Chair, made from the wood of the house in which Sir William Wallace


Was done to death by felon hand For guarding well his fathers' land.

The chair was made under the direction of Train and presented by him to Sir Walter 'as a small token of gratitude.'

Besides giving Scott many descriptions of scenery and much local history, Train supplied a collection of anecdotes of the Galloway gipsies, and a story about an astrologer which reminded Scott of a similar story he had heard in his youth. This tale, as related to the novelist by an old servant of his father's, named John MacKinlay, appears in full in the Introduction to 'Guy Mannering.' Later Mr. Train put in writing 'The Durham Garland,' a ballad which was recited to him by a Mrs. Young, of Castle Douglas, who had been in the habit of repeating the verses to her family once a year in order not to forget them. It contains practically the same story. This old tale, reappearing in several different ways, became the basis of the novel.[2]

In January, 1813, Scott wrote to his friend, Morritt, mentioning a murder case in Galloway where the identity of the murderer was discovered by means of a footprint left upon the clay floor of the cottage where the {135} death struggle took place. The 'old ram-headed sheriff,' nicknamed 'Leatherhead,' suddenly became sagacious. He advertised that all persons in the neighbourhood would be expected to be present at the burial of the victim and to attest their own innocence. This would be certain to include the murderer. When the people were assembled in the kirk he caused all the doors to be locked, and carefully measured the shoes of all present until he found the guilty man. The method by which the astute Counsellor Pleydell trapped Dirk Hatteraick was clearly suggested by this incident.

It will be seen from the above that the story was put together from fragments of Galloway incidents, mostly supplied by Train, and from various legal experiences known to the author.

Scott himself made a visit to Dumfries in 1807, when he spent several days visiting Sweetheart Abbey, Caerlaverock Castle, and other ancient buildings. Mr. Guthrie Wright, who made the trip with him, wrote: 'I need hardly say how much I enjoyed the journey. Every one who had the pleasure of his acquaintance knows the inexhaustible store of anecdote and good humour he possessed. He recited poetry and old legends from morn until night, and in short it is impossible that anything could be more delightful than his society.'

When Scott made his visit to the English Lakes in 1797, he became impressed with the beauty of Westmoreland and Cumberland and particularly with the grandeur of the chain of mountains of which Skiddaw and Saddleback are the best known. It was in this pleasant country that he placed the home of Colonel Mannering. It will be remembered that Scott returned {136} from that excursion, through Cumberland to Gilsland. This is the route which he selected for Harry Bertram on his return to Scotland after many years. Bertram (or Brown, as he was then called) paused to view the remains of an old Roman wall, precisely as Scott himself had done. There are many such ruins in the vicinity of Gilsland, all remnants of the wall which it is believed the Roman general Agricola built from the Tyne to the Solway Firth about A.D. 79. One of these suggested to Scott the lines which he addressed to a lady friend in the year of his first visit:--

Take these flowers, which, purple waving, On the ruined rampart grew, Where, the sons of freedom braving, Rome's imperial standards flew.

Warriors from the breach of danger Pluck no longer laurels there; They but yield the passing stranger Wild-flower wreaths for Beauty's hair.

A few miles from Amboglanna, the most interesting of these remains, in the village of Gilsland, is a neat little building, occupied by a store, which is pointed out as 'Mump's Ha'.' It has been so much rebuilt that it now suggests but little of the disreputable Border inn which once marked the site, nor does the present well-kept village suggest much of the scene that was supposed to greet the eyes of Bertram on his approach. The alehouse was the resort of Border thieves, and its reputation was so bad that a man known to possess a fair supply of money dared not remain overnight. Tib Mumps, the landlady, who was secretly in league with the freebooters who came to her place, was a real character; or perhaps {137} it would be better to say there were two women, either of whom might have served for her prototype. The tavern was kept by Margaret Carrick, who died in 1717 at the age of one hundred years. She was succeeded by her granddaughter, Margaret Teasdale, who lived to be ninety-eight. Both are buried in the churchyard of Over-Denton, a mile away. Scott no doubt heard much about them both at the time of his visit, and also the story of 'Fighting Charlie of Liddesdale' which suggested some of the material for the exploits of Dandie Dinmont.

Dandie was one of those 'real characters' who are not 'real' because there were a dozen of him. In Scott's so-called raids into Liddesdale, where he 'had a home in every farmhouse,' he met many prototypes of Dandie. James Davidson, one of these worthy farmers, possessed a large family of terriers, all of whom he named Mustard and Pepper, according as they were yellow or greyish black. For this reason and because of his great passion for fox-hunting, the name of Dandie Dinmont became fixed upon him. Far from resenting it, Davidson considered that he had achieved a great honour.

Robert Shortreed, Scott's guide through Liddesdale, fixed upon Willie Elliott, of Millburnholm, the first of these farmers whom Scott visited, as the real Dandie. Lockhart, however, gives the honour to neither, and believes that Scott built up the description of this kind and manly character and of his gentle wife, Ailie, from his observation of the early home of William Laidlaw, who later became the novelist's amanuensis and one of his most affectionate friends.

At 'Mump's Ha', Bertram first met the old witch, {138} Meg Merrilies, who played so important a part in his destiny. Scott, as a boy attending school at Kelso, had made several visits to Kirk Yetholm, a village near the English Border, then known as the capital of the gipsies. A certain gipsy soldier, having rendered a service to the Laird of Kirk Yetholm in 1695, was allowed to settle on his estate, which thereafter was the headquarters of the tribe. Scott remembered being accosted on one of his visits by a 'woman of more than female height, dressed in a long red cloak,' who gave him an apple. This woman was Madge Gordon, who was the Queen of the Yetholm tribes. She was a granddaughter of Jean Gordon, whom she greatly resembled in appearance. An interesting story of the latter, who was the real Meg Merrilies, is told in the Introduction to 'Guy Mannering.'

The royal name of the gipsies was Faa, supposed to be a corruption of Pharaoh from whom they claimed descent. Gabriel Faa, the nephew of Meg Merrilies, was a character whom Scott met when on an excursion with James Skene. 'He was one of those vermin-destroyers,' says Skene, 'who gain a subsistence among the farmers in Scotland by relieving them of foxes, polecats, rats, and such-like depredators. The individual in question was a half-witted, stuttering, and most original-looking creature, ingeniously clothed in a sort of tattered attire, to no part of which could any of the usual appellations of man's garb be appropriately given. We came suddenly upon this crazy sportsman in one of the wild glens of Roxburghshire, shouting and bellowing on the track of a fox, which his not less ragged pack of mongrels were tracking around the rocky face of a hill. He was {139} like a scarecrow run off, with some half-dozen grey-plaided shepherds in pursuit of him, with a reserve of shaggy curs yelping at their heels.'

Scott was able to write the vivid description of the salmon-spearing incident, in which Gabriel lets the torch drop into the water just as one of the fishermen had speared a thirty-pound fish, because the sport was one of his own favourite amusements. One night in January, he, with James Skene, Hogg the Ettrick Shepherd, and one or two others, were out on the Tweed by the side of Elibank. They had a fine, blazing light and the salmon were plentiful. The boat, however, was a crazy old craft, and just as they reached the deepest pool in the river she began to sink. His companions begged him to push for the shore, but Scott, in great glee, replied, 'Oh, she goes fine,' and began some verses of an old song:--

An gin the boat war bottomless, An seven miles to row,--

when the boat suddenly went to the bottom. Nothing worse than a good drenching happened to any of the party and Scott enjoyed the experience heartily.

While attending lectures in the University of Edinburgh, it happened frequently that Scott sat by the side of a modest but diligent student, whose extreme poverty was quite obvious. This did not deter him from making a companion of the boy, and they often walked together in the country. Toward the end of the session, he was strolling alone one day when he saw his friend talking, in a confidential manner, with an old beggar to whom he had often given small sums of money. Observing some confusion on the part of the young man, he made some inquiries, and learned that the beggar was his friend's {140} father. It was characteristic of Scott's generous heart that he did not allow this fact to break the acquaintance, but with great sympathy he kept the secret. Some time later he called by special request of the old man at the latter's humble cottage, where he found his fellow student, pale and emaciated from a recent illness. He learned that the old man had saved enough for his own maintenance, but had voluntarily subjected himself to the humiliation of professional mendicancy for no other purpose than to pay for his son's college expenses. In the course of the conversation the poor father often expressed the hope that his bairn 'might wag his pow in a pulpit yet.' These are the words attributed to the parents of Dominie Sampson, of whom the poor lad was the earliest suggestion. When the family came to live at Abbotsford, a tutor for Walter, the eldest son, was required. Scott, always eager to help the unfortunate, employed George Thomson, 'a gallant son of the church,' who by accident had lost a leg. He was 'tall, vigorous, athletic, a dauntless horseman, and expert at the single-stick.' Scott often said of him, 'In the Dominie, like myself, accident has spoiled a capital lifeguardsman.' He was a man of many eccentricities and peculiarities of disposition, among them a remarkable absent-mindedness, but kind-hearted, faithful, upright, and an excellent scholar. In these respects he was the prototype of Dominie Sampson, though the story of the latter's devotion to Lucy Bertram in the days of her adversity is based upon an incident in the life of another person.

Counsellor Pleydell, whom Dominie Sampson regarded as 'a very erudite and fa-ce-ti-ous person,' was generally identified, by those who knew Edinburgh a century {141} ago, with Mr. Andrew Crosbie,[3] a flourishing member of the Scottish Bar of that period. Eminent lawyers were then in the habit of meeting their clients in taverns, where important business was transacted to the accompaniment of drinking and revelry. This typical old Scottish gentleman of real life lived in Lady Stair's Close and later in Advocate's Close, both resembling the quarters assigned to Counsellor Pleydell. In those days, the extremely high buildings, crowded closely together in that part of the Old Town nearest to the Parliament House, were occupied by the elite of Edinburgh society. They were ten and twelve stories high and reached by narrow winding stairs. Access from High Street was gained by means of narrow and often steep alleyways or closes. As a rule the more aristocratic and exclusive families lived on the top floors, and as there were no elevators, it might be said, the higher a man's social position, the more he had to work for his living.

Like his brethren in the profession, Mr. Crosbie had his favourite tavern, where he could always be found by any of the 'cadies'[4] in the street. This was Dawny Douglas's tavern in Anchor Close, the meeting-place of the 'Crochallan Fencibles,' a convivial club of which William Smellie, a well-known printer and editor of the {142} day, was the inspiring genius, and where Robert Burns, when in Edinburgh, joined heartily in the bacchanalian revels which were famous for their duration and intensity. Smellie's printing-office in this close was frequented by some of the most eminent literary men of the day.

The game of 'High Jinks' was played on Saturday nights in Douglas's tavern very much as described in the novel. Clerihugh's, which Scott mentions as Mr. Pleydell's resort, was a somewhat more respectable place in Writers' Court.

It is a curious fact that Mr. Crosbie had a clerk very much like Pleydell's 'Driver,' who could write from dictation just as well, asleep or awake, drunk or sober, and whose principal recommendation was that he could always be found at the same tavern, while less 'steady' fellows often had half a dozen. The incident which Mr. Pleydell relates to Colonel Mannering, of how certain legal papers were prepared while both lawyer and clerk were intoxicated, was, we are assured by the author, no uncommon occurrence. It will be remembered that Mr. Pleydell had been dining on Saturday night and at a late hour, when he 'had a fair tappit hen[5] under his belt,' was asked to draw up some papers. Driver was sent for and brought in both speechless and motionless. He was unable to see the inkstand, and it was necessary for some one to dip the pen in the ink. Nevertheless he was able to write as handsomely as ever and the net result of this attempt to 'worship Bacchus and Themis' {143} at the same time, was a document in which 'not three words required to be altered.'


Crosbie's clerk, though a dissipated wretch, was well versed in the law. He had been known to destroy a paper in his employer's writing and draw up a better one himself. An old Scotchman used to say that 'he would not give ----'s drunken glour at a paper for the serious opinions of the haill bench.'

Unfortunately, both Crosbie and his clerk gave up the 'steady' habit of drinking at a single tavern and in later life began to frequent many places. The result was the complete ruin of both. Scott's highly amusing account of the convivial habits of Counsellor Pleydell and his dissipated clerk is a fairly accurate, if not entirely complimentary picture of the daily life of a certain class of prominent lawyers in Edinburgh, in the middle of the eighteenth century. The more pleasing side of Pleydell's character was taken from Adam Rolland, an old friend of Scott's, who died at the age of eighty-five, four years after 'Guy Mannering' was published. He was an accomplished gentleman, an excellent scholar, an eminent lawyer, and a man of the highest probity and Christian character. He would have been quite incapable of such a performance as 'high jinks.'

As in many of his other novels, Scott makes the subordinate characters of 'Guy Mannering' the most interesting. Dominie Sampson, Dandie Dinmont, Meg Merrilies, Dirk Hatteraick, and Paulus Pleydell are original creations of strong, dramatic interest. Each had a prototype in real life, but it was the genius of the novelist that brought them into existence in the sense that Mr. Pickwick and Becky Sharp are real people, and {144} conferred upon them a kind of immortality that will be as sure to delight the generations of the future as they have been successful in appealing to the readers of the past century.

As to Colonel Mannering himself, I need only repeat the exclamation of James Hogg when he first read the novel:--'Colonel Mannering is just Walter Scott painted by himself!' Though doubtless not intended for a portrait, the fine, dignified, soldierly, and scholarly colonel is the picture of a perfect gentleman, intended to embody the high ideals which were a part of Scott's own character and for which we like to remember him.

[1] A 'Gauger' is an excise officer and 'Loup' is Scottish for 'leap.'

[2] Another story, some of the details of which may have suggested a part of the plot, concerns the experiences of James Annesley, a full account of which appeared in _The Gentleman's Magazine_ of July, 1840, and is reprinted in full in Lockhart's _Life of Scott_, vol. v. Lockhart says, 'That Sir Walter must have read the record of this celebrated trial, as well as Smollett's edition of the story in _Peregrine Pickle_, there can be no doubt.' The trial took place in 1743. It suggested, perhaps, something of the method by which Glossin undertook to deprive Harry Bertram of his rights. Another legal case, which came within Scott's own knowledge and may have suggested some of the details of the novel, was related by him in a letter to Lady Abercorn. See _Familiar Letters of Sir Walter Scott_, vol. 1, p. 292.

[3] As Crosbie died when Scott was only fourteen, the novelist could scarcely have known him personally; on the other hand, he could hardly have failed to hear the stories of such an individual, whose exploits were well known to the frequenters of Parliament Square.

[4] These cadies (or caddies, a name that has become familiar through the introduction of the Scotch game of golf) were a class of men and boys who in the eighteenth century frequented the law courts of Edinburgh, eager to be employed upon any errand. They knew the particular haunts of all the lawyers of any consequence, and never dreamed of looking for anybody at his own home, or in any place other than the special tavern which he was known to frequent.

[5] The 'Tappit Hen' was a pewter mug, with the figure of a hen on the lid. It held three quarts of claret, which was drawn from the tap,--hence the name.




Washington Irving's story of a week spent with Scott at Abbotsford always leaves in my mind an indescribable thrill of pleasure. Partly because Irving really did have a delightful experience such as falls to the lot of few men and partly because he knew, better than others, how to transfer his own pleasurable emotions to the minds of other people, it is certain that, to my mind at least, there is no single sketch in all the Scott literature, not even in Lockhart's brilliant work, that throws a stronger light upon the Great Wizard's character or illuminates a more attractive picture.

It was a happy week for the American visitor, and I imagine it contained no happier moment than when the younger author nestled by the side of his warm-hearted friend, under the lee of a sheltering bank during a shower, the plaid of the Scotchman closely wrapped around them both, while the enchanting flow of anecdote, reminiscence, and whimsical suggestion went merrily on in spite of the Scottish mist. It was in the course of their walk on this particular morning that Scott stopped at the cottage of a labourer on his estate to examine some tongs that had been dug up in the Roman camp near by. 'As he stood regarding the relic,' says Irving, 'turning it round and round, and making comments on it, half grave, half comic, with the cottage group around him, all joining occasionally in the {146} colloquy, the inimitable character of Monkbarns was again brought to mind and I seemed to see before me that prince of antiquarians and humourists, holding forth to his unlearned and unbelieving neighbours.' There was something peculiarly delightful about Scott's antiquarianism. He seemed to feel that those who were without his own knowledge of values were inclined to smile at his enthusiasm, and whenever he talked on his favourite subject there was an undercurrent of sly humour which gave an exquisite flavour to his conversation. The discovery of anything ancient, whether a ruined castle, a broadsword or sporran from the Highlands, or a scrap of some old ballad, gave him the greatest pleasure, and nothing afforded his friends more enjoyment than to be able to present him with such relics and curiosities as they knew he would appreciate. A casual walk through the Entrance Hall and Armory of Abbotsford, where hundreds of helmets, suits of armour, swords, guns, pistols, and curiosities of infinite variety are displayed, is enough to suggest to any one that Sir Walter himself was the real Jonathan Oldbuck of 'The Antiquary.' A glance at the Library, with its collection of twenty thousand rare old volumes, is enough to prove that Scott, like Monkbarns, was not only an antiquary but a bibliophile as well. Who but a genuine enthusiast could have written that chapter in which the worthy Mr. Oldbuck exhibits the treasures of his sanctum sanctorum to Mr. Lovel? 'These little Elzevirs are the memoranda and trophies of many a walk by night and morning through the Cowgate, the Canongate, the Bow, St. Mary's Wynd,--wherever, in fine, there were to be found brokers and trokers, those miscellaneous dealers in things {147} rare and curious. How often have I stood haggling on a half penny, lest, by a too ready acquiescence in the dealer's first price, he should be led to suspect the value I set upon the article!--how have I trembled, lest some passing stranger should chop in between me and the prize, and regarded each poor student of divinity that stopped to turn over the books at the stall as a rival amateur, or prowling bookseller in disguise!--And, then, Mr. Lovel, the sly satisfaction with which one pays the consideration, and pockets the article, affecting a cold indifference, while the hand is trembling with pleasure!'

It was during the visit to Prestonpans, previously mentioned, that Scott, a child of six, first made the acquaintance of George Constable, an old friend of his father's, who resided near Dundee. He must have learned from this gentleman something which started in him the antiquarian instincts, for, as he himself has remarked, 'children derive impulses of a powerful and important kind in hearing things which they cannot entirely comprehend.' Certainly he put enough of Mr. Constable into the description of Jonathan Oldbuck to cause various friends to recognize him; and as Constable's intimacy with Scott's father was well known, this gave colour to the suspicion that Scott himself was the unknown author of 'The Antiquary.' But even a more faithful delineation of George Constable than the book contains would have failed to bring out the real charm of the delightful Oldbuck. It is the Scott part of his nature that we really enjoy.

Next to the Antiquary himself, old Edie Ochiltree is the character who is chiefly responsible for the pleasant {148} flavour of this book. He is a mendicant whom it is a real pleasure to meet. His amiable nature, his sly good humour, and his genuine friendliness win your affection in the beginning and hold it to the very end. He is a picture drawn from real life, though it is probable that old Andrew Gemmels, his prototype, did not possess the many endearing qualities with which the novelist invested Edie.

The 'blue gowns' of the south of Scotland were a class of licensed beggars, known as the 'King's Bedesmen.' The number of them was supposed to be the same as the years of the King's life, so it was necessary to initiate a new member of the aristocracy of paupers every year. At every royal birthday each bedesman received a new light-blue cloak or gown and a pewter badge, together with a purse containing as many pennies as the years of the King's life. Their sole duty was to pray for long life for the King, which, considering that the older the sovereign the larger the purse, they might very cheerfully do. In return, all laws against beggars were suspended in their favour, and the 'blue gowns' went about from house to house, fairly assured of food and lodging and seemingly free from care.

The service of the 'blue gown' to the community is best set forth in the words of Edie Ochiltree, who apparently considered himself a public benefactor:--

And then what wad a' the country about do for want o' auld Edie Ochiltree, that brings news and country cracks frae ae farm-steading to anither and gingerbread to the lasses, and helps the lads to mend their fiddles and the gudewives to clout their pans, and plaits rush-swords and grenadier caps for the weans and busks the lairds' flees, and has skill o' {149} cow-ills and horse-ills, and kens mair auld sangs and tales than a' the barony besides, and gars ilka body laugh whereever he comes? Troth, my leddy, I canna lay down my vocation; it would be a public loss.

Andrew Gemmels was well known throughout the Border country of Scotland for more than half a century as a professional beggar or 'gaberlunzie.' He had been a soldier in his youth and maintained his erect military carriage even in old age. He was very tall and carried a walking-stick almost as high as himself. His features were strongly intellectual, but marked by a certain fierceness and austerity of expression, the result of his long and peculiar contact with all sorts of hard experiences. Scott, who had often met him, comments upon his remarkable gracefulness. With his striking attitudes he would have made a fine model for an artist. One of his chief assets was an unusual power of sarcasm, coupled with a keen wit, the fear of which often gained for him favours which might otherwise have been denied. He was full of reminiscences of the wars and of adventures in foreign lands, which he told in a droll fashion, coupled with a shrewd wit, that always made him an entertaining visitor. He wandered about the country at pleasure, demanding entertainment as a right, which was accorded usually without question. His preference as to sleeping quarters was the stable or some outbuilding where cattle were kept. He never burdened anybody, usually appearing at the same place only once or twice a year. He always had money--frequently more than those of whom he begged. When a certain parsimonious gentleman expressed regret that he had no silver in his pocket or he would have given him sixpence, Andrew promptly {150} replied, 'I can give you change for a note, laird.' In later years he travelled about on his own horse, a very good one, and carried a gold watch. He died at the age of a hundred and six years, leaving enough wealth to enrich a nephew, who became a considerable landholder. His tombstone in Roxburgh Churchyard, near Kelso, contains a quaint carved figure of the mendicant, above which are the words, 'Behold the end o' it.' This refers to an incident related by a writer in the 'Edinburgh Magazine' in 1817, the year after the publication of the novel:--

Many curious anecdotes of Andrew's sarcastic wit and eccentric manners are current in the Borders. I shall for the present content myself with one specimen, illustrative of Andrew's resemblance to his celebrated representative. The following is given as commonly related with much good humour by the late Mr. Dodds, of the War-Office, the person to whom it chiefly refers: Andrew happened to be present at a fair or market somewhere in Teviotdale (St. Boswell's if I mistake not) where Dodds, at that time a non-commissioned officer in His Majesty's service, happened also to be with a military party recruiting. It was some time during the American War, when they were eagerly beating up for fresh men--to teach passive obedience to the obdurate and ill-mannered Columbians; and it was then the practice for recruiting sergeants, after parading for a due space with all the warlike pageantry of drums, trumpets, 'glancing blades, and gay cockades,' to declaim in heroic strains the delights of the soldier's life, of glory, patriotism, plunder, the prospect of promotion for the bold and the young, and His Majesty's munificent pension for the old and the wounded, etc., etc. Dodds, who was a man of much natural talent, and whose abilities afterwards raised him to an honourable rank and independent fortune, had made one of his most brilliant speeches on this occasion. A crowd of ardent and anxious {151} rustics were standing round, gaping with admiration at the imposing mien, and kindling at the heroic eloquence, of the manly soldier, whom many of them had known a few years before as a rude tailor boy; and the sergeant himself, already leading in idea a score of new recruits, had just concluded, in a strain of more than usual elevation, his oration in praise of the military profession, when Gemmels, who, in tattered guise, was standing close behind him, reared aloft his _meal-pocks_ on the end of his kent or pike-staff, and exclaimed, with a tone and aspect of the most profound derision, 'Behold the end o' it!' The contrast was irresistible--the beau-ideal of Sergeant Dodds, and the ragged reality of Andrew Gemmels, were sufficiently striking; and the former, with his red-coat followers, beat a retreat in some confusion, amidst the loud and universal laughter of the surrounding multitude.

The character of the old 'gaberlunzie,' as revealed in this anecdote, was so faithfully transferred by the novelist to Edie Ochiltree, that in spite of some embellishments he was immediately recognized.

To study the scenery of 'The Antiquary,' we went to Arbroath, a town on the east coast of Scotland, which traces its beginnings back to the twelfth century. This is the original of Fairport, and we found all of the scenery of the novel in the immediate neighbourhood. In the midst of a shower which threatened destruction to all photographic attempts, we made our first visit to the ruins of the Abbey of St. Thomas, the original of St. Ruth's. It was a disappointment to find this ruin in the heart of the city, instead of a 'wild, sequestered spot,' where a 'pure and profound lake' discharged itself into a 'huddling and tumultuous brook.' But the Wizard always reserved the right to transplant his ruined castles and abbeys to suit his taste, and he was quite justified {152} in transferring St. Ruth's to more romantic surroundings, particularly as there is a deep ravine known as Seaton Den, on the coast north of Arbroath, which answers every requirement.

Thanks to the British Government, which took charge of the abbey in 1815, there is still left enough of the walls to make a picturesque ruin of considerable extent. For two centuries previously the people of the village freely used the stones for building purposes. It is necessary to go back six centuries to find the church in its full perfection, when it was one of the richest and most sumptuously furnished establishments in Scotland. In the year 1320, a parliament was held in the abbey by King Robert the Bruce, and a letter, regarded as one of the most remarkable documents in early British history, was sent to the Pope, appealing for a recognition of Scottish independence.

The original abbey was founded in the year 1178 by William the Lion, a Scottish monarch whose name is associated with nearly all of the principal buildings which form the scenes of 'The Antiquary.' It was dedicated to St. Thomas of Canterbury, the famous Thomas à Becket, whom William had met at the court of the English King, Henry II, when a young man. From ancient documents it would seem that the monastery was maintained in a state of great opulence and that it was open to all comers, rich and poor alike.

The predominating feature of the ruin, as it stands to-day, is the south wall, containing what the people of Arbroath call the 'Roond O,' a window twelve feet in diameter, immediately over the altar of St. Catharine. Beneath this opening is a gallery with seven arches of {153} carved stone, suggesting the scene in 'The Antiquary' where the impostor, Dousterswivel, and Sir Arthur Wardour are digging for treasure in the ruins, while Lovel and Edie Ochiltree watch the performance from just such a place of concealment. We could almost smell the fumes of the 'suffumigation' and hear the violent sneezes of old Edie and the terrified ejaculation of Dousterswivel, 'Alle guten Geistern, loben den Herrn!'

Monkbarns, the home of Jonathan Oldbuck, is closely associated with the history of the abbey. When the fame of that establishment had spread throughout Scotland and England, there were many pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Thomas à Becket. Many of these pilgrims arrived sick and exhausted. To provide for them, a rude hospital was ordered built, about two miles away from the abbey, on lands now occupied by a handsome building known as Hospitalfield. In Scott's day this house was very much less pretentious and might well have corresponded with his description of an 'irregular and old-fashioned building, some part of which had belonged to a grange, or solitary farmhouse, inhabited by the bailiff, or steward of the monastery, when the place was in possession of the monks. It was here that the community stored up the grain which they received as ground-rent from their vassals; ... and hence, as the present proprietor loved to tell, came the name of Monkbarns.' Readers of 'The Antiquary' will remember the altercation between Oldbuck and his sister when the latter was requested to make a bed ready for Mr. Lovel. '"A bed? The Lord preserve us!" ejaculated Grizel. "Why, what's the matter now? Are there not beds and rooms enough in the house? Was it not an ancient _hospitium_ {154} in which, I am warranted to say, beds were nightly made down for a score of pilgrims?"'

The property has a beautiful situation and is otherwise so desirable that it passed from the monks into private hands centuries ago. It finally came into the possession of Patrick Allan-Fraser, who made such extensive additions that whatever is left of the original building owned by the monks is completely covered up. This public-spirited gentleman, who died in 1890, left the estate in trust for the benefit and encouragement of young men who desired to study painting, sculpture, wood-carving, architecture, or engraving, and the house is now occupied by teachers and students. It has an art gallery containing some valuable paintings, sculptures, and wood-carvings, and a library of old documents and rare folios that would delight the soul of Jonathan Oldbuck himself.

It was the most natural thing in the world for us, after visiting Monkbarns, to seek the residence of his Tory friend and fellow antiquarian, Sir Arthur Wardour, although we did not find it within easy walking distance as might have been inferred. Ethie Castle has been generally fixed upon by local writers as the original of Knockwinnock. The present building is one of the country-seats of the Earl of Northesk. It is a red-stone structure of considerable antiquity and irregular design, which nevertheless made a pleasing picture when seen at a distance of several hundred yards from the front. A tiny brook crossed by a wooden bridge and flanked by huge rhododendrons in full bloom made a charming foreground. Beyond was a sloping field of tall grass, which had been mown only enough to make a broad path in {155} the midst of which were countless thousands of dainty pink-and-white daisies. On either side were ample groves of well-foliaged trees, making a vista in which the old red mansion appeared to excellent advantage.

Ethie Castle was part of the endowment which William the Lion granted to the Abbey of Aberbrothock. It therefore dates back to the year 1178. In the sixteenth century it was the residence of Cardinal Beaton, who seems to have bequeathed to it the 'Cardinal's Chapel,' by which name a room in the house is still known and 'the tramp of the Cardinal's leg,' a weird, ghostly sound of footsteps on the old stone stairs, with which the castle is haunted. After the death of the Cardinal, a natural daughter laid claim to the estate. Thus, as with Knockwinnock, the 'bar-sinister' appears on the escutcheon of the family.

Directly east of Ethie Castle and not far distant are the cliffs of Red Head. The coast for some miles north of Arbroath is a series of huge cliffs, with many strange caverns and curious rock formations. Almost any of them, but Red Head perhaps better than the others, would serve as the scene of the thrilling incident in 'The Antiquary,' in which Sir Arthur Wardour and his daughter are overtaken by the tide and rescued with great difficulty by Saunders Mucklebackit, ably assisted by Lovel and Edie Ochiltree. Two huge rocks rise almost perpendicularly from the shore. It is easily conceivable that any attempt to walk around them, in the face of a swiftly rising tide, would be fraught with dangerous, if not fatal, consequences.

The village of Auchmithie, the home of the Mucklebackits, is situated on one of the cliffs south of Red {156} Head. This is the most realistic of all the scenes of 'The Antiquary.' The village, with the exception of a new hotel, is practically as it was when Scott was a visitor in 1814. There is but one street, and that has no name; but the houses are numbered, city-fashion. The post-office address of an inhabitant would, therefore, give the number of the house and the name of the town, omitting any mention of a street; thus the old fisherman, who posed for me and to whom I mailed a photograph, lives at Number 58, Auchmithie, Scotland. This old fellow is a type of the neighbours of Saunders Mucklebackit. The habits of life of the people, their dress, their occupations, their houses, their furniture, even their names, are the same as they were a hundred years ago. I asked the old man how old his house was. He replied, 'Ou, I dinna ken hoo auld. I'se seventy-two mysel' and I was born here and my grandfeyther, too.' Several others of whom I asked the same question gave substantially the same answer.

[Illustration: AUCHMITHIE]

The post-office was in one of these ancient cottages, with a new front, but otherwise unchanged. Its occupant was quite communicative. He said it was the original Cargill Cottage, and that George Cargill, who occupied it a century ago, was the original Mucklebackit. 'When Walter Scott came to Auchmithie,' said he, 'he came by boat. There was n't any way to land except through the breakers and he could n't do that without getting his feet wet. So Cargill had to carry him ashore on his back. When he set him down on dry land, Scott clapped him on the back and said, '"What a muckle backed fellow you are, Geordie, to be sure!" Muckle, you see, sir, means "much" or "big," and George had a {157} great big broad back, so that's how Walter Scott got the name, Mucklebackit.' He let me take a photograph of the interior of the cottage, where a single room served for bedroom, breakfast-room, kitchen, and numerous other purposes. I suppose the cottage of Saunders Mucklebackit must have presented much the same appearance to Monkbarns when he walked in to attend the funeral of young Steenie Mucklebackit and won the hearts of all by performing the office of chief mourner, according the family the rare honour of having the laird 'carry the head of the deceased to the grave.'

I found a very pleasant family group in front of the next cottage, and after a few moment's conversation asked permission to take their picture. Not hearing a dissenting voice, I understood my request would be granted and began to set up my camera in the street. Before I had half made ready, the entire group had disappeared. The police department of the town then marched up to me,--one man strong,--and for a moment I felt afraid I had been violating some law. But he was only curious, and told me that the people had a strange aversion to being photographed. I left my camera all focused and ready in the street and sauntered with the constable to the side of the road. In a few minutes a picturesque old fishwife, carrying two large empty pails in each hand, came out of her house, all unconscious of the awful presence of a loaded camera and I quickly stepped out and pressed the bulb. 'That's Coffee Betz you got then,' laughed the constable. 'She would n't let you take her picture, but she's one of the Cargills.' In this way I came as near as possible to getting a photograph of the original Luckie Mucklebackit {158} with whom Monkbarns haggled over the price of a bannock-fluke and a cock-padle. For the fishwives of to-day are the same as those of a century ago,--'they keep the man, and keep the house, and keep the siller, too.' The men consider their own work ended when the boat is pulled up on the beach. It is the wife who must market the fish, which she does by carrying them on her back to the nearest town, where she must 'scauld and ban wi' ilka wife that will scauld and ban wi' her' until the fish are sold. 'Them that sell the goods guide the purse--them that guide the purse rule the house,' and therefore by common consent in these communities, the wife is the head of the family.

Back from Auchmithie is the mansion house of Kinblethmont, surrounded by some fine old woods. It will be remembered that Edie Ochiltree was passing this place on his return from the Earl of Glenallan's castle when he was arrested on a charge of assaulting Dousterswivel. Colonel Lindsay, of Kinblethmont, and the Laird of Hospitalfield were the leaders who took the direction of affairs when a French privateer named the 'Dreadnought' threatened the town of Arbroath in very much the same way as Fairport was menaced in 'The Antiquary.' The same scenes of excitement so vividly described in the novel were there enacted.

Scott, however, had passed through a similar experience himself, which enabled him to write the dramatic event with greater ease. For several years, in the early part of the nineteenth century, the people of England and Scotland were kept in a state of nervous dread by the expectation of an invasion by the French. Beacons were erected all along the coast ready to give instant {159} alarm, and militia organizations were everywhere kept in a state of readiness. A false alarm on February 2, 1804, brought out the volunteers of Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, and Selkirkshire with surprising rapidity. Scott had gone with his wife for a visit to Gilsland, the scene of their courtship. He was then a member of the Edinburgh Volunteers. When the alarm came he promptly mounted his horse and rode with all speed to Dalkeith, a distance of one hundred miles, within twenty-four hours. The alarm had subsided when he reached his destination, and after a few jolly evenings with his fellow volunteers he returned to the south. It was on this hurried trip that he composed a poem, entitled, 'The Bard's Incantation.'

'The Antiquary' thus closes as it began, with a leaf out of the author's personal experience. I have no doubt that he heartily enjoyed its composition. It must have been an exquisite pleasure to one so appreciative of genuine humour to caricature his own antiquarian foibles; to weave into the pages of romance the many tales he had heard in his youth of a character so interesting as the old 'gaberlunzie'; and to make the people of his fancy walk the streets of the ancient seaport town, visit the old abbey, saunter along the cliffs of the seashore, or roam about over the adjacent country, where he had spent many pleasant hours in the company of well-loved friends.

Although Scott's own opinion at first was that 'The Antiquary' lacked the romance of 'Waverley' and the adventure of 'Guy Mannering,' yet in subsequent years he came to regard it as his favourite among all the Waverley Novels.




Late in the afternoon of a beautiful May day, while on one of our drives from Melrose, we turned off the main road a few miles west of Peebles, and, crossing the Tweed, entered the vale of Manor Water. This secluded valley, peaceful and charming, would make an ideal retreat for any one who wished to escape the noise and confusion of a busy world. The distinguished philosopher and historian, Dr. Adam Ferguson, found it so, when in old age he took up his residence at Hallyards, where his young friend, Walter Scott, paid him a visit in the memorable summer of 1797.

It was not a desire to retire from worldly activities, however, or to visit the house of Dr. Ferguson, that led us into the quiet valley. Our purpose was to see the former home of one of the strangest human beings who ever lived; one who found the seclusion of the beautiful vale well adapted to shield him from the unwelcome observation of the curious-minded. David Ritchie, or 'Bow'd Davie o' the Wud'use,'[1] as he was called, was for many years a familiar figure to the few farmers of the valley. He was born about 1735, and lived to be seventy-six years of age. He had been horribly deformed from birth. His shoulders were broad and muscular, and his arms unusually long and powerful, though he could not lift them higher than his breast. But Nature seemed {161} to have omitted providing him with legs and thighs. The upper part of his body, with proportions seemingly intended for a giant, was set upon short fin-like legs, so small that when he stood erect they were almost invisible. His height was scarcely three feet and a half. His feet were badly adapted for walking and were kept wrapped in masses of rags as though they were the particular feature of which their owner was most ashamed. So completely did he depend upon the strength of his arms and chest that, unable to use his feet in the ordinary way in digging his garden, he contrived a peculiar spade which he could force into the soil with his breast. With his great arms he had been known to tear a tree up by the roots, which had defied the strength of two ordinary men.

His head was unusually large, particularly behind the ears. He had a long nose, a wide, ugly mouth, and a protruding chin covered with a grisly black beard. He had eyes of piercing black which in moments of excitement gleamed with wild and awe-inspiring brightness. His voice was shrill, harsh, and discordant, more like that of a screech-owl than a human being, and his laugh was said to be horrible.

His mind corresponded in deformity with his body. He was eccentric, irritable, jealous, and strangely superstitious. He was sensitive beyond all reason and could not endure even the glance of his curious fellow men. He read insult and scorn in faces where neither was intended. He thoroughly despised all children and most strangers. His whole nature seemed to have been poisoned with bitterness of spirit because he was not like other men. Scott was introduced to this singular {162} individual by Dr. Ferguson, who had taken a great interest in him. Nineteen years later, and five years after the death of David Ritchie, he made the recluse of Manor Valley known to the world as 'The Black Dwarf,' in the first of the 'Tales of My Landlord.'

We found the cottage a little off the road and not far from the river, nestling under the brow of a hill. I should, perhaps, say two cottages, joined together and nearly of the same size. The one on the left is of comparatively recent date and has a weather-stained bust of Sir Walter over the door. The older cottage is divided by a partition. On the right is a door and window of ordinary size. On the left is a door three and a half feet high and a very small window. There is no means of communication between the two apartments. The left side was occupied by David Ritchie and the right by his half-crazed sister, Agnes. There was never any affection between these two unfortunates, but on the contrary, and in spite of the loneliness of their lives, there was an almost complete estrangement.


The cottage has a stone over the dwarf's door inscribed 'D. R. 1802.' This commemorates the date when it was built, by the charity of Sir James Nasmyth, the owner of the land. It replaces a hut built by David himself in very much the same manner as described in the novel. With his own hands the dwarf rolled the heavy stones down from the hill, and with what seemed to be almost superhuman strength, lifted them into position. He enlisted the aid of passers-by, however, to help lift the weightiest ones, which added to the wonderment of the next comers, who could not know how much he had been assisted. Scott says he settled on the land {163} without asking or receiving permission, but was allowed to remain when discovered by the good-natured laird. William Chambers, however, who gave considerable study to the subject, says that the owner not only gave him possession of the ground rent-free, but instructed his servants to render such assistance as might be required.

The immediate occasion of building a house in this sequestered neighbourhood was the fact that Ritchie's painful sensitiveness about his ungainly appearance made it intolerable for him to remain in Edinburgh, whither he had gone to learn the trade of brush-making. Whatever instinct guided him to Manor Water, he could scarcely have found anywhere in Scotland a location better adapted to his requirements.

Here the good part of his nature asserted itself--for there is good in every human being, if only the key can be discovered that unlocks the secret chambers. The poor misshapen dwarf found his in the cultivation of a little garden, shut out from an unsympathetic world by a stone wall of his own construction. Within this sacred enclosure a profusion of flowers rankly unfolded their beauties to his eyes and shrank not from his touch. He had contrived to obtain some rare exotics and to learn their scientific names. He planted fruit trees in his garden and surrounded his little house with willows and mountain ashes, until he had converted it into a fairy bower. He found pleasure and profit in the raising of vegetables, and even cultivated certain medicinal herbs which he sold or gave to the neighbours. He also supplied some of the gentlemen of the vicinity with honey and took great delight in the care of his bees. A {164} cat, a dog, and a goat completed the roll of his best-loved companions.

Besides the pleasure he took in the contemplation of his own garden, Ritchie was an ardent admirer of the natural beauty of the country which he had chosen for his home. 'The soft sweep of the green hill, the bubbling of a clear fountain or the complexities of a wild thicket, were scenes on which he often gazed for hours and, as he said, with inexpressible delight.' He felt that sense of rest and refreshment from the contemplation of nature which Bryant has so finely expressed:--

To him who in the love of Nature holds Communion with her visible forms, she speaks A various language: for his gayer hours She has a voice of gladness, and a smile And eloquence of beauty, and she glides Into his darker musings, with a mild And healing sympathy, that steals away Their sharpness, ere he is aware.

To this great comfort, the poor misanthrope added another--the reading of good books. He was fond of the history of Wallace, Bruce, and other Scottish heroes, and he also had a love of poetry. Scott speaks of his familiarity with 'Paradise Lost' and says he has heard 'his most unmusical voice repeat the celebrated description of Paradise, which he seemed fully to appreciate.' Though not a man of orthodox religious beliefs, he would occasionally speak of the future life with great earnestness and on such occasions would sometimes burst into tears. He had chosen a wild and beautiful spot on a neighbouring hillside for the place of his burial. It was covered with green ferns and enclosed with a circle of his favourite rowan or mountain ash, planted with his {165} own hands, partly because of their beauty, but largely on account of their potency in guarding the grave against evil spirits. He haughtily expressed great abhorrence of being interred in the parish churchyard with what he contemptuously called the 'common brush,' but in the last moments his heart became softened towards his fellow men, his antipathies relaxed, and his final wish was that he might be buried with his fathers.

The writing of a novel based upon a character so grotesque and repellent was not well suited to a man of Scott's wholesome and genial temperament. He soon tired of it, and indeed the only satisfaction he got out of it was in presenting the better side of the Black Dwarf's nature. He came in time to agree with the criticism of the publisher, William Blackwood, to which at first he had strenuously objected, and the novel, originally intended to be in two volumes, was crowded into one and hurried to an end, thereby producing a narrative, as the author facetiously remarked in later years, 'as much disproportioned and distorted as the Black Dwarf, who is its subject.'

[1] Or Bowed Davie of the Woodhouse Farm.




In the grounds of the Observatory at Maxwelltown, across the river from Dumfries, is a small pavilion, enclosing two sculptured figures. One represents an old Scotchman, half reclining on a tombstone, a chisel in his left hand and a mallet resting by his side; the other is a pony, apparently waiting for his master to arise. The sculptures were the work of a local artist. They were disposed of by lottery to a young man, who died by accident the next day, and they are here deposited as a curious 'memorial to departed worth.'

The figures, thus used as a monument to the man who chanced to own them, were intended to represent a very different person. 'Old Mortality' and his pony were familiar to the people of Dumfriesshire and other parts of Scotland for more than forty years. His real name, as is well known, was Robert Paterson. He was a mason or stone-cutter by trade, who operated a small quarry. In middle life he became so thoroughly imbued with the religious enthusiasm of the Cameronians, of which austere sect he was a zealous member, that he felt impelled to desert his wife and five children, in order that he might perform the duty which, he conceived, had devolved upon him. This was to travel about the country and repair the gravestones of the martyred Covenanters. He would clear off the moss from the old stones and recut the half-defaced inscriptions, doing this often in {167} remote and almost inaccessible recesses of the mountains and moors. Scarcely a churchyard in Ayr, Galloway, or Dumfriesshire is without some evidences of his work.

In spite of his eccentricity there was a fine sincerity of purpose in the old man's devotion to his self-appointed task. He believed that each grave should serve as a warning to posterity to defend their religious faith, and he purposed to make every one, however obscure, a beacon light, so to speak, to proclaim to all the world the sufferings and devotion of the Covenanters, and thus to perpetuate the ideals for which they strove. However mistaken he may have been as to the wisdom of his methods, his calling was apparently as real to himself and as sincere as that of any minister of the Gospel. He was found dying on the highway one day in his eighty-sixth year, the little old white pony standing patiently by his side. Thus he wore out his life in the service of his religion, as truly devoted to it as any of the martyrs who perished on battle-field or scaffold. His grave is marked by an appropriate stone in the churchyard of Caerlaverock, south of Dumfries.

Scott, who once met the old man in the churchyard of Dunottar and saw him actually engaged in his usual task, sought an interview, but in spite of a good dinner and some liquid refreshments, which were quite acceptable, was unable to induce him to speak of his experiences. This was when the novelist was a young lawyer and long before he had thought of looking for materials for a novel.

'Old Mortality,' which many, including Lord Tennyson, have regarded as the greatest of Scott's novels, was {168} introduced to the public in a curious way. The real author, as usual, concealed his identity. The ostensible writer is Jedediah Cleishbotham, a schoolmaster, who in turn denies the actual authorship of the story, but claims to be merely the possessor of some posthumous papers of his late pupil, Peter Pattieson, who has only transcribed some tales he had heard from the landlord of Wallace Inn. Even the landlord was not original, for he received his information from the lips of 'Old Mortality.' Thus, by a circuitous route, the novelist derives this lengthy but extremely interesting tale from old Robert Paterson, whom he never saw but once, and then failed to make him talk!

After the Introduction and the first chapter, in which 'Old Mortality' is briefly presented, we hear no more of him. In this respect the novel irresistibly reminds me of the celebrated American humourist, who advertised his lecture on 'Milk.' When his usual large audience had assembled, he would step to the front of the platform and pour out, from a pitcher conveniently provided for the purpose, a glass of milk, which he would drink with great deliberation before uttering a word. The lecture then followed in which he kept his hearers convulsed with laughter, but there was never a word about milk.

Three events, all within the space of two months, form the historical basis of 'Old Mortality.' These are the murder of Archbishop Sharp on May 3, 1679, the skirmish at Drumclog on June 1, and the battle of Bothwell Bridge, June 22. It was during the era of the persecution, in the reign of Charles II, of the Scottish Covenanters, who persistently resisted the 'Conventicle Act' forbidding the gathering of more than five persons for {169} religious worship, except in accordance with the Established Church. James Sharp, Archbishop of St. Andrews, had incurred the hatred of the Covenanters by selfishly betraying the Scottish Kirk. An attempt upon his life was made in 1668 by Robert Mitchell, who was not arrested until six years later. He confessed under Sharp's personal promise of pardon, but was sent to Bass Island, where he remained a prisoner without trial for four years. Sharp then denied his promise, though it was proved by the court records, and demanded Mitchell's death. His base action met with speedy revenge. While driving with his daughter he was set upon by a party of nine men and put to death with the most atrocious cruelty.

The real leader in this murder was John Balfour of Burley, one of the fiercest and most fanatical of the proscribed sect. Though he professed the utmost religious fervour, Burley was more noted for the violence and zeal with which he undertook the most desperate enterprises and for his courage and skill with the sword. The murder of Sharp aroused the Government to new activities and no less stimulated the zeal of the Covenanters. Burley and a handful of his followers openly defied their enemies. On the anniversary of the Restoration, May 29, they interrupted the holiday, which they considered 'presumptuous and unholy.' They rode into the town of Rutherglen, extinguished the bonfires in honour of the day, burned the acts of Parliament for the suppression of the conventicles and other obnoxious laws, and concluded their 'solemn testimony' with prayer and psalms.

Three days later a conventicle was held near Loudon {170} Hill, at which no doubt sermons like those of Gabriel Kettledrummle and Habakkuk Mucklewrath were preached with fiery vehemence. The Covenanters seemed to depend upon their religious enthusiasm, for they were poorly armed and badly organized. Men and women who had no arms marched out to battle, relying upon 'the spirit given forth from the Lord.' They did not wait to be attacked, but advanced eastward about two miles from Loudon Hill to the farm of Drumclog, singing psalms all the way. Whether by accident or design they made their stand on peculiarly favourable ground behind a marsh too soft to support the weight of cavalry. As it was covered with green herbage and only a few yards in width, the attacking party, led by John Grahame of Claverhouse, did not know of its existence.

'No quarter' was the word passed along on both sides. Claverhouse and his dragoons, despising their foe, dashed down the declivity. The horses' feet were entangled in the marsh and the ranks thrown into confusion. The Covenanters, seizing the opportunity for which they had waited, made a spirited attack and completely routed the cavalry, Claverhouse himself having a narrow escape. Thirty-six dragoons were killed, while the victors lost only three. The successful skirmish aroused tremendous enthusiasm among the Covenanters, and had they been able to maintain harmony in their own ranks, might have led to a serious rebellion.

It did lead to the battle of Bothwell Bridge which took place on the 22d of the same month, June, 1679. The Government leader was the Duke of Monmouth, who was anxious to preserve peace and avoid bloodshed. {171} The more moderate of the insurgents sent a message offering terms upon which they would surrender. The Duke offered to interpose with the King on their behalf, provided they would first lay down their arms. The Cameronians violently opposed the moderate policy and favoured a fierce and even desperate resistance. While they were debating the question, the sound of the enemy's guns broke in upon them. In their disorganized condition, the cause of the Covenanters was hopeless and the Government gained an easy victory. Claverhouse rode at the head of his own troop, who were thus able to avenge the disgraceful defeat at Drumclog.

It was the portrait of John Grahame of Claverhouse, hanging in the library of Abbotsford, which, according to Lockhart, first suggested the idea of the novel. Joseph Train had called to present the purse of Rob Roy and 'a fresh heap of traditionary gleanings, which he had gathered among the tale-tellers of his district.' Noticing the handsome features revealed by the portrait of a man whom most Scotchmen regarded as 'a ruffian desperado, who rode a goblin horse, was proof against shot, and in league with the Devil,' Train expressed his surprise. After Scott had defended his hero's character, Train, always alive to the possibilities of a new story, asked whether he might not 'be made, in good hands, the hero of a national romance, as interesting as any about either Wallace or Prince Charlie.' Upon receiving the novelist's conditional assent, Train resumed: 'And what if the story were to be delivered as if from the mouth of "Old Mortality?"' Train then told what he knew of old Paterson, offering to learn more and report later. Though Scott did not mention it at the time, the {172} conversation recalled his earlier meeting with Paterson, and led to the immediate writing of the novel.

The scenery of 'Old Mortality' required us to explore the course of the river Clyde for almost its entire length. This picturesque stream rises in the high country near Moffat. An old rhyme, as repeated to us by a native of Moffat, runs thus:--

Evan, Annan, Tweed and Clyde All flow out from ae hillside.

In its short course of less than seventy-five miles to the Firth of Clyde at Dumbarton, it descends toward the sea by leaps and bounds, forming a series of beautiful cataracts. The highest and most famous of these is Corra Linn where Wordsworth composed a poem, inspired by the sight of Wallace's Tower. Here the river takes a triple plunge over the rocks for a distance of eighty-four feet. Not less imposing is Stonebyres Linn, below the city of Lanark, where the fall is seventy-six feet.

Following the downward course of the stream we came to the ruins of Craignethan Castle, at the juncture of the Nethan with the Clyde. 'A crag above the river Nethan' is the literal meaning of the name. This is Tillietudlem, the castle which Scott made the residence of Lady Bellenden and her granddaughter, Edith. A ravine under the old castle of Lanark, near by, known as Gillytudlem, no doubt suggested the name.


In the autumn of 1799, while on a visit to Lord Douglas at Bothwell Castle, on the Clyde, Scott made an excursion to Craignethan and, as he afterwards said, immediately fell in love with it so much that he wanted to live there. Lord Douglas offered him the use for life {173} of a very good house at one corner of the court. It was built in 1665 and we found it still in excellent repair. Scott did not at once decline the offer, but circumstances made it impossible to accept. That he made a very careful examination of the ruin, however, is shown by the unusually accurate descriptions.

The castle stands on a high rock, reached by a long road through the woods, by the side of a deep glen. I climbed some stairways through a corner of the building which still remains intact, and stood on the ruined battlement from which Major Bellenden valiantly defended the castle. Here I had a fine view over the tree-tops and could see the village of Braidwood, two miles away; but the road over which Lady Bellenden saw the troops approaching was not visible to my eyes.

From this point also I had a good view of the court, which I could fancy almost filled with a motley crowd of soldiers, domestic servants, and retainers, including the bluff and stout-hearted Sergeant Bothwell, who died 'hoping nothing, believing nothing--and fearing nothing'; the intrepid Tam Halliday; the infamous Inglis; the old drunken cavaliering butler, John Gudyill; the faithful ploughman, Cuddie Headrigg, with his sweetheart, Jenny Dennison; and even poor little half-witted Goose Gibbie, muffled in a big buff coat, 'girded rather _to_ than _with_ the sword of a full-grown man,' his feeble legs 'plunged into jack-boots' and a steel cap on his head so big as completely to extinguish him. In the centre of the court is the entrance gate, formerly the chapel; on the right a watch-tower and stable, and on the left the very substantial house now occupied by the keeper's family, to which I have referred.


The keeper next conducted me to the rear of the castle, where he pointed out a well-preserved square tower below which the ground slopes at a sharp angle to the river's edge. The lower part was used as a dungeon, where we may suppose Henry Morton to have been confined. It was once occupied by a nobleman of real life, who, not so fortunate as the hero of the novel, was led away to execution. Above the dungeon was the kitchen and pantry, with windows perhaps twenty feet above the ground. At the corner there was once an old yew, the stump of which may still be seen.

Readers of 'Old Mortality' will recall that during the siege of the castle, Cuddie Headrigg, though an old servant, found himself with the opposing army. With five or six companions he found his way to the rear, where there was less danger, and proceeded to attempt to capture the stronghold by climbing the tree and gaining access through the window of the pantry. All might have gone well had it not been for the fact that Jenny Dennison had chosen the pantry as the safest place of retreat. When, therefore, Cuddie's figure appeared at the window, clad in the steel cap and buff coat which had belonged to Sergeant Bothwell, Jenny not only failed to recognize her lover, but was terribly frightened. With an hysteric scream she rushed to the kitchen, where she had hung on the fire a pot of kail-brose (a kind of vegetable stew), having promised to prepare Tam Halliday his breakfast. Seizing the pot and still screaming, she jumped to the window and poured the whole scalding contents upon the head and shoulders of the unfortunate Cuddie, thus 'conferring upon one admirer's outward man the viands which her fair hands {175} had so lately been in the act of preparing for the stomach of another.'

I had great difficulty in photographing this tower. The declivity was so steep that it was almost impossible either to place the tripod in proper position or to find a footing from which to look into the camera. While in the midst of my preparations the keeper informed me casually that a man had fallen down the slope three weeks before and broken his neck. With this encouragement, I persevered and was finally able to obtain what I believe to be one of the best evidences of the accuracy with which Scott often made his investigations and subsequent descriptions.

On one of our excursions from Melrose, we followed the course of the Yarrow, from its junction with the Ettrick to its source in St. Mary's Loch; then continuing to the southwest, we traced the course of Moffat Water, which forms the outlet of the Loch of the Lowes, to a point just above the place where the stream meets the Evan and the Annan; then turning westward and passing through the town of Moffat, we followed the course of the Tweed northward and eastward from its source to our starting-place. For a large part of this drive, we were in wild, desolate regions, which presented to us, we were well assured, exactly the same aspect as they did to Sir Walter Scott, and to the Covenanters a century or more before his time. From St. Mary's Loch to Moffat and from the latter northward for at least fifteen or twenty miles, we were in the very region where the Covenanters were wont to find a safe retreat from persecution.

Scott was fond of riding through these wild mountain {176} passes, and often did so with his friend, Skene, of Rubislaw, who has left an entertaining account of one of these expeditions:--

One of our earliest expeditions was to visit the wild scenery of the mountainous tract above Moffat, including the cascade of the Grey Mare's Tail and the dark tarn called Loch Skene. In our ascent to the lake we got completely bewildered in the thick fog which generally envelops the rugged features of that lovely region; and as we were groping through the maze of bogs, the ground gave way, and down went horse and horsemen pell-mell into a slough of peaty mud and black water, out of which, entangled as we were with our plaids and floundering nags, it was no easy matter to get extricated. Indeed, unless we had prudently left our gallant steeds at a farmhouse below and borrowed hill-ponies for the occasion, the result might have been worse than laughable. As it was, we rose like the spirits of the bogs, covered _cap-à-pie_ with slime, to free themselves from which our wily ponies took to rolling about on the heather, and we had nothing for it but following their example. At length, as we approached the gloomy loch, a huge eagle heaved himself from the margin and rose right over us, screaming his scorn of the intruders; and altogether it would be impossible to picture anything more desolately savage than the scene which opened, as if raised by enchantment on purpose to gratify the poet's eye, thick clouds of fog rolling incessantly over the face of the inky waters, but rent asunder, now in one direction and then in another--so as to afford us a glimpse of some projecting rock or naked point of land, or island bearing a few scraggy stumps of pine--and then closing again in universal darkness upon the cheerless waste. Much of the scenery of 'Old Mortality' was drawn from that day's ride.

James Hogg, who conducted the party on that day, says:--

I conducted them through that wild region by a path, which if not rode by Clavers, as reported, never was rode by {177} another gentleman.... Sir Walter, in the very worst paths, never dismounted save at Loch Skene to take some dinner. We went to Moffat that night, where we met with Lady Scott and Sophia and such a day and night of glee I never witnessed. Our very perils were to him matters of infinite merriment.

The Grey Mare's Tail is a waterfall three or four hundred feet in height, forming the outlet of Loch Skene. It is a narrow stream and the water comes boiling and bubbling in foamy whiteness over the ruggedest of rocks and through the wildest of ravines.

I am inclined to think that Scott, in striving to find a retreat for Balfour, or Burley, poetically in keeping with the stern, fierce, and dangerous character of that terrible individual, combined the awesome features of the Grey Mare's Tail with the wild beauty of another ravine which he had visited. The latter is the deep gulch known as Crichope Linn, near the village of Closeburn, north of Dumfries. A narrow stream, flowing through a thick wood, has cut a deep chasm in the solid rock, through which the water has carved many curious channels. One of these is called 'Hell's Cauldron,' where the water has worn a deep round hole, through which it rushes with terrific force. Near by is the Soutar's Seat, so called from the legend that a 'soutar' or cobbler used to conceal himself there to mend the shoes of the Covenanters.

I had the pleasure of walking up the stream to the falls through the wet woods, in a rainstorm, without a guide. The loneliness of my situation,--for I did not encounter a soul on the journey,--added to the mist in the atmosphere, gave an impression, which I might {178} not otherwise have had, of the absolute security of such a hiding-place. I tried to fancy old Burley appearing at some opening in the rocks and myself leaping across the chasm, as did Henry Morton, to get out of his way. I was not obliged to attempt any such feat. But I felt that a visit to this strange locality had given me a better idea of the closing scenes of the novel than I had ever had before.

[Illustration: CRICHOPE LINN]

'Old Mortality' will always be remembered for its animated picture of the Covenanters and the conditions under which they lived. It was an era of perverted sentiment in politics and religion. The times were 'out of joint' more truly than in the days of Hamlet. A powerful and tyrannical Government was exhibiting cowardly fear of a small minority of determined people, who demanded only the rights that had been previously guaranteed. A policy of intolerant persecution prevailed. The bullies of the Government laughed to scorn the more statesmanlike propositions of moderation and fair dealing. Under these conditions a helpless and miserable people found their strength in an underlying perception of the truth and justice of their cause. They were exhibiting that quality which, from Magna Charta to the present time, has come to the front at every crisis in the history of Britain and America and is at the root of the power of the Anglo-Saxon race--the quality of earnest and sincere faith in the right of man to civil liberty and religious freedom. If, in the excess of their enthusiasm, these people became bigoted and intolerant, and if their frenzied reading of the Scriptures enabled them to find texts to justify every sort of deed of violence and cruelty, the harsh measures of a corrupt, {179} selfish, and incompetent Government would at least explain the unhappy conditions.

Scott's marvellous imagination enabled him to reanimate the people of this excited period. In Habakkuk Mucklewrath we have the extreme of crazy religious fervor and in Balfour of Burley the perfect embodiment of that brute force which was so strangely blended with pious ideals. Henry Morton, the hero of the tale, whose lot is cast with the Covenanters, is out of place in the picture, but he sufficiently typifies that class who were opposed to the extreme measures of the Cameronians.

On the Government side, Claverhouse, to whom Scott endeavours to do justice, General Dalzell, the Duke of Monmouth, and the Duke of Lauderdale are pictured, fairly enough, in the colours of history.

Scott's treatment of the Covenanters aroused great controversy, some of their admirers taking him to task in severe terms for his alleged lack of fairness. Whatever may be said on this point, there is no doubt that he touches the true sublimity of their faith in his account of the torture and death of the Reverend Ephraim Macbriar. The dauntless preacher was brought before the Privy Council and interrogated by the Duke of Lauderdale. Refusing to reply to an important question, he was dramatically confronted with the ghastly apparition of the public executioner and his horrible implements of torture.

'Do you know who that man is?' said Lauderdale in a low, stern voice, almost sinking into a whisper.

'He is, I suppose,' replied Macbriar, 'the infamous executioner of your bloodthirsty commands upon the persons of God's people. He and you are equally beneath my regard; {180} and, I bless God, I no more fear what he can inflict than what you can command. Flesh and blood may shrink under the sufferings you can doom me to, and poor frail nature may shed tears, or send forth cries; but I trust my soul is anchored firmly on the rock of ages.'

By the Duke's command the executioner then advanced and placed before the prisoner an iron case called the Scottish boot, so constructed that it would enclose the leg and knee of the victim with a tight fit. An iron wedge and a mallet completed the equipment. This wedge, when placed between the knee and the unyielding iron frame, and struck a sharp blow with the mallet, was calculated to inflict the most excruciating pain.

Macbriar faced the implement without flinching, while the executioner asked in harsh, discordant tones which leg he should take first.

'Since you leave it to me,' said the prisoner, stretching forth his right leg, 'take the best--I willingly bestow it in the cause for which I suffer.'

Here Scott makes use of the actual words of James Mitchell, who suffered similar torture for his attempt on the life of Archbishop Sharp.

When Macbriar was led to his execution, he thanked the Council for his sentence and forgave them, saying:--

And why should I not?--Ye send me to a happy exchange--to the company of angels and spirits of the just, for that of frail dust and ashes.--Ye send me from darkness into day--from mortality to immortality--and in a word, from earth to heaven! If the thanks therefore, and pardon of a dying man can do you good, take them at my hand, and may your last moments be as happy as mine!

{181} And thus, 'his countenance radiant with joy and triumph,' he was led to his execution, 'dying with the same enthusiastic firmness which his whole life had evinced.'

The book which contains this superb presentation of a thrilling epoch of Scottish history is justly termed, by Lockhart, the Marmion of the Waverley Novels.




An old flintlock gun of extreme length, with silver plate containing the initials R.M.C.; a fine Highland broadsword, with the highly prized Andrea Ferrara mark on the blade; a dirk two feet long, with carved handle and silver-mounted sheath; a _skene dhu_, or black knife, a short thick weapon of the kind used in the Highlands for dispatching game or other servile purposes for which it would be a profanation to use the dirk; a well-worn brown leather purse; and a _sporran_, with semicircular clasp and secret lock, which for a century has defied the ingenuity of all who have attempted to open it, are among the treasures of Abbotsford. They were all once the property of Robert MacGregor Campbell, or Rob Roy, the famous 'Robin Hood of the Highlands.'

When I was permitted to take the long old-fashioned gun into my own hands and to test its weight by carrying the butt to my shoulder and casting my eye over the long octagonal barrel, I could not help feeling that Rob Roy was a far less mythical person than his prototype of the Forest of Sherwood.

Rob Roy was, indeed, a very real person, as the Duke of Montrose knew to his sorrow, but the stories of his exploits are so strange, and at the same time so fascinating, that it is difficult to determine where biography ends and pure fiction begins. The MacGregor clan to which he belonged had been for three hundred years the victims {183} of gross injustice. David II, the son of Robert Bruce, began the oppression by wrongfully bestowing their lands upon the rival clan of the Campbells. The MacGregors were forced to a struggle for self-preservation, and manfully fought to maintain their rights, exhibiting extraordinary courage and endurance. But their acts of heroism and self-defence were construed at court as evidences of lawlessness and rebellion. Strenuous efforts were made to suppress them, but all such attempts were met with fiery vindictiveness. Each act of violence led to one of vengeance. The clan came to be regarded as a fierce and untameable race of outlaws. Rendered savage and cruel by a treatment which left no lawful means of obtaining a livelihood, pursued with fire and sword by the leaders of powerful neighbouring clans, whose subjects were forbidden to give them food or shelter, the MacGregors were driven to desperation. Violent deeds of retaliation occurred which no amount of provocation would justify. Murders, outrages, and bloody skirmishes were of frequent occurrence. These conflicts reached a terrible crisis in the battle of Glenfruin, fought on the shores of Loch Lomond with the powerful clan of Colquhoun, of whom two hundred or three hundred were slaughtered, many of them being killed without reason after the battle was over.

One of the leaders of the MacGregors, who was accused, perhaps unjustly, of murdering a party of clerical students who had merely stopped to witness the fight, was Dugald Ciar Mohr, the 'great mouse-coloured man,' so called from the colour of his face and hair. He was a man of ferocious character and enormous strength, and was one of the ancestors of Rob Roy.


This event led to various Acts of Council, proscribing the MacGregors as outlaws, prohibiting them from carrying weapons, and forbidding them even to meet together in groups of more than four. The very name of the clan was abolished, and any one who should call himself either Gregor or MacGregor was made liable to suffer the penalty of death.

Rob Roy was the product of these long years of relentless persecution and retaliation. His family occupied the mountain ranges between Loch Lomond and Loch Katrine, where they possessed considerable property. The date of his birth is uncertain, but it was probably 1660 or 1661. In the latter year, through the orders of King Charles II, the acts against the MacGregors were annulled and their name restored. The king, however, could not annul the effects of three centuries of civil warfare and vengeful retribution, nor prevent Rob Roy from inheriting some of the traits of his 'mouse-coloured' ancestor. Rob is described as a man of medium height, but of extraordinary strength. His powers of endurance were greater than those of any other member of his clan. His arms were said to be seven inches longer than those of the average man. This gave him a great advantage with the broadsword, which he could wield with uncommon skill and effectiveness. His head was covered with a shock of thick, curly red hair, from which fact he derived his name, Rob Roy, or Rob the Red. He had keen, flashing, grey eyes and a firm mouth, which betokened a man with whom it would be dangerous to trifle, but these features could be frank, cheerful, and full of kindness when among his friends. He had none of the ferocity or cruelty of that ancestor whose {185} great powers he seemed to have inherited. On the contrary, though bold in the execution of his purposes, he avoided unnecessary bloodshed. Though driven by fate to the life of an outlaw, he was a man of humane instincts and under happier circumstances might have been a public benefactor.

This is the explanation of his extraordinary success in eluding pursuit. His kindliness of disposition and friendly helpfulness had raised up friends in every part of the country. In this respect he was like Robin Hood. He struck at the rich and powerful when they molested him, but to the poor he was generous and helpful. He was a kind and gentle robber, who carried a sense of humour into his boldest outrages, and contrived to take the property of his rich enemy without molesting the latter's poor tenants, usually managing to make the victim ridiculous in the eyes of his associates.

Again and again the Duke of Montrose sent expeditions after him, but invariably some friend of Rob's carried the news to him well in advance or sent the Duke's people off in a wrong direction, so that they were always either disgracefully defeated or hopelessly bewildered. Meanwhile, Rob would be pretty sure to appear unexpectedly at some point on the Duke's estate and sweep away everything in sight. Each new failure brought added wrath to the Duke, which the satirical remarks of his companions did not tend to soften.

When Montrose deprived MacGregor of his lands of Craigroyston, along the eastern shore of Loch Lomond, Rob had no redress in the courts, but he managed to square accounts pretty well by driving off annually large numbers of the Duke's cattle, and collecting rents, {186} for which he invariably gave receipts. He made Craigroyston unbearable for any one who attempted to live there, until finally a Mr. Graham of Killearn, the Duke's factor, took possession. This was exactly what Rob Roy wanted, for Graham was the man who, in MacGregor's absence, had burned the house of the latter at Balquhidder and brutally thrust his wife out of doors in a cold winter night. Rob ever after regarded him with fierce vindictiveness. Graham's cattle mysteriously disappeared time after time until Craigroyston became unbearable for him also.

Rob had a queer way of appearing suddenly in places where he was least expected. One day when Graham was drinking at a tavern and angrily relating his troubles to a chance acquaintance, he exclaimed, 'Gin God or the de'il wad gie me a meeting wi' that thievin' loon, Rob Roy MacGregor, I'd pay aff my score wi' him. But the villain aye keeps oot o' my road.' 'Here we are, then,' was the reply, 'whether it's God or the de'il has brocht us thegether. Nae time like the noo, sir, for if ye're Graham o' Killearn, I'm Rob Roy MacGregor.' Graham did not stand on the order of his going, but made his exit by leaps and bounds until three long miles were put between him and 'that devil of a MacGregor.'

On one occasion Graham had called the tenants of a certain district to meet at a small house, according to custom, to pay their rent. Rob Rob, with a single attendant, whom he called 'the Bailie,' reached the house after dark, and looking through the window, saw Killearn with a bag of money in his hand and heard him say he would cheerfully give it all for Rob Roy's head. Rob instantly gave orders in a loud voice to place two {187} men at each window, two at each corner and four at each of the doors, as if he had twenty men. He and his attendant then walked boldly in, each with broadsword in his right hand and a pistol in his left, and a goodly display of dirks and pistols in their belts. He then coolly ordered Killearn to put the money on the table and count it, and to draw a proper receipt showing that he, Rob Roy, had received the money from the Duke of Montrose on account. Then, finding that some of the tenants had not been given receipts for their rent, he caused these to be drawn so that no poor man should suffer, after which he ordered supper for all present, for which he paid. When they had eaten their meal and drunk together for several hours, he called upon 'the Bailie' to produce his dirk and take the solemn oath of the factor that he would not move nor direct any one else to move out of the house for at least one hour. Pointing to the dirk to signify what the agent might expect if he broke his oath, Rob calmly walked away with the bag of money, which he considered rightfully his own, and was soon beyond pursuit. On another occasion MacGregor not only took possession of the rents which this same gentleman had collected, but also carried him away to a small island in the west end of Loch Katrine, where, after entertaining him five or six days, he dismissed his guest (or prisoner), returning all the books and papers, but taking good care to keep the cash.

The escape of Rob Roy from the Duke of Montrose was based upon an actual occurrence. He was surprised by Montrose and taken prisoner in the Braes of Balquhidder. He was then mounted behind a soldier named {188} James Stewart and secured by a horse-girth. In crossing a stream, probably the Forth at the Fords of Frew, MacGregor induced Stewart to give him a chance 'for auld acquaintance' sake.' Stewart, moved by compassion or possibly fear, slipped the girth-buckle and Rob, dropping off the horse, dived, swam below the surface, and finally escaped.

The novelist's acquaintance with the country of Rob Roy began in his sixteenth year, when with a military escort of a sergeant and six men, he first entered the Highlands. He was then a lawyer's clerk, and his object was to obtain possession of a certain small farm in the Braes of Balquhidder, known as Invernenty, to secure some debts due from the owner, Stewart of Appin. The farm had been a part of the property claimed by Rob Roy, and in the late years of the cateran's life there had been a great dispute over it with the Stewarts. The quarrel was finally adjusted and a family of MacLarens took possession as tenants of Stewart. After the death of Rob Roy, his son, Robin Oig, probably instigated by his mother, declared that if he could get possession of a certain gun of his father's, he would shoot MacLaren. He kept his word, using the weapon to which I have referred at the beginning of this chapter. The descendants of MacLaren remained on the farm and refused to leave. So long as they were there, the property could not be sold. It chanced that one of Scott's earliest legal undertakings was to secure the eviction of these undesirable tenants. When he arrived the house was empty, the MacLarens not caring to make any serious opposition.

The Kirk of Balquhidder, where Rob Roy made his {189} settlement with the Stewarts, stands at the foot of Loch Voil, a few miles off the main road from Callander to Lochearnhead. It is a small ivy-covered chapel, standing beneath the shadow of two large trees. In front is an iron railing, of recent construction, enclosing the graves of Rob Roy, his wife, Helen MacGregor, whose real name was Mary, and two of his sons. He died a natural death in 1734, at an age which has been variously stated as between seventy and eighty years.

The first appearance of Rob Roy in the novel is when under the name of Campbell (his mother's name, which he assumed, probably for prudential reasons), he makes the acquaintance of Mr. Frank Osbaldistone at the Black Bear of Darlington. Frank, it will be remembered, is on the way to his uncle's estate in Northumberland. There is little by which Osbaldistone Hall can be identified, but if geographical considerations count for anything, it is not improbable that Scott may have had in mind Chillingham Castle, the seat of the Earl of Tankerville. This is one of the places to which he refers in a letter written in the summer of 1791, as 'within the compass of a forenoon's ride,' from the farm in the Cheviot Hills, south-west of Wooler, where he was then staying. During that vacation excursion he became very familiar with all the surrounding country, an experience which doubtless had something to do with choosing Northumberland as the scene of an important part of the novel. Chillingham Castle is a fine type of the old baronial residence. It was designed by Inigo Jones, the famous architect of the seventeenth century, though portions of the building are still preserved which were built as early as the thirteenth century. It stands in a magnificent park of {190} fifteen hundred acres, about two thirds of which is set apart for the accommodation of deer and wild cattle. The latter, almost the only descendants of the herds of savage wild cattle which once roamed the Caledonian forests, are famous throughout England and Scotland. Sir Walter refers to them in the 'Bride of Lammermoor' and again in a note to 'Castle Dangerous.' The present castle is a large square structure enclosing the walls of the older building. Entering the inner court, which is paved with stone, we came to what was once the front of the ancient structure, looking something like 'the inside of a convent or of one of the older and less splendid colleges of Oxford,' to quote from the description of Osbaldistone Hall. We were shown a large banqueting-room, now used as a library, which extends across the entire width of the building. Its walls were decorated, after the fashion of Osbaldistone, with many trophies of the chase, such as the heads of deer, elk, buffalo, and other animals, all shot by the present earl. But in this splendid apartment with its luxurious furnishings, there was little else to suggest the dingy old hall, with its stone floor and massive range of oaken tables, where the bluff old Sir Hildebrand and 'the happy compound of sot, gamekeeper, bully, horse-jockey, and fool,' which, with the addition of a highly educated villain, constituted his family, daily consumed huge quantities of meat and 'cups, flagons, bottles, yea, barrels of liquor.'


Frank Osbaldistone had nearly reached the entrance to his uncle's house when he met the beautiful Diana Vernon. Miss Cranstoun, afterwards the Countess of Purgstall, one of Scott's early friends in the social circles of Edinburgh, was thought by many to be the original {191} of Diana,--a belief which she herself shared, chiefly because she was an expert horsewoman. Others have said that Scott's first love was the real Diana. But Miss Vernon is totally unlike either Margaret of Branksome or Matilda of Rokeby, both of whom were, to some extent, portraits of Miss Williamina Stuart. Moreover, in the unexpected meeting of a charming young woman on horseback, her long black hair streaming in the breeze, her animated face glowing with the exercise, and her costume attractively arranged in the most striking fashion, there is a strong suggestion of the circumstances to which I have previously referred,[1] under which the poet first met the future Lady Scott.

The next day after our visit to Chillingham we followed the footsteps of Frank Osbaldistone to Glasgow, where we soon found the cathedral to which Frank was conducted by Andrew Fairservice. It well justifies the old gardener's encomium: 'Ah! it's a brave kirk--none o' yere whigmaleeries and curliewurlies and open steek hems about it!--a' solid, weel-jointed mason-wark, that will stand as lang as the warld, keep hands and gunpowther aff it.' A part of the present building was erected in 1175. It has been the scene of some important events in Scottish history. At Christmas of 1301, Edward I of England, on his campaign against Scotland, made offerings at the high altar. Five years later, Robert Bruce stood before the same altar and was there absolved for the murder of his rival, the Red Comyn, at Dumfries.

The cathedral is supported by sixty-five pillars, some of them eighteen feet in circumference. The effect of {192} these huge masses is to throw the crypt into almost total darkness except in the parts near the narrow stained-glass windows. To make my photograph I set up the camera, opened the shutter, and left a workman to keep watch while I went to luncheon. Returning in an hour I shut off the exposure and realized later that two hours would have been better.

In this dark crypt it was formerly the custom to hold services. While standing in front of one of the huge pillars, listening to the sermon, Frank Osbaldistone heard the mysterious voice of Rob Roy, warning him that his life was in danger. Turning quickly he could see no one. I could never understand this scene until I saw the crypt. The large size of the pillars and the dense shadows which they cast would make it easy for one to disappear in the darkness as Rob Roy was supposed to do.

On High Street, Glasgow, we found an old tower, which was a part of the Tolbooth, where Rob Roy had his curious interview with Bailie Nicol Jarvie. The old Salt Market has changed greatly since the days of the good Bailie and his father, the deacon, and it is no longer necessary at night to be escorted along the city streets by a young maidservant with a lantern.

Rob Roy's parting injunction to Frank was 'forget not the clachan of Aberfoyle.' We therefore made it our business to find that interesting spot, combining it, as did Scott, with our investigation of the scenery of 'The Lady of the Lake.' The portion of the Scottish Highlands generally included in the so-called Rob Roy country comprises all that part of central Perthshire from Loch Ard and the river Forth on the south to Strath Fillan and Glen Dochart on the north, and from Loch {193} Lubnaig on the east to Loch Lomond on the west. This region, so easily accessible to us by means of carriages and automobiles, was in the time of Rob Roy not only difficult to approach, but exceedingly dangerous. The only highways of travel were narrow defiles through the mountains, easy enough, perhaps, for the experienced and hardy clansman, who knew every twist and turn of the paths, but as impassable to the unguided Lowlander or 'Sassenach' as the tablelands of Tibet.

Frank Osbaldistone and Bailie Nicol Jarvie, guided by the officious and rascally, but always laughable, Andrew Fairservice, are supposed to enter the hamlet of Aberfoyle by crossing an old stone bridge over the Forth. It is the bridge which Scott doubtless crossed when he visited the place, and is still standing, but it had not been built in the time of Rob Roy. That, however, was one of those details which never interested Sir Walter to any great extent.

We approached from the opposite direction, driving over the hills from the Trossachs and pausing just above the village to view the splendid valley to the westward, the termination of which was the mountain peak of Ben Lomond. Arriving at Aberfoyle, we were fortunately spared the necessity of stopping at an inn such as the novelist describes, where the worthy Bailie valiantly defended himself against a too aggressive Highlander, by wielding a red-hot poker so vigorously as to burn a hole in his opponent's plaid. But the enterprising landlord of the modern hotel near the bridge capitalizes the incident by exhibiting the _identical poker_, which he has attached to the limb of a tree, thereby recalling Scott's story of the keeper of a museum who showed the very {194} sword with which Balaam was about to kill his ass. A visitor interrupted him with the remark that Balaam did not possess a sword; he only wished for one. 'True, sir,' was the ready reply, 'but this is the very sword he wished for.'

There are two groups of old cottages in Aberfoyle, corresponding closely with those described in the novel.

The miserable little bourocks (or heap of rocks) as the Bailie termed them, of which about a dozen formed the village called the clachan of Aberfoyle, were composed of loose stones, cemented by clay instead of mortar, and thatched by tufts, laid rudely upon rafters formed of native and unhewn birches and oaks from the woods around. The roofs approached the ground so nearly, that Andrew Fairservice observed, we might have ridden over the village the night before, and never found out we were near it, unless our horses' feet had 'gane through the riggin'.'

About half a mile from the bridge, which is the exact distance referred to in the novel, we found the largest of these clachans, which bore a very striking resemblance to the one described by Scott, even to the squalor of its surroundings, for it is still inhabited at one end, though the other is in ruins. But by way of compensation, the miserable hovel, with the high bleak hills in the background, made a strikingly picturesque view, not differing greatly from that which met the eyes of Rob Roy himself, whenever his 'business' brought him to that locality.

Following the road to the westward, we came to some cliffs on the north shore of Loch Ard, near the foot of the lake, which are pointed out as the place where Bailie Nicol Jarvie found himself suspended by the coat-tails {195} from the projecting branches of a thorn-tree, dangling in mid-air 'not unlike the sign of the Golden Fleece over the door of a mercer in the Trongate of his native city.'

The beauty of the lake as it appears from this road, and particularly from the point where Ben Lomond looms high in the distance, fully justifies the novelist's enthusiasm. The 'huge grey rocks and shaggy banks' are neither so high nor so wild as they are described, nor did we find an elevation from which Helen MacGregor might have pitched the miserable Morris headlong into the lake. Indeed, had we been able to look backward through the mists of two centuries and see the famous Helen herself, we should doubtless have discovered that she, too, was much less 'wild' than she has been painted. Scott represents her as a virago, fiercely inspiring her husband and sons to deeds of bloody vengeance. The real name of Rob Roy's wife was Mary. Mr. A. H. Miller, in his 'History of Rob Roy,' thinks she has been sadly misrepresented. 'Mary MacGregor,' says he, 'was of a gentle and amiable disposition, one who never meddled in the political schemes of her husband, and whose virtues were of the domestic order.'

Scott's fondness for the little waterfall of Lediard, north of Loch Ard, to which I have already referred in connection with 'Waverley,' led him to introduce it again in 'Rob Roy.' It was the place chosen by Rob's wife and followers as 'a scene well calculated to impress strangers with some feelings of awe,' and here Helen MacGregor presented to Frank Osbaldistone the ring of Diana Vernon as the love-token of one from whom he believed himself separated forever.


The two sections of the Rob Roy country which the cateran most frequented, were the eastern shores of Loch Lomond and the valley where Loch Voil nestles calmly among the hills, known as the Braes of Balquhidder. After Rob was driven away from Craigroyston, on the margin of Loch Lomond, he made his headquarters for many years at Fort Inversnaid, on the high land, about two miles east of the lake.

The story of how Rob Roy took possession of this place stamps him as a modern Ulysses as well as a Robin Hood. The Government authorized the building of the fort on Rob's own land, as a means of guarding the district from his depredations. The crafty cateran, learning from some of his numerous spies all about the plans well in advance, took good care to see that none of his clansmen interfered in the least, so that all the material for the fort, including ample supplies, guns, and ammunition, were brought up without molestation. The contractor, happy in the thought that the peaceful state of the country had enabled him to complete his task promptly, dismissed most of his men and prepared to turn the property over to the Duke of Montrose. One evening, in the midst of a heavy snowstorm, a knocking was heard at the gate. In response to inquiry, a voice said that a poor pedlar had lost his way in the snow. The gate was opened, and Rob Roy at the head of a strong force, rushed in and took possession. The fort made an excellent vantage-ground from which he harried his enemies for many years.


Just below the fort, the little river which forms the outlet of Loch Arklet joins the Snaid, and finally tumbles over the cliff in a beautiful little cascade, known as {197} Inversnaid Falls. About two miles to the north, well hidden among the rocks, is a cave which Rob Roy was sometimes compelled to use as a hiding-place. It was visited by Walter Scott and introduced in the story of 'Waverley' as the cave of Donald Bean Lean, but he refrained from mentioning it in 'Rob Roy.'

Scott never felt quite satisfied with this novel, although he did remark in a letter to John Richardson, 'I really think I may so far do some good by giving striking and, to the best of my information and abilities, correct likenesses of characters long since passed away.' As a presentation of the real character of one of the most picturesque and interesting of all Highlanders, as well as a superb word-painting of the conditions under which men lived in the country and the time of Rob Roy, the novel possesses a genuine value. Scott's discontent with it arose from the hard conditions under which it was written. In a letter to Daniel Terry, dated March 29, 1817, he says, referring to it, 'I have made some progress in ye ken what, but not to my satisfaction; it smells of the cramp, and I must get it into better order before sending it to you.' After the book was published, he used the same expression in a letter to Morritt. Lady Louisa Stuart, one of Scott's most valued friends, who wrote to him with perfect freedom, thought the end of the story indicated that the author was 'tired, and wanted to get rid of his personages as fast as he could, knocking them on the head without mercy.' There is certainly some justification in this when we consider that the old Baronet and five of his worthless sons are disposed of within three or four pages, while the last and worst of the lot, the traitorous Rashleigh, is put {198} out of the way two chapters later. On the other hand, the Squire and his family were always treated collectively, and as they were in the way it was just as well to get rid of them by wholesale. Of course, no good could come from letting the villain live. If this is a defect, or if there are any other faults in the novel, they are all redeemed by the happy picture of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, one of the most original as well as delightful of all the company of actors in the Waverley Novels,--'a carefu' man, as is weel kend, and industrious as the hale town can testify; and I can win my crowns, and keep my crowns, and count my crowns wi' ony body in the Saut-Market, or it may be in the Gallowgate. And I'm a prudent man, as my father the deacon was before me.' The poor bailie never could (and neither can the reader) forget how he must have looked when he hung head down from the thorn tree in the Pass of Aberfoyle: 'And abune a', though I am a decent, sponsible man, when I am on my right end, I canna but think I maun hae made a queer figure without my hat and my periwig, hinging by the middle like bawdrons, or a cloak flung over a cloak-pin. Bailie Graham wad hae an unco hair in my neck and he got that tale by the end.'

Charles Mackay, the famous actor, made the hit of his career in his rendition of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, and the dramatization of the novel enjoyed a remarkable popularity for many years.

[1] Chapter 1, page 17.




'Dis-is-de-heart-of-Midlothian-Jeanie-Deans-walked-t'- Lunnon-t'-save-her-sister-fr'm-hangin!' This sentence, uttered rapidly in a monotone, as though it were all a single word, long-drawn-out, startled us as we were standing in Parliament Square, Edinburgh, looking up at the stately crown which forms the distinguishing mark of the old Cathedral of St. Giles. Our eyes quickly dropped, to meet the wistful, upturned face of a small urchin, very ragged and very dirty. 'What is that you say?' said I, looking down into his expectant eyes. 'Dis-is-de-heart-of-Midlothian-Jeanie-Deans-walked-to-Lunnon, sir,' was the reply, in the same quick accents, running the words all together. 'Why did she do that?' I asked, hoping to draw him out. 'To save her sister from hangin', sir,' was the ready reply. 'But who was Jeanie Deans and how did she save her sister?' To this double inquiry the boy only shook his head. 'Where did you hear that story?' Another shake. 'Did you ever hear of Sir Walter Scott?' Another slow movement of a downcast head indicated that the little lad was hopelessly out of his depth, so I gave him his penny and let him go. He had evidently learned his lesson by heart from some one whom instinct had taught that this reference to one of the most popular novels of Edinburgh's most famous citizen would be likely to prove the readiest means of interesting the casual tourist and thereby extracting an {200} honest penny. All the other objects of interest,--the fine old Cathedral, the Parliament House, the Market Cross, the grave of John Knox--were as nothing compared to the figure of a heart, outlined in the pavement, designed to mark the site of the old Tolbooth, but more strongly reminding the visitor, not of an ancient prison, but of a great novel, and impressing him with the feeling that, wherever one may go in Edinburgh, the spirit of Sir Walter Scott seems to permeate the very atmosphere.

The square in which we were standing was for centuries the civic centre of Edinburgh. The southwest corner is occupied by the House of Parliament, where the Scottish Parliaments met in a room, a hundred and twenty-two feet long and forty-nine feet wide, with an arched oaken roof. This large hall is now adorned with numerous portraits and statues of eminent judges, and its floor, when the courts are in session, is filled with a throng of advocates, their wigs and gowns suggesting something of the ceremonials of olden times. Since the union of England and Scotland under the name of Great Britain, in 1707, and the consequent dissolution of the Scottish Parliament, the building has been used by the Court of Session. In the rooms of the First Division, on the left of the lobby, Sir Walter Scott, as one of the Principal Clerks, performed his official duties for twenty-five years. His attendance averaged from four to six hours daily during the sessions of the court, which usually occupied two months in the late spring and early summer, and four in the winter. His letter of resignation, in the last year but one of his life, is one of the valued treasures of the Advocates' Library.

In the first half of the eighteenth century, the period {201} of 'The Heart of Midlothian,' Parliament Close, as it was then called, did not present the clean, open appearance of to-day. Almost the entire space between St. Giles on the east and the County Hall on the west was occupied by the Tolbooth, leaving only a narrow and partly covered passage at the northwest corner of the square. The prison projected into the middle of High Street, seeming to form 'the termination of a huge pile of buildings called the Luckenbooths,' which had been 'jammed into the midst of the principal street,' and little booths or shops were plastered against the buttresses of the old Gothic cathedral. The headquarters of the 'City Guard' were in 'a long, low, ugly building, which to a fanciful imagination might have suggested the idea of a long black snail crawling up the middle of the High Street and deforming its beautiful esplanade.' In this way, what was intended to be and is now a broad street was at that time so encumbered as to be converted into a series of narrow, crooked lanes, which were kept in anything but tidy condition. South of High Street the Cowgate was reached by descending the steep incline through various narrow lanes, and the two parallel thoroughfares were connected, a little to the east, by a crooked but famous street, called West Bow. At the foot of the latter was a wide, open space known as the Grassmarket, where the public executions took place. These were the streets through which the rioters of the Porteous Mob made their way in the exciting days of September, 1736.

The Tolbooth, considered two centuries ago to be one of the largest and most sombre buildings in the kingdom, was built by the citizens of Edinburgh in 1561, {202} originally for a Town Hall, but later devoted to the use of Parliament and the courts of justice. With the completion of the Parliament House in 1640, its original usage ceased, and from that time until its demolition in 1817, it was devoted exclusively to the imprisonment of debtors and criminals. No distinction was made between the lowest of the criminal classes and the poor persons whose only offence was the inability to pay some small debt. The latter were shut up for months in cells too loathsome for the most vicious of criminals. There were no areas for exercise nor any ways of affording the captives a breath of fresh air. The narrow windows were half-blocked to the light by massive bars of iron.

The exterior was not less horrible, for on its highest pinnacle were displayed the heads of prisoners of state who had been executed, and it was seldom lacking in such tokens. The Regent Morton, accused of the murder of Darnley; the Duke of Montrose, and later his great enemy, the Duke of Argyle, were among the most distinguished of these victims; but there were many others.

The Church of St. Giles almost touched elbows, so to speak, with the prison. The central portion was set apart for religious services under the name of the 'Old Church,' the worshippers of those days having a strong aversion to the use of the name of a saint. They seemed to have no objection to attaching to their sacred edifice the designation of the temporary abode of sinners, for the southwest quarter was called the 'Tolbooth Church,' from its proximity to the prison. On the morning of the 11th of April, 1736, according to the account of Robert Chambers, Wilson and Robertson were conducted to the Tolbooth Church, to listen to their last sermon, their {203} execution having been planned for the following Wednesday. Very much as described in the novel, except that the incident took place almost instantly after they had seated themselves in the pew, instead of after the sermon as Scott says, Wilson seized three of the guards and shouted to Robertson to run. The latter tripped up the fourth soldier and quickly escaped, aided by the sympathetic church-goers, who contrived to block up the passages so that pursuit was impossible. Three days later, Wilson was executed in the Grassmarket. The sympathy of all Edinburgh was with him, for several reasons. First, his crime was only the robbery of a revenue officer, in reprisal for the seizure of his own goods on a charge of smuggling. In those days (and even now, it may be feared) the crime of cheating the Government out of its revenues was not considered an enormous one. If a poor smuggler happened to be caught, there was no reason why he should n't 'get even' with the officers if he had a good chance. At least, so Wilson argued, and many sympathized with his view. Second, the Scots were not yet entirely reconciled to the union, and the exhibition of too much authority at London was likely to be resented. Third, Wilson had acted the part of a generous friend and courageous man in sacrificing his own chances to secure the escape of Robertson.

Some stones were thrown at the captain of the City Guard, John Porteous, and that officer, beside himself with rage, snatched a gun from a soldier and, setting the example himself, commanded his party to fire. The result was the loss of six lives and the wounding of eleven persons, many of the victims being innocent spectators {204} who were watching the affair from neighbouring windows. For this offence Porteous was tried and convicted, his execution being set for the 8th of September. Before the prisoner could be executed, a pardon reached Edinburgh, signed by Queen Caroline, acting as Regent. Robert Chambers says that it came on the 2d of September, giving the mob five days for preparation instead of a single afternoon, as described by Scott. It is a matter of history that the 'mob' acted with remarkable moderation, harming no one except their intended victim. Ladies of the upper classes, travelling in their chairs to meet evening engagements, were quietly turned back. The shopkeeper in the West Bow, whose place was broken into for a coil of rope, found himself reimbursed with a guinea. The town guard was disarmed and the city gates closed without confusion, showing that cool heads were in the lead. The jail was stormed and, as the door would not yield, it was set on fire. When this finally became effective, the fire was extinguished. All the prisoners were set free except Porteous, who was taken to the Grassmarket and hanged on a post near the scene of his own crime.

The event caused great excitement, not only in Edinburgh, but in London. The House of Lords proposed a severe punishment, including the imprisonment of the Lord Provost, but finally compromised with a fine upon the city of £2000 for the benefit of Porteous's widow, thus throwing the punishment upon those who had nothing to do with the affair and could not have prevented it.

When the discreditable old Tolbooth was finally demolished, Scott was presented with the door and its {205} frame, which are now built into the outer walls of the mansion at Abbotsford and the keys of the prison are among the treasures of his museum. In 1816, he wrote to Terry, 'I expect to get some decorations from the old Tolbooth of Edinburgh, particularly the copestones of the doorway, or lintels, as we call them, and a _niche_ or two--one very handsome, indeed! Better a niche _from_ the Tolbooth than a niche _in_ it, to which such building operations are apt to bring the projectors!'

The first part of the novel is a skilful blending of the history of the Porteous Mob, with the true story of an unfortunate girl and her noble sister, who lived in another part of Scotland. The author represents Effie Deans as having been incarcerated in the old Tolbooth and places her trial in one of the buildings of Parliament Close. The real Effie was imprisoned in the jail at Dumfries and her trial occurred in an upper room of a curious old building of that city, known as the Mid-Steeple, a structure, now over two centuries old, which stands in the middle of the High Street and gives a picturesque effect to that thoroughfare. On the south front, above a stairway which ascends across the face of the building, is a sculptured figure of St. Michael treading on a serpent, the arms of the burgh, and above this are the royal arms of Scotland, also carved in stone. The space in front is given a pleasant bit of colour by the display of flowers and vegetables, here offered for sale.

The story of Helen Walker, the original of Jeanie Deans, is well remembered in Dumfries. A stone or two may still be discovered, by those who care to search for the remnant of her little cottage, near the banks of the river Cluden. She lived to be seventy or eighty years {206} old, supporting herself by working stocking-feet and raising chickens, besides occasionally teaching a few children to read. In early life she had been left an orphan, charged with the support of a younger sister, named Isabella, or 'Tibby,' to whom she devoted herself with many evidences of genuine affection. It was a great shock to her, therefore, when she learned that the young girl had been accused of child-murder and that she herself would be called upon as the principal witness against her. Under the law, as her counsel explained, if she could testify that her sister had made the slightest preparation or had even confided to her an intimation on the subject, such a declaration would save her sister's life. The temptation to tell a plausible lie, which no one could dispute, was undeniably strong. But Helen was a woman of finer mould, and not even the purest sisterly love could induce her to violate her conscience. She swore to the truth and Isabella was condemned. As she left the court, the latter was heard to exclaim, 'Oh, Nelly! ye've been the cause of my death!'

The same moral courage which gave resolution to Helen Walker to stand for the truth, now impelled her to a remarkable exercise of the power of an indomitable will. The difficulties seemed insurmountable. There was no hope except in the royal pardon. There was no one to intercede with the King and London was many miles away. But Helen did not waste a moment. A petition was hastily drawn, setting forth the facts in the case, and on the very night of the conviction, the dauntless Scotch lassie set out on foot for London, clad in her simple country dress and tartan plaid, without letters of introduction or recommendation, with little money in her {207} purse, and scarcely a chance of success except a sublime faith in Providence and reliance upon her own stout heart.

There was one nobleman in London to whom the heart of any of his Scotch countrymen would instinctively turn in such an emergency. This was John, Duke of Argyle, who had stoutly resisted the efforts to inflict an undeserved punishment on the people of Edinburgh for their part in the Porteous affair. To him Helen Walker presented herself, after watching three days at his door, just as he was about to enter his carriage. Her unpretentious dress, her honest face, and the pathos of her story won the heart of the generous nobleman, who procured the pardon and forwarded it to Dumfries. Helen returned on foot as she had come, and had the satisfaction of witnessing the release of her sister. Isabella married the man who had wronged her and lived many years, always acknowledging in the most affectionate terms the high nobility of her sister's character.

Helen died in poverty and was buried in the picturesque churchyard of Kirkpatrick Irongray, northwest of Dumfries, where her grave might have been forgotten but for the generosity of Sir Walter and the interest of Mrs. Goldie, who told him the story. This good lady requested the novelist to write an inscription, saying that if he would do so, she would be able to raise the necessary funds for a monument. Scott, however, insisted upon supplying both the inscription and the stone. We made it our first care on the afternoon of our arrival in Dumfries to drive to the old Kirk where, in spite of the inconvenience of an unexpected shower, we {208} photographed the memorial and afterwards stood under an umbrella copying the following inscription:--

This Stone was erected By the author of Waverley To the memory



Who died in the year of God, 1791. This humble individual Practised in real life The virtues With which fiction has invested The imaginary character of


Refusing the slightest departure From veracity Even to save the life of a sister, She nevertheless shewed her Kindness and fortitude In rescuing her From the severity of the law, At the Expense of personal exertions. Which the times rendered as difficult As the motive was laudable.

Respect the grave of poverty When combined with love of truth And dear affection.

One day during our stay in Edinburgh we hired a conveyance to take us to the suburban scenes of 'The Heart of Midlothian.' Our driver was recommended as 'one {209} of the best guides in Edinburgh,' and so he proved to be. In spite of orders to drive direct to the King's Park, he insisted upon going by way of High Street and the Canongate, when, every few rods it seemed, he would bring his horse to a walk, then turn in his seat until he faced us and point with his long whip to some window 'where the famous Adam Smith lived' or 'where Dugald Stewart had his rooms.' Perhaps he was only following the example of Sir Walter, of whom Lockhart said, 'No funeral hearse crept more leisurely than did his landau up the Canongate; and not a queer tottering gable but recalled to him some long-buried memory of splendour or bloodshed, which, by a few words, he set before his hearers in the reality of life.' All of this was interesting enough, or would have been, had I not wished to reach my objective point before sundown, but Jehu was like the burro I once rode in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado, which beast responded to the spur by two convulsive steps, then settled down to his previous pace, which neither coaxing nor threatening, caressing nor spurring, soft words nor sharp ones, would induce him to change for the space of more than a minute at a time. So with our 'best guide.' I finally concluded to let him have his own way, as I had been obliged to do with his obstinate relative, the burro, and so finally got through the Canongate after listening to a rehearsal of the entire catalogue of Edinburgh worthies for several centuries. When the King's Park was reached, after passing Holyrood Palace, the guide found himself 'out of bounds' and kindly permitted me to direct the further proceedings.

Here the city seems to come to a sudden end, and {210} looking toward the southwest we saw only a mass of steep cliffs backed by a rugged mountain. This was a favorite resort with Sir Walter, when a boy. In later years, the Radical Road, which winds around the edge of the Salisbury Crags in a broad pathway, was laid out at his suggestion, to give employment to idle men.

In writing 'The Heart of Midlothian,' Scott was therefore more at home than with any other of his novels. Muschat's Cairn and St. Anthony's Chapel, where Jeanie had her midnight interview with the betrayer of her sister, were familiar sights of the author's boyhood. On a dark night they would be lonely enough even now.

Near the park gate we passed some boulders known as Muschat's Cairn, but as they were carefully enclosed and surrounded by a well-kept plot of grass, they gave no suggestion of the weird and desecrated ground where evil spirits had power to make themselves visible to human eyes. The original cairn was made by passing travellers, each throwing a stone upon the spot, to express his detestation of the horrible murder committed in 1720 by Nicol Muchet or Muschat, who killed his wife under circumstances of great cruelty. In the ordinary course of improvements, the cairn was swept away, but the novel created a new interest in its story, which led to its restoration.

[Illustration: ST. ANTHONY'S CHAPEL]

St. Anthony's Chapel, on the rugged hillside overlooking St. Margaret's Loch, gives more of the impression of Scott's tale. The scene on any moonlight night even now would be the same as it was on that night when Jeanie met George Robertson at the cairn and was followed by Ratcliffe and Sharpitlaw, guided by Madge Wildfire. The ruined chapel, where the jailer and the {211} lawyer succeeded only in capturing each other instead of the fugitive, is still as lonely and difficult of access as it was then, the only difference being that some of the walls have fallen. We drove as near to the base of the hill as it was possible to go. I then left the carriage and began the ascent, stopping a moment at St. Anthony's Well, where Madge Wildfire wanted to meet the ghost of the murdered Ailie Muschat to wash the blood out of her clothes 'by the beams of the bonny Lady Moon.' Arriving at the chapel after a hard climb, I was studying the composition of a picture when I was accosted by a policeman, who had toiled after me all the way up that steep incline. He informed me that I was welcome to photograph the ruins, but I must n't take any group pictures. As there was nobody in sight but the policeman and myself, and as I did not wish to make a 'group' of him, I wondered why he had taken so much trouble. Perhaps he felt the proud satisfaction of the hero, who, in the language of an admiring rustic friend, 'seen his duty and done it noble.'

The chapel of St. Anthony, of which now only a fragment remains, was once a Gothic structure, with a tower forty feet high, in which a light was kept for the guidance of mariners. A hermitage, of which scarcely a trace remains, was partly formed of one of the sheltering crags near by. The lofty site, commanding an extensive prospect of sea and sky was supposed to be favourable for pious meditations. The sight of the palace below was expected to make an impression in the minds of the monks of the 'striking contrast between the court, so frequently assaulted by an unprincipled rabble, and their own tranquil situation in which they {212} were gladly preparing for the regions of everlasting repose.' Although overlooking a populous city, the residents of the hermitage had all the 'advantages' of life in a wilderness, as secluded and peaceful as a Highland desert.

On the opposite side of the intervening valley we visited St. Leonard's Crags at the southwest edge of the King's Park. A neat cottage, with a little garden on the slope below, passes as the house of David Deans. Whether Scott had in mind this particular building is immaterial. It is in the exact locality described in the novel, and we thought it pleasant to stand on the side of the hill overlooking the same extensive sheep pasture, and the same crags and mountain beyond, that met the eyes of Jeanie Deans when she stood at the cottage door anxiously looking along the various tracks which led to their dwelling, 'to see if she could descry the nymph-like form of her sister.'

A house known as 'Dumbiedykes,' so called because in Scott's time it was used as a private school for the deaf and dumb, is not far distant. The novelist borrowed only the name, which he seems to have transferred to an old farm called Peffermill, in the vicinity of Liberton.

'Douce David Deans' is an original creation, the result of Scott's absorption of the descriptions of character in Patrick Walker's biographical accounts of the Covenanters. In acknowledging his indebtedness to this authority, Scott says, 'It is from such tracts as these, written in the sense, feeling, and spirit of the sect, and not from the sophisticated narratives of a later period, that the real character of the persecuted class is {213} to be gathered.' 'David' is just a touch of the same kind of which we have seen so much in 'Old Mortality.' His lecture to his daughters on the evil of dancing is taken from Patrick Walker's Life of Cameron:--

Dance?--dance, said ye? I daur ye, limmers that ye are, to name sic' a word at my door-cheek! It's a dissolute, profane pastime, practiced by the Israelites only at their base and brutal worship of the Golden Calf at Bethel, and by the unhappy lass who danced off the head of John the Baptist, upon whilk chapter I will exercise this night for your further instruction, since ye need it sae muckle, nothing doubting that she has cause to rue the day, lang or this time, that e'er she suld hae shook a limb on sic' an errand. Better for her to hae been born a cripple, and carried frae door to door, like auld Bessie Bowie, begging bawbees, than to be a king's daughter, fiddling and flinging the gate she did.... And now, if I hear ye, quean lassies, sae muckle as name dancing, or think there's sic' a thing in this warld as flinging to fiddle's sounds and piper's springs, as sure as my father's spirit is with the just, ye shall be no more either charge or concern of mine!

What a treat it would be to hear Douce David express an opinion of the elaborate present-day performances of 'Salome'!

Madge Wildfire, or Murdockson, was drawn from a crazy woman, called Feckless Fannie, who travelled over Scotland and England at the head of a flock of sheep. They were remarkable animals, who recognized their names as bestowed by their mistress, and responded promptly to her commands. She slept in the fields in the midst of her flock, and one very polite old ram, named Charlie, always claimed the honour of assisting her to rise. He would push the others out of the way, {214} then bend down his head, and when Madge had taken a firm grasp upon his large horns, he would raise his head and gently lift his mistress to her feet. This and numerous other stories of Feckless Fannie were furnished the novelist by his indefatigable friend, Joseph Train.

The great popularity of 'The Heart of Midlothian' may be judged from a letter of Lady Louisa Stuart, who said, 'I am in a house where everybody is tearing it out of each other's hands and talking of nothing else,' and from Lockhart's testimony, that he had never seen such 'all-engrossing enthusiasm' in Edinburgh 'on the appearance of any other literary novelty.' Andrew Lang only voices the feeling of other Scotchmen when he declares that it is 'second to none' of the Waverley Novels and that 'no number of formal histories can convey nearly so full and true a picture of Scottish life about 1730-40 as 'The Heart of Midlothian.'

Lockhart, as usual, sets forth the true secret of the author's success and does it in a single paragraph. 'Never before,' he says, 'had he seized such really noble features of the national character as were canonized in the person of his homely heroine; no art had ever devised a happier running contrast than that of her and her sister, or interwoven a portraiture of lowly manners and simple virtues, with more graceful delineations of polished life or with bolder shadows of terror, guilt, crime, remorse, madness, and all the agony of passions.'




Ralph Waldo Emerson, who frequently showed his familiarity with the Waverley Novels, regarded 'The Bride of Lammermoor' as Scott's highest achievement. He declared that it 'almost goes back to Æschylus for a counterpart, as a painting of Fate--leaving on every reader the impression of the highest and purest tragedy.' The dramatic close of the story is based upon a calamity which marred the private life of James Dalrymple, the first Lord Stair, a great lawyer, legal writer, and judge, who was the ancestor of a long line of distinguished advocates, judges, and public men.

This gentleman was born in Ayrshire in 1619. He was carefully educated, and when a young man lectured in the University of Glasgow on mathematics, logic, ethics, and politics. At twenty-nine he began the practice of law at Edinburgh, winning great fame in his profession, because of extensive legal attainments. His great work on 'The Institutions of the Law of Scotland' is still held in high esteem by Scottish lawyers, although the feudal law which it elucidated has become antiquated. It is considered, however, that something of its spirit still survives. He became a judge, was appointed President of the Court of Session, served as a member of the Scottish Parliament, and took a prominent part in various political and diplomatic undertakings. Unfortunately incurring the enmity of the Duke of York, he {216} lost his influence at court and was deprived of office. Fearing prosecution for treason, he retired to Holland, returning, however, a year later in the suite of William of Orange. He lived to the age of seventy-six, his latest years saddened by the bitter attacks of his enemies. This is the man whom Scott introduces as Sir William Ashton, though without meaning to impute to Lord Stair the tricky and mean-spirited qualities of the fictitious character.

James Dalrymple was married in 1644 to Margaret Ross, the heiress of a large estate in Galloway. She was a woman of great ability and strong character, who seems to have exerted a powerful influence in promoting her husband's prosperity and political ambition. She shared his fortunes, whether good or bad, for nearly half a century, always exerting an imperious will, which even he did not dare to contradict, but ever faithful in advancing his interests. Following her husband's downfall, when the number of his enemies had greatly increased and his life was in danger, Lady Stair was accused of attending conventicles and of harbouring 'silenced preachers' in her house. Others went farther and accused her of witchcraft, maintaining that the great prosperity of her family was attributable solely to the lady's partnership with His Satanic Majesty. Whatever may have been the slanders directed against her good name, the Lady Stair of history was clearly the prototype of Lady Ashton.

The lord and lady of real life had a daughter Janet, who was betrothed, without the consent of her parents, to Lord Rutherford. Lady Stair's will asserted itself in opposition, and without consideration of her daughter's {217} feelings, the mother proceeded to annul the engagement, notifying the lover that his fiancée had retracted her unlawful vow. After a stormy interview, in which Lord Rutherford argued his case with the determined mother in the presence of the younger woman, the latter, who had feebly remained silent and motionless, at last obeyed with sad reluctance her mother's command and gave back to her lover the half of a broken coin, which had been the symbol of their mutual pledge. In a burst of passion Lord Rutherford left the room and soon after went abroad never to return.

The marriage desired by Lady Stair now took place, the bridegroom being David Dunbar, the heir of an estate in Wigtownshire, the lady's native county. On the night of the wedding some tragic event took place which resulted in the death of Janet two weeks later. Either the bride stabbed the husband or the husband stabbed the bride. The family seem to have thrown a veil of secrecy over the whole affair and the exact truth was never positively known. According to one account, when the door of the chamber was opened, the young bridegroom lay upon the floor badly wounded, while the wife was found in a state of frenzy, screaming as the door opened, 'Tak' up your bonnie bridegroom.' Another story is that the mother, inspired by Satan, attempted the murder, the marriage having been contracted against her will, and that the bridegroom went crazy. A third rendition is that the disappointed lover concealed himself in the apartment and committed the crime.

Scott adopts the most plausible view, namely, that the young lady, forced to marry against her will, simply lost her reason and in a mad delirium assaulted her {218} husband. That young gentleman recovered from his wounds. Thirteen years later, he was killed by a fall from his horse, a catastrophe which the novelist transfers to the disappointed suitor.

The scenery of the drama which led to such a tragic event is placed by the author in the Lammermuir Hills, a stretch of mountainous country lying along the borders of Haddington and Berwick, in the southeastern corner of Scotland. At the extreme eastern limits of this elevated section, the land drops abruptly into the North Sea, forming a line of precipitous cliffs, rising three or four hundred feet above the ocean. To gain some idea of the character of the region, we drove as far as the motor-car could carry us and came to a stop at the end of the road on the northern edge of the village of Northfield. A long walk, leading at first through an open field in which cattle were grazing, then along a narrow path by a brook, where numerous sheep were pasturing, thence by a winding road to the summit of a hill, brought me at last to the lighthouse of St. Abbs Head. Vast masses of rocks rise directly out of the ocean to enormous heights and stretch along the coast as far as the eye can see. Except for the lighthouse, there was no sign of life save the sea-fowl, which flew wildly in every direction, screaming in one incessant chorus of shrill complaint. A lowering sky added to the weird loneliness of the scene. I was gone so long that my wife, who wisely remained in the car, began to feel certain that I had tumbled over the rocks into the sea, and busied herself for an hour in unpleasant thoughts of how she should manage to get my remains home. But after nearly two hours, the remains came walking back without even the {219} excitement of being chased by a wild bull. Thus do most of our worries melt away if we give them time enough.

Somewhere on this rugged shore was the castle of Wolf's Crag, the last remnant of the property of the Master of Ravenswood and the scene of Caleb Balderstone's wonderful expedients to maintain the honour of his house. Caleb, by the way, who would make a first-class performer in a farce comedy, and who served a useful purpose in relieving the strain of a sombre narrative, was not without a prototype in real life. His exploit in carrying off the roast goose and the brace of wild ducks from the kitchen of the cooper, to make a dinner for his master's guests, was based upon a story told to Scott by a nobleman of his acquaintance. A certain gentleman in reduced circumstances had a servant named John, whose resourcefulness was much like Caleb's. A party of four or five friends once sought to surprise this gentleman by unexpectedly presenting themselves for dinner, suspecting there would be no provision in the house for such an entertainment. But promptly as the village clock struck the hour for the noonday meal, John placed on the table 'a stately rump of boiled beef, with a proper accompaniment of greens, amply sufficient to dine the whole party.' He had simply appropriated the 'kail-pot' of a neighbour, leaving the latter and his friends to dine on bread and cheese, which, John said, was 'good enough for them.'

Caleb's trick of magniloquently referring to scores of imaginary servants and detailing the particulars of fictitious banquets, all to maintain the honour of the house, had a parallel in the antics of a Scotch innkeeper of the Border country, who, on the arrival of a person of {220} importance, would call Hostler No. 10 down from Hayloft No. 15 to conduct the gentleman's horse to one of the best stalls in Stable No. 20, and do it in such an eloquent style as to convey the impression of accommodations on a scale of magnificent proportions.[1] Wolf's Crag, according to the novel, is between St. Abbs Head and the village of Eyemouth. There is no such castle on that part of the coast, but in the opposite direction, only a few miles from St. Abbs Head, on a high rock overlooking the sea, is Fast Castle, which answers very well to the description. This much Scott himself acknowledged, but in his usual cautious way, asserting that he never saw the castle except from the sea.[2] An interesting painting of Fast Castle, presented to Sir Walter by the artist, the Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston, adorns the drawing-room at Abbotsford.

Viewed from the sea, Fast Castle is more like the nest of some gigantic Roc or Condor, than a dwelling for human beings; being so completely allied in colour and rugged appearance with the huge cliffs, amongst which it seems to be jammed, that it is difficult to discover what is rock and what is building. To the land side the only access is by a rocky path of a very few feet wide, bordered on either hand by a tremendous precipice. This leads to the castle, a donjon tower of moderate size, surrounded by flanking walls, as usual, which, rising without interval and abruptly from the verge of the precipice must in ancient times have rendered the place nearly impregnable.[3]

{221} Fast Castle gained some notoriety from the attempt, in 1600, of an infamous character, Logan of Restalrig, in conspiracy with the Earl of Gowrie and his brother, to kidnap King James VI, the intent being to imprison him there, and to collect their reward from Queen Elizabeth. Fortunately for James, the plot failed.

The original of Ravenswood Castle is uncertain. Constable, who published a volume of 'illustrations to the Waverley Novels' in 1821, two years after the appearance of 'The Bride of Lammermoor' included an engraving of Crichton Castle, with a quotation referring to Ravenswood: 'on the gorge of a pass or mountain glen, ascending from the fertile plains of East Lothian, there stood in former times an extensive castle, of which only the ruins are now visible.' Crichton is at the western extremity of the high country of which the Lammermuir Hills constitute the greatest portion. Scott's fondness for it is well known, as readers of 'Marmion' will remember. Others have supposed Wintoun House, a fine old mansion farther to the north, to have been the original. Scott could hardly have had this in mind, however, for he distinctly refers to the place as now in ruins. Bearing in mind that Scott paid little attention to geographical requirements, it seems probable that he really referred to the ruins of Crichton. This is further confirmed by the fact that the picture to which I have referred was painted by Alexander Nasmyth, who was a friend of Scott's and the father-in-law of the author's frequent correspondent, Daniel Terry. If Crichton Castle is Ravenswood, the Crichton Kirk may be considered as the place where the wedding of Lucy Ashton and Bucklaw took place. It is a curious-shaped building, with {222} square tower and walls, partly covered with ivy, standing in the midst of a well-kept churchyard.

The novel opens with the dramatic burial-scene of the father of the young Master of Ravenswood. The chapel where this took place may be supposed to be Coldingham Priory, the oldest nunnery in Scotland, a quaint little structure, partly in ruins, but partly used for religious worship. In the chapter on 'Marmion' I have already referred to this chapel as the place where the body of a nun was found immured in the walls.

The village of Eyemouth, a quaint old fishing settlement at the mouth of the river Eye, will serve as an 'original' of Wolf's Hope. On the links or sand knolls, north of here, were the quicksands called the 'Kelpie's Flow.' While in the village I made diligent inquiries, but could get no information except from one man, who thought that the sandy beach of Coldingham Bay might be the locality which Scott meant, but he had never heard of the quicksands, and said if any had ever existed in the vicinity they must have disappeared long since.

[Illustration: CRICHTON CASTLE]

It will be remembered that the Kelpie's Flow was the culminating scene of the tragedy. The prophecies of Thomas the Rhymer, so Scott would have us believe, were always fulfilled, and one of them was hanging over the head of the Master of Ravenswood, to the great trepidation of the faithful Caleb. The lines were these:--

When the last Laird of Ravenswood to Ravenswood shall ride, And woo a dead maiden to be his bride, He shall stable his steed in the Kelpie's flow And his name shall be lost for evermoe.

{223} After the tragedy in the Castle, young Ravenswood rode out to meet the bride's brother, Colonel Ashton, to fight a duel on the sands of Wolf's Hope. In the agitated state of his mind, he neglected the precaution of keeping on the firm sands near the rocks, and took a shorter and more dangerous course. Horse and man disappeared in the deadly quicksands, and thus was the prophecy fulfilled. Only a large sable feather was found as a sign of the young man's dreadful fate. Old Caleb took it up, dried it, and put it in his bosom. Thus ended the tale which Lockhart considered 'the most pure and powerful of all the tragedies that Scott ever penned.'

[1] From Robert Chambers's _Illustrations of the Author of Waverley_.

[2] In a note to the introduction to the _Chronicles of the Canongate_, Scott says, 'I would particularly intimate the Kaim of Uric, on the eastern coast of Scotland, as having suggested an idea for the tower called Wolf's Crag, which the public more generally identified with the ancient tower of Fast Castle.'

[3] From _Provincial Antiquities of Scotland_.




Dalgetty--Dugald Dalgetty; Ritt-master Dugald Dalgetty of Drumthwacket; learned graduate of the Mareschal College, Aberdeen; stalwart soldier; cavalier of fortune; lieutenant under that invincible monarch, the bulwark of the Protestant faith, the Lion of the North, the terror of Austria, Gustavus Adolphus; Captain Dalgetty; and finally Sir Dugald Dalgetty--stalks with egregious effrontery through the pages of this novel, from start to finish, dragging his good horse Gustavus along with him. He is a bore,--undeniably so. Yet we can laugh at his eccentricities in spite of their tediousness, especially when reading the novel a second time after the desire to know the outcome of the story has been satisfied. As an original character he stands by the side of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, although he does not arouse the same subtle feeling of delightful satisfaction. The Bailie is always welcome, but Dalgetty is everlastingly in the way. And yet we could not possibly get along without him. We can forgive his pedantry and overlook his interminable lectures on military strategy in view of the loyalty and courage with which he faces Argyle in the dungeon, compels that nobleman to furnish a means of escape and rescues Ranald of the Mist. Nor can we help admiring the very effrontery of the man, when he uses it to such excellent advantage in cajoling the Presbyterian chaplain, thereby causing {225} that worthy man to furnish the one thing needed to facilitate his safe retreat. The story might well have been called, as it is in the Italian and Portuguese versions, 'A Soldier of Fortune,' for Dalgetty, rather than Montrose, is the real hero. In this connection it is curious to note that, in so far as its chief incidents concern Montrose, the tale is not a legend, but history. The two important words of the title are both, therefore, slightly misleading.

The journey into the Highlands of the Marquis of Montrose, in disguise and attended by only two gentlemen, is a matter of history. It was in 1644, during the Civil War, when the forces of Charles I were being menaced by an army of twenty thousand men under the Scotch Covenanter, General Leslie. Montrose urged Charles to make a counter-demonstration in the North and to draw Leslie back to the defence of Scotland by uniting the Highlanders with a strong force of ten thousand Irish Catholics. At length, armed with extraordinary powers, as the representative of the King, he was permitted to set out with a small army of about one thousand men. These became dissatisfied, however, and most of them deserted. In despair Montrose now resolved upon the bold stroke which proved to be the beginning of his brilliant military record. Disguised as a groom and attended only by Sir William Rollo and Colonel Sibbald, he made his way to the Perthshire Highlands, where he was joined by Lord Kilpont, son of the Earl of Airth and Menteith, with about five hundred men. The Irish troops, after being in danger of complete extermination by the Marquis of Argyle, finally arrived, but mustered only twelve hundred men instead of ten thousand. They were ordered to march {226} to Blair Atholl, where Montrose met the Highland chiefs and sent out the call to arms. The 'fiery cross,' no doubt very much as described in 'The Lady of the Lake,' went out from house to house and from clan to clan, and Montrose soon had an army of three thousand men. He marched toward Perth, and at Tippermuir, four miles west of that city, defeated the Covenanters on the 1st day of September, 1644. Marching rapidly towards Aberdeen, he won another victory at the Bridge of Dee on the 12th of the same month.

With the swift movements which characterized his generalship, Montrose won many a battle. Meanwhile the Marquis of Argyle, whom most of the clans hated for his unscrupulous aggressions, was gathering a strong force on the shores of Loch Linnhe. In midwinter, with snow upon the ground, Montrose crossed the mountains with his army, a feat hitherto regarded as impossible, but quite within the compass of that leader's remarkable genius. He met Argyle at Inverlochy and defeated him with a loss of fifteen hundred men, his own losses being only one officer and three privates. Argyle's forces scattered in every direction and were pursued for many miles. The Marquis himself, regarding discretion as the better part of valour, turned over the command of his forces to his cousin and watched the battle from his ship--an act that was severely condemned as cowardice, even by his own friends. In extenuation it can only be said that Argyle, while an able politician and statesman, was never a soldier.

While Scott based his story upon these historical events, he departed from the facts in some of the less important details, to serve the purposes of his romance. {227} The most conspicuous of these variations is in the part played by Lord Kilpont, as the Earl of Menteith. According to the novel, the Earl is a young man who falls in love with Annot Lyle, a pretty little maiden living in the household of the McAulays and supposed to be a rescued waif of the hated and greatly feared tribe, known as the 'Children of the Mist.' Annot is also beloved by the half-crazy Highlander, Allan McAulay. Lord Menteith, so long as the girl's antecedents are supposed to be so lowly, can entertain no thought of marriage and so informs Allan. When it is discovered, however, that she is really the daughter of Sir Duncan Campbell, and the heiress of Ardenvohr, a family as honourable as his own, Menteith no longer hesitates, and as Annot has long reciprocated his affection, the marriage is easily arranged. Allan does not consent so readily, but hastily encounters the Earl and fiercely challenges him. Convinced that the man is insane, the Earl hesitates a moment, when Allan suddenly draws his dirk and with terrific force plunges it into the Earl's bosom. A steel corslet saves the latter's life, though a severe wound is inflicted, and in a few weeks he is well enough to be married and the ceremony takes place in Sir Duncan's castle. Allan meanwhile appears suddenly before the Marquis of Argyle at Inverary, throws a bloody dirk upon the table, makes a brief explanation, and disappears forever. The novel closes in the conventional way. The Earl of Menteith, adding his bride's large estate to his own, 'lived long, happy alike in public regard and in domestic affection, and died at a good old age.'

The Earl, Lord Kilpont, was not so fortunate. He was {228} suddenly stabbed by James Stewart of Ardvoirlich, a supposed friend with whom he was on terms of the closest intimacy. This event, which was immediately fatal, took place a few days after the battle of Tippermuir and not after Inverlochy. There was no question of jealous rivalry in love. Kilpont had been married about twelve years and left a family of several children. The most probable explanation is that Stewart, who had a streak of insanity owing to the frightful circumstances of his birth,[1] quarrelled with his friend at a time when he was heated with drink and killed him under some sudden mad impulse. He immediately deserted Montrose and was subsequently made a major in one of the regiments of Argyle, a fact which gave colour to the suspicion that he had sought Lord Kilpont's assistance in a conspiracy to assassinate Montrose, for which Argyle would have paid a rich reward, but upon meeting with an indignant refusal, struck his friend with a dirk as the readiest means of avoiding the betrayal of his plans.

Stewart, like McAulay, is described as 'uncommonly tall, strong, and active, with such power in the grasp of his hand as could force the blood from beneath the nails of the persons who contended with him in this feat of strength. His temper was moody, fierce, and irascible.' There was good reason for this savage disposition and for his implacable hostility toward the 'Children of the Mist,' his father and mother having been the victims of one of the most fiendish outrages which ever disgraced the history of the Highlanders.

The scenery of 'A Legend of Montrose' brings us back {229} to the people and the country which Scott described with so much enthusiasm in 'The Lady of the Lake' and again in 'Waverley' and 'Rob Roy.' To catch something of the spirit of it we drove westward from Callander and paused for a short time at the beautiful Falls of Leny, where the river of that name forms the outlet of Loch Lubnaig and the head waters of the river Teith. Here we may suppose Lord Menteith and 'Anderson,' the disguised earl, to be passing on their way to the north when they fell in with the garrulous Captain Dalgetty. Darnlinvarich, where the clans gathered, is wholly fictitious, the real meeting having taken place near Blair Atholl. One of the incidents which happened there is, however, based upon fact.

An Englishman, Sir Miles Musgrave, it will be remembered, had made a wager with Angus McAulay which threatened to embarrass that gentleman. When on a visit to the house of the former, Angus had seen six solid silver candlesticks put on the table. The Englishman rallied Angus a little, knowing that the sight was a novelty to the Scotchman, and the latter promptly swore that he had more and better candlesticks in his own castle. A wager was immediately offered and accepted that the Scotch laird could not produce them, the amount being so large that its payment would have embarrassed either party, but more particularly the Scotchman. The Englishman appeared with a friend at Darnlinvarich, just at the time of the arrival of the Earl of Menteith and his party, and there was great anxiety over the apparently certain loss of the wager. But Allan, the brother of Angus, was equal to the emergency. Dinner was announced and the company marched in. A large {230} oaken table, spread with substantial joints of meat, was set for eight guests, and behind each chair stood a gigantic Highlander, in full native costume, holding in his right hand a drawn broadsword, the point turned downward, and in his left a blazing pine torch. Then Allan stepped forth, and pointing to the torch-bearers, said in a deep and stern voice: 'Behold, gentlemen cavaliers, the chandeliers of my brother's house, the ancient fashion of our ancient name; not one of these men knows any law but their Chief's command. Would you dare to compare to _them_ in value the richest ore that ever was dug out of the mine? How say you, cavaliers?--is your wager won or lost?' 'Lost, lost,' said Musgrave, gaily; 'my own silver candlesticks are all melted and riding on horseback by this time, and I wish the fellows that enlisted were half as trusty as these.'

The meeting of the clans was interrupted by an unwelcome guest, Sir Duncan Campbell, who came with a message from Argyle. Captain Dalgetty was appointed to return with him, under a flag of truce, and together they journeyed to the Castle of Ardenvohr, the residence of Sir Duncan.

[Illustration: LOCH LUBNAIG]

The ancient Celtic fortress here described is the ruined castle of Dunstaffnage, reached by a short drive north from Oban. Its origin is unknown. According to one tradition, it was founded by a Pictish monarch, contemporary with Julius Cæsar. In its present shape the building probably dates from about 1250. It fell into the hands of Robert Bruce in 1308. The castle is a heavy structure of stone, standing on a solid rock, and protected by the waters of Loch Linnhe on three sides. It was originally accessible only by a drawbridge. It is {231} about one hundred and forty feet long and one hundred feet wide. The walls are ten feet thick and sixty feet high.

This ancient castle is the place where the Scottish princes were once crowned. They sat on the same stone that was used at the recent coronation of King George V, and of a long line of his predecessors,--the famous Stone of Scone. This ancient relic was carried from Ireland to the Island of Iona, and thence to Dunstaffnage, where it remained many years. Kenneth MacAlpine, in the ninth century, removed it to the palace of Scone, near Perth, where it remained five centuries. It was finally seized by Edward I and carried to London, where it has remained for the last six centuries.

A knoll on the south of the castle curiously suggests the Drumsnab of the novel, which Dalgetty insisted should be fortified according to his own military ideas. The castle of Inverary, on the shore of Loch Fyne, has been replaced by a magnificent modern mansion, the seat of the present Duke of Argyle. The secret passage to the dungeon, under the old castle, through which the novelist supposes the Marquis to have visited his prisoners, was suggested by a similar arrangement in the castle of Naworth, to which I have previously referred.[2] A private stairway leads from the apartment of Lord William Howard to the dungeon, by which the experiment of Argyle might have been and doubtless was practised.

A sail of less than four hours, from Oban, north through the picturesque channels of Loch Linnhe, brought us to Fort William. From this point we walked about two miles to the battle-field of Inverlochy and the {232} ruins of the old castle of that name, which we found to be in a sadly neglected state, far different from its neighbour, Dunstaffnage. The four walls of the enclosure may still be seen, but everything is in a ruinous condition. An antiquated horse with large protruding hip-bones was grazing in what was once the moat, and before taking a picture I was about to ask a boy to chase him away. But on second thought I let him stay, because he harmonized so perfectly with the surroundings.

The courtyard is about one hundred feet square. The walls are nine feet thick and of varying height. Like Dunstaffnage the castle is so old that its early history is shrouded in mystery. Tradition ascribes its origin to the Comyns, near the end of the thirteenth century. The view in every direction is charming. Across the river Lochy, a small stream which joins the Caledonian Canal to the waters of Loch Linnhe, may be seen the town of Banavie, and in the distance the highlands of Inverness-shire. In the opposite direction we could barely see the peaks of Ben Nevis, peeping through the mists that hung over the mountains. To the north are the heights of Lochaber over which the Marquis of Montrose made his famous march of thirty miles by an unfrequented route, during a heavy fall of snow, and suddenly confronted his enemy in the night, when they supposed him to be far away in another part of the country.

I think this novel must have been inspired by Scott's admiration of the 'Great Marquis,' whose brief but brilliant campaign in the Highlands appealed to his imagination just as the longer career of Rob Roy had done. It took him back among the picturesque people whom he loved to describe, and amidst scenery where {233} he had roamed with never-failing delight. The one possession in the remarkable antiquarian collection at Abbotsford which Scott cherished more than any other--more even than Rob Roy's gun--was the sword of Montrose, presented to the Marquis by Charles I and formerly the property of the monarch's father, King James. Sir Walter thought a dialogue between this sword and Rob Roy's gun might be composed with good effect. It seems a pity he did not undertake it. The sword bears on both sides the royal arms of Great Britain. The blade is handsomely ornamented, the hilt is finished in open scrollwork of silver gilt, and the grip is bound with chains of silver, alternating with bands of gold.

Scott did not follow the fortunes of his hero beyond the battle of Inverlochy, where he left him in triumph. Montrose continued his success until, on the 15th of August, 1645, he reached his climax in the decisive victory of Kilsyth. He was now the master of Scotland, but, unfortunately, fate deprived him of the fruits of his genius. Summoned to England to meet the exigencies which threatened the King, and unable to hold his Highlanders for an invasion of the South, he was attacked at Philiphaugh by Leslie, who easily overcame the small opposing force. Montrose escaped to the Highlands, but was never again able to organize an army. After spending the next few years abroad, he returned to Scotland in 1650, where, after failing again to summon the clans, he was betrayed and carried a prisoner to the Tolbooth in Edinburgh. On the 21st of May, when only thirty-eight years old, he was hanged in the Grassmarket and bravely met his death.

[1] The story is related at length in the Introduction to _A Legend of Montrose_.

[2] Pages 20 and 43.




From 'Bonnie Scotland' to 'Merrie England' was not a long step for Sir Walter, for he had already peeped into Yorkshire at Barnard Castle for his poem, 'Rokeby.' The principal scenes of 'Ivanhoe' are laid in the opposite end of the same county, between Sheffield and Doncaster. They extend, however, as far south as Ashby de la Zouch, and northward to the ancient city of York. As we rode through this populous country, humming with the industry of thousands of busy mills, its crowded cities showing street after street of substantial business houses, its more open spaces dotted with neat cottages surrounded by well-kept gardens, its streams crossed by bridges of stone and steel, its roads in excellent repair, and its entire aspect betokening the peace and prosperity of a great civilization, it was difficult to picture it in fancy as the great forest roamed by Robin Hood and his merry men; as a land in which King Richard and Wilfred of Ivanhoe performed their feats of chivalry and daring; as the region in which Cedric the Saxon still resented the intrusion of the Normans, and Front-de-Boeuf maintained a feudal castle concealing horrors too frightful to mention.

[Illustration: Map of England]

We succeeded, however, in finding a bit of the original forest, in identifying the ruins of two castles which figure prominently in the story, and several others which doubtless served as types of the prevailing Norman style {235} of architecture, besides other interesting places more remotely associated with the tale.

The town of Ashby de la Zouch, to which all the people of the story wend their way in the early chapters, is on the western edge of Leicestershire, about midway between Birmingham and Nottingham. The ancient castle derives its name from the fact that it was formerly owned by the Zouch family, who seem to have had possession until 1399. Scott was slightly in error in stating that at this time (1194) 'the castle and town of Ashby belonged to Roger de Quincey, Earl of Winchester,' who was then absent in the Holy Land. It is not inconceivable, however, that Prince John might have taken temporary possession, and, after all, that is the main point of the story.

The castle was a ruin in Scott's day, presenting an appearance very much the same as now. It suggested the scene of Prince John's banquet, but the novelist well knew that it was not the original castle which stood on the spot in 1194. Of the old castle we found only a single wall. The date of its foundation is uncertain, but it was probably built in the earlier part of the same century. Its successor, represented by the ruins now visible, was built in 1474, nearly three hundred years after the period of the novel. The reigning king was Edward IV, and one of his prime favourites was William, Lord Hastings, who was not only loaded with wealth by his sovereign, but given almost unlimited authority to enclose for private use whatever land he wished and to build wherever he pleased. Accordingly Hastings took possession of three thousand acres of land at Ashby and erected a huge castle, despoiling the {236} neighbouring castle of Belvoir of much lead, with which he covered his towers. The strong fortress and splendid castle thus erected stood intact for less than two centuries. During the Civil War it was besieged and captured by the Parliamentary Army, and in 1648 was deliberately made untenable by a Committee of the House of Commons, who had been appointed to determine what castles and other fortified places were to be retained and which ones were to be destroyed. Ashby, unfortunately, was condemned and huge sections of its walls and towers were undermined and pulled down.

The ruin consists of two large towers, connected by an underground passage, the great hall, the chapel, and the room of Mary Queen of Scots. The kitchen tower was of great strength, having walls in some places ten feet thick, and the remains of a huge kitchen fireplace may still be seen. The most imposing part of the ruin is the keep. This was a tower eighty feet high, fitted up in great magnificence as the Earl's apartment.


The great tournament was supposed to be held in a field a mile or two from the tower. After the tournament and the banquet in the castle which followed, Cedric the Saxon and his kinsman, Athelstane of Coningsburgh, with the Lady Rowena and their servants and retainers, set out for Rotherwood, the house of Cedric, presumably in the neighbourhood of, or possibly a fictitious substitute for, the present city of Rotherham. Their way led through a great forest, some remnants of which may still be seen. In King Richard's time the entire country between Ashby and Rotherham may have been thickly wooded. The famous Sherwood Forest occupied the western portion of Nottinghamshire, extending north {237} and south about twenty-five miles, with a width varying from six to eight miles. In this extensive woodland, Robin Hood, with the jolly Friar Tuck and the minstrel Allan-a-Dale, and all the rest of the 'merry men,' hunted the king's deer, robbed the rich and bestowed charity upon the poor, worshipped the Virgin and pillaged the ecclesiastical establishments, supported themselves by means of their marvellous archery, played practical jokes and indulged in no end of fun, and lived a free, open, adventurous, brave, and generous life, in spite of their outlawry. Robin Hood was undoubtedly an historical character, who may have had an existence as early as the time of King Richard, but whose deeds have been so much enveloped in fiction and poetry that his real exploits cannot be determined. The legends that have been woven about him are like the tales of King Arthur--mythical but probably evolved from some hidden germ of truth. From 1377, when the oldest known mention of him was made in an edition of 'Piers the Ploughman,' down to the Elizabethan era, his popularity is evinced by the great volume of ballad poetry recording his performances.

That such a personage should have made a strong appeal to Sir Walter Scott was inevitable, and he seems to have woven the characteristic exploits of Robin Hood into the tale of 'Ivanhoe' with the same zest which he displayed in 'The Lady of the Lake,' 'Waverley,' 'Rob Roy,' and 'A Legend of Montrose,' where he so delighted to picture the Scottish Highlanders in their native country.

North of Mansfield, in Nottinghamshire, a beautiful part of the Forest of Sherwood may still be seen. For {238} many miles we drove through endless glades and avenues, the rugged oaks intertwining their branches over our heads, now and then forming those 'long sweeping vistas' which Scott describes so well, 'in the intricacy of which the eye delights to lose itself, while imagination considers them as the paths to yet wilder scenes of silvan solitude.' Here and there we could see herds of deer, coming boldly into view, knowing well that the arrows of Robin Hood's men are things of the past. All this region is now well cared for. There are splendid palaces with lakes, fountains, and flowers, transforming the old forest into a veritable fairy-land. Thoresby House with its beautiful park is the property of Earl Manvers; Clumber, on the border of the Carburton Lakes, is the stately seat of the Duke of Newcastle, and Welbeck Abbey, with gardens covering thirty-two acres, lakes of one hundred and fifty-nine acres, and a deer park of sixteen hundred and forty acres, is the magnificent domain of the Duke of Portland. All this section, which has been dubbed 'the Dukeries,' while preserving something of the appearance of a forest, can only present a striking contrast to the wild tangle of the woods, with their narrow and devious paths, through which the Saxon party passed on their way to Rotherwood.


Cedric, it will be remembered, soon overtook Isaac of York, the rich Jew, and his lovely daughter, Rebecca, who had been deserted by their cowardly escort. They were carrying, in a litter, 'a sick friend,' under which designation they concealed the identity of Ivanhoe. The whole party was later surprised and captured by some of the Norman nobles of Prince John's party, {239} disguised as outlaws, by whom they were carried to Torquilstone, the castle of Front-de-Boeuf. This imaginary feudal edifice may be supposed to be in the vicinity of Harthill, a village nine miles south of Rotherham.

The dramatic incidents that occurred here are familiar to every one: how De Bracy made his futile attempt to woo the Lady Rowena, trusting to his handsome face and foppish clothes; how the Templar tried his blandishments upon Rebecca and was defeated by her courage in threatening to leap from the battlements, should he advance a single step; how Front-de-Boeuf sought to extort a fortune from Isaac the Jew by the most cruel torture; and how the villainy of all three was interrupted by a bugle blast, announcing an attack upon the castle by a band of outlaws, headed by the gallant Robin Hood, who was ably supported by the powerful battle-axe of the Black Knight and the wit of Wamba the Jester.

After the fall of the castle it will be remembered that the victors assembled under a huge oak to divide the spoils, and that Isaac of York and the rich Prior Aymer were compelled to sentence each other to the payment of a heavy ransom--a clever scheme well calculated to furnish not only amusement but substantial profit to the outlaws.

There are several large oaks of Sherwood Forest still in existence, any one of which might have been in the mind of Sir Walter. We found an excellent type, which was perhaps known to him, near Edwinstowe, northeast of Mansfield. It is called the 'Major Oak' and was a monarch of the forest in Robin Hood's time. It is said to be fourteen hundred years old. Its circumference, just {240} above the ground, is sixty feet, and there is room inside the hollow trunk for a round dozen of average-sized men. Unlike many other ancient oaks, its huge limbs are well preserved and remarkably symmetrical, its foliage forming a huge ellipsoid, seventy-five feet in length.

Although Torquilstone was imaginary, Sir Walter was not without types of the old Norman castles. He refers to Middleham as the seat of the brother of Prior Aymer, and the ruins of this castle may still be seen in the village of that name, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The interior or keep is in the distinctive Norman style of architecture, but the outer walls belong to a later period. This castle was founded by Robert Fitz-Ralph or Ranulph, a nephew of King William Rufus, about 1190. Its walls are plain and massive, suggesting great strength, but no beauty. In the interior of the keep may be seen the remains of what was once a huge and magnificent banqueting-hall, with high arched windows on the side. For centuries Middleham was the residence of powerful barons and at times of royalty. In the fifteenth century it came into the possession of the famous Earl of Warwick, 'the Kingmaker,' and later of his infamous son-in-law, the Duke of Gloucester, afterward King Richard III. Edward, Prince of Wales, the only legitimate son of Richard, was born here. It was to secure the succession of this prince to the throne that Richard caused the murder of his two nephews to be perpetrated in the Tower of London.


Edward IV was a prisoner here, and made his escape as told by Shakespeare in 'King Henry VI.'[1] After the battle of Bosworth, Henry VII took possession of {241} Middleham. In the Civil Wars the forces of Cromwell destroyed the castle. From that time until 1884, when it came into possession of the present owner, the ruins have been a stone quarry for the neighbourhood and a large part of the castle has been carried away piecemeal. The enclosure became a dumping-ground for all kinds of trash and a free pig-pen and cow-stable. In 1884, it was cleaned out and is now in charge of a keeper. This famous castle, occupied as it was at times by men of all the ferocious and conscienceless qualities of Front-de-Boeuf, might well have served as a suggestion for Torquilstone.

Richmond Castle, lying a few miles north of Middleham, is of even greater antiquity and a far nobler specimen of the Norman architecture. It was founded in 1071 by Alan Rufus, to whom William the Conqueror granted the land of Richmondshire. Alan selected a rock on the bank of the river Swale and here he constructed a fortress that was well-nigh impregnable. The great 'keep' was built in 1146, and still stands proudly erect, in spite of its nearly eight hundred years' resistance to wind and weather as well as the storms of war, looking as if conscious of its power to stand the assaults of eight centuries more. We went to Richmond expecting to see a ruin; we were astonished to find, instead, a fine tower one hundred and eight feet high, fifty-four feet long, and forty-eight feet wide, used as an armoury by a modern regiment of soldiers. Its walls are of extraordinary thickness and the masonry looks as fresh and clean as that of many a building of half a century's duration.

Aside from the remarkable keep, the castle is really a ruin. Its walls, which originally enclosed a triangular {242} space of five acres, have crumbled away, but enough remains to identify various halls, chapels, dungeons, and underground passages.

The castle was seized by Richard Coeur-de-Lion and held by him and his successor King John for several years. For five centuries thereafter it passed from royalty to nobility and back again, time after time, as a reward for services or the spoils of war, until in 1674 it was granted by Charles II to the ancestor of the present Duke of Richmond.

Torquilstone is described as 'a fortress of no great size, consisting of a donjon, or large and high square tower, surrounded by buildings of inferior height, which were encircled by an inner courtyard.' It had 'towers upon the outward wall so as to flank it at every angle.' It would appear from this that the castle of Front-de-Boeuf might have been a miniature copy of Richmond Castle.

South of Richmond and about three miles from Middleham are the ruins of Jorvaulx Abbey, the seat of the Prior Aymer, 'a free and jovial priest, who loves the wine-cup and the bugle-horn better than bell and book.' The monks of Jorvaulx were famous for their love of feasting and the excellence of their wines. The Abbey church was originally an extensive structure, two hundred and seventy feet long, with transepts one hundred and thirteen feet wide. It was roughly treated and nearly demolished during the Reformation and neglected in the succeeding years until about a century ago, when the accumulated rubbish was cleared away. It now presents a picturesque appearance because of the ivy, moss, and shrubbery with which nature has softened {243} the aspect of its rudely broken walls and the fragments of stone which once were heavy columns supporting a lofty nave.

Still farther south are the imposing ruins of Fountains Abbey, which must not be overlooked in any survey of the scenery of 'Ivanhoe,' for here was the alleged abode of that delightful character, the jolly Clerk of Copmanhurst, Friar Tuck, whose all-night carousal with King Richard in the forest 'Chapel of St. Dunstan' will be ever memorable as one of Scott's choicest bits of humour. This celebrated 'churchman' was the type of a class of so-called 'hedge-priests' who flourished in the period preceding the Reformation, when every great house maintained a confessor to say masses and grant absolution. The bands of outlaws, with equal superstition, felt the need of the same services, and maintained their own priests accordingly. Many of these performed their holy offices in ragged and dirty attire and with improper forms of ritual, for the benefit of thieves and murderers in out-of-the-way ruins and other hiding places, thereby incurring the wrath of the dignitaries of the Church. Not infrequently, no doubt, their uncanonical performances were no better than those of Friar Tuck.

Fountains Abbey is, next to Melrose, the most beautiful ruin of the kind in Great Britain--at least so far as I have been able to observe. In beauty of situation, it far surpasses Melrose. The latter is in the midst of a town with nothing to make a picturesque setting except its own churchyard and the garden of an adjoining estate. Fountains is reached by walking nearly a mile through the beautiful park of Studley Royal, first by the {244} side of a canal, bordered by trees of luxuriant foliage, through which, at intervals, are various 'peeps,' revealing carefully studied scenes, with temples, statuary, rustic bridges, towers, lakes, and woods; then by a path of more natural beauty, beside the little rivulet called the Skell, until the extensive ruins are reached. The foundation of Fountains Abbey has been traced to the year 1132, according to the narrative of a monk which was committed to writing in 1205. In the winter of 1132-33, a small company of Benedictine monks from St. Mary's Abbey at York, becoming dissatisfied with the laxity of discipline there, felt impelled to withdraw. They retired to a wild and uncultivated valley, covered with stones and briars, and better suited for wild beasts and reptiles than for humanity, and built a monastery beside the brook Skell. From this humble beginning, Fountains Abbey grew until the establishment became one of the richest in England, comprising sixty-four thousand acres of valuable lands and its buildings, covering an area of twelve acres, were among the most magnificent. In 1539, King Henry VIII confiscated the entire property, and rendered the monastery unfit for further use.


The ruins are more complete than those of any other similar structure, and give an excellent idea of the extent and arrangement of an important monastery. From the Chapel of the Nine Altars to the west doorway, which was the chief entrance, is a distance of three hundred and sixty-nine feet. It is an impressive architectural vista, the eye sweeping over the choir and transepts and down through the narrow nave, where the walls are supported by eleven obtuse pointed arches, springing {245} from massive columns, each sixteen feet in circumference and twenty-three feet high. The Chapel of the Nine Altars, considered to have been the most magnificent architectural feature of the structure, is divided into three parts by a series of very high pointed arches, supported by slender octagonal pillars scarcely two feet in diameter. A great east window, sixty feet high and twenty-three feet wide, completed the dignity and beauty of the chapel. From the exterior, the most striking feature is the tower, rising one hundred and sixty-eight feet high, with walls nearly thirty feet square, and projecting buttresses, adding an effect of great solidity.

The connection of Friar Tuck with this fine abbey is derived from the ancient ballad of 'Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar.' The outlaws were indulging in an exhibition of their wonderful archery when an unusually fine shot caused Robin Hood to exclaim:--

I would ride my horse an hundred miles To finde one could match with thee.

This brought a laugh from Will Scarlet, who declared:--

There lives a curtal frier in Fountains Abby Will beat both him and thee.

Robin Hood could not rest until he found the friar, walking by the waterside near the abbey. A conflict followed in which the friar threw Robin into the stream. After Robin had shot all his arrows at the friar without effect,--

They took their swords and steel bucklers And fought with might and maine;

From ten oth' clock that day, Till four ith' afternoon.

{246} Then Robin blew three blasts of his horn and called half a hundred yeomen. The friar whistled with fist in his mouth and half a hundred ban-dogs answered. The end of the battle proved the stout friar well qualified to join the band of merry men.

This curtal frier had kept Fountains Dale Seven long years or more; There was neither knight, lord, nor earl Could make him yield before.

An arched recess, of stone, well covered with foliage, by the side of the path along the river, marks the traditional site of this famous combat, and is known as 'Robin Hood's Well.' The following lines were written by Sir Walter while a guest at Studley Royal, and the manuscript is now in the possession of the Marquess of Ripon:--

Beside this crystal font of old, Cooled his flushed brow an outlaw bold, His bow was slackened while he drank, His quiver rested on the bank, Giving brief pause of doubt and fear To feudal lords and forest deer.

Long runs the tale, but village sires Still sing his feats by Christmas fires; And still old England's free-born blood Stirs at the name of Robin Hood.

After the fall of Torquilstone and the almost miraculous deliverance of all the prisoners, Cedric and his company journeyed to the Castle of Coningsburgh, the seat of Athelstane, to perform the funeral rites of that noble warrior, who had fallen a victim to the Templar's battle-axe. Athelstane interrupts the proceedings, somewhat {247} unnecessarily it would seem, by coming to life again. A visit to this castle takes us back to the valley of the Don, where the story began. Conisborough, as the village is now called, is situated about midway between Rotherham and Doncaster. There is nothing fanciful in Scott's description here. He introduced the castle because it interested him, and made it the seat of Athelstane for convenience. In a letter to his friend Morritt in 1811 Scott inquires, 'Do you know anything of a striking ancient castle ... called Coningsburgh? ... I once flew past it in a mail-coach when its round tower and flying buttresses had a most romantic effect in the morning dawn.'

It was characteristic of Scott, not only that every old ruined castle appealed to his imagination, but that his curiosity, once aroused, usually had to be satisfied by a personal inspection. It was so with Coningsburgh. He went to the village and spent two nights at the Sprotbrough Boathouse, a near-by inn, that he might have leisure to examine the ruins of the castle. The result of his study and the further reading of such antiquarian authorities as were available, convinced him that the round tower was an ancient Saxon castle. He found satisfaction in comparing it with the rude towers, or burghs, built by the Saxons or Northmen, of which one of the most striking examples is the Castle of Mousa[2] in the Shetland Islands. These were built of rough stone, without cement. They were roofless, and had small apartments constructed within the circular walls themselves. In this last respect Coningsburgh somewhat resembles these ancient burghs, and Scott conceived {248} that the former was an evolution from the latter, and therefore Saxon. He says, 'the outer walls have probably been added by the Normans, but the inner keep bears token of very great antiquity.' He also says: 'When Coeur-de-Lion and his retinue approached this rude yet stately building, it was not, as at present, surrounded by external fortifications. The Saxon architect had exhausted his art in rendering the main keep defensible, and there was no other circumvallation than a rude barrier of palisades.'

The facts, as indicated by more recent investigation, seem to be that the Saxons selected the hill of hard limestone as a suitable place for a stronghold, excavated a ditch around it and erected some outworks. There is no doubt that Harold, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings, either purchased or inherited the property, and there is mention of a certain 'lord of Coningesboro,' who possessed part of the domain as early as the year 1000 A.D.

William the Conqueror, shortly after his accession to the English throne, granted the estate to an adherent, William de Warrenne, who was created Earl of Surrey. A great-granddaughter of this earl married Hameline Plantagenet, a half-brother of Henry II, and he was one of the soldiers and faithful attendants of Richard I. It is this earl who is supposed to have built the tower, or keep, at least a century after his Norman predecessors had erected the outer walls of the castle. This, it will be noted, is exactly the reverse of Scott's supposition.


The Saxon founders selected a steep hill, or knoll, rising one hundred and seventy-five feet above the river--an ideal site for a fortress in those days.


Earl Warren, who came into possession about 1068, found the place already well fortified. His son and grandson were the ones who, it is supposed, constructed the outer walls, with their various buildings for domestic purposes, comprising a hall, kitchen, chapel, etc. These cover a large area, but present no features of extraordinary interest. The inner tower, or keep, however, is one of the most remarkable structures in England. It is a huge cylindrical tower built of grey limestone on a base of solid natural rock. It formerly rose to a height of one hundred and twenty feet, and is now about ninety feet high. It is sixty-six feet in diameter at the base, and is supported by six massive buttresses, each fifteen and one half feet broad and extending outward about nine feet. The walls themselves are nearly fifteen feet in thickness. The only entrance is a door, twenty feet above the ground, originally reached by an outside stair connecting with a small drawbridge.

The rooms beneath the main floor were used for the storage of provisions and in the centre was a well, said to have been one hundred and five feet deep. There was then ample provision to resist a siege, lack of food and water being the only danger to be feared, inasmuch as the catapults and other engines of war of that period would be powerless against the massiveness of such a castle. The upper rooms are built within the walls and reached by narrow stairways. The main floor was probably used by the lord of the castle with his family and guests; the rooms above were occupied by the ladies of the household, and on the same floor was a small oratory or chapel, hexagonal in shape and about eight feet wide. The top floor contained the kitchen and the {250} sleeping-rooms of the garrison. The six buttresses projected above the level of the parapet, forming turrets, convenient for defence. These have now disappeared. The parapet floor is still accessible, and from it a fine view is obtained of the surrounding country.

The Castle of York, where Prince John is supposed to have feasted the nobles and leaders after the exciting scenes of Torquilstone, and where De Bracy announced to him that Richard was really in England, was the Norman fortress built by William the Conqueror in 1068, some portions of which are now incorporated in the building known as Clifford's Tower. A substantial rectangular structure stands between two ancient and ruined turrets, which lean outward, looking as though the stronger building were trying to usurp the hill on which they stand and push his feebler brethren out of the way. This castle was the scene in 1190 of a terrible massacre of the Jews. Two rich Jewish bankers, Joses and Benedict, attended the coronation of Richard I. In a general attack upon the Jews, Benedict was killed, but Joses got back to York. The house of Benedict in York was plundered and his wife and children murdered. Joses rallied the other Jews, who took refuge, with their property, in the castle. The governor ordered an assault, and the Jews, finding themselves unable to hold the citadel, set fire to the buildings, put to death all their relatives, and killed themselves, over five hundred lives being sacrificed. This incident throws some light upon the state of mind of the wealthy Isaac, who was a resident of the city of York.

'Ivanhoe' closes with the wedding of Wilfred and Rowena, 'celebrated in the most august of temples, the {251} noble minster of York.' The cathedral as it stands to-day is, indeed, noble. Perhaps it cannot properly be called the largest in England; Winchester Cathedral is longer, and Lincoln's towers are higher; but in the length of its choir and nave, the breadth of its transepts, the height of the great pointed arches supporting the roof, and the massive grandeur and dignity of the whole, whether viewed from the exterior or the interior, it is unsurpassed by any other cathedral in England and by few on the continent.

It was not in this magnificent temple, however, that the wedding took place, and perhaps if we could see a picture of the old Norman church which stood on the site in 1194, we might not think of it as 'a noble minster.' The church of that period was the structure built by the first Norman Archbishop of York, with the addition of the choir, erected a century later. In the crypt of the present cathedral some bits of the walls of these early buildings are still preserved. They replaced the first stone church, built about 633, which had superseded the original wooden church, built by Eadwine, King of Northumbria, then the most powerful monarch in England. The minster was, therefore, more than five centuries old even in the period of 'Ivanhoe.'

Of the characters in the novel, King Richard and his brother John were of course historical. Cedric and Athelstane were types of the Saxon nobles who still resented the intrusion of the Normans. Front-de-Boeuf represents a class of Norman noblemen who did not hesitate at any deed of villainy to accomplish their selfish purposes. Brian de Bois-Guilbert typifies the chivalry which professed great zeal for the Christian {252} religion, but used it as a cloak to cover motives of vengeance or other base purposes. Prior Aymer stands for the wealthy churchman and Isaac of York for the Jewish banker, upon whom all classes, kings, barons, and churchmen, were obliged to depend for the accomplishment of their various plans. Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, and the men in Lincoln Green were borrowed from the ballad poetry of the Middle Ages. All of these were introduced to perfect the picture of the conditions of social and political life in the reign of King Richard.

One character only found a place in the novel for another reason. The story of Rebecca reveals an interesting incident in the life of Washington Irving. When the American author visited Sir Walter at Abbotsford a feeling of mutual respect and admiration quickly sprang up between them and developed into a friendly intimacy. In the course of their conversations, Irving told Sir Walter something of the character of Rebecca Gratz, a young woman of Jewish family, living in the city of Philadelphia. One of this lady's brothers was a warm personal friend of Irving's, who was always a welcome guest at their home. One of Rebecca's dearest friends was Matilda Hoffman, Irving's first and only love. This estimable young woman died at the early age of eighteen, tenderly nursed to the end by her friend Rebecca, in whose arms she expired.

Rebecca Gratz is described as a very beautiful girl. 'Her eyes were of exquisite shape, large, black, and lustrous; her figure was graceful and her carriage was marked by a quiet dignity,--attractions which were heightened by elegant and winning manners. Gentle, benevolent, with instinctive refinement and innate {253} purity, she inspired affection among all who met her.'[3] Although a Jewess, Rebecca Gratz found many companions among the Christians by whom she was held in high esteem. She was interested in all kinds of benevolent work, founded an orphan asylum and a mission Sabbath-School for Hebrew children, and contributed to many charities.

A Christian gentleman of wealth and high social position fell in love with her and his feelings were reciprocated. But Rebecca conceived that duty demanded loyalty to her religion, and her lofty conscientiousness and remarkable moral courage enabled her to maintain her resolution. She refused to marry, in spite of the pain to herself and the bitter disappointment to her lover which the self-denial involved. Her life was devoted to 'a long chain of golden deeds,' until the end came at the good old age of eighty-eight.

Such a story could not fail to capture the sympathetic heart of Sir Walter, and as usual when anything appealed strongly to him, he wove it into a novel at the earliest opportunity, later writing to Irving, 'How do you like your Rebecca? Does the picture I have painted compare well with the pattern given?'

'Ivanhoe' marks the high-tide of Scott's literary success. The book instantly caught the attention of thousands to whom the Scottish romances had not appealed. It sold better than its predecessors, and from the day of its publication has been easily the most popular of the Waverley Novels. Lockhart, who, in common with most Scotchmen, could not help {254} preferring the tales of his native land and thought 'Waverley,' 'Guy Mannering,' and 'The Heart of Midlothian' superior as 'works of genius,' nevertheless gave 'Ivanhoe' the first place among all Scott's writings, whether in prose or verse, as a 'work of art.' Its historical value is perhaps greater than that of any of the others, and certainly no other author has ever given a picture, so graphic and yet so comprehensible, of 'merrie England' in the days of chivalry.

[1] Part iii, act iv, scene v.

[2] See Chapter xxi, 'The Pirate,' p. 300.

[3] From an article by Grata van Rensselaer, in the _Century Magazine_, September, 1882.




Scott had some strange ways of seeking relaxation from the strain of his work. On Christmas Day, 1814, he wrote Constable that he was 'setting out for Abbotsford to refresh the machine.' During the year he had written his first great novel, 'Waverley'; one of his longer poems, 'The Lord of the Isles'; nearly the whole of his 'Life of Swift'; two essays for an encyclopædia; a two-volume family memoir for a friend; and kept up a voluminous personal correspondence,--an amount of industry which is best described by Dominie Sampson's word, _prodigious_. Surely the 'machine' needed 'refreshment,' and it consisted in producing, in six weeks' time, another great novel, 'Guy Mannering'! In the same way, while dictating 'Ivanhoe,' in spite of severe bodily pain which prevented the use of his pen, he sought refreshment by starting another novel, 'The Monastery.' 'It was a relief,' he said, 'to interlay the scenery most familiar to me with the strange world for which I had to draw so much on imagination.'

'The Monastery' was the first of Scott's novels in which the scenery is confined to the immediate vicinity of his own home. It is all within walking distance of Abbotsford and much of it had been familiar to the author from childhood. Melrose, or Kennaquhair, is only about two miles away. This little village is as ancient as the abbey from which it takes its name, and {256} that splendid ruin dates from 1136, when the pious Scottish king, known as St. David, founded the monastery and granted extensive lands to the Cistercian Order of Monks for its maintenance. The village has followed the fortunes of the abbey--prospering when the monks prospered, and suffering the blight of war whenever the English kings descended upon it. Its present prosperity, so far as it has any, is the gift of Sir Walter Scott. Hawthorne, who rambled through the country in 1856, noted in his journal that 'Scotland--cold, cloudy, barren little bit of earth that it is--owes all the interest that the world feels in it to him.' I cannot endorse this view of Scotland, for it left quite the opposite impression upon my mind, but the last part of the remark is certainly true of Melrose. It bears about the same relation to Scotland that Stratford does to England. Thousands go there every year to see the work of art, glorious even in ruins, which represents the highest development of the Gothic architecture and to marvel at the rich carvings in stone which, after the lapse of nearly six hundred years, still remain as a monument to the patience, skill, and devotion of the monks of St. Mary's. But they go because the great Wizard of the North has thrown the glamour of his genius over the whole of the Border country, of which Melrose is the natural centre. And when they arrive, they find the abbey interpreted in the words of 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' which the custodians of the ruin, for fourscore years, have never tired of quoting.

In the novel, no attempt is made to describe the beauty of the ruin. The poem had already done that to perfection. But the monks spring into life again, the {257} venerable ruin is transformed into a church, the monastic buildings resume their former shape, and the palace of their ruler is refurnished in all its original magnificence. A fire of glowing logs gives warmth to the apartments. An oaken stand, with a roasted capon and 'a goodly stoup of Bourdeaux of excellent flavour,' suggests the truth of the old rhyme:--

The monks of Melrose made fat kail On Fridays when they fasted, Nor wanted they gude beef and ale So lang's their neighbours' lasted.

In a richly carved chair before the fire sits a portly abbot, with round face, rosy cheeks, and good-natured, laughing eyes, the product of a long life of good feeding and indolent ease. By his side stands the sub-prior, a cadaverous, sharp-faced little man, with piercing grey eyes bespeaking a high order of intellect, his emaciated features testifying to rigid fastings and relentless self-abasement. The abuse of the monastic privileges, common enough at the time, is thus contrasted with the conscientious observance of all the rules of the order. In and out of the cloisters, the refectory, and the palace, monks in black gowns and white scapularies are continually passing. The old ruin has been restored by the genius of the novelist to the life and activity of the sixteenth century.

The earliest date referred to in the story is 1547, the year of the battle of Pinkie, when the Scottish forces met with a disaster exceeded only by Flodden Field. In this battle Simon Glendinning, a soldier fighting for the 'Halidome' of St. Mary's, met his death. His son Halbert was then nine or ten years old. The story comes {258} to a close when he is nineteen, which would be 1557. The hostility of Henry VIII had caused great anxiety to the abbots of Melrose long before this time and the persecution reached a climax in 1545. Sir Ralph Ewers and Sir Brian Latoun systematically ravaged the Scottish Border, burning hundreds of towns, castles, and churches, slaughtering and imprisoning the people by the thousands and driving off their cattle and horses. In the course of their raids, they reached Melrose with a force of five thousand men and vented their spite on the beautiful old abbey. The Scots took prompt vengeance. They quickly raised an army, and under the leadership of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, met the English and defeated them with heavy losses. Both Ewers and Latoun were among the slain, and the monks of Melrose buried them in the abbey with great satisfaction. 'The Monastery' does not refer to this event, but its graphic picture of the unsettled state of the country and the consequent anxiety of the monks constitutes its chief value.

North of the abbey and across the Tweed is a green hillside, at the base of which is a weir or dam. This is the place where the sacristan of St. Mary's was pitched out of his saddle into the stream by the 'White Lady of Avenel,' who dipped him in the water two or three times to make sure that 'every part of him had its share of wetting.'

The old bridge, which the sacristan was prevented from crossing by the perversity of old Peter, the bridge-tender, was about a mile and a half up the stream. Such a bridge once existed, though now there are no traces visible. Scott used to see the foundations {259} occasionally when drifting down the river at night in pursuit of one of his favourite pastimes, spearing salmon by torchlight. There were three towers in the water. A keeper lived in the middle one and controlled the traffic by raising or lowering the draws at his pleasure. Those who refused to pay his price, or whom he did not wish to accommodate, might ford the stream, but at some stages of the water this was a perilous operation.

The river Allan flows into the Tweed near the site of this bridge. It is a little mountain brook that flows, in serpentine course, through the valley of Glendearg. A mile or so up the rivulet there is a picturesque and shady glen called Fairy Dean. After a flood, little pieces of curious stones, in fantastic shapes, are often found, the play of the waters having transformed the fragments of rock into fairy cups and saucers, guns, boats, cradles, or whatever a childish imagination might suggest. This was the abode of the fairies where the little elfin folk held their nightly carnivals, and who knows but Queen Titania herself might have held her moonlight revels upon this very spot? At any rate, the neighbouring people, for centuries, by common consent, recognized the feudal rights of the fairy race to this little dell, and left them undisturbed. It must have been the abode of the White Lady, and no doubt stood in the author's mind for the secluded glen which he calls, in Celtic, _Corrie nan Shian_, meaning 'Hollow of the Fairies,' where Halbert Glendinning found the huge rock, the wild holly tree, and the spring beneath its branches. Here, doubtless, for no more appropriate spot can be found, Halbert summoned the mystic maiden with the words:--


Thrice to the holly brake-- Thrice to the well:-- I bid thee awake, White Maid of Avenel!

Noon gleams in the Lake-- Noon glows on the Fell-- Wake thee, O wake, White Maid of Avenel!

At the head of the glen there are three ruined peel-houses or Border towers, known as Hillslap, Colmslie, and Langshaw. The first of these may fairly stand for the original of Glendearg, the home of the Glendinnings. This old tower has a sculptured date on the lintel of the entrance which seems to indicate that it was built in 1585--a little too late for the story, to be sure, but trifles like that never worried Sir Walter. He wanted to place the Widow Glendinning and her two children in a tower suited to the ancient family connexions of her husband who might have been able to defend his secluded retreat against all comers for many years, had not the necessities of the time required his service in the wars for the defence of his country. Hillslap offered an excellent type of such a Border fortalice, and its situation at the head of the glen, well protected by the surrounding mountains and isolated by its remoteness from the ordinary lines of travel, made it suitable for the purposes of the tale.

Referring to the castle of Julian Avenel, Scott, in a footnote, remarks that it is vain to search near Melrose for any such castle, but adds that in Yetholm Loch, a small sheet of water southeast of Kelso, there is a small castle on an island, connected with the mainland by a {261} causeway, but it is much smaller than Avenel. Of course we must take the author's word for this, and yet, whether he did it with conscious purpose or not, he succeeded in putting into his description some features which irresistibly suggest a castle only seven miles from Melrose, the tower of Smailholm, associated with the dearest memories of his childhood.

Smailholm is one of the most perfect examples of the old feudal keeps to be found in Scotland. A very small pool lies on one side of the tower, but it is suggestive of the loch which once surrounded the entire castle, making it a retreat of great security. 'The surprise of the spectator was chiefly excited by finding a piece of water situated in that high and mountainous region, and the landscape around had features which might rather be termed wild, than either romantic or sublime.' It was a surprise to me to find even a small pool of water in such a locality, and I cannot help thinking that at least some recollections of the peculiar situation of Smailholm may have been in the author's mind when he wrote this description.

Scott has himself mentioned a prototype of the vulgar, brutal, and licentious Julian Avenel in the person of the Laird of Black Ormiston, a friend and confidant of Bothwell and one of the agents in the murder of Darnley.

The concluding scene of the novel represents a sorrowful procession of monks, in long black gowns and cowls, marching solemnly to the market-place of the town, where they formed a circle around 'an ancient cross of curious workmanship, the gift of some former monarch of Scotland.' This old Mercat Cross still stands {262} in the centre of the market-place of Melrose. It is about twenty feet high and is surmounted by the figure of the unicorn and the arms of Scotland. It requires a vivid imagination to identify the unicorn, however, the ravages of time giving it more the aspect of a walrus, rampant.

'The Monastery,' following so soon after Scott's greatest success, suffers severely by comparison with 'Ivanhoe,' and, perhaps for this reason, was considered something of a failure. The cause, generally assigned by the critics, was twofold, or rather, may be attributed to two characters, which did not appeal to the public as Scott had expected. One of these was the 'White Lady of Avenel' and the other, Sir Piercie Shafton.

Scott had always manifested a fondness for ghosts, goblins, witches, and the supernatural. The goblin-page made a nuisance of himself in 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel' and came near spoiling the poem; Marmion had to fight a phantom knight, and so did Bertram Risingham, but in both cases a rational explanation dispelled the mystery; the Baron of Triermain visited a phantom castle in the Valley of St. John; Bruce landed on the shores of Carrick, guided by a weird supernatural light; Fergus MacIvor was dismayed by the Bodach Glas, a cheerful sort of family ghost which always appeared when disaster was impending; the guest of the Antiquary was compelled to sleep in a haunted chamber; a mysterious fountain had a fatal influence upon the life of the Bride of Lammermoor; and so throughout the pages of Scott's poems and novels we find these strange incidents and phantom appearances. The real orthodox ghost only peeps in at you occasionally and quickly vanishes. {263} Although you may be frightened a little, you delight, nevertheless, in the mystery. But there is something too substantial about a female ghost who climbs up behind a man on horseback, guides him into a stream of deep water, and ducks him three times, meanwhile reciting long stanzas of poetry. And when the same ghost appears again and again, as though the whole plot depended upon her personal exertions, the constant exposure to the limelight causes the illusion to melt away. This, I fancy, is the reason the Maid of Avenel failed to appeal to Scott's readers.

Sir Piercie Shafton, the Euphuist, seems in like manner to have been overdone. A suggestion of the foppery and absurdities of the coxcombs of Queen Elizabeth's court might have been interesting, but Sir Piercie remains on the stage too long and becomes a bore. The pedantic Baron of Bradwardine in 'Waverley' is a bore, but we like him. The garrulous Dalgetty is tiresome, but we could not do without him. Sir Piercie, on the contrary, has no redeeming traits.

Aside from the failure of these two characters to please the public, the novel lacks the interest that attaches to all its predecessors. There is no Dandie Dinmont, nor Meg Merrilies, nor Dominie Sampson; no Jonathan Oldbuck nor Edie Ochiltree; no historical personage of interest like Rob Roy or King Richard; no Jeanie Deans; no Flora MacIvor; no Die Vernon; no Rebecca.

On the other hand, it has some fine pictures of the sturdy Scotch character, it gives a glimpse of monastic life in the sixteenth century, and has an historical value in its presentation of the conflict of cross-currents of {264} thought and feeling, as they affected the people who lived amid the furious contentions of the Reformation. Father Eustace is a fine type of the able, intelligent, and devoted Catholic priest, and Henry Warden of the brave, unflinching, determined apostle of the reformed doctrines.




Scott was quick to realize the mistake in 'The Monastery,' and promptly redeemed his popularity by the bold stroke of writing a sequel. The White Maiden was banished along with Sir Piercie, and in their place came a train of new characters, well calculated to win the sympathetic approval of the public. Mary Queen of Scots was the chief of these, and the novelist's skilful portrayal of her character made a success of 'The Abbot.' Roland Graeme, who proved to be one of the best of Scott's heroes, and Catherine Seyton, a young woman of charming vivacity, added not a little to the popularity of the novel.

The scenery, at first, remains the same. The story opens at the Castle of Avenel, of which Sir Halbert Glendinning is now the knight and Mary Avenel the lady. Henry Warden is established there as chaplain. The monks are still permitted to linger in the cloisters of St. Mary's, and among them is Edward Glendinning, known as Father Ambrose, who, later, becomes the abbot.

The beautiful abbey is pictured at the beginning of its decay. The niches have been stripped of their sculptured images, on the inside as well as the outside of the building. The tombs of warriors and of princes have been demolished. The church is strewn with confused heaps of broken stone, the remnants of beautifully {266} carved statues of saints and angels, with lances and swords torn from above the tombs of famous knights of earlier days, and sacred relics brought by pious pilgrims. The disheartened monks are seen conducting their ceremonials in the midst of all the rubbish, scarcely daring to clear it away. In keeping with this picture of decay and ruin is the vivid presentation of the invasion of the sacred abbey by the irreverent mob of masqueraders in grotesque costumes, led by 'the venerable Father Howleglas, the learned Monk of Misrule and the Right Reverend Abbot of Unreason.'

The tale now leads to Edinburgh, where young Roland Graeme is struck with surprise as he comes, for the first time, into the Canongate. 'The extreme height of the houses, and the variety of Gothic gables, and battlements, and balconies' are still surprising. Graeme gets involved in a street scrimmage, common enough in the Edinburgh of those days, and, without knowing it, renders service to Lord Seyton, one of the most faithful adherents of Queen Mary. A few minutes later he catches sight of Catherine Seyton as that pretty damsel is about to 'dive under one of the arched passages which afforded an outlet to the Canongate from the houses beneath.' Many of these arched passages may still be seen in the Canongate. The house of Lord Seyton into which Roland followed the maiden was about opposite Queensbury House, near the eastern end of the street.

Holyrood Palace comes into the story as the place where Roland was presented to the Regent Murray, an introduction into which Scott is believed to have woven some recollections of his own presentation to the Duke {267} of Wellington. Although the palace has stood for many centuries and has been the abode of many kings, its real interest centres about the fortunes of Mary Queen of Scots. Visitors are shown the audience chamber in which the Queen received John Knox, and found that the great Reformer, unlike other men, was proof against the loveliness of her countenance, the charm of her manner, and the softness of her speech. Knox found, too, that Mary was proof against the bitterness of his arraignment and the violence of his denunciation. Opening out of the audience chamber is Queen Mary's bedroom, where a bed, said to be Mary's own, is carefully preserved, its dingy and tattered hangings conveying little suggestion of the former richness of the crimson damask, with its fringe and tassels of green. A narrow door leads to a small dressing-closet, and another to the supper-room, where Mary sat with David Rizzio and other friends on the fatal night of February 13, 1565. Darnley, in a state of intoxication, burst into the room with a party of brutal conspirators, put his arms around Mary in seeming endearment, while the others dragged Rizzio into the audience chamber and stabbed him to death with their daggers.

The introduction of Loch Leven Castle gives a new scene to the novel and one of great beauty and interest. It was partly Scott's association with the Blair Adam Club that led to the use of this scene and the historical incident associated with it. A visit of Scott and his life-long friends, William Clerk and Adam Ferguson, to the Right Honourable William Adam, in 1816, led to the formation of the Blair Adam Club, at the meetings of which Scott was a constant attendant for fifteen years. {268} Mr. Adam, who held the distinguished office of Lord Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court in Scotland, was, says Lockhart, 'the only man I ever knew that rivalled Sir Walter Scott in uniform graciousness of bonhomie and gentleness of humour.' In a book privately printed for the benefit of his own family and friends, the judge says:--

The Castle of Loch Leven is seen at every turn from the northern side of Blair Adam. This castle, renowned and attractive above all others in my neighbourhood, became an object of much increased attention and a theme of constant conversation, after the author of 'Waverley' had, by his inimitable power of delineating character, by his creative poetic fancy in representing scenes of varied interest, and by the splendour of his romantic descriptions, infused a more diversified and a deeper tone of feeling into the history of Queen Mary's captivity and escape.

Many little allusions to localities on the estate of Blair Adam and references to the virtues and manners of its occupants, were woven into the story, which, while they escape the attention of the casual reader, did not fail to please the genial owner.

The castle stands on an island in Loch Leven, a pretty sheet of water, about three or four miles long, on the western border of which lies the town of Kinross. Two sturdy fishermen rowed us out to the island where we found the ruin of a square building. The tower is in good repair, but the remaining walls are quite ruinous. In one corner the room where Queen Mary was imprisoned was pointed out by the guides. It is very small, but has windows overlooking the lake, and there is room on the island for a pleasant garden. Except for {269} the loss of her liberty, Queen Mary might have found the castle a pleasant abode.

Loch Leven Castle was the property of Sir William Douglas, whose wife was the mother of the Earl of Murray, the illegitimate son of James V. The Lady Douglas could be supposed to have little sympathy for the legitimate daughter of the king to whom she pretended to have been married. In placing Mary in the hands of such a custodian, the lords who opposed her felt reasonably secure.

Scott gives a wonderfully dramatic picture of the visit of Lord Lindsay, Lord Ruthven, and Sir Robert Melville to the castle, and the method by which they extorted Mary's signature to deeds abdicating the throne in favour of her infant son and creating the Earl of Murray regent, and although the scene is purely fictitious, the facts of history are not distorted. Roland Graeme is represented as unsheathing his sword and discovering a hidden parchment rolled around the blade. It proved to be a secret message from Lord Seyton, advising Mary to yield to the necessity of the situation. The incident is based upon the fact that Sir Robert Melville was sent to accompany the ruffianly Lindsay, and his no less harsh associate Ruthven, to prevent violence to the Queen, and to carry, concealed in the scabbard of his sword, a message from her friends advising submission and carrying the assurance that deeds signed under such compulsion would not be legally binding when she regained her liberty.

The escape of the Queen is told in substantial accordance with the facts, though with a variation of details which the license of the novelist would easily permit. {270} George Douglas, a younger brother of the lord of Loch Leven, was much impressed by the beauty of the Queen, and captivated by her pleasant manners and fair promises. He devised a plan of escape, but this was discovered and George was expelled from the castle by his brother. Another attempt was more successful. An inmate of the castle, called 'the Little Douglas,' had also felt a sympathy for the Queen. He was a lad of seventeen or eighteen and really played the part which Scott assigned to Roland Graeme. He stole the keys and set the prisoner at liberty in the night. Placing her in a boat, he paused long enough to lock the iron gates of the tower from the outside so that pursuit would be impossible, then, throwing the keys into the lake, rowed his passenger ashore. George Douglas, Lord Seyton, and other friends were waiting to receive her and conveyed her in triumph to Hamilton.

An army of six thousand men was quickly assembled, the plan being to place the Queen safely in the fortress of Dumbarton, and then give battle to the Regent Murray. The latter was too quick for the allies, however. He was then at Glasgow and marched at once, though with an inferior force, to intercept the advancing army. They met at Langside, now a suburb of Glasgow, and after a fierce struggle the Queen's forces were scattered. Mary herself continued her flight, until she reached the Abbey of Dundrennan, in the County of Kirkcudbright, where she spent her last night in Scotland.

[Illustration: CATHCART CASTLE]

The novelist represents Queen Mary as viewing the battle from the Castle of Crookston, and the unfortunate lady dramatically exclaims, 'O, I must forget much ere I can look with steady eyes on these well-known {271} scenes! I must forget the days which I spent here as the bride of the lost--the murdered'--Here Mary Fleming interrupts to explain to the Abbot that in this castle 'the Queen held her first court after she was married to Darnley.'

Mary could not have witnessed the battle of Langside from Crookston, unless, indeed, she had had, in the language of Sam Weller, instead of eyes, 'a pair o' patent double million magnifyin' gas microscopes of hextra power,' for Langside is at least four miles away and the contour of the country would make such a view impossible. She really watched it from a knoll near the old Castle of Cathcart, which has since been known as Court Knowe. Scott admitted the error, but did not much regret it, as Crookston seemed the place best suited to the dramatic requirements of the tale, because of Mary's former association with the castle. Here again the facts are against him. Crookston was the property of the Earl of Lennox, Darnley's father, but Darnley himself never lived there, except possibly as a boy, before he went to France at the age of sixteen. It seems to be certain to those who have investigated the facts that after his return he had no opportunity of going there and that he and Queen Mary could not have visited the place together, either before or after their marriage.

Nevertheless, Scott was wise to let the incident remain as he wrote it, for 'The Abbot' is not a work of history, but a romance.




The successful introduction of Mary Queen of Scots as the central figure of 'The Abbot' resulted, not only in repairing the reputation which had been somewhat damaged by its predecessor, but in suggesting the theme of a new novel which was to achieve a popularity second only to 'Ivanhoe.' The desire to portray, in the form of romance, the great rival of Queen Mary, was perhaps irresistible, particularly in view of the fact that it meant a new opportunity to reach that English audience which had given to 'Ivanhoe' so cordial a reception. Constable, the publisher, was of course delighted to have a new English novel and particularly one in which Queen Elizabeth was to be an important figure. With characteristic presumptuousness he argued that it should be a story of the Armada. Scott, however, had been enchanted in his youth by a ballad of the Scotch poet, Mickle, entitled 'Cumnor Hall,' and particularly by its first stanza:--

The dews of summer night did fall; The moon, sweet regent of the sky, Silver'd the walls of Cumnor Hall, And many an oak that grew thereby.

He insisted, therefore, in spite of his adviser, upon taking the theme of the ballad for his subject and would even have called the novel 'Cumnor Hall.' In deference to Constable, however, he accepted the title, 'Kenilworth,' {273} although John Ballantyne growled a little at a name which he thought suggested 'something worthy of a kennel.'

Here, then, were the determining points of the new novel, namely, a favourite poem concerning the marriage of the Earl of Leicester to a lady whom he kept concealed at Cumnor Hall, the desire to sketch, in a romantic way, the character of Queen Elizabeth, and the opportunity to secure a dramatic climax by confronting the Queen with the wife of her favourite courtier, in the splendid castle of the latter at Kenilworth.

Cumnor is one of those lovely little villages in the Midlands of England where Father Time employs his talents as an artist, softening the outlines of the stone walls and fences with graceful mantles of dark green ivy and imparting richer and deeper shades of brown to the old thatched roofs of the cottages.

We saw few evidences of activity on the part of the inhabitants, and reached the conclusion that Cumnor, in Walter Scott's time, and even in the days of the Earl of Leicester, could not have been very different from its present aspect.

We did not ruin our reputation as travellers by failing to 'wet a cup at the bonny Black Bear,' for that 'excellent inn of the old stamp,' if indeed it ever existed, has disappeared as effectually as its famous landlord, Giles Gosling. Its prototype, bearing the sign of the 'Bear and Ragged Staff,' formerly stood opposite the church, but its bar-room became objectionable to the vicar and, by what a local writer calls 'an impious act of vandalism,' the inn was destroyed.

Cumnor Place has likewise disappeared. The site {274} where it stood appears to be a comparatively small piece of land, near the street, but well covered with large trees. It was not an extensive park with formal walks and avenues, nor was the house itself so large or high as the structure described in the novel. It was a single-story building or series of buildings, forming an enclosure about seventy feet long and fifty feet wide. It was built about 1350 as a country residence for the Abbot of Abingdon and as a sanitarium for the monks. After two centuries its use by the monastery ceased and Cumnor Place passed into the hands of the Court physician, George Owen, who leased it to Anthony Foster. As the servant of Lord Robert Dudley, Foster received into his house the ill-fated Amy Robsart, whom that gentleman had married in 1550. The marriage was not secret, but was celebrated in the presence of the young King, Edward VI, and his Court. It had been arranged by Dudley's father, John, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland, who seems to have had a fondness for match-making, of the kind which promised a profit. He managed to marry his fourth son, Guildford Dudley, to Lady Jane Grey, a great-granddaughter of Henry VII. In the last two years of the reign of Edward VI, Northumberland was virtually the ruler of England. He induced the King to execute a will, disinheriting his two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, who were the legal heirs to the crown, and naming Lady Jane Grey as his successor. The reign of this unfortunate lady, who never desired the throne, lasted but nine days. The rightful Queen, Mary, was restored by the people, and Northumberland, like his father before him, was beheaded in the Tower. His son, Guildford, with Jane {275} Grey, his wife, suffered the same penalty a year later, as the result of another revolt, in which the lady, at least, had no share.


Robert Dudley came near falling a victim to the same fate as his father and grandfather. He took up arms against Queen Mary, was sent to the Tower and condemned to death. But the Queen pardoned him and made him Master of the Ordnance. On the accession of Elizabeth he became Master of the Horse, and thereafter rose rapidly in the royal favour. Elizabeth made him a Knight of the Garter, bestowed upon him the Castle of Kenilworth, the lordship of Denbigh and other rich lands in Warwickshire and Wales. In 1564 the Queen made him Earl of Leicester, and recommended him (perhaps not seriously) as a possible husband of Mary Queen of Scots. The University of Oxford made him their chancellor and the King of France conferred upon him the order of St. Michael. He reached the culmination of the high honours which Elizabeth and others crowded upon him, in the appointment as Lieutenant-General of the army mustered to meet the Spanish invasion, in the year of the great Armada, 1588.

This was the outward show, and it was brilliant enough; but the Earl was like a worm-eaten apple--fair enough to look upon, but rotten to the core--and his private life was thoroughly contemptible. The marriage to Amy Robsart in 1550 was not a happy one. She was never a countess, for Dudley did not become Earl of Leicester until four years after her death. After the favours of Elizabeth began to be showered upon him, Dudley had good reason for concealing this marriage, for the Queen soon began to show a longing to make him {276} her royal husband. In 1560, two years after the accession of Elizabeth, the dead body of Amy was found at the foot of the stairs at Cumnor. All the servants had gone to a neighbouring fair and apparently Anthony Foster was the only person besides Amy at home on that day. It was given out that Amy had accidentally fallen downstairs and broken her neck. She was ostentatiously buried in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford, though Lord Dudley was not present at the funeral nor did he again visit Cumnor.

More than twenty years later a pamphlet was published, anonymously, under the title 'Leicester's Commonwealth,' in which the Earl was bitterly attacked as an atheist and a traitor as well as a man of infamous character. He was openly accused of the murder of his wife, and there were not wanting many evidences seeming to corroborate this view. It was alleged that efforts to poison her were made, by direction of the Earl. That Leicester was not incapable of such an act is indicated by the circumstances of his own death. The tradition is that he gave his wife (the third one) a bottle of medicine to be used for faintness. The lady kept it, unused, and later, not knowing it to be poison, administered a dose to her husband, with a fatal result. This lady was the widow of Walter, Earl of Essex, with whom the Earl of Leicester was carrying on an intrigue before her husband's death. There was a quarrel and Essex died suddenly, under some suspicion of poison. Leicester's secret marriage with the widow led to serious accusations against him. According to the author of 'Leicester's Commonwealth,' when the Earl fell in love with Lady Douglas Sheffield (who became his second wife), {277} her husband suddenly died under mysterious circumstances. Leicester had in his employ an Italian physician who was a skilful compounder of poisons. It was said that his cunning and skill enabled him to cause a person to die with the symptoms of any disease he might choose, or to administer a poison so that the victim would expire at whatever hour he might appoint. These weird tales no doubt suggested something of the character of the fraudulent alchemist and astrologer, Alasco.

The stair at the foot of which Amy Robsart's body was found was a narrow winding flight, something like a corkscrew. It has been pointed out that Amy would have had considerable difficulty in hurling herself headlong around the twists and turns of such a staircase with enough force to break her neck. Without definite knowledge of the facts, the most reasonable supposition is that Lord Dudley, having a motive for the crime and being a man of unscrupulous character, would not hesitate to order it committed. His grandfather had been the agent of Henry VII in the infamous extortions which gave that sovereign an enormous fortune; his father had not hesitated to risk the lives of his son and an innocent lady to accomplish his own treasonable purposes, besides directly causing the death of the Duke of Somerset, and indirectly bringing about the execution of the Duke's brother, Lord Seymour. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that the scion of this ambitious family, who was himself cherishing no less bold a project than his own marriage with the Queen, should willingly give orders to remove the one great obstacle in his path.

The great festivities at Kenilworth occurred in 1575. Amy Robsart had been dead fifteen years. The Earl of {278} Leicester was none the less entangled, however, for he was at the time married to Lady Sheffield, who strongly maintained the validity of the marriage, though it was denied by the Earl and concealed from the Queen. At the same time, also, the intrigue with the Countess of Essex was in progress. From this it will be seen that although Scott departed from the facts of history in bringing poor Amy to Kenilworth, he nevertheless gave a true picture of the Earl of Leicester's embarrassment in the presence of his Queen. Scott softens the black-hearted villainy of the Earl, by making him an unwilling victim of his own ambition, duped into deeds of infamy by the determination of the conscienceless Richard Varney. He admits that he preferred to make the Earl 'rather the dupe of villains than the unprincipled author of their atrocities,' because in the latter capacity, he would have been a character too disgustingly wicked for the purposes of fiction.


According to Scott's account, the unfortunate Amy, after falling completely into the toils of Varney, was carried back to Cumnor Place, and lodged in a tower room at the top of the building. A gallery, arranged by a secret contrivance to be used as a drawbridge, which, when dropped, would cut off all access to the chamber, was the only means of entrance or exit. After Amy had entered the chamber, Varney and Foster withdrew the supports of the bridge in such manner that the slightest weight would cause it to fall. Varney then reached the consummation of his villainy by imitating the whistle of Leicester. Amy, deceived by the signal and eager to meet her Lord, rushed upon the bridge and fell to the deepest vault of the castle. The method of the real {279} Amy's death is not definitely known, but it was probably by no such elaborate invention. She was doubtless strangled in her room and her body carried to the foot of the stairs to suggest an accidental death.

Anthony Foster lies buried in Cumnor Church, which stands on land adjoining the site of Cumnor Place, near the entrance to the village on the road from Oxford. It is one of those stone churches, with square, substantial towers and ivy-clad walls, which add to the charm of the landscape throughout the length and breadth of England, as though she intended thereby to express both the beauty and the solidity of her religion.

The Foster tomb is an elaborate monument of grey marble, within the altar rail, and is easily the most noteworthy feature of the interior of the church. Two engraved brass plates represent the family at prayers, and beneath is a long inscription in Latin, indicating that Anthony Foster was a distinguished gentleman of good birth, skilled in the arts of music and horticulture, a good linguist and renowned for charity, benevolence, and religious fidelity. Looking upon this elaborate memorial, one cannot escape the conviction that Tony Foster was either a greatly maligned saint or the parent of a family of hypocrites. If the intention of those who composed the inscription was to convince the world of his innocence, they could not have been expected to foresee that, for every person who should read and understand the epitaph, ten thousand would be led to a perception of Foster's real character through the pen of a Scottish novelist, but for whom few of us would ever have known the sad story of the Lady of Cumnor Hall.


As for the Earl of Leicester, a more truthful epitaph exists, not indeed carved upon stone, but preserved in the Collections of Drummond of Hawthornden. It reads:--

Here lies a valiant warrior, Who never drew a sword; Here lies a noble courtier, Who never kept his word; Here lies the Erle of Leister, Who govern'd the estates; Whom the earth could never living love, And the just Heaven now hates.

The escape of Amy Robsart from Cumnor Place was achieved through the aid of Wayland Smith, a blacksmith, pedler, and strolling juggler, who had picked up from a former master some knowledge of medicine which he employed to good advantage. There was a legend current in Berkshire of a mysterious smith, who lived among the rocks and replaced lost horseshoes for a fee of sixpence, feeling offended if more were offered. Scott used this tale as the basis of his story of Wayland Smith. The idea of having his smithy in a cave may have been suggested by just such a place in Gilmerton, a village on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with which Scott must have been familiar. I had no difficulty in finding it. It is an artificial cavern, with many ramifications, and as the light can enter only from the door at the head of a stone stairway, its farther corners are extremely dark. Near the entrance is a blacksmith's forge. In a small and dark alcove opposite is an oblong stone, evidently intended as a dining-table. A rough shelf or ledge, cut out of the stone partition, served as a bench at meal-times. Any of the dark corners could be {281} used as sleeping-rooms. The cave was probably used by thieves or smugglers as a convenient hiding-place.

Amy's journey from Cumnor Village, four miles west of Oxford, to Kenilworth, in the centre of Warwickshire, was a ride of about fifty miles. Perhaps the Countess's mental condition would not permit her to enjoy it and doubtless the country then was wild and the roads rough; but the route to-day would be a delightful one, especially that part of it which passes through Warwickshire with its 'hedgerows of unmarketable beauty.'

As they approached the old town of Warwick, travelling by circuitous paths to avoid the crowds then journeying to witness the festivities at Kenilworth, Amy and her humble guide, the blacksmith, passed through some of the most beautiful country in England. But they were obliged to avoid what to-day forms the grand climax of interest to the tourist, the magnificent Castle of Warwick. This was the resting-place of Queen Elizabeth on the day preceding her triumphal progress to Kenilworth. In those days it was the seat of Ambrose Dudley, a brother to the Earl of Leicester and the third son of the notorious John Dudley.

There was never a time, say the local antiquaries, back as far as the reign of the celebrated King Arthur, when Warwick did not have its Earls. The most renowned of these was Guy, a great warrior supposed to stand nine feet high, among whose exploits were the killing of 'a Saracen giant, a wild boar, a dun cow, and a green dragon.' After a life devoted to these pleasant diversions, he retired to Guy's Cliffe, a retreat near Warwick, famed for its natural beauty, where he lived as a hermit until his death. The real building of the {282} castle began when the Normans took possession, William the Conqueror granting the vast estate, including the castle and the town, to Henry de Newburgh, the first Earl of Warwick. In the fifteenth century it came into the possession of Richard Neville, the famous 'King-Maker.' Since that time many improvements have been made, especially in the spacious grounds, which now make a splendid park, with well-kept lawns and paths, stately trees, formal gardens with yews fantastically trimmed, and a profusion of flowers.


The entrance road, cut through solid rock, looks as if carved out of soft moss, so thickly does the ivy cling to the walls. Trees of varied foliage overarch the path, and near the entrance the edges are bordered by narrow lines of flowers. At the end of this delightful avenue a sharp turn to the left brought us in front of the great Castle. On the right is Guy's Tower, rising one hundred and twenty-eight feet high and having walls ten feet thick. On the left is Cæsar's Tower, built by the Normans eight hundred years ago and still firm as the rock upon which it stands. The two are joined by an ivy-covered wall in the centre of which is a great gate between two towers. Passing through this gateway we entered the spacious court. Directly opposite is the mound, or keep, almost completely covered from base to summit with trees and shrubs, over the tops of which the towers and battlements peep out. On the right are two unfinished towers, one of them begun by Richard III, the whole side of the quadrangle forming a massive line of ramparts and embattled walls. On the left is the great mansion, occupied for centuries by the Earls of Warwick. The square formed by these huge stone buildings {283} is beautiful in its simplicity--a wide expanse of lawn, its rich velvet green broken only by the white gravel walks. To see the interior of the castle we were compelled to join a party of tourists, and march in solemn procession through the rooms of state, while our guide, an old soldier with a Cockney accent, loquaciously explained that his 'hobject' in telling us about the 'hearls' in this room was to prepare us to appreciate the 'hearls' in the next! This agony over, we departed by the road which leads across the Avon, where we were rewarded by a superb view of the castle from the bridge.

The next day we were at Kenilworth. It requires the exercise of a vivid imagination to walk among the ruins and trace the progress of Scott's story, but we found it a delightful study. We entered by the little wicket gate, next to the mansion known as the Gatehouse, erected by Dudley in 1570 as the chief entrance to the castle. Walking south, across the outer court, we came to the ancient entrance in the southeast angle known as Mortimer's Tower. From this point an embankment stretched to the southeast for about one hundred and fifty yards. It was eighteen yards wide and twenty feet high. Besides serving its original purpose of a dam, to hold back the waters of a great lake covering one hundred and eleven acres, this bank of earth made an admirable tilt-yard. At the extreme end of the embankment was the Gallery Tower, containing a spacious room from which the ladies could witness the tournaments. A wall eight feet high and eighty-five feet long is all that remains of this structure. It was built by Henry III in the thirteenth century and reconstructed {284} by the Earl of Leicester in preparation for the great festivities.

Here Amy presented herself under strange circumstances. As the wife of the great Earl of Leicester, the magnificent castle was her own and all its army of servants, and the vast crowd of sight-seers, could they have recognized their countess, would have bowed in humble reverence and have delighted to execute her slightest wish. But she came unknown and unrespected, not as the honoured Countess, but as 'the bale of woman's gear' belonging to a blacksmith, disguised as a juggler. At the Gallery Tower the two strange companions were halted by a giant porter, and gained admission only by the intercession of the mischievous little imp called Flibbertigibbet. They traversed the length of the tilt-yard, and passing through Mortimer's Tower, came in front of the splendid buildings, all with doors and gates wide open as a sign of unlimited hospitality.

On their right stood the stately Cæsar's Tower, a fine specimen of the military architecture of the Normans, built about 1170 to 1180, and still the best-preserved portion of the ruins. On their left was the great 'Leicester's Building,' erected in honour of the occasion for the accommodation of the Queen. It reached a height of ninety-three feet and was ninety feet long and fifty feet wide. The walls are thin, however, and although the most recent in date of all the important parts of the castle, this structure has crumbled into ruins to such an extent that it can be preserved only by constant attention.

Between Cæsar's Tower and Leicester's Building, and joining the two, Amy and her guide saw a stately edifice, {285} then known as King Henry VIII's Lodgings, because it was used by that monarch on the occasion of his visits to the castle. The portion on the left, immediately adjoining Leicester's Building, was called Dudley's Lobby. No vestige of these structures, which originally formed the eastern side of a magnificent quadrangle, can now be seen.

Passing through an open gateway between Cæsar's Tower and King Henry's Lodgings, the Countess entered the Inner Court. On the right, and in the rear of Cæsar's Tower, she could see the great kitchens, then a busy part of the establishment, but now showing little more than the remains of a huge fireplace and a thick wall from which project a broken arch or two. On the left were the White Hall, now entirely destroyed, and next to it the Presence Chamber, which had a fine oriel window looking into the court. Directly in front Amy could see the 'Great Hall' in which her princely husband had made lavish preparations to entertain the Queen with unprecedented extravagance. It was built in the fourteenth century by John of Gaunt, son of Edward III, who took up his residence at the castle on the death of his father, and spent the remainder of his life in adding to its magnificence. The hall was ninety feet long and forty-five feet wide. The floor has disappeared, but the remains of the pillars and arches which once supported it may still be seen. The Great Hall was lighted by large and very high windows, set in deep recesses, the outlines of which are still well preserved. The remains of two large fireplaces, one on each side, may still be seen. At the southern end was a dais, upon which was the Throne of State, with crimson canopy of {286} richly embroidered velvet. At the opposite end was a minstrel gallery for the musicians. From the centre of the roof hung a chandelier of brass, shaped like an eagle, its spreading wings supporting six human figures, each of which carried a pair of branches containing huge candles. The tables, chairs, cushions, carpets, and silken tapestries were all of the costliest workmanship. It is stated that the Earl of Leicester spent £60,000 upon this lavish entertainment, a sum which, to-day, would be better represented by half a million.


Amy and her escort were not at liberty to view this regal magnificence. They proceeded across the court to a tower at the northwestern angle, which was doubtless intended for a prison, judging from the thickness of the walls and the small size of the rooms. It was called, for this reason, the Strong Tower, though Scott's name for it is Mervyn's Tower. During the Elizabethan festivities it was used for the accommodation of guests. Here we must leave Amy for the present and go back to trace the movements of Elizabeth.

The Queen approached by way of the Gallery Tower, heralded by the roll of drums, the blare of trumpets, the roar of cannon, and the tumultuous shouts of a vast multitude. Two hundred thick waxen torches, each borne by a horseman, cast a glare of light upon the cavalcade. The Queen, mounted upon a milk-white horse and clad in gorgeous raiment, blazing with jewels, was accompanied by the Earl of Leicester, 'glittering like a golden image with jewels and cloth of gold.' He rode a jet-black horse, renowned as one of the most splendid chargers in Europe. Both horse and rider seemed perfectly formed to grace an occasion so glorious. {287} A great procession of the most distinguished noblemen, the ablest statesmen, and the proudest knights of England followed the Queen, together with the ladies of the Court, famed for splendour and beauty and arrayed in garments only a little less magnificent than those of the Queen herself. Passing upon the bridge or dam which stretched between the gallery and Mortimer's Tower, the royal procession paused to witness a gorgeous spectacular performance on the lake. Then, entering the Base Court, they moved through various pageants to the Inner Court, and came at length to the Great Hall, where the Queen was handed to the Throne by the Earl of Leicester.

The Pleasance was an irregular-shaped enclosure, visible to the west from Mervyn's Tower and connecting with a rectangular section on the north known as the garden. The latter had a terrace along the castle wall, ten feet high and twelve feet wide, covered with grass and decorated with obelisks, spheres, and stone bears. At each end was an arbour of trees and fragrant flowers. The garden was intersected by walks or alleys, each of which had, in the middle, a square pilaster, fifteen feet high, surmounted by an orb. In the centre of the garden was a fountain of white marble, its pedestal carved with allegorical subjects and surmounted by two Atlantes, back to back, holding a ball, from which streams of water poured into the basin. At the side of the terrace was a large aviary, well filled with birds.

This was the scene of the dramatic climax toward which the novel trends, where Queen Elizabeth finally confronts Amy Robsart and begins to unravel the whole story of Leicester's duplicity.


Aside from their associations with the novel, the ruins of Kenilworth seem to exert a strong fascination. It is as though Nature were reasserting herself. A thousand years ago the domain was untouched by the hand of man. Then came kings and conquerors, who replaced the pristine beauty with artificial structures. Stately halls and palaces sprang into existence. Their inner walls were hung with the costliest of silks. Their floors were covered with the richest carpets from the looms of the Orient. Chairs, stools, tables, and bedsteads of elaborate workmanship, gorgeously covered with lace and embroidered with cloth of gold; paintings; musical instruments; curiously wrought plate, of silver and mother-of-pearl; everything, indeed, that the handicraft of the times could fashion and the wealth of its owners could buy, was brought to the castle in mute testimonial of man's conception of beauty. But these things passed. Kings and queens no longer made the castle their home, nor honoured it with even a brief visit. The people seized the government and, jealous lest royalty should again find shelter there, demolished the costly buildings. For the sake of a few pounds of lead, the roofs were torn away and sold. The artificial dam which backed up the waters of the great lake was cut and the waters flowed once more in their natural channels. Nature again assumed control. The formal gardens became a green pasture. The spacious courts which had been worn hard by the iron hoofs of countless steeds became soft again with a covering of deep and velvety grass. The proud war-horses vanished and in their place the gentle sheep appeared. The frightful scars on the face of the ruined buildings were concealed {289} beneath a rich cloak of deep-green ivy. Wall-flowers sprang out of the broken crevices below the arches.

All is peaceful, all is still. Nature has brought to the castle her own conception of beauty, and once more reigns supreme.




The Shetland and Orkney Islands, seen from an aeroplane at great height on a calm day, would resemble, I fancy, two handfuls of gravel thrown upon a horizontal sheet of window-glass. When I was a boy they meant little to me except a few black specks at the top of the map of Great Britain. Upon examining a larger map, an active lad might fancy that it would be great fun to skip from one island to another, or to play tag, leaping over the numerous indentations in the coast. The Shetland group is broken into about one hundred islands, stretching north and south for seventy miles, but the total land surface is only five hundred and fifty-one square miles, or less than half the area of the State of Rhode Island. The Orkney group, lying fifty miles farther south, is even smaller, its fifty-six islands containing only three hundred and seventy-five square miles.

Upon closer acquaintance, however, the islands do not seem so diminutive. Great rugged cliffs tower perpendicularly to enormous heights above the sea-level. Huge broken fragments of rock form gigantic towers, or stacks, rising out of the sea to a height of hundreds of feet. One of the most picturesque of these, the Old Man of Hoy, would tower above the dome of St. Peter's in Rome. Our small boy, standing on the edge of one of these cliffs, looking down upon the ocean, boiling and seething through strange caverns and natural arches, {291} five hundred feet below, would quickly forget his desire to leap to the nearest island. The wildness of the scene is accentuated by the screaming of thousands of cormorants, guillemots, and gulls, mingling with the roar of the sea and the mournful soughing of the wind.

We sailed into the Sound of Bressay, the harbour of Lerwick, at twelve o'clock on a Saturday night in June. It was still light enough to see plainly, for in these regions the summer sun has to rise so early in the morning that he does not think it worth while to go to bed. Expecting to land at the wharf of some quiet little seaport town, we were astonished at the sight which the twilight revealed. A forest of masts crowded the sound, which is here a mile wide. It was at the height of the herring-fishing, and nearly a thousand vessels had arrived to land their fish and enable their crews to spend Sunday on shore, for these fishermen observe the Sabbath, piously or otherwise, as a day of rest. All the remainder of that night and all day Sunday the stone pavements of Lerwick resounded to the clatter of wooden shoes worn by the Dutch fishermen. These Dutchmen are largely responsible for the importance of Lerwick, having discovered many years ago that it would be a convenient centre for the curing and shipping of herring. Other nations are also represented, particularly Norway, Sweden, Germany, and France, while the native Shetlanders still retain a portion of the trade, though relatively a small one. Besides filling the harbour, the vessels were crowded along the quays, five or six deep, so that the crews of late arrivals could reach the shore only by crossing the decks of several other ships. As soon as possible after a boat arrives, its cargo is auctioned off at {292} the Fishmarket, after which it proceeds to one of the curing stations. Nearly all the vessels were 'steam-drifters,' which have superseded the old sailing-boats. These drifters usually carry a crew of ten men. Their engines are capable of ten knots an hour, sometimes more. As it often happens that profitable shoals of fish cannot be found without travelling at least a hundred miles, the advantage over the old sailing-ships is apparent.

Crowds of people flock to Lerwick in the season to look for employment in the curing establishments. On the little steamer which conveyed us thither, we noticed, in various out-of-the-way corners of the deck, what seemed to be piles of black and brown rags. They were there when we came on board at Aberdeen, and remained nearly all the next day. They turned out to be women, huddling together to keep warm, and covered only by their thick dresses and a few old shawls. They belonged to a class known by the not very pleasing, but thoroughly descriptive, name of gutters, and were making their annual trip to Lerwick to spend the season in the great curing establishments. These sturdy women become very expert. Each fish is eviscerated with two quick motions of the knife, assisted by the thumb and fingers, the process continuing for long hours, at the rate of about two dozen of herring a minute.

[Illustration: LERWICK, SHETLAND]

Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, is a town of picturesque appearance. When it was built there were no carts in the islands, and no occasion for any, for there were no roads. A long zigzag street runs the length of the town, near the shore, and is the main business thoroughfare. A century ago it would have been impossible to drive an ordinary wagon through its narrow and awkward {293} turnings. Now the buildings are sufficiently altered to admit the passage of teams, but in many places, when a vehicle passes, the pedestrians must step into the nearest doorways. The town is built on a hillside, so that the cross-streets are steep lanes, alternating with short flights of stairs. They have rough pavements, and usually a rail is placed along the buildings for the safety of the pedestrians in icy weather. The main thoroughfare, varying in width from ten to twenty-five feet, is paved with flagging and its stone buildings, though small and of many different shapes, have a substantial look. Strolling through the streets of Lerwick, one might estimate the population at about five thousand; looking out over the harbour on Sunday morning he would be inclined to change the figure to twenty times that number; but again looking seaward on Monday afternoon, when the fishing fleet has disappeared, he would doubtless revert to his original estimate.

The men of the islands are nearly all fishermen. They work hard in the season, which lasts from June to September, and spend their money, during the long dark days of winter, in various amusements. Some maintain small farms of five or ten acres each, known as crofts, where they raise a few cattle and sheep. Only about one sixth of the land is under cultivation, and of this about three fourths is pasture land. The soil and climate of the Shetlands is decidedly unfavourable to agriculture. The women look after the cattle, till the soil in their small kail-yards, or gardens, bring in the winter supply of peat, and attend to all the duties of housekeeping. In the intervals of their busy lives, they knit shawls and other garments, out of wool which they card and spin {294} themselves. Indeed, they knit nearly all the time. It is not uncommon to see them walking along the roads or across the moors, with heavy baskets of peat on their backs, the knitting-needles clicking busily, as if every woman had been born with these implements in her hands.

On the morning after our arrival we set out to discover the scenes of 'The Pirate.' Not knowing what changes had occurred since Scott's visit to the islands in 1814, I was not sure whether I should be obliged to catch a Shetland pony upon which to travel or make up my mind to walk the twenty-seven miles between Lerwick and Sumburgh Head, over a roadless country of rocks and mountains, morasses, and quagmires. It was a delight, therefore, to learn not only that there was a good road all the way, but that Lerwick now boasted the possession of an automobile, the only one on the islands. I lost no time in hiring the car, with a chauffeur who said he 'knew the road,' though he afterwards confessed he had never been over it. When he reached the mountainous regions, where the road dodges in and out around a bewildering succession of short curves, along the edges of cliffs from which we could look down upon rugged rocks or into the lakes and voes a hundred feet below, speeding the machine as though he were on level ground and familiar with every foot of it, he gave us a thrill or two at every turn.


We started out in the general direction taken by Mordaunt Mertoun, when he left the comfortable home of Magnus Troil and his two pretty daughters, Minna and Brenda, to return to the forlorn habitation of his father at Jarlshof. There was just enough strong wind, with occasional dashes of rain, to suggest the storm which {295} Mordaunt faced. But he had to find his way around the edges of the numerous inland lakes and voes by a kind of instinct, having no path to follow. We travelled, on the contrary, over a good hard road, one of the improvements of the last half-century. Most of the people whom we passed had never seen an automobile. They not only hastily gave us the road, but usually climbed high up on the adjacent banks, sometimes dragging their pony-carts after them. One old man, when he saw us coming, hastily took his horse out of the shafts, and rushed up the side of the hill with the animal, to a safe distance of a hundred yards before he dared look back. The horse gazed upon us in mild-eyed curiosity, but the man's expression of terror suggested that he might have seen old Norna of the Fitful Head herself and her leering, sneering, grinning, and goggling dwarf, Nick Strumpfer, flying along in a vehicle of the Devil's own invention. Though not particularly grateful for the implied compliment, we were obliged to accept some such explanation of the fact, which became more and more apparent, that the men and women feared us far more than did their horses.

At one point we stopped to watch some women gathering peat. Only the wealthy can afford to import coal and there is no wood on the islands, because the fierce winds and rocky soil prevent the growth of trees. The universal fuel for the poor is therefore peat, which seems to have been providentially provided. For a fee of half-a-crown a year, or in some cases a little more, paid to some large landowner, each family may take a winter's supply. Every crofter's cottage has its peat-stack near the door. Peat is simply decayed moss, the most common variety of which is called _Sphagnum_. It is a small plant with {296} thin, scaly leaves. In the light it has a hue of vivid green, changing in the lower and darker places to a sickly yellow, and finally in the lowest and dampest places, where it is thoroughly decayed, to a deep black. This decayed portion is the peat, which, when well dried, burns with a smouldering fire, of greater heat than an equal weight of wood, but with far greater volume of smoke. The peat-banks resemble miniature terraces, each about a foot high. The cutting is done with a curious spade, with long narrow blade, called a _twiscar_ or _tuskar_. The top layer, consisting of coarse dry grasses and the roots of heather and other plants, is of no value. The second layer is a thick, moist, spongy substance of a dark brown or black colour, while the third is still more compressed, and, but for the moisture, looks somewhat like coal. Each spadeful resembles a big, blackened brick, of unusual length. They are laid in rows to dry and finally carried away to the crofter's cottages, generally in baskets. The women swing their heavy loads upon their backs and trudge long distances. Occasionally the peat is loaded upon small sledges drawn by ponies. We saw an old woman, with a very pretty granddaughter, loading their fuel upon one of these sledges, which was drawn by a little 'Sheltie' with furry coat of pure white. The old woman kindly allowed me to take her picture, a favour which two other women declined to grant, because they did n't have on their best clothes!

Burgh-Westra, the home of Magnus Troil and his daughters, is purely fictitious. It was supposed to be twenty miles from Sumburgh Head, which would make it seven miles south of Lerwick. We passed numerous voes, as the long arms of the sea are called, any of which {297} would have answered the description of the one upon which the Udaller's residence was situated, and we could have found many sheltered places among the rocks, corresponding to that in which Mordaunt Mertoun secretly met Brenda, or to the beach of white sand beneath a precipice, where Minna offered to pledge her hand to the pirate, Cleveland, by the mysterious 'promise of Odin.'

Ten miles below Burgh-Westra was Stourburgh, where Triptolemus Yellowley and Mistress Baby took up their residence. This, too, is fictitious. Sumburgh Head, on the contrary, is very real. It is a rocky promontory, three hundred feet high, at the southern extremity of the Mainland, as the largest of the Shetland Islands is called. Conflicting tides, sweeping around the rugged headland from two oceans, make a dangerous current, called the Roost of Sumburgh, from the Icelandic word, _röst_, signifying a strong tide. It has been a menace to navigation for centuries and the scene of countless shipwrecks. The novelist, quite naturally, therefore, made it the scene of the wreck and rescue of Cleveland. Such a place would appeal strongly to Scott, whose visit to the islands was made on a lighthouse yacht, the business of which was to inspect just such points of danger. He climbed the grassy slope to the top of the head, where he could look down from the loftiest crag upon a wild mass of rocks below, and said it would have been a fine situation in which to compose an ode to the Genius of Sumburgh Head or an elegy upon a cormorant or to have written and spoken madness of any kind. Instead of doing this he gave vent to his enthusiasm by sitting down on the grass and sliding a few hundred feet down to the beach! {298} Whether the performance was voluntary or involuntary, he did not see fit to inform us.

A short distance north of Sumburgh Head, and in full view of it, we found the ruins of Jarlshof, the abode of Basil Mertoun and his son. It was a poorly built house of rough, unhewn stone, and even at its best must have been desolate enough. Its age and history are not definitely known. Robert Stewart, a son of James V, who received the earldom of the Orkney and Shetland Islands from Mary Queen of Scots in 1565, may have been the builder. He is known to have dwelt in the house, as did his son, Patrick, who abandoned Jarlshof after building the Castle of Scalloway.

When Scott visited Sumburgh he saw nothing in Jarlshof more interesting than a ruined dwelling-house, partly buried by the sand, and once the residence of one of the Orkney earls. But directly beneath his feet, though he knew it not, was an object that would have delighted his antiquarian instincts more than anything else in the islands. He gave great attention to the old Pictish castles or brocks, especially to a small one on the shores of a lake near Lerwick, called by him Cleik-him-in (Clickimin), and later to the larger tower on the island of Mousa. Here at Jarlshof, though the fact was unknown to the inhabitants at the time of Scott's visit, there was once a series of brocks, as old as Mousa or Clickimin, and far more extensive.


This interesting discovery was made in 1897. Mr. John Bruce, the principal landowner in the parish of Kinrossness, upon whose property the ruin of Jarlshof stands, noticing the encroachments of the sea after a storm, began to suspect the existence of masonry beneath {299} the old castle. Two friends who were visiting him saw what seemed to be jutting ends of walls. They threw off their coats and began to excavate, continuing with enthusiasm until they discovered, to their great surprise, evidences of a far more extensive building than they had suspected. Mr. Bruce then engaged labourers and continued the work of excavation for five years.

The Castle of Jarlshof was erected on top of an older structure, the existence of which was evidently entirely unknown to the builder. The excavations reveal a circular tower sixty-three feet in diameter, similar in design to the other Shetland brochs, but larger at the base. Its main wall is pierced with a passage three feet wide, evidently leading to a staircase, and it has, within its thickness several chambers. Half of the broch has been swept away by the sea. On the west are portions of three smaller buildings, resembling beehives in form, the largest of which is oval in shape with a length of thirty-four feet and a width of nineteen. Outside of this structure was a great wall, varying from ten to twenty feet thick. It has been uncovered for a distance of seventy feet. Its shape suggests that it may have been part of a great circular wall surrounding the whole group of buildings, of which the central tower was the strongest and most important. Away back in the eighth or ninth century, some Pictish ruler may have constructed this immense fortress at the southern end of the islands, to repel attacks by sea, and to afford a refuge to the inhabitants in case of danger. Had Walter Scott known of its existence, he would have fairly revelled in the discovery, and perhaps the plot of 'The Pirate' might have been different.


Standing on the sands at Jarlshof, we could see, toward the northwest, the towering promontory of the Fitful Head, rising nine hundred and twenty-eight feet above the sea. This seemed a little puzzling at first, for Scott places the residence of Norna of the Fitful Head at the extreme northwestern edge of the Mainland. The Pictish burgh, or broch, which Norna is supposed to have inhabited, is on the island of Mousa,[1] off the eastern coast about ten miles north of Sumburgh Head. The Wizard, for a very good reason, set the old tower on the top of a great headland, ten miles to the south-west, and then moved the combination fifty miles to the north.


The dwelling of Norna, therefore, which to the casual reader seems so weird, was a very real thing. It represents {301} one of the earliest forms of architecture, a rude attempt to construct a dwelling of loose stones, without cement or timber, and with very slight knowledge of the art of building. The Norsemen did not come to the Shetland Islands until late in the eighth century and they found many of these brochs already in existence. The most perfect of them all is the one on the island of Mousa. It measures fifty-three feet in diameter at the base and thirty-eight feet at the top. It is forty-two feet high. The interior of what appears, externally, to be a rather large building, is less than twenty feet in diameter owing to the peculiar construction of the walls, which are really double. They are seventeen feet wide at the base. Inside the walls is a kind of rude stair, or inclined plane, winding around the building, and a series of very narrow galleries or chambers. These receive air through openings in the inner wall, but, excepting the door, there is no aperture in the outer wall.

This is the real building which Scott made the residence of Norna because of his profound interest in it as a structure of unknown antiquity. But standing in full view, firmly planted on a solid and easily accessible rock, its situation was too commonplace for the requirements of the story. He knew well how to create quite a different impression, by supposing the same kind of house situated in a wild and remote locality, on a ragged piece of rock split off from the main plateau and leaning outward over the sea as though the slightest weight would tumble the whole structure, rock and all, into the ocean. Then, to supply the needed air of mystery, he fancied it occupied by a crazy old witch, claiming sovereignty over the winds and the seas; her servant an ugly, big-mouthed, {302} tongueless dwarf, with malignant features and a horrible, discordant laugh; her favourite pet an uncouth and uncanny trained seal; her companions the unseen demons of the air; and her occupations the utterance of sibylline prophecies and the incantation of weird spells. Clearly, all this would have been impossible on the island of Mousa, so the author simply adjusted the geography of the country to the requirements of his romance.


Although Lerwick is now the only town of importance in the Shetlands, the village of Scalloway, directly across the Mainland on the eastern coast, once held that distinction. It is picturesquely situated on an arm of the sea. Approaching from the east, we paused at the top of the hill to look down upon it. Just below was one of those long narrow voes, so common in these islands. The whale-hunt described in 'The Pirate' came instantly to mind. It was easy to understand how one of these monsters might come in at high tide and find himself stranded at the ebb. At the mouth of this voe and circling around a small bay of its own lies the quaint little village. At the extremity of a point of land between the voe and the bay, rising higher than any of the surrounding buildings, stands the ruined Castle of Scalloway. It was built in 1600 by Patrick Stewart, the Earl of Orkney to whom I have previously referred. He was the 'Pate Stewart' whose name is still a synonym on the islands for all that is cruel and oppressive. He compelled the people to do his bidding. They were obliged to work in the quarries, drag the stone to the town, build the house as best they could without proper appliances, and perform any kind of menial service he might exact. For this they received a penny a day if the Earl felt {303} good-natured. Otherwise they received nothing. If they displeased him they were thrown into dungeons and not infrequently hanged. A huge iron ring near the top of the castle, which was used for this purpose, still bears witness to Pate Stewart's cruelty. He is said to have boasted that the ring seldom lacked a tassel. As mentioned in 'The Pirate,' the inhabitants only remembered one thing to his credit, and that was a law which accorded well with Patrick's own ideas of the rights of people to possess their own property. This was the law, so dear to boyish hearts, of 'finders keepers.' Property washed up from wrecks at sea belonged to those who found it. There was a prevalent superstition that to save a drowning person was unlucky, and no doubt this was one of the results of Pate Stewart's ruling. If a man was not rescued he could claim no rights of property. It was this superstition, so prevalent on the islands, that Scott wove into his plot, making the rescue of Cleveland and the saving of his chest an extremely unlucky occurrence for Mordaunt Mertoun.

We left Lerwick at midnight and stood on deck for an hour enjoying the scenery by twilight. The little steamer was loaded to the gunwales with barrels of fish, piled upon the decks in every nook and corner, so that there was scarcely room to stand, making us feel like two very insignificant bits of merchandise in the midst of such a valuable cargo of good salt herring. In the morning we reached the port of Kirkwall, the capital and chief city of the Orkneys.

Instead of a long busy quay, lined with hundreds of steam-drifters as at Lerwick, we saw an almost empty harbour and a dock, which, but for the arrival of our {304} own vessel, would have been deserted. The permanent population of the two towns is about the same, Kirkwall having the advantage of the better agricultural facilities of the Orkneys. Its streets are narrow like those in Lerwick. Bridge Street, up which the pirates marched so insolently to meet the city magistrates, and down which they swaggered again, dragging the terrified Triptolemus Yellowley, is one of the narrowest of thoroughfares. It is commonly said that here, 'two wheelbarrows tremble as they meet.' At the end, or 'top' of this street we turned to the right and found ourselves in Albert Street, one striking feature of which is a solitary tree. It was said, enviously, in Lerwick, that the people of Kirkwall were so proud of this wonderful vegetation that they took it in every night and set it out again in the morning.

Kirkwall is far more interesting than Lerwick because of its historical associations, most of which centre about the Cathedral of St. Magnus. The ancient building looks almost modern as you approach the wide plaza opening out from Broad Street. Although older than Melrose, Dryburgh, Holyrood, and Dunfermline abbeys, all of which are now in ruins, and in spite of the fact that it is built of the soft red and yellow sandstone, it still stands, complete and proudly erect. When Melrose was rebuilt, through the munificence of Robert Bruce in the fourteenth century, the central portions of St. Magnus had been standing for two centuries. In the sixteenth century, when an English king was battering down the fine old Gothic churches of Scotland, the people of Kirkwall not only protected their cathedral, but witnessed the addition of some of its finest features, notably the west doorway. In earlier times it had a spire, which, judging {305} from the massive columns upon which it rested, must have been an imposing one. The steeple was burned in 1671, and never replaced, except by a stumpy little tower which completely spoils the effect of an otherwise impressive building.

The story of the founding of St. Magnus is one of the most interesting of the sagas of the Orkneys. Hakon and Magnus, both grandsons of the great Earl Thorfinn, were joint rulers of the islands. Hakon was ambitious and treacherous; Magnus was virtuous, kind-hearted, and well-beloved. By a wicked conspiracy of Hakon and his associates, the saintly Magnus was murdered in the island of Egilsay in 1115, bravely meeting his death as a noble martyr. Hakon died soon after, and his son Paul inherited the earldom. Another claimant appeared in the person of Rognvald, a nephew of Earl Magnus, now called 'Saint' Magnus, a bold and skilful warrior and a born leader of men. Before proceeding against Paul, Rognvald accepted the advice of his father, who told him not to trust to his own strength, but to make a vow, that if, by the grace of St. Magnus, he should succeed in gaining his inheritance, he would build and dedicate to him a minster in Kirkwall, more magnificent in size and splendour than any other in the North. With the powerful but mysterious assistance of Sweyn Asleifson, 'the last of the Vikings,' who seized Earl Paul and carried him away bodily, Earl Rognvald became the sole ruler of the earldom. He set to work at once to fulfil his vow, and began work upon the cathedral in the year 1137.

The massiveness of the building is best realized by looking into the nave from the west doorway. The roof {306} is supported by immense round pillars of red sandstone, seven on each side. On the north and south of these pillars are long aisles, the walls of which are covered with ancient tombstones, taken up from the floor and set on end. In the north aisle is a mort-brod, or death-board, inscribed with the name of a departed Orcadian, whose picture is shown, sitting on the ground in his grave-clothes, a spade over his shoulder, an hour-glass in his lap, and a joyful grin on his face. On the reverse is the following:--

Below Doeth lye If ye wold trye Come read upon This brod The Corps of on Robert Nicholsone whos souls above With God. He being 70 years of age ended This mortal life and 50 of that he Was married to Jeane Davidson His wife. Betwixt them 2 12 children had, whereof 5 left behind the other 7 with him 's In Heaven, who's Joy's shall never end

In the south aisle are some curious tombstones, most of them having carved representations of the skull and crossbones. The death's heads are all much enlarged on the left side, the Orcadian idea being that the soul escapes at death through the left ear.


The pirate, Cleveland, it will be remembered, was kept a prisoner in these aisles, and was walking about disconsolately when Minna Troil entered. Concealed from the guards at the door by the huge pillars, they planned an escape. Suddenly Norna of the Fitful Head mysteriously appeared, and warning Minna that her plan would lead to certain discovery, sent the young woman away. Norna then led Cleveland through a secret passage out of the church to a place of safety. In the south aisle there is a low arch which formerly led, so it is said, through a secret underground passage to the Bishop's Palace across the street. This fact doubtless suggested to the novelist the means by which Norna might spirit away the captive pirate.

Across the street which runs by the south side of the cathedral are the ruins of two large mansions. The Bishop's Palace, which is not mentioned in 'The Pirate,' is chiefly interesting from the fact that Hakon Hakonson, the last of the great sea-kings of Norway, after his splendid fleet had been driven on the rocks by the fury of a great storm and there almost annihilated by the fierce onset of the Scottish warriors, sought refuge within its walls, only to die a few days later. This was in 1263. How much older the palace is, nobody knows.

The Earl's Palace, with its grounds, occupies the opposite corner, a narrow street intervening between the two ruins. The enclosure is filled with sycamores and other trees, thus refuting the slander of the envious Shetlanders. In fact, when we came to look for them, we found more than one enclosure in Kirkwall which could boast of fairly good-sized trees. The castle is, or was, a very substantial building, with fine broad {308} stairways and many turrets. Seen from the south, across the bowling-green, it might be taken for the ruin of some large church. It was built by the notorious Patrick Stewart, the same earl who abandoned Jarlshof, and compelled the people to build him a larger castle at Scalloway. By the same methods, he constructed the palace at Kirkwall, forcing the people to quarry the stone and do all his work without pay. An example of his tyranny was related to me by a resident of Kirkwall. According to this tale, the Earl coveted a piece of land adjoining the palace, with which the owner refused to part. Patrick, not accustomed to be thwarted in his plans, was quick to apply the remedy. He secretly caused some casks of brandy to be buried in the desired tract. In due time he began to complain that somebody was stealing his liquor and finally charged his neighbour with the offence. The casks were then triumphantly 'discovered' as proof positive. Inasmuch as the Earl was his own judge, jury, and court of appeals, the poor innocent landowner was quickly condemned, hanged, and his property confiscated. Many a man made over a part of his land to the Earl on demand, having no alternative.

We noticed many portholes under the windows, showing that the castle was intended to serve as a fortress as well as a mansion. This was the secret of the Earl's final downfall. The authorities of Edinburgh could go to sleep when the Earl of the far-distant islands merely oppressed his own people, but to fortify a castle against the King was an act of treason. When Patrick Stewart and his son Robert prepared to maintain their independence by fortifying not only the castle but the cathedral, Scotland woke up. The Earl of Caithness {309} was sent against the rebels. Robert, who was in command, withstood the siege for one month, when he was overcome, carried to Edinburgh, and hanged. Patrick took refuge in the Castle of Scalloway and for a time baffled his pursuers by hiding in a secret chamber. He could not resist the consolation of tobacco and took a few surreptitious pulls at his pipe, while the searchers were in the house. The smoke, or the smell, betrayed him. He was speedily taken to Edinburgh, where he paid the penalty on the gallows of a long career of tyranny, cruelty, extortion, confiscation, robbery, and murder.

The most interesting room in the Earl's castle is the banqueting-hall, which had a high roof or ceiling and was lighted on the south by three tall but narrow arched windows. On one side is a huge fireplace with two arches, the lower one flat. Supporting this curious combination are two pillars, on which are carved the initials P.E.O., meaning Patrick, Earl of Orkney, the letters being still legible. In this room Cleveland is supposed to have met Jack Bunce upon his return to Kirkwall.

The two pirates, after leaving the castle, walked to Wideford Hill, two miles from the town, where the Fair of St. Olla was being held. The annual Lammas Market or Fair at this place is still one of the institutions of Kirkwall, although no longer so important as in the time of 'The Pirate.'

If Scott took liberties with the geography of Shetland, he was scrupulously exact in his treatment of the Orkneys. Every movement of the brig of Magnus Troil, as well as those of the pirate ship, can be traced on the map. The latter, it will be recalled, sailed around to {310} Stromness, where she dropped anchor. Two inland lakes, known as the Loch of Stennis and the Loch of Harray, now favourite resorts for anglers, lie northeast of the town. They are separated by a narrow causeway called the Bridge of Brogar. This is the place where the pirates landed their boat on the night of the final tragedy of the story. We found the locality one of the most interesting in the islands.

At the entrance of the bridge stands a huge, rough-hewn stone, eighteen feet high, known as the 'watch-stone' or 'sentinel.' This is the largest of the 'stones of Stennis,' a collection of ancient monoliths comparable in Great Britain only to those of Stonehenge. At the farther end of the bridge is the so-called 'Circle of the Sun,' a ring about one hundred and twenty yards in diameter, surrounded by a trench about six feet deep. The stones composing this circle are from eight to sixteen feet high and of irregular shape. One of them is at least five or six feet wide. There were about forty stones originally, but now only fifteen remain standing. A smaller group, known as the 'Circle of the Moon,' but composed of larger stones, stands in a field near the eastern end of the bridge. A horizontal stone, laid on top of these vertical ones, makes a rude table or altar. This may have been a place of druidical sacrifices, if the most prevalent belief is to be accepted, or possibly the work of Scandinavian hands. It was by this table of stone that Minna stood, to meet and bid farewell to her lover, looking like a druidical priestess, or, if the Scandinavian theory be accepted, 'she might have seemed a descended vision of Freya, the spouse of the Thundering Deity, before whom some bold sea-king or champion bent with an awe {311} which no mere mortal terror could have inflicted upon him.'


The Stone of Odin formerly stood on the east side of this circle. Minna had offered to pledge her faith to Cleveland by the 'promise of Odin' and Norna of the Fitful Head had married her lover by the same rite. This stone differed from the others only in the fact that it had a round hole near the base. Lovers who found it inconvenient to be married by a priest, or who wished to plight their troth by some unusually solemn vow, resorted to this stone, and a promise here given was regarded as sacred and never to be broken. The marriage ceremony was peculiar. The couple first visited the Circle of the Moon, where the woman, in the presence of the man, knelt and prayed to the god Woden, or Odin, that he would enable her to perform all her obligations and promises. They next went to the Circle of the Sun, where the man in like manner made his prayers. Then they returned to the Stone of Odin, where, the man standing on one side and the woman on the other, they joined hands through the hole and took upon themselves the solemn vows of matrimony. Such a marriage could never be broken.

Scott visited the Stones of Stennis in 1814. Had he arrived a year later he would not have seen the Stone of Odin, for some irreverent Orcadian broke it up, probably to help build the foundation of his cottage.

Leaving, with some reluctance, these relics of a civilization more than a thousand years old, we resumed our journey toward Stromness. The town lies on the slope of a hill, resembling Lerwick in this respect and in the closeness of the houses to the sea. Some of the buildings {312} stand so near the water that parts of the bay look like a miniature Venice. Our motor-car frequently occupied the entire width of the street, sidewalks and all, as we twisted our tortuous course for a mile along the main thoroughfare. From the high ground behind the town, we had a fine view of the sea, and across the sound, the great towering island of Hoy, the highest and most impressive of all the Orkney group. On the western side a long line of precipitous cliffs, rising a thousand feet above the sea, opposes an unbroken front to the full force of the Atlantic. At the western end as we saw it from above Stromness, the rocks form the profile of a man's face, not so stern as that in the Franconia Notch of the White Mountains, but having rather a more genial look. It is said to resemble Sir Walter Scott, a likeness which, I confess, I could see only when I shut my eyes and thought of Chantrey's bust.

The island of Hoy plays an important part in 'The Pirate.' It was the original home of Norna when the old witch was a handsome young girl. The Dwarfie Stone, where she met the demon Trolld, and bartered her life's happiness for the power to control the tempests and the waves of the sea, is on the southwest slope of Ward Hill, the highest peak of which rises to a height of over fifteen hundred feet. It is in a desolate peat-bog, two miles from the nearest human habitation. The stone is about thirty feet long and half as wide. Hollowed out of the interior is a chamber, with two beds, one of them a little over five feet long. It is difficult to conceive why any human being should have taken the trouble to cut out the rock for a hermitage or place of refuge, or why any one should seek so desolate an abode. {313} Tradition therefore affirmed that the rock was fashioned by spirit hands and was the dwelling of the elfin dwarf, Trolld. It was to this island that Norna conducted Mordaunt after he had received a wound at the hands of Cleveland.

It was at Stromness that Scott, in 1814, made the acquaintance of Bessie Millie, an aged dame who made her living by selling favourable winds to mariners at the reasonable price of sixpence each. The touch of insanity, and the strong influence she possessed over the natives of the island, who feared her power, were strongly suggestive of Norna. This old sibyl related to Scott the story of John Gow, whose boyhood was spent in Stromness. This daring individual had gone to sea at an early age and returned to the home of his youth, a pirate, commanding a former English galley of two hundred tons which he had captured and renamed the 'Revenge.' He boldly came ashore and mingled with the people, giving dancing-parties in the village of Stromness. Before his real character was known he became engaged to a young woman, and the two plighted their troth at the Stone of Odin. The houses of his former neighbours were plundered and many acts of insolence and violence committed. At length, through the exertions of a former schoolmate, Gow was captured with his entire crew and speedily executed at London. The young woman journeyed to London, too, for the purpose of touching her former lover's dead body. In that way only, according to the superstition of her country, could she obtain a release from her vow and avoid a visit from the pirate's ghost, in case she should ever marry. Gow's brief career furnished an excellent model for Cleveland, {314} though the author endowed his 'pirate' with some very commendable qualities which the prototype probably did not possess.

Bessie Millie, the old hag of Stromness, needed, in addition to her own eccentricities, only a few touches of the gipsy nature, to make her a good 'original' for Norna. A local preacher in the parish of Tingwall, whom Scott met on his visit to Shetland, is said to have suggested Triptolemus Yellowley. Three or four families, in whose homes the novelist was a welcome visitor, have laid claim to the honour of supplying the 'originals' of Minna and Brenda Troil. These two delightful characters, however, were no doubt intended merely to embody the ideal of perfect sisterly affection, and external resemblances to real people, though such might easily be fancied, were probably far from the author's purpose.

[Illustration: STROMNESS, ORKNEY]

For the rest, the great charm of 'The Pirate' lies in the expression of the novelist's enthusiasm for the fresh and fascinating scenery of a wild country, where strange weird tales are wafted on every breeze, where the quaint customs of past ages are still retained, where Nature reveals herself in a constant succession of new and ever captivating forms, where the rush of the wind and the roar of the sea impart fresh joys to the senses and fill one's soul with renewed veneration for the Power that rules the elements.

As we sailed away for Aberdeen, it was with very much the same feeling which Scott expressed at the close of his diary of the vacation of 1814.[2] He said he had taken {315} as much pleasure in the excursion as in any six weeks of his life. 'The Pirate' was not written until seven years later, but it carries as much freshness and enthusiasm as though it had been composed on the return voyage.

[1] CROSS-SECTION OF THE BROCH OF MOUSA. _a, a._ Rooms in Circular Wall, connected by a rude spiral stair. _b, b._ Windows opening into inner court.

[2] The diary, containing a full account of the visit of 1814, in a lighthouse yacht, to the Shetland and Orkney Islands, the Hebrides, and the northern coasts of Scotland and Ireland, is printed in full in Lockhart's _Life of Scott_.




Hitherto our exploration of the Scott country had revealed a never-ending succession of ruined castles, palaces, and abbeys; of picturesque rivers, lakes, cataracts, and quiet pools; of seashores where thunderous waves dashed against precipitous cliffs; of quaint villages and queer-looking dwelling-houses; of weird caverns and strange monuments suggesting the superstitions and fantasies of bygone ages; of pleasant meadows, wild moors, rounded hilltops, and rugged mountains; of a thousand tangible objects of interest which had in some way suggested to Sir Walter the theme for a poem or story. But when we reached Scott's London, the camera, which had faithfully recorded all the other scenes, refused to perform its function. The tangibleness of the subjects had ceased. My lenses have excellent physical eyes but no historical insight. They insist upon seeing things as they are and will not record them as they once existed. The London of Nigel Olifaunt has completely disappeared and in its place a new London has arisen. To photograph the city of to-day as the scenes of Nigel's adventures, would be like painting the 'Purchase of Manhattan Island from the Indians' with a background of fifty-story 'sky-scrapers.' From such a task my faithful camera shrank, and I was obliged to lay it aside, to turn over, for several days, the pages of {317} some huge piles of books on Old London in the British Museum.

Lockhart, who places 'The Fortunes of Nigel' in the first class of Scott's romances, says that his historical portrait of King James I 'stands forth preëminent and almost alone.' This, indeed, is the whole object of the book,--to picture the London of King James and the personal peculiarities of that monarch. Scott was thoroughly saturated--so to speak--with the history and literature of that period, and especially with the dramas of Ben Jonson and his contemporaries; and this enabled him to picture the manners of the time almost as if they were within his personal recollection.

It is an amusing portrait of a pompous, strutting, and absurd monarch who yet possessed enough learning, as well as ready wit, to gain the title of 'the wisest fool in Christendom.' Through his famous tutor at Stirling Castle, George Buchanan, who freely boxed the royal ears and administered spankings the same as to other boys, the King had early acquired a certain taste for learning. He evinced a fondness for the classics and yearned to become a poet. He wrote in verse a paraphrase of the Revelation of St. John and a version of the Psalms, besides prose disquisitions on every conceivable subject. His conversation, as described by Scott, was a curious compound of Latin, Greek, English, and the broad Scotch dialect. His tastes, as well as character, were suggested by the appearance of a table in the palace, which, says the novelist, 'was loaded with huge folios, amongst which lay light books of jest and ribaldry; and, amongst notes of unmercifully long orations, and essays on kingcraft, were mingled miserable roundels {318} and ballads by the Royal 'Prentice, as he styled himself, in the art of poetry, and schemes for the general pacification of Europe, with a list of the names of the King's hounds, and remedies against canine madness.'

A man of medium height and somewhat corpulent, James managed to make his figure seem absurdly fat and clumsy, by having his green velvet dress quilted, so as to be dagger-proof, for he was both timid and cowardly. The ungainly protuberance thus artificially acquired was accentuated by a pair of weak legs, which caused him to roll about rather than walk, and to lean on other men's shoulders when standing. 'He was fond of his dignity while he was perpetually degrading it by undue familiarity; capable of much public labour, yet often neglecting it for the meanest amusement; a wit, though a pedant; and a scholar, though fond of the conversation of the ignorant and uneducated.'

[Illustration: Sketch Map of London]

Contrasting strongly with this weak and ludicrous character, Scott introduced the sterling qualities of a noble Scotchman, George Heriot, to whom Edinburgh is indebted for one of her most splendid benevolent institutions, Heriot's Hospital, where for nearly three centuries the poor fatherless boys of the city have been transformed into eminent and useful citizens, honoured and respected in many parts of the world. George Heriot, nicknamed by the King 'Jingling Geordie,' was the son of an Edinburgh goldsmith, to whose business he succeeded. At thirty-six years of age he had the good fortune to be appointed goldsmith to Queen Anne, and shortly after, goldsmith and jeweller to her husband, then James VI of Scotland. On his accession to the English throne as James I, in 1603, Heriot followed the King {319} to London. In those times, and until the eighteenth century, goldsmiths commonly acted as bankers. Heriot made full use of his unusual opportunity and laid the foundation of a large fortune. Disheartened by the loss of his young and beautiful wife, who died at the age of twenty-one, Heriot made a will leaving his entire property, amounting to £23,625, for the establishment of the hospital. His picture is thus described in a quotation copied by Scott in one of his notes: 'His fair hair, which overshades the thoughtful brow and calm, calculating eye, with the cast of humour on the lower part of the countenance, are all indicative of the genuine Scottish character, and well distinguish a person fitted to move steadily and wisely through the world, with a strength of resolution to ensure success and a disposition to enjoy it.'

The weakness of James is still further accentuated in the novel by the introduction of his imperious favourite, George Villiers, the first Duke of Buckingham, whom the King called 'Steenie,' from his fancied resemblance to the portrait of the martyr, Stephen, as painted by the Italian artists. 'James endured his domination rather from habit, timidity, and a dread of encountering his stormy passions, than from any heartfelt continuation of regard towards him.' The King's favour, nevertheless, made Buckingham the richest nobleman in England (with possibly a single exception) and the virtual ruler of the kingdom. The constant companion of the Duke was Baby Charles, as James insisted upon calling his son, afterward King Charles I, for whose ruin and death on the scaffold James was himself, all unconsciously, rapidly paving the way. David Ramsay, the whimsical {320} and absent-minded watchmaker, who kept shop in Fleet Street, near Temple Bar, was a real character, who held the post of 'watchmaker and horologer' to James I. His most famous performance was a search for hidden treasure in the cloister of Westminster Abbey, by the use of Mosaic rods, or divining rods, which, according to the current account, failed solely because of the presence of too many people. The irreverent laughter of these persons caused a fierce wind to spring up so suddenly that 'the demons had to be dismissed' for fear the church would fall in on them.

These are the real characters of the story. To identify the scenes a good map of Old London, will accomplish more than a personal visit. Such a map need only follow the windings of the Thames, which for centuries was the great silent highway of London,--a distinction which it did not lose until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Over the highway passed the royal barge of Elizabeth, as described in 'Kenilworth,' and it was by this same method of travelling that George Heriot conducted his young friend, Nigel, to the presence of the King at Whitehall. For the streets of the city were narrow and crowded, and rioting, as the result of debauchery and licentiousness, was not infrequent, so that few cared to ride on horseback, and carriages, except for the high nobility, were entirely unknown. So the Thames was the one great artery through which flowed both the business and social life of the city.

When King George and Queen Mary, at the recent coronation, passing through the Admiralty Arch in Trafalgar Square, turned into Whitehall on their way to Westminster Abbey, their route lay between great {321} rows of government buildings, lined with thousands of cheering subjects. Had conditions remained as they were in King James's time, this part of the triumphal procession would have been entirely within the limits of their own royal palace.

Whitehall Palace, originally built in 1240, was for three centuries called York House, or York Place, taking its name from the fact that it was the London residence of the Archbishop of York. Under Cardinal Wolsey it was rebuilt and refurnished in a style of magnificence excelling anything ever before known in England and equal in splendour to the best in the palaces of the kings. With the fall of Wolsey in 1529 the mansion became the property of King Henry VIII, who changed the name to Whitehall, and proceeded to enlarge and improve both the palace and the grounds. A plan published in 1680 shows that the buildings, with their courtyards and areas, then covered twenty-three acres. It included a cock-pit and a tennis-court, on the site of the present Treasury buildings, and the Horse-Guards Parade was then a tilt-yard. These arrangements sufficiently suggest some of the favourite amusements of royalty. Henry VIII took great delight in cock-fighting and James I amused himself with it regularly twice a week. Queen Elizabeth found pleasure in tournaments and pageants, and it is recorded that in the sixty-seventh year of her age she 'commanded the bear, the bull, and the ape to be bayted in the Tilt-yard.'[1]

King James I found the palace in bad repair and determined to rebuild it on a vast and magnificent scale. {322} Inigo Jones, one of the most famous architects of his time, was employed and made plans for a building, which, if completed, would have covered an area of twenty-four acres. Judging from drawings now in the British Museum, it seems a pity that this admirable project was never fully executed. Only the banqueting-hall was finished, and this still remains as the sole survivor of the Palace of Whitehall. Its chief historical interest lies in the fact that, from one of its windows, Charles I stepped out upon the scaffold where he was beheaded.

If we were to follow ancient custom and use the Thames for our highway, as did two hundred peers and peeresses at the late coronation, we should now row down the river and land at Charing Cross Pier, where we should find the remnant of the sumptuous palace built by 'Steenie,' the Duke of Buckingham. This is the York Water Gate, formerly the entrance to the Duke's mansion from the Thames, but now high above the water, overlooking the garden of the Victoria Embankment.

Continuing down the river, we should stop at Temple Pier, and visit the Temple Gardens, where Nigel walked in despair, after his encounter with Lord Dalgarno in St. James's Park, and where, it will be remembered, he fell in with the friendly Templar, Reginald Lowestoffe. The Temple property was granted in 1609 by James I to the benchers of the Inner and Middle Temple for the education of students and professors of the law. Oliver Goldsmith lived in Middle Temple Lane, and in the same house, Sir William Blackstone, the great English jurist, and William Makepeace Thackeray, also had chambers. {323} Dr. Johnson lived in Inner Temple Lane, as did Charles Lamb, who was born within the Temple.

Coming out into Fleet Street, we should stand before the figure of a griffin on a high pedestal, which marks the site of Temple Bar. In Scott's time it was an arch crossing the street, and in the time of King James, merely a barricade of posts and chains. When the coronation procession passed this point, King George V, according to ancient custom, paused to receive permission from the Lord Mayor to enter the City of London. The civic sword was presented to the King and immediately returned to the Lord Mayor, after which the procession resumed its march.

Within Temple Bar and on the north side of Fleet Street, between Fetter Lane and Chancery Lane, is St. Dunstan's Church, built in 1832 on the site of an older church building. A few yards to the eastward, according to Scott, was the shop of David Ramsay, the watch-maker, before which the two 'stout-bodied and strong-voiced' apprentices kept up the shouts of 'What d'ye lack? what d' ye lack?'--very much after the fashion of a modern 'barker.' This was the opening scene of the novel, though not suggested in the slightest by the Fleet Street of to-day.

On the opposite side a narrow lane, called Bouverie Street, leads down toward the river along the eastern boundary of The Temple, into 'Whitefriars,' or Alsatia, where Nigel was compelled to take refuge for a time in the house of the old miser, Trapbois. The 'Friars of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel,' otherwise known as the 'White Friars,' established their London house in 1241, between Fleet Street and the Thames, on land {324} granted by Edward I. This carried with it the privileges of sanctuary or immunity from arrest, which were allowed to the inhabitants long after the dissolution of the religious houses. Indeed, before the suppression of the monastery, the persons of bad repute, who had flocked to the district in great numbers, were wont to make so much disturbance with their continual clamours and outcries, that the friars complained that they could not conduct divine service. The privilege was confirmed by James I, and in his time, as a consequence, 'Alsatia,' as the district came to be called, was one of the worst quarters in London. It was the common habitation of thieves, gamblers, swindlers, murderers, bullies, and drunken, dissipated reprobates of both sexes. Its atmosphere, thick with the fogs of the river, fairly reeked with the smell of alehouses of the lowest order, which outnumbered all the other houses. The shouts of rioters, the profane songs and boisterous laughter of the revellers, mingled with the wailing of children and the screaming of women. The men were 'shaggy, uncombed ruffians whose enormous mustaches were turned back over their ears,' and they swaggered through the dirty streets, quarrelling, brawling, fighting, swearing, and 'smoking like moving volcanoes.' They waged a ceaseless warfare against their proud and noisy, but not so disreputable, neighbours of The Temple.

Coming back to our imaginary trip by river (for we really visited these sites either on foot or by taxi-cab), we continue down the river, passing under Blackfriars Bridge, and stop for a moment at Paul's Wharf, near where Nigel found quarters in the house of John Christie, the honest ship-chandler. Journeying {325} onward, we pass under London Bridge, which in James's time was the only means of crossing the river, other than by boat. It was then overloaded with a great weight of huge buildings, many stories high, under which passed a narrow roadway. At the southern entrance was a gate, the top of which was decorated with the heads of traitors. All the buildings were finally cleared away in 1757 and 1758.

Passing under London Bridge we soon come to the Tower of London, which the unfortunate Nigel entered through the Traitor's Gate. From the time of William the Conqueror, by whom its foundations were begun, until the reign of Charles II, the Tower of London was used as a palace by the kings of England. It has been said that the 'strong monarchs employed the Tower as a prison, the weak ones as a fortress.' It was as a prison that the Tower achieved its unenviable fame in history as

London's lasting shame; With many a foul and midnight murder fed.

In its dark precincts many of the noblest of England's men and women found themselves prisoners, the majority of them perishing upon the block. Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, wives of Henry VIII; Lady Jane Grey and her husband Guildford Dudley; the father[2] and the grandfather[3] of Dudley; and Sir Walter Raleigh were among the most famous of these victims. Nigel was confined in the Beauchamp Tower, where many distinguished persons were imprisoned. The inscriptions to which Scott refers may still be seen, including that {326} of Lady Jane Grey, though it is probable that this was written by her husband or by his brother, who is supposed to have carved the device of the bear and ragged staff, 'the emblem of the proud Dudleys,' which is an elaborate piece of sculpture on the right of the fireplace.

To complete our survey of the scenery of 'The Fortunes of Nigel,' we have to continue our journey down the Thames until we land in Greenwich Hospital and the Royal Naval College, which occupy the site of the old royal palace, formerly called Placentia or Pleasaunce. It was a favourite royal palace as early as 1300, though it passed into the hands of the nobility and came back to the Crown in 1433 on the death of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester. It was the birthplace of King Henry VIII and of Mary and Elizabeth. The building was enlarged by Henry VIII, James I, and Charles I. Charles II caused it to be pulled down, intending to carry out some ambitious plan, but succeeded in erecting only the building which is now the west wing of the hospital. Back of the palace is an extensive park of one hundred and ninety acres. This is where Nigel unexpectedly encountered the King, at the very climax of a stag-hunt, frightening him nearly to death; and here he was unceremoniously arrested and hurried off to the Tower. The park still has herds of deer, though they are no longer hunted, and a row of fine old chestnuts, originally planted by command of Charles II, who laid out the enclosure. In the centre is a hill, surmounted by the famous Royal Greenwich Observatory, from whose meridian longitude is reckoned and whose clock determines the standard of time for all England.

Just as 'The Heart of Midlothian' had produced {327} a vivid picture of life in Edinburgh during the reign of George II, so 'The Fortunes of Nigel' reproduced the life of London in the time of King James. For this brilliant study, not only of the curious monarch, but of the strange manners and customs as well as the lawlessness of the city, which the King's folly did so much to create, the novel has been generally accorded a very high rank among Scott's productions.

[1] Quoted from Sydney's 'State Papers,' in _The Old Royal Palace of Whitehall_, by Edgar Sheppard, D.D.

[2] John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland.

[3] Edmund Dudley, the notorious agent of King Henry VII.




'Old Peveril' was one of the pet nicknames with which Scott was dubbed by some of his young legal friends in Parliament House, and he carried the sobriquet for the remainder of his life, taking great delight in it. He did not, however, take much pleasure from the composition of the novel, finding it a tiresome task from which he could only find relief by planning its successor. It marks the beginning of a malady which ultimately proved fatal. Scott concealed the symptoms from his family, but confided to a friend that he feared Peveril 'will smell of the apoplexy.' It proved a heavy undertaking, covering a period of twenty years of exciting history and three distinct, but widely differing, localities, namely, Derbyshire, the Isle of Man, and London in the time of Charles II.

In the high Peak country of Derbyshire, about fifteen miles west of Sheffield, lies the village of Castleton, nestling snugly at the foot of a somewhat precipitous hill. Away back in the time of William the Conqueror, a son of that monarch received a grant of large estates in Derbyshire, and selected the very summit of this steep and almost inaccessible rock as the site of his castle. His name was William Peveril and the bit of a ruin which still remains, high in the air above the village, is called Peveril Castle. We reached it after a very hard climb, by a steep path running zigzag across the face of a long {329} grassy slope. It was scarcely worth the effort, for the 'castle' is now only a small square tower, of no interest whatever, except from the fact that it gave the name to one of the Waverley Novels.

The domain of this William Peveril seems to have extended far to the south of Castleton, and included in it was the site of Haddon Hall, a fine mediæval mansion, picturesquely situated on the river Wye, between Bakewell and Rowsley, and still in wonderfully good repair. The Peverils held the property for about a century, when they were deprived of the lands by King Henry II. In 1195, Haddon came into the possession of the Vernon family, who continued to reside there for nearly four centuries. The last of the name was Sir George Vernon, who became celebrated as the 'King of the Peak.' His large possessions passed into the hands of his youngest daughter, Dorothy, whose elopement and marriage with John Manners, youngest son of the Earl of Rutland, threw about the old mansion that atmosphere of poetry and romance which has ever since been associated with it. To me, the most pleasing part of the old hall is the terrace and lawn, back of the house. A flight of broad stairs, with stone balustrades, leads to Dorothy Vernon's Walk, which is shaded by the thick foliage of oaks, limes, sycamores, and other forest trees, for which the park was once famous. Grassy mounds mark the boundaries of the lawn, and the castle walls, with their wide windows and luxurious mantle of deep green ivy, add a delightful charm to the picture. This is further enhanced by the romantic associations of the place. Traditions say that John Manners, who, for some reason, was forbidden the opportunity to {330} visit the fair Dorothy openly, hovered about these terraces disguised as a forester, seeking brief interviews in secret. On the night of a ball in celebration of her sister's wedding, Dorothy slipped into the garden, and passing through the terrace made her way across the Wye over a quaint little bridge, built just large enough for a single pack-horse, and now known as the 'Pack-Horse Bridge.' On the other side, John waited with horses, and the two rode away to be married. Whatever may have been the objection to the marriage, events soon adjusted the affair and Dorothy Vernon became the sole owner of the mansion. It has remained ever since in the possession of the Manners family, the Earls and Dukes of Rutland.

In his description of Martindale Castle, the seat of Sir Geoffrey Peveril, Scott doubtless had in mind, to some extent at least, this more pretentious mansion on the original property of the Peverils, rather than the uninteresting tower at Castleton. He refers to Haddon Hall in one of his notes as having suggested a certain arrangement of rooms, and in his account of Lady Peveril's dinner to the Cavaliers and Roundheads, in honour of the restoration of King Charles II, he makes use of two large dining-rooms, which Haddon Hall could readily supply, but which might be difficult to find in any ordinary mansion of the period.


Lady Peveril, it will be remembered, in spite of the 'good fellowship' and 'reconciliation' which the banquet was to celebrate, dared not permit the rival factions to dine together, so she adopted the unique expedient of placing the jovial Cavaliers in the hall, while the strict Puritans occupied the large parlour. The great hall of {331} Haddon is about thirty-five feet long and twenty-five feet wide. At one end is an ancient table, many centuries old, and at the other is a minstrel's gallery, with carved panellings and ornamented by stag's heads. A great open fireplace gives a suggestion of good cheer, even to the bare room. Back of this is another large dining-room on the oaken walls of which are some fine old carvings. It also has a large open fireplace, above which is the motto

_Drede God and Honor the Kyng._

The room was formerly larger than now and may have been in the author's mind as the scene of the Puritan part of the banquet. Haddon Hall, however, although it doubtless furnished some few suggestions, must not be taken as an 'original' of Martindale Castle. The novelist never felt the necessity of an exact model, but freely used the places with which he was familiar for such suggestions as they might chance to furnish. In his later work he often described localities which he had never visited, frequently doing so with an exactness suggesting the most intimate personal knowledge.

This was true of the Isle of Man, which Scott had never seen, but which he describes in 'Peveril of the Peak' with great accuracy, relying for his information upon Waldron's 'Description of the Isle of Man,' published in 1731.

After an interval of several years following the events in Derbyshire, Julian Peveril appears as a visitor at Castle Rushen, in the southern end of the Isle of Man. Tradition says that this ancient castle was founded in the tenth century by Guttred, the son of a Norwegian {332} chief named Orry, who took possession and with his sons and successors reigned for many years as kings of the Isle of Man. Later the Earls of Derby ruled as monarchs of the island and Castle Rushen was their royal residence.

The traditional castle of the Norwegians was replaced in the thirteenth century by a strong fortress of limestone. This was partly destroyed by Robert Bruce in 1313 and remained in ruins for three centuries. It was then rebuilt by the Earls of Derby in its present form. The central keep is a strong tower with walls twenty-two feet thick at the base and about seventy feet high. It is surrounded by an embattled wall twenty-five feet high and nine feet thick. On the tower facing the market square is a clock presented in 1597 by Queen Elizabeth.

In 1627, James Stanley, celebrated as 'the great Earl of Derby,' became lord of the island. This nobleman was executed in 1651, charged with the crime of assisting Charles II before the battle of Worcester. During his absence in England the Castle Rushen was heroically defended by his wife, the brave Charlotte de la Tremouille, Countess of Derby. William Christian, popularly known as William Dhône, or 'the fair-haired William,' had been entrusted by the Earl with the care of his wife and children. Whatever may have been his motive, the Receiver-General, by which title Christian was known, surrendered the island without resistance, on the appearance of the Parliamentary army, and the Countess was imprisoned in the castle. After the Restoration of Charles II, the Countess accused Christian of treachery to herself and brought about his execution in 1662.


These were the main facts which, coming to the novelist's attention through his brother, Thomas Scott, who for several seasons resided in the Isle of Man, attracted his fancy and suggested the writing of 'Peveril of the Peak.'

Peel Castle, to which the action of the story is soon transferred, stands on a rocky islet off the western coast of the island. It was once a vast ecclesiastical establishment and now contains the ruins of two churches, two chapels, two prisons, and two palaces. Of these the best preserved and most interesting is the Cathedral of St. Germain, a cruciform building, some parts of which were built in the thirteenth century. In a crypt below was the ecclesiastical prison where many remarkable captives were confined, the most notable of whom was Eleanor Cobham, wife of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was accused of witchcraft and of devising a wicked plot to kill the King and place her husband upon the throne.

Higher up on the rock are the remains of St. Patrick's Church, in the walls of which are some good examples of the 'herring-bone' masonry indicating great antiquity. The walls are thought by antiquarians to date back to the fifth century. Behind this is the remarkable round tower, about fifty feet high, which Mr. Hall Caine has introduced in 'The Christian.'

The custodian, when he learned of our interest in Sir Walter Scott, could scarcely restrain his anxiety to show us Fenella's Tower. This is a bit of the surrounding wall, containing a small square turret. Beneath is a narrow stairway, forming a sally-port, through which entrance could be gained to a space between two {334} parallel outside walls. In time of siege, soldiers could go out and fire at the enemy from this place of concealment through openings in the walls. If hard-pressed they could retire to the tower and pour scalding water or hot lead upon an attacking body. In Scott's tale, Julian Peveril, seeking to leave the castle by this stair, is intercepted by Fenella, who is anxious to prevent his departure. Finally eluding her grasp, he hastens down the stair only to be confronted again by the deaf-and-dumb maiden, who has accomplished her purpose by leaping over the parapet. We gazed down from the walls upon a ledge of rocks at least fifteen feet below and concluded that, for a little girl, this was a pretty big leap!


The keep and guard-house near the entrance was the scene of the Manx legend of the Moddey Dhoo, a large black spaniel with shaggy hair, which haunted Peel Castle. This dog is referred to in 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel':

For he was speechless, ghastly, wan, Like him of whom the story ran Who spoke the spectre-hound in Man.

The Moddey Dhoo was the terror of all the soldiers on the island, who believed he was an evil spirit, only awaiting an opportunity to do them harm. At length, a drunken soldier declared he would find out whether the animal were dog or devil. He departed bravely, with much noise and boasting, but none dared follow. When he returned the fellow was sober and silent. He never spoke again, but three days later died in agony.

The remaining scenery of 'Peveril of the Peak' is London in the time of Charles II. The 'dark and shadowy' city had now attracted nearly all the personages of {335} the story. In St. James's Park, adjoining the Palace of Whitehall, Fenella danced with wondrous grace and agility before the King. As in 'The Fortunes of Nigel,' the Thames is the great highway of traffic, and Julian Peveril is carried by coach to the river from old Newgate Prison, and thence by boat to the Tower, which, like Nigel, he enters through the Traitor's Gate.

The Savoy, a dilapidated old pile, where Julian unexpectedly meets Fenella, was once a great palace. It was built by Simon de Montfort, the great Earl of Leicester, in 1245. In the following century it was almost demolished by a mob, but in 1509 King Henry VII restored and rebuilt the palace and converted it into a hospital. Half a century later, Queen Mary refounded and reëndowed the institution. In the time of the story the building was probably not so antiquated and ruinous as Scott describes it. Charles II, after the Restoration, used it as the meeting-place of the Savoy conference for the revision of the Liturgy. In Scott's time it was ruinous enough and since then has entirely disappeared. Westminster Hall, where the trial of the Peverils was held, is now the vestibule of the Houses of Parliament. It was originally built by William Rufus, son of the Conqueror, in 1097, but afterward destroyed by fire and rebuilt. In it some of the earliest English Parliaments were held and it has been the scene of many coronation festivals.

The novel gives a graphic picture of the gay, dissipated, and scandalous court of Charles II, and an excellent portrait of that selfish, indolent, and sensual, but witty and good-natured monarch. His chief favourite, George Villiers, the second Duke of Buckingham, is painted in no more flattering colours. He was a statesman of fickle {336} character who could not long be trusted by any one. He was a writer of verses, farces, and comedies, a musician, and a man of great talent and accomplishments; but he was a profligate, absolutely insincere and without principle.

'Peveril of the Peak' cannot be considered one of Scott's best novels. It has never been popular. Scott himself tired of it, and even Lockhart can find little to say in its praise.

Lady Louisa Stuart, who was one of Scott's most valued friends, summarized it all, at the end of a good-natured criticism, with the remark: 'However, in all this I recognize the old habit of a friend of mine, growing tired before any of his readers, huddling up a conclusion anyhow, and so kicking the book out of his way; which is a provoking trick, though one must bear it rather than not _have_ his book, with all its faults on its head. The best amends he can make is to give us another as soon as may be.'




The true 'Scott Country' is limited strictly to Scotland, England, and Wales. So long as he remained upon the soil of his own native kingdom, Sir Walter wrote of what he had seen and for the most part traversed only familiar ground. In Scotland, he was equally at home in the Lowlands or Highlands. He visited England often enough to know well the inspiring mountains of Cumberland and Westmoreland, the hills and valleys of Northumberland, the broad expanse of Yorkshire, with its delightful scenery and many historical associations, the moorlands of Derby, the charming roads and pleasant villages of Nottingham, Leicester, Warwick, and Oxford, and the highways and by-ways of the ever-fascinating London. With the history, the legends and the poetry of his own country he was as familiar as a child would be with the environment of his own home. They were a part of the mental equipment that had been developing steadily from the time he was three years old.

When he stepped out of this familiar region, for the first time, there came a remarkable change, and in January, 1823, when he began the composition of 'Quentin Durward,' we find him floundering about in a sea of gazetteers, atlases, histories, and geographies. On the 23d of that month he wrote to Constable:--'It is a vile place, this village of Plessis les Tours, that can baffle {338} both you and me. It is a place famous in history ... yet I have not found it in any map, provincial or general, which I have consulted.... Instead of description holding the place of sense, I must try to make such sense as I can find, hold the place of description.'

Fortunately he had the assistance of his friend Skene, who about this time returned from a tour in France, and placed at the disposal of the author a great variety of sketches of landscapes and ancient buildings, besides a journal full of accurate notes; for the novelist's artist-friend knew from long companionship exactly what would be most appreciated.

Though a stranger in a strange land, Scott was not entirely alone, for he took with him into the unknown country three good Scotchmen, namely, Quentin Durward, whom he made an archer in the Scots Guard of King Louis XI; the picturesque and interesting Le Balafré, Quentin's uncle, already a guardsman; and Lord Crawford, the aged commander of the guard, a Scotch nobleman, whose great ability and experience had won the esteem and confidence even of the suspicious King. This was surely a stroke of genius. The old Scotch friends of the novelist could not help following with interest the thrilling adventures of their countrymen in a foreign land, while, on the other hand, the tale raised up a host of new admirers in France and throughout the Continent. The Frenchmen saw with amazement King Louis XI and Charles the Bold suddenly come to life and, under the skilful direction of the Scottish Wizard, walk about again amidst some of the most stirring scenes of European history. Not in all their literature had the French people seen such striking {339} portraiture of these famous men nor such vivid pictures of the ancient manners of their own people.

A line, nearly straight, drawn diagonally across the map of France and Belgium, representing a distance of perhaps three hundred and fifty miles, will fairly suggest the geography of 'Quentin Durward.' Its southwestern extremity would be Tours, about one hundred and forty-five miles from Paris. It would pass through Péronne, in the north of France directly east of Amiens; then dropping slightly to the south, and across the border of Belgium would reach its northeastern termination in the city of Liège.

The town of Tours was much favoured in the fifteenth century by the frequent visits of Charles VII, Louis XI, and Charles VIII, in consequence of which it then reached its highest state of prosperity. It was long famed for its silk industry, founded by Louis XI. Two miles west of the town, on a low marshy plain between the rivers Loire and Cher, and close by a hamlet of a few scattered cottages, is the famous Castle of Plessis les Tours, where the action of the story begins. Only a fragment of the original structure now remains, as part of a modern château.

The old castle looked more like a prison than a king's palace, and seemed well adapted to be the den of the 'universal spider,' as Louis came to be called, from which he could weave his dangerous web in every direction and ensnare the feet of those whom he selected for his prey. It was in this dismal place that Louis XI shut himself in the last days of his life, weak from illness and pain and almost insane from distrust. Here he died, in 1483, to the great joy of the kingdom.


Every year he had added new walls and ditches to his fortress. The towers were covered with iron as a protection against arrows. Eighteen hundred heavy planks bristling with nails were placed outside the ditches to impede the approach of cavalry. Four hundred crossbowmen manned the towers and the villainous Tristan l'Hermite had full authority to seize and hang any innocent stranger whom he might choose to suspect.

As I write, I have before me two pictures:--one a contemporary print of the ancient castle, the other a portrait of the King. The former, a group of low, irregular buildings, with slanting roofs and small barred windows, having a chapel attached to one end, contains nothing whatever to suggest a royal palace. The latter shows the face of a sly, cunning, unscrupulous plotter, full of cruelty, baseness, vulgarity, and hypocrisy, yet terribly in earnest and revealing the features that mark an irresistible will. I can almost fancy a resemblance between the two pictures. The mean unpretentiousness of the castle and its lack of symmetry suggest the unprepossessing appearance of the King, whose whole aspect was vulgar, his clothing purposely plain and often untidy and his manners completely devoid of dignity and common courtesy. Its numerous defences, including turrets, battlements, ditches, and drawbridges, suggest the constant fear of treachery in which the King lived, never daring to regard his most intimate companions with aught but jealous suspicion. The real strength of the fortress, in spite of its ugliness and apparent insignificance are typical of the tremendous power of this monarch, who pursued his purposes without regard to truth, decency, honour, or human rights, reducing the {341} people to a state of abject poverty and misery, yet enlarging the borders of France to nearly their present extent, reorganizing the army, centralizing the government, and laying the foundations of the nation in its modern form.

One might almost indulge the whimsical notion that the little chapel to which I have referred, pointing heavenward with an attenuated spire of absurdly slender proportions, symbolizes the King's own feeble efforts to point in the same direction. His piety was manifested by a dozen 'paltry figures of saints stamped in lead' which he wore on the band of his hat. He endeavoured to atone for the most atrocious acts of selfishness and cruelty by gifts of money and outward penance, continuing his wickedness all the while, but apologizing for it in his prayers to the saints. But the crowning act of hypocritical piety, as well as the most absurd, was his attempt to insure his ultimate salvation by the unique expedient of creating the Virgin Mary a countess and an honorary colonel of his guards.

This was the strange, but intensely interesting, character, whom Scott, making free use of the 'Memoirs of Philippe de Comines,' one of the King's most intimate councillors, succeeded in portraying so vividly that the tale of which he is the real hero has won universal recognition as a novel of genuine historical value.

A few miles southeast of Tours is the ruin of a castle still more terrible in its suggestiveness than even Plessis, for here Louis XI perpetrated deeds of secret cruelty, which he shrank from committing within the walls of his own palace. It is the Castle of Loches, for many years a royal residence. It is interesting to Scotchmen from {342} the fact that it was the scene of the royal wedding of King James V to the Princess Magdalene, in whose honour the Palace of Linlithgow was remodelled and greatly embellished.

The castle is now a pile of ruined buildings, standing on the summit of a lofty rock, where it dominates the landscape. Its principal tower is one hundred and twenty feet high, with walls eight feet thick. Its date is said to be the twelfth century. A part of it is now the local jail, and the building has been used as a prison for centuries. Beneath were dungeons under dungeons, dimly lighted by narrow windows, cut through small recesses in the walls, which are here ten or twelve feet thick. In two of these were the iron cages invented by Cardinal John de La Balue. He was a cobbler, some say a tailor, whom Louis elevated to the highest rank and employed in his secret devices. The cage was built of iron bars and was only eight feet square. The Cardinal proved a traitor to his king and the latter's severity kept him in the dungeon cells for eleven years, a part of which time, at least, was spent in one of the cages of his own invention. The governor and gaoler of this dreaded prison was Oliver le Daim, the King's barber and prime minister.

The events culminating in the murder of the Bishop of Liège were, of course, purely fictitious. Scott did not hesitate to 'violate history,' as he afterward expressed it, to meet the requirements of his story. The actual murder of the Bishop occurred in 1482, fourteen years after the period of the novel and five years after the death of Charles the Bold. William de la Marck, called the 'Wild Boar of Ardennes,' wishing to place the mitre {343} on the head of his own son, entered into a conspiracy with some of the rebellious citizens of Liège, against their Bishop, Louis de Bourbon. The latter was enticed to the edge of the town, where he was met by the fierce and bloodthirsty knight, who murdered him with his own hand and caused the body to be exposed naked in St. Lambert's Place, before the cathedral. Scott's version, never intended to be historically accurate, places the scene of the murder in the fictitious Castle of Schonwaldt, outside the city.

The description of the meeting of Louis XI and Charles the Bold at the town of Péronne and the King's imprisonment in the castle, while somewhat amplified with fictitious details, is in the essential facts quite in accord with history. Péronne is a small town of great antiquity, ninety-four miles northeast of Paris, in the Department of the Somme. Its castle still retains four conical-roofed towers in fairly good repair. On the ground floor are many dark and dismal dungeons. In one of these miserable cells Charles the Simple, in the year 929, ended his days in agony. He was confined in the tower by the treachery of Herbert, Count of Vermandois, and left there to starve to death. Adjoining this room, in what is known as the Tour Herbert, is the chamber said to have been occupied by Louis XI.

Great was the surprise and alarm among the retainers of Louis when that monarch, trusting to an exaggerated notion of his own wit and powers of persuasion, proposed to visit his most formidable adversary, Charles of Burgundy, at the town of Péronne. The latter granted the King's request for a safe-conduct, and Louis set forth in October, 1482, accompanied by a small {344} detachment of his Scots Guard and men-at-arms, and two faithless councillors, the Constable de St. Pol and the Cardinal de La Balue. The Duke met the King outside the town and together they walked in apparent friendliness to the house of the Chamberlain, Charles apologizing for not taking the King to the castle because it was not in fit condition. Some portion of the Duke's army arrived the same day and encamped outside the walls. Learning this, the King became greatly frightened and demanded quarters in the castle--a request which Charles granted with great, but secret, glee. The next day brought forth nothing but ill-feeling and misunderstanding, which was brought to a climax by the news from Liège. It was reported that the emissaries of Louis had stirred up sedition against the Duke, and had killed the Bishop of Liège, and the Lord of Humbercourt. Charles was a man of tremendous passions and this news threw him into a fury which he made little attempt to control. His royal guest became his prisoner, the gates of the town and the castle were closed, and for a time Louis was in danger of his life at the hands of his enraged vassal. Louis, meanwhile, remained calm, making full use of his native shrewdness, keenness of penetration, and unusual cunning. By a liberal use of money, with which he had sagaciously provided himself, the Duke's servants were corrupted wherever he could hope to secure information or assistance. His craftiness, however, proved unnecessary. Charles cooled off after a day or two and realized that he could not well afford to violate his safe-conduct. Meanwhile the news from Liège turned out more favourably. The Bishop had not been slain and the revolt had been less serious than {345} supposed. Charles, however, compelled the King to swear a new treaty, which Louis did by taking from one of his boxes a piece of the 'true cross,' a relic, formerly belonging, so it was said, to Charlemagne, which Louis regarded with great veneration. The oath upon the cross duly made, Louis accompanied his captor on an expedition against the town of Liège, the particulars of which were not essentially different from the version of Scott.

The novel brings out to great advantage the striking contrast between the King and the Duke. Charles was strong, vigorous, clear-sighted, and in the words of Philippe de Comines, 'a great and honourable prince, as much esteemed for a time amongst his neighbours as any prince in Christendom.' The great fault of his character was that expressed in the sobriquet, Charles the Rash; and this was the cause of his downfall. That, however, is a tale which Scott reserved for a later novel.

Though received at first with apparent indifference, 'Quentin Durward' came in time to be regarded as one of the best of the Waverley Novels, dividing the honours, in the minds of the boys, at least, with 'Ivanhoe' and 'The Talisman.'




If, as I have said in the preceding chapter, the true Scott Country comprises the United Kingdom, except Ireland, the inner circle of that country, the _Sanctum Sanctorum_, so to speak, must be considered as including that part of Scotland lying between the Firth of Forth and the English border; or, more strictly, the counties of Edinburgh, Peebles, Selkirk, and Roxburgh. This was Scott's home, his workshop, and his playground. From the spring of 1806 to the early winter of 1830, a period of nearly twenty-five years, he performed the duties of Clerk of the Court of Session. This required his presence in Edinburgh usually from the 12th of May to the 12th of July and from the 12th of November to the 12th of March, excepting an interval at Christmas. This meant from four to six hours' work a day for four or five days each week, extending over about six months of every year. During the sessions of the court his residence was No. 39, North Castle Street, a three-story stone dwelling-house, within sight of Edinburgh Castle.

The day after the rising of the court usually found its distinguished clerk ready to 'escape to the country.' For six years his retreat was the little thatched cottage at Lasswade, in the vale of the Esk. The next eight summers found him at Ashestiel, and after that Abbotsford was the lodestone that drew him from the city. Scott loved the wide sweep of the bare hills, especially {347} when tinged with the purple hue of the heather. Their pure air was the tonic which had saved his life, when as a child he rolled about on the rocks of Smailholm, a companion of the sheep and lambs. Their streams gave him an opportunity to lure the salmon from their hiding-places. Their rounded summits gave him many a distant view of battle-fields, famed in the Border warfare, which filled up centuries of Scottish and English history. Their pleasant glens and thickets gave him delightful walks in the woods. Their hospitable cottages extended him a never failing welcome, and yielded up to him, from the lips of hundreds of old wives, a treasure of Scottish ballads, songs, and tales of Border chivalry. Their castles and mansions threw open their doors at his approach, rivalling the humbler dwellings in the cordiality of their greeting.

No wonder Scott loved the Border country. 'It may be partiality,' said he to Washington Irving, 'but to my eye, these grey hills and all this wild Border country have beauties peculiar to themselves. I like the very nakedness of the land; it has something bold, and stern, and solitary about it. When I have been for some time in the rich scenery about Edinburgh, which is like ornamented garden land, I begin to wish myself back again among my own honest grey hills; and if I did not see the heather at least once a year, I think I should die!'

It was while riding with Lockhart and Willie Laidlaw, along the brow of the Eildon Hills, looking down upon Melrose, one fine afternoon in July, 1823, that the suggestion came which led eventually to 'St. Ronan's Well.' 'Quentin Durward' had recently appeared and Scott, commenting upon its reception, remarked that he {348} could probably do something better with a German subject. 'Na, na, sir,' protested Laidlaw, 'take my word for it, you are always best, like Helen MacGregor, when your foot is on your native heath; and I have often thought that if you were to write a novel, and lay the scene here in the very year you were writing it, you would exceed yourself.' 'Hame 's hame,' smilingly assented Scott, 'be it ever sae hamely. There's something in what you say, Willie.' Although Laidlaw insisted that his friend should 'stick to Melrose in July, 1823,' Scott took a little broader field and made the scene of 'St. Ronan's Well,' the valley of the Tweed.

This was the country which he had pictured in 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' at the very beginning of his fame. He had come back to it for a bit of the scenery of 'The Monastery' and 'The Abbot.' These, however, were romances of an earlier period. He was now for the first time to write of his own country in his own time. The tale was to depict society life, not of the wholesome and genuine kind to which Scott was personally accustomed, whether in Edinburgh or the country, but of the type he had seen at various watering-places and summer resorts which he had visited.


'St. Ronan's Well' may be considered a true picture of this society or a caricature, according to one's own sympathies. Some of its readers have been able to find among their own 'social set,' Lady Penelope Penfeather, Sir Bingo and Lady Sinks, Mr. Winterblossom, Dr. Quackleben, and even the 'man of peace,' Captain Mungo MacTurk, and have praised or condemned the author's portraits according to their own predilections toward such personages.


Scott saw something of this life at Gilsland in the memorable summer of 1797, the year when he met Miss Carpenter at the dance in Shaw's Hotel. Below the hostelry is a deep and attractive glen, through which flows the river Irthing, and just above the bridge spanning the river, is one of those mineral springs, which have the strange power, whatever may be their medicinal virtues, of drawing hundreds of people away from their homes in the summer months. There is another of these springs at Innerleithen, on the banks of the Tweed, and for this reason--for I can see no other--the people of that town have laid claim to the honour of residing in the original 'St. Ronan's.'

Innerleithen, now a prosperous town of about three thousand inhabitants, is situated amid the hills which border the Tweed in the most picturesque part of its course. In Scott's time it was only a small village. Traquair, on the contrary, a few miles to the south, was of more importance in Scott's time than now, when it is a mere hamlet, remarkable for nothing except the fine old feudal mansion to which I have previously referred.[1] If we are to think of Innerleithen, then, as the 'ancient and decayed village of St. Ronan's' we must picture it, not as the thriving commercial town of to-day, but more like its neighbour on the south.

Of course I felt anxious to taste the waters of the real St. Ronan's Well, and made a journey to Innerleithen for the purpose. I gained nothing beyond the experience of exchanging a good shilling for a bad drink. One taste was enough, and when the girl was n't looking I threw the rest away. I found an old two-story house in the {350} town which claims to be the original 'Cleikum Inn'--a claim which is disputed by a public house in Peebles, 'The Cross Keys Hotel,' formerly a pretentious seventeenth-century mansion. The latter was kept in Scott's time by a maiden lady named Marian Ritchie, who seems to have possessed some of the characteristics which the novelist exaggerated in his delightfully humorous picture of Meg Dods. She found fault with the new 'hottle,' and did not hesitate to vent her sarcasm upon those travellers who ventured to stay there in preference to her own respectable inn. Scott, according to local history, was occasionally one of her guests. She ruled with a rod of iron, permitting no excesses, and did not hesitate to send a young man 'hame to his mither' if she suspected him to be imbibing too freely. Scott gave this model landlady the real name of a hostess whom he had patronized when only seventeen years old. It was on a fishing excursion to a loch near Howgate, in the Moorfoot Hills, when Scott and three of his boon companions stopped at a little public-house kept by Mrs. Margaret Dods. It was thirty-five years later when, in writing 'St. Ronan's Well' the novelist adopted the name of the real landlady for his fictitious character.

So far as the rival claimants of the 'Cleikum Inn' honours are concerned, I do not believe that Scott had any particular house in mind, either for the 'inn,' or the 'hottle.' Nor can I find any evidence of the existence of an 'original' for Shaw's Castle, the family seat of the Mowbrays, though Raeburn House, near St. Boswell's Green may be taken as a excellent type. The same doubt applies to the village of St. Ronan's itself. Scott's {351} design seems to have been merely to place the scene of his story, broadly speaking, in the valley of the Tweed.

This picturesque stream rises in the high lands near Moffat and flows north through a country still wild and solitary. A score of miles or less from its source, it makes a bend toward the east, above the town of Peebles, and from this point, until it discharges its waters into the North Sea at Berwick, there is scarcely a bend in the river or a village or town on its banks that does not suggest memories of Sir Walter Scott.

From the high ground overlooking the river, just at the point where it bends to the east, we had a view, through the trees, of surpassing beauty. Below was the ancient Castle of Neidpath, once a scene of stately splendour, when nobles and monarchs frequented its halls, and richly attired ladies promenaded in the well-kept gardens, laden with the perfume and brilliant with the hues of many flowers; when well-ordered terraces lined the banks of the stream and orchards smiled from the surrounding hillsides. Amid such scenes the 'Maid of Neidpath' sat in the tower,--

To watch her love's returning--

and broke her heart when the lover came and passed with heedless gaze--

As o'er some stranger glancing.[2]

Time and Nature, working together as landscape artists, have converted the castle into a picturesque ruin, and replaced the artificial gardens and terraces with thick groves of fine old trees, clothing the hillsides {352} with a richer and deeper verdure, and leaving only the river as of yore, still brightening the scene with the sparkle of its silvery tide. In the distance we could see the spires and chimneys of Peebles.

[Illustration: SCOTT'S TOMB, DRYBURGH]

Following the river, we passed Innerleithen, six miles below Peebles, and a short distance beyond we paused for a moment to look toward the ruins of Elibank, high up on the hillside. This was Scott's favourite objective point for a summer afternoon walk from Ashestiel, and the scene of the famous legend of 'Muckle-Mouthed Meg.'[3] Two miles farther on is Ashestiel, where Scott spent many happy summers. Keeping the left bank we soon came to a place where we could see Abbotsford on the opposite side of the river--and a charming view it makes. Then comes Melrose with all its varied associations. Driving toward the east, we ascended a hill near the summit of Bemerside Heights and halted to enjoy 'Scott's favourite view.' Below was a bend of the river marking the site of Old Melrose, the establishment which preceded the more pretentious abbey in the village. Far away were the summits of the Eildon Hills. On the day of Scott's funeral, the procession climbed this hill on the way to Dryburgh Abbey, the hearse being drawn by Sir Walter's own coach-horses. At the spot where we were standing, it is said, the faithful animals halted of their own accord, not knowing that their master could no longer enjoy his favourite view.

We soon came to the beautiful ruins of Dryburgh Abbey, where Scott lies buried. It is a place he was fond of visiting, so much so that in a letter to Miss Carpenter, before they were married, he referred to it {353} with enthusiasm, adding, 'When I die, Charlotte, you must cause my bones to be laid there.' This brought a lively reply from the young lady: 'What an idea of yours was that to mention where you wished to have your _bones laid_. If you were married, I should think you were tired of me. A very pretty compliment _before marriage_.... Take care of yourself if you love me, as I have _no wish_ that you should _visit_ that _beautiful_ and _romantic_ scene, the burying-place.'

Still farther to the east lies Kelso, where Scott spent several summers with a relative and attended the village school; while in the valley below lie the principal scenes of 'Marmion.' In the hills to the north, between Melrose and Kelso, is Sandy Knowe, the farm of the poet's grandfather, where the fresh air of the Scottish hills gave a new lease of life to the child of three years. Some recollections of these early days found their way into 'St. Ronan's Well,' published nearly half a century later. A frequent visitor at the fireside of Sandy Knowe was the parish clergyman, Dr. Duncan, who perhaps failed to appreciate the presence of a poet in embryo. Scott had early committed to memory long passages from Ramsay's 'Tea-Table Miscellany' and one or two other favourite volumes, which he would shout at the top of his voice, regardless of the presence of the good minister, who would testily exclaim, 'One may as well speak in the mouth of a cannon as where that child is.' The old gentleman lived to be nearly ninety. 'He was,' says Scott, 'a most excellent and benevolent man, a gentleman in every feeling, and altogether different from those of his order who cringe at the tables of the gentry or domineer and riot at those of the yeomanry.' There {354} seems to be no doubt that in the personage of Mr. Josiah Cargill, the shy, absent-minded, but learned and conscientious, and always lovable, clergyman of 'St. Ronan's Well,' Scott drew a portrait of the excellent divine whom he had learned to respect in his early days.

[1] See _ante_, p. 106, Chapter viii, 'Waverley.'

[2] _The Maid of Neidpath_, 1806.

[3] See _ante_, Chapter 1, page 36.




I was standing, one afternoon, among some rugged rocks, half covered with sand and seaweed, which lined the shores of the Solway Firth, when my attention was suddenly attracted by a large black horse ridden by a woman. They were far away from shore and the animal seemed to be lightly cantering over the surface of the water. I suddenly realized the peculiar characteristic of the Solway. The tide was going out and what seemed to be the surface of a wide, inland sea was in reality a broad stretch of glistening white sand, still wet enough to catch and reflect the rays of the sun.

In spite of the fact that the rider was a woman, I was reminded of the thrilling incident that marks one of the earlier chapters of 'Redgauntlet.' Darsie Latimer had wandered out in the late afternoon over the wet sands of the Solway, watching with great interest the exertions of some horsemen, who were intent upon the sport of spearing salmon. The ebb of the tide leaves numberless little pools, formed by the inequality of the surface, and in these the fish dart about, making frantic efforts to escape to deeper water. The horsemen chase the salmon at full gallop, striking at them with their spears,--a form of amusement requiring great skill and perfect horsemanship. The riders had ceased their sport and were returning to the shore, while Darsie lingered on the sands. Suddenly he heard an abrupt voice, calling out, {356} 'Soho, brother! you are late for Bowness to-night'; and, turning, recognized the most expert of the salmon fishers, a tall man riding a powerful black horse. Darsie replied that he was a stranger and about to return to the shore. 'Best make haste, then,' said the fisherman. 'He that dreams on the bed of the Solway, may wake in the next world. The sky threatens a blast that will bring in the waves three feet abreast.' The young man, not realizing the danger, had to be warned a third time, and finally was pulled up on the horse behind his rescuer, who was compelled to gallop to safety at full speed.

At a later time, the tall fisherman, who proved to be Hugh Redgauntlet, kidnapped young Latimer, whom he had recognized as his long-lost nephew, and carried him in a cart across the Solway to England. While lying on his back upon some sacks of straw, his arms and legs tightly bound with cloth bandages, Darsie again heard the rush of the advancing tide. He 'not only heard the roar of this dreadful torrent, but saw, by the fitful moonlight, the foamy crests of the devouring waves, as they advanced with the speed and fury of a pack of hungry wolves.' One or two of the great waves of the 'howling and roaring sea' had reached the cart, when he was again rescued by Redgauntlet in much the same manner as before.

The reality of these fearful tides exceeds even Scott's vivid description. In a volume published more than eighty years ago[1] by a local writer, I find this account:--

During spring tides, and particularly when impelled by a strong southwester, the Solway rises with prodigious {357} rapidity. A loud booming noise indicates its approach, and is distinguishable at the distance of several miles. At Caerlaverock and Glencaple, where it enters the Nith, the scene is singularly grand and imposing; and it is beautiful to see a mighty volume of water advancing, foam-crested, and with a degree of rapidity which, were the race a long one, would outmatch the speed of the swiftest horses. The tide-head, as it is called, is often from four to six feet high, chafed into spray, with a mighty trough of bluer water behind--swelling in some places into little hills, and in others scooped into tiny valleys, which, when sunlit, form a brilliant picture of themselves. From the tide-head proceed two huge jets of water, which run roaring along, searching the banks on either side--the antennæ, as it were, which the ocean puts forth, and by which it feels its way when confined within narrow limits. A large fire-engine discharging a strong stream of water bears a close resemblance to this part of the phenomena of a strong spring tide; but the sea-water is broken while the other is smooth, and runs hissing, or rather gallops, along in a manner to which no language of ours can do justice.

Between Bowness, the northernmost point of Cumberland, and Whinnyrig, south of Annan in Dumfriesshire, the Solway is only two miles wide. It is now safely crossed by a railroad bridge, but two generations ago the Scottish farmers and dealers were in the habit of crossing the sands at low tide to save a long and tedious detour of about thirty miles by way of Carlisle. Many a belated traveller, missing his way in the darkness or the fog, has been overtaken by the tide and lost.

All the scenes of 'Redgauntlet,' except those in Edinburgh and Dumfries, are laid near the shores of the Solway. Shepherd's Bush and Brokenburn, imaginary places, of course, may be considered to be somewhere on the Scottish side near Annan. Mount Sharon, the {358} residence of the kind-hearted Joshua Geddes, supposed to be in the same vicinity, was really modelled after some pleasant recollections of the author's boyhood at Kelso. It was a place of quiet contentment, where one might wander through fields and pastures and woodlands by convenient paths amid scenes of peaceful beauty. Even the partridges and the hares had learned the kindly nature of the good Quaker and his amiable sister, and did not fear their approach.

Scott drew the charming picture of the Quaker household from his early friendship for the Waldie family in Kelso. Their son Robert was one of his school-fellows. He spent many happy hours in their hospitable home, where he was treated with the utmost kindness by Robert's mother, universally known in the neighbourhood as Lady Waldie. A privilege which Scott particularly appreciated was the permission to 'rummage at pleasure' through the small but well-selected library which the good lady's deceased husband had left her.

On the English side of the Solway, the Wampool River, where the Jumping Jenny landed Alan Fairford, along with a cargo of contraband goods, including gunpowder for the use of the Jacobites, may be easily found on the map. The English scenes were laid between here and Carlisle, but the story of the visit to this region of Charles Edward, disguised as Father Buonaventure, is pure fiction, and of course the localities cannot be identified, except Burgh-upon-Sands, where there is a monument to Edward I, to which Hugh Redgauntlet refers as the party is passing by.

The English residence of Hugh Redgauntlet to which Darsie was conducted by his captor, described as ancient {359} and strong, with battlemented roof and walls of great thickness, but otherwise resembling a comfortable farmhouse, is purely fictitious. We visited, however, on the Scottish side of the Solway, a splendid modern castle, which, judged by an old painting of the place as it was in 1789, would admirably fit the description. This is Hoddam Castle, five miles southwest of the village of Ecclefechan, Carlyle's birthplace, where we spent a night in one of the quaintest little inns in Scotland, a survival of the time when Scottish inns offered few comforts to the traveller, but made up for it in proffered sociability.

Hoddam Castle is beautifully situated in the midst of a grove of fine trees overlooking the river Annan. A battlemented tower, surmounted by conical turrets, rises high above the extensive modern structure surrounding it. This is the ancient building, for centuries occupied by the Herries family. Scott originally intended to call his novel 'Herries' instead of 'Redgauntlet,' and was with much difficulty persuaded by Constable to accept the latter title. The old castle was built in the fifteenth century by John, Lord Herries, to whom was granted an extensive tract of land, extending over three or four counties.

The Herries family, to which Hugh Redgauntlet is supposed to belong, was always powerful. In their later years, like their fictitious descendant, its members were ardent supporters of the Stuart family. John Maxwell, who took the name of Lord Herries upon his marriage, was a zealous defender of Mary Queen of Scots. He assisted her escape from Loch Leven Castle, fought for her at Langside, escorted her, after the battle, to his {360} own house in Galloway, and thence to Dundrennan Abbey, and finally conducted her, in a small vessel, to England. His descendant, William, the ninth Lord Herries and fifth Earl of Nithsdale, participated in the Jacobite uprising of 1715. He was made a prisoner at Preston and sent to the Tower, where he was tried and condemned to death. His countess, with rare courage and resourcefulness, first forced her way to an audience with the King in St. James's Palace, and pleaded on her knees for her husband's life. Finding this ineffectual, she paid a last farewell visit to her husband, taking several lady friends with her. They succeeded in disguising the Earl in feminine apparel and thus effected his escape. When Darsie Latimer was obliged, at his uncle's command, to wear petticoats as a means of concealing his identity, he was only following the example of one of his ancestors.

[Illustration: HODDAM CASTLE]

In 1690 the castle and Barony of Hoddam passed from the Herries family to John Sharpe, and remained in the hands of his heirs until very recent times. One of these was Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Scott's intimate friend, who helped collect the 'Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border,' to which he contributed two ballads. Scott was a frequent guest at his house, and he often dined with Scott's family in Edinburgh or at Abbotsford. He was a man of distinction in letters and an artist as well. Two well-known etchings by him, the 'Dish of Spurs' and 'Muckle-Mouthed Meg,' besides a caricature of Queen Elizabeth, adorn the walls of Abbotsford. His ancestors, like the Herries family, were ardent Jacobites.

The Sharpes claimed relationship to the notorious {361} Grierson of Lag, who was the original of Sir Robert Redgauntlet in 'Wandering Willie's Tale.' Sir Robert Grierson, who was born in 1655 and died in 1733, was an infamous scoundrel who took fiendish delight in persecuting the Covenanters. In his drunken revels he made them the theme of scurrilous jests. In a vaulted chamber of his Castle of Lag, now in ruins, he had an iron hook upon which he hanged his prisoners. Often he would amuse himself by rolling his victims down a steep hill in barrels filled with knives and iron spikes. He was an object of terror and hatred through all the neighbouring country and for many years after his death was represented in theatrical productions as a hideous monster. Scott heard in his youth the wild tales of the terrible Grierson, and made them the basis of the story told by Wandering Willie.

If by Redgauntlet Castle we mean the house of the blind fiddler's hero, we must take for its original the ancient ruin of Lag Castle, built in the fourteenth century; but if the seat of the Herries family is meant, Hoddam Castle is of course the prototype, even though Scott places it on the English side of the Solway.

A bit of scenery worth recalling in connection with this novel is the Marquis of Annandale's Beefstand, or as it is now called, the Devil's Beef Tub, the place where the Laird of Summertrees had his wonderful adventure, escaping from his captors by rolling, over and over, like a barrel, down the steep incline that leads to the bottom of the hollow. It is as lonely and desolate a spot as we saw anywhere in Scotland. The hills circle about to form a huge bowl, in the rim of which there is apparently no break, so that one wonders how the little brook at the {362} bottom manages to find an outlet so as to remain a brook at all, instead of accumulating its waters to form a great natural lake. The old Border raiders used the hollow as a convenient place in which to collect stolen cattle. From the road on the rim it seems to be a dark, dismal hole, without sign of life except an occasional ring of earth and stone, built for the protection of the sheep. Scott knew personally a Jacobite gentleman, who escaped at this place in precisely the same manner as 'Pate-in-Peril,' while being taken to Carlisle a prisoner for participation in the 'affair of 1745.'

'Redgauntlet' is autobiographical to a greater extent than any other of Scott's novels. It is true that 'Waverley' gives a hint of his own early love of reading, while 'The Antiquary' reflects his interest in the relics of an older civilization. Indeed, bits of personal reminiscence are woven into nearly all his tales. But 'Redgauntlet' more directly reveals Scott himself and those nearest to him than any or all of the others.

The voluminous correspondence of Alan Fairford and Darsie Latimer is full of recollections of school days in Edinburgh, when as a boy Scott climbed the 'kittle nine stanes,' a difficult and dangerous passage over the steep granite rock upon which the castle stands, or helped 'man the Cowgate Port,' an ancient gateway to the city from which the youngsters in snowballing time annoyed the passers-by and defied the town guard. One of his most intimate companions in the days when he was reading law was William Clerk, whom he describes as a man of acute 'intellect and powerful apprehension,' but somewhat trammelled with 'the fetters of indolence.' There is no doubt that Scott himself was the original of {363} Alan Fairford nor that William Clerk was the model for Darsie Latimer. The fine portrait of Saunders Fairford, who was so anxious to have his son 'attain the proudest of all distinctions--the rank and fame of a well-employed lawyer,' was drawn from Scott's own father, many years after the death of that worthy gentleman.

Mr. Saunders Fairford, ... was a man of business of the old school, moderate in his charges, economical and even niggardly in his expenditure, strictly honest in conducting his own affairs and those of his clients, but taught by long experience to be wary and suspicious in observing the motions of others. Punctual as the clock of St. Giles tolled nine, the neat dapper form of the little hale old gentleman was seen at the threshold of the Court-hall ... trimly dressed in a complete suit of snuff-coloured brown, with stockings of silk or woolen, as suited the weather; a bob wig and a small cocked hat; shoes blacked as Warren would have blacked them; silver shoe-buckles and a gold stock-buckle. A nosegay in summer, and a sprig of holly in winter, completed his well-known dress and appearance.

Even Peter Peebles, the poor old derelict, ruined by a lifetime of perpetual litigation, was a real character, well known in Edinburgh, and Scott himself, in common with most young lawyers, took his turn in 'practising' on this case.

The re-introduction of Charles Edward, who was so fascinating as a figure in 'Waverley,' was not so successful. In the earlier novel, his movements are, in the main, historically accurate. His reappearance, twenty years later, under circumstances purely fictitious, is by comparison almost wholly lacking in interest. There is, however, a certain attractiveness about the enthusiasm of his ardent supporter, Hugh Redgauntlet, and the {364} book is not lacking in minor characters, who are almost as fascinating as any of the novelist's earlier creations. Wandering Willie is one of these--the blind fiddler who holds communication with the captive Darsie, by the rendering of appropriate tunes, the words of which the latter is quick to recall and clever enough to interpret. Another is Nanty Ewart, the skipper of the Jumping Jenny, who can read his Sallust like a scholar, and appeals to one's sympathies in spite of his dissipation.

Although 'Redgauntlet' was at first received somewhat coldly, it is nevertheless true, in the words of Lady Louisa Stuart, that 'the interest is so strong one cannot lay it down.' Its lack of value historically is more than offset by the personal interest of its characters and the many episodes of intense dramatic realism.

[1] _Picture of Dumfries, with Historical and Descriptive Notices_, by John McDiarmid, 1832.




The two stories published simultaneously under this title are widely different in character. In 'The Betrothed,' the reader gets no glimpse of the Holy Land, though he is amply compensated by a view of some of the most delightful portions of picturesque Wales. In 'The Talisman,' on the contrary, not only is the whole of the stage-setting in Palestine, but our old friend, Richard the Lion-Hearted, who made such strong appeals to our sympathies in 'Ivanhoe,' appears once more on the scene. Perhaps this fact accounts for the great popularity of 'The Talisman,' which has always gone hand in hand with 'Ivanhoe,' in the estimation of the younger readers, at least, and possibly the older ones, especially in England and America, as among the most attractive of Scott's novels. 'The Betrothed' is no more a tale of the Crusades than is 'Ivanhoe.' In the former the Constable de Lacy is supposed to be absent in the Holy Land a few years and returns in disguise. King Richard does the same in 'Ivanhoe.'

James Ballantyne, who was always a candid critic, found so much fault with 'The Betrothed' that Scott, bitterly disappointed, decided to cancel it altogether. The sheets were hung up in Ballantyne's warehouse, while Scott started a new tale which should be really a story of the Crusades. Ballantyne was as much pleased with 'The Talisman' as he had been disappointed with {366} its predecessor. Both author and printer hesitated to destroy the sheets of an entire edition of the earlier production, and it was finally decided that 'The Talisman' was such a masterpiece that it might be relied upon to 'take the other under its wing.' The publication of the two volumes as the 'Tales of the Crusaders' seemed to justify Ballantyne's faith, for, says Lockhart, 'The brightness of "The Talisman" dazzled the eyes of the million as to the defects of the twin story.' Whether this opinion would be endorsed by careful readers of to-day is doubtful, for 'The Betrothed' has some excellent characters, notably Eveline Berenger, Wilkin Flammock, and his daughter Rose, Hugo de Lacy, and his high-minded nephew Damian. Moreover, Scott here adds to his 'country' a bit of the United Kingdom, which he had not previously touched, and does it with his usual charm.

The novelist's information regarding Welsh history and antiquities was derived largely from conversations with his friend, the Rev. John Williams, Archdeacon of Cardigan, who had made a special study of the subject. But he had always felt an interest in that region. 'There are,' he writes to Joanna Bailie in 1814, 'few countries I long so much to see as Wales. The first time I set out to see it I was caught by the way and married. God help me! The next time, I went to London and spent all my money there. What will be my third interruption, I do not know, but the circumstances seem ominous.' Whether he actually saw the country before writing the novel is doubtful. He did visit it, however, in August of 1825, just after 'The Betrothed' was published, and stopped at Llangollen, where he paid a visit to the {367} famous 'Ladies' of that place. These two old ladies, one seventy and the other sixty-five when Scott saw them, had 'eloped' together from Ireland, when they were young girls, one of them dressed as a footman in buckskin breeches. Valuing their liberty above all the allurements of matrimony, they made a secret journey to Wales, and for fifty years lived a quiet and comfortable life in the beautiful vale of Llangollen.

Local tradition assigns this lovely valley as the scene of 'The Betrothed.' Although this may be doubted, it is nevertheless fairly representative of what Scott evidently had in mind. The river Dee winds among a maze of low, partially wooded, and well-rounded hilltops, here and there finding its way through green meadows, set off by hedges of full-grown trees, and at each turn glistening in the sun like a broad ribbon of silver.

I was induced to walk up a long sloping hillside for a distance of about three miles from the village, and was rewarded at the summit by a superb view of northern Wales, for many miles in every direction, and at the same time saw the ruins of the ancient Castell Dinas Bran. This, or something very like it, must have been the Garde Doloureuse of the novel. It certainly had all the natural advantages claimed for that ancient Welsh stronghold, for no army would have found it easy to ascend that hill in the face of a determined garrison. The ruin has the indications also of having been well fortified by the art of man, its walls enclosing an area two hundred and ninety feet long by one hundred and forty feet wide.

The castle may have been built by the Britons before the Roman invasion. A well-founded tradition fixes it {368} as the seat of Eliseg, Prince of Powys, in the eighth century, and it figures in actual history as early as 1200, when it was the residence of a turbulent Welsh baron named Madog.

At Welshpool, directly to the south and near the English border, we visited the magnificent park and castle of the Earl of Powis. It stands on the site of the ancient Castell Coch, or Red Castle, famous as the seat of the great Welsh hero, Gwenwynwyn, who flourished in the latter part of the twelfth and beginning of the thirteenth century. That hero, whom Scott calls Gwenwyn, it will be remembered, upon seeing for the first time the beautiful damsel of sixteen, Eveline Berenger, the only child of his greatest rival and the heir of the strong fortress which he coveted, promptly resolved to marry her, thus starting the train of events which are recorded in the novel.

[Illustration: POWIS CASTLE, WALES]

The present Powis Castle Park is a magnificent demesne of nearly a thousand acres. Its most important portion is a great deer-park, in the midst of which stands the imposing modern palace. The herds of deer quietly feeding on the lawn were kind enough to pose for me, when I made a picture of the castle, and added greatly to its picturesque aspect. On the south, the sloping ground has been cut into broad and beautiful terraces, surmounted by huge yews, trimmed smoothly in conical form. The stone walls are broken by a series of arches, above which are balustrades and statuary in great variety. Clinging vines and garden flowers of every description add colour to the beauty of the arrangement. Below the terraces is a gentle slope, planted with fruit trees, and then a level lawn, in the {369} midst of which is a stately elm. The whole is a triumph of landscape gardening which would have amazed the famous Gwenwynwyn.

Following the course of the tale our next objective was the city of Gloucester, the crowning glory of which is the great cathedral, founded by the Saxon earl, Osric, in 680 A.D. The massive Norman nave was commenced in 1088 and the fine choir was completed in the fourteenth century. The great east window, measuring seventy-two feet in height, thirty-eight feet in width, and containing two thousand seven hundred and thirty-six square feet of glass, is the largest in England if not in the world. Passing around the cathedral we found a house which figures in the story,--the Deanery, as it is now called. It was formerly the prior's lodge of the old Benedictine abbey, and is the oldest house in Gloucester. Within its walls a meeting of Parliament is said to have been held by Richard II.

Of the scenery of 'The Talisman' it is difficult to say much beyond what is generally known about the Holy Land. Scott never visited Palestine and wrote only in general terms. He did contrive, however, to inject a bit of Scottish scenery with which he was familiar, just as he managed to begin the novel with the adventures of a Scottish knight, and to find another countryman among the retainers of King Richard, in the person of Sir Thomas de Multon, the Lord of Gilsland, whose 'love and devotion to the King was like the vivid affection of the old English mastiff to his master.'

Readers of 'The Talisman' will recall, in the mansion of the hermit of Engaddi, the beautiful miniature Gothic chapel, and will quickly note the resemblance to Roslin {370} Chapel, near Edinburgh. The famous feudal baron, William St. Clair, built the latter in a spirit of penitence. An old manuscript informs us that 'to the end he might not seem altogether unthankfull to God for the benefices received from Him, it came in his minde to build a house for God's service of most curious work, the which, that it might be done with greater glory and splendour he caused artificers to be brought from other regions and forraigne kingdoms and caused dayly to be abundance of all kinde of workemen present.'

The foundation was laid in 1446. It is called 'florid Gothic' for want of a better name. There is no other architecture like it in the world. It is a medley of all architectures, the Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, and Saracenic being intermingled with all kinds of decorations and designs, some exquisitely beautiful and others quaint and even grotesque. There are thirteen different varieties of the arch. The owner possessed wealth and wanted novelty. He secured the latter by engaging architects and builders from all parts of Europe. The most striking feature of an ulterior crowded with beautiful forms is the 'Prentice's Pillar, a column with spiral wreaths of exquisitely carved foliage.

It is curious to think of such a chapel as this concealed in a mysterious mansion in the desert of Engaddi, but it is the only touch of realistic description in the whole book, and Scott makes use of it with his usual skill.




Between the completion of the 'Tales of the Crusaders' and the next novel, 'Woodstock,' came the distressing change in Scott's affairs, that set apart the remaining years of his life as a period of sadness, disappointment, grief, and physical pain. They were years of almost superhuman exertion, when the superb personal character of the man, backed by an unconquerable will, triumphed over an accumulation of afflictions that would have broken the heart of an ordinary person. The victory cost him his life--but it was only after a battle of six hard years, and even then it was the frail body and not the heart of the man that succumbed.

In the year 1825, when 'Woodstock' was commenced, the old, happy days, when writing a story was a joyous pastime, came to an end forever, and in their stead came a sense of toil and conscious effort. 'It was a pleasant sight,' said Lockhart, 'when one happened to take a passing peep into his den, to see the white head erect, and the smile of conscious inspiration on his lips, while the pen, held boldly and at a commanding distance, glanced steadily and gayly along a fast-blackening page of "The Talisman." It now often made me sorry to catch a glimpse of him, stooping and poring with his spectacles, amidst piles of authorities, a little notebook ready in his left hand, that had always used to be at liberty for patting Maida.'


Lockhart is here referring to the vast toil required in the preparation of a 'Life of Napoleon,' which Scott had undertaken immediately after returning from the tour through Ireland and Wales, made soon after the completion of 'The Talisman.' It was the year when rumours of financial troubles in London began to reach his ears, followed swiftly by the failure of Constable and the Ballantynes, and later by the sickness and death of Lady Scott and his own physical suffering. Undaunted by misfortune he bravely continued his 'Napoleon,' and soon conceived the idea of composing a work of imagination at the same time. The first of three volumes of 'Woodstock' was, under these trying circumstances, completed in fifteen days and the entire novel in three months.

The news of Scott's distress had spread throughout Scotland and England and into many parts of Europe, and there was naturally a keen interest in the story which he was known to be writing. The announcement that Scott was the author of the Waverley Novels and that the man who had accomplished this marvellous success had met with financial failure came as a shock and a thrill. 'Scott ruined!' exclaimed the Earl of Dudley; 'the author of "Waverley" ruined! Good God! Let every man to whom he has given months of delight give him a sixpence, and he will rise to-morrow morning richer than Rothschild!' The result of this state of the public mind was that 'Woodstock' was successful beyond the author's fondest dreams.

The village of Woodstock, where practically the whole of the scene is laid, lies about eight miles north-west of Oxford. The market-place still has an ancient {373} look, though the houses are in fairly good repair. To readers of the novel the chief place of interest in the village is the old parish church where the Reverend Nehemiah Holdenough was rudely crowded from his pulpit by the canting Independent soldier, Trusty Tomkins, who proceeded to preach one of those weird sermons, common enough at that time, in which the texts of Scripture were perverted to apply to current events, with whatever significance the orator might choose. A fine Norman doorway on the south side marks the oldest part of the edifice, dating back probably as far as the twelfth century. The north side is modern, having been built to replace the older walls that were torn down. The tower was built in 1783.

The real interest of Woodstock lies not in the church nor the village, but in the vast park and palace, now called Blenheim, the property of the Duke of Marlborough. As early as the reign of William the Conqueror, Woodstock was a royal forest, and was so designated in the Domesday Book. His son, Henry I, enclosed it with a wall six miles in circumference (not so large as its present extent) and rebuilt the house. It was here that Thomas à Becket in 1162 began the quarrel with King Henry II, which led to his murder at Canterbury. King Henry added to the old palace of Woodstock the famous tower and maze, where 'the fair Rosamond' might be safely concealed from the jealous eyes of Queen Eleanor. 'Rosamond's Well,' where Tomkins met his well-deserved death at the hands of Joceline Joliffe, is the only remnant of the old palace in existence. It is a spring, walled in and paved, and guarded by an iron fence. We drank of its waters {374} and, following the instructions of the old woman who acts as its keeper, threw what was left in the glasses over our left shoulders 'for luck.' The well was originally within the walls of the palace, so that its occupant could obtain water without the risk of stepping outside. It may, therefore, be considered as marking approximately the site of the old palace.

Richard the Lion-Hearted and John were visitors to Woodstock. Henry III made some improvements in the house. Edward III and Queen Philippa were much attached to Woodstock and often made it their residence. It was during their reign that the poet Chaucer, who was first a page and later a royal 'esquire,' was frequently at Woodstock. He married one of the Queen's maids of honour, and lived in a house in the village which is still standing. As late as the time of James II, Woodstock continued to be occupied, as a favourite country seat, by the English sovereigns. During the great Civil War it was the scene of frequent skirmishes and in the time of the Commonwealth was in the possession of Cromwell.

The fantastic performances by which the commissioners of the Long Parliament were imposed upon and badly frightened when they visited Woodstock, after the execution of Charles I, for the purpose of destroying it, are fully explained in Scott's Introduction.


In 1704, as a reward for his famous triumph in the battle of Blenheim, the victorious commander, John Churchill, was created first Duke of Marlborough, and presented with the vast estates of Woodstock. Queen Anne and the Parliament bestowed upon him in addition the princely sum of £240,000 with which to build a {375} mansion. Blenheim Palace is the finest work of the most famous architect of his day, Sir John Vanbrugh, who designed the building by command of the Queen. Its front extends, from wing to wing, three hundred and forty-eight feet. The style is Italo-Corinthian. Its spacious halls are filled with splendid tapestries and many valuable paintings. There is a long ballroom, equipped as a library at one end and with a great pipe-organ at the other. The park comprises two thousand six hundred acres, with many fine beeches, oaks, elms, cedars of Lebanon, and an avenue of lindens. The river Glyme, which flowed through the estate of Woodstock, was dammed by the landscape gardener of Blenheim and converted into a picturesque lake, over which is an imposing bridge. In a remote corner of the grounds we found the celebrated King's Oak, a fine old tree supposed to be at least a thousand years old.

Two characters of 'Woodstock' stepped into the tale, direct from Scott's own household, thus giving a charming personal touch to this novel in common with 'Redgauntlet' and several of the others. One of these is the fine old hound, Bevis. It seems curious, in view of Scott's fondness for his dogs, that not one of them should find a place in any of his stories until so late a period of his life. Bevis, however, made up for the previous omissions, and he is a splendid picture of Sir Walter's favourite staghound Maida, 'the noblest dog ever seen on the Border since Johnnie Armstrong's time.' So wrote Scott to his friend Terry, adding, 'He is between the wolf and deer greyhound, about six feet long from the tip of the nose to the tail, and high and strong in proportion.... Tell Will Erskine he will eat off his {376} plate without being at the trouble to put a paw on the table or chair.' This noble animal, who for eight years enjoyed the distinction of daily companionship with one of the most appreciative masters who ever lived, came to his end in 1824, the year before 'Woodstock' was commenced. His image, sculptured in stone, had stood for a year or more by the door of the main entrance to Abbotsford, as a 'leaping-on' stone, which Scott found convenient in mounting his horse. Maida was buried beneath the stone, and an epitaph in Latin was carved around its base, Scott's English version of which reads:--

Beneath the sculptured form which late you wore Sleep soundly, Maida, at your master's door.

The other character from Scott's household was his daughter Anne--the Alice Lee of the novel. The same loving care which Alice bestowed upon her aged parent, Scott had felt at the hands of his youngest daughter. When financial disaster began to weigh him down, and Lady Scott's health began to fail, it was Anne who tenderly supported her beloved father. In the sad days following the death of Lady Scott, she accompanied him to London and Paris and was by his side when he received his first paralytic stroke. Her health was shattered by the long strain of her mother's illness and death, followed by that of her father, and she survived her distinguished parent less than a year.

Regarding the historical characters in the novel, the critics seem to agree that the portraits of Cromwell and Charles II are far from accurate and of course their part in the story is imaginary. When Scott's enthusiasm for the Stuart family is considered, and his sympathy for {377} royalty in general, as well as the habit among Scotchmen of his time of regarding the great Protector as a hypocrite, it must be admitted that his picture of Cromwell, while far from flattering, is on the whole remarkably fair to that stern and powerful leader.

Although 'Woodstock' is not ranked among Scott's greatest novels, it is noteworthy that many critics, including Lockhart and Andrew Lang, both of whom usually preferred the Scottish romances, saw in it great merit. In one respect it is the most wonderful of all novels--in the self-control which enabled its author calmly to compose a well-constructed story, full of incident and dramatic power, in the face of afflictions which would have borne down a common mind to those depths of despair in which the ordinary duties of life are forgotten. Scott here proved to be not only a master of the art of story-telling, but the master of himself.




Twoscore years elapsed between the day when Walter Scott, a lad of fifteen, felt a thrill of rapture as he viewed the valley of the Tay from the Wicks of Baiglie and the time when the same Walter, a worn-out man, first used the beautiful scene as the setting of a novel. The 'inimitable landscape,' as he called it, took possession of his mind and retained its influence during the greater part of his life. During the sad years of discouragement, when the 'Canongate Chronicles' had met with a cold reception, and his critical publishers were expressing their views somewhat too sharply, Scott turned once more to his well-loved Highlands for the theme of a story, and the picture which had so aroused his 'childish wonder' came back again after more than forty years.

Naturally our first thought upon arriving at Perth was to find the Wicks of Baiglie and enjoy the same sensation of wonder which Sir Walter had so graphically described. We accordingly drove out over the hills south of the town, on the Edinburgh road, till we came to the Inn of Baiglie, but all to no purpose. A burly blacksmith, who looked as if he might have been a descendant of Henry Gow himself, told us that many people sought the view which Scott had described, but 'it did not exist.' Changes in the road and the growth of foliage had completely destroyed the prospect from the {379} Wicks of Baiglie. We were compensated for our disappointment, however, by several glimpses of the valley from Moncreiff Hill and by a superb view, which we enjoyed the following day, from the summit of Kinnoull Hill, east of the city. At the foot of this hill is the modern Castle of Kinfauns, replacing the seat of Sir Patrick Charteris, to which the burghers of Perth made their memorable journey.

Perthshire is one of the largest counties in Scotland and excels all the others in the beauty and variety of its scenery. Along its southern border lies a region of moorlands, set with sparkling lochs and rippling streams, in the midst of which are the famous Trossachs. On the north are the rugged summits of the Grampian Mountains. In the centre is Loch Tay, one of the loveliest of Highland lakes, fed by the pure mountain streams that come down through the wild passes of Glen Lochay and Glen Dochart. Its outlet is the pleasant river Tay, passing down the eastern border through a valley of green meadows, waving groves, fertile fields, and princely palaces. In a drive of one hundred miles from Perth to Taymouth and back again by another route, we saw not so much as half a mile of scenery that might be called commonplace or uninteresting.

North of the city is the Palace of Scone, which became the seat of government in the eighth century, at which time the famous Stone of Scone was brought from Dunstaffnage. Most of the Scottish kings were crowned here, until Edward I, in the fourteenth century, carried the stone to Westminster Abbey. Farther north, in the same valley, is a bit of Shakespeare's scenery. We {380} passed through the Birnam Wood of 'Macbeth,' though we saw no trees. Perhaps this was natural, for according to Shakespeare they all went to Dunsinane Hill many years ago and the bard does n't say that they ever came back.

[Illustration: LOCH TAY]

Perth is an ancient city, having received a charter from David I in the early part of the twelfth century. For nearly three hundred years it was the residence of the Scottish kings, who occupied during the greater part of that time the monastery of the Dominicans or Black Friars, formerly situated near the west end of the present bridge. This is the church to which Simon Glover and his daughter were walking when they were accosted by the frivolous young Duke of Rothsay, heir to the throne of Scotland. It was founded in 1231. The city was well provided with other religious houses, notably the Carthusian Monastery founded in 1429, the Grey Friars in 1460, and the Carmelites or White Friars, west of the town, dating from 1260. All of these have disappeared, the result of a famous sermon preached by John Knox, in 1559, in the old Church of St. John, which aroused the populace to a frenzy of excitement against the Church of Rome. St. John's Church was itself despoiled of everything which the mob thought savoured of popery, its altars, its images, and even its organ being destroyed. The building itself remained unhurt. Old St. John's was established as early as the fifth century. The transept and nave of the present building were erected in the thirteenth century and the choir in the fifteenth. At present the structure is divided into three churches, the East, the Middle, and the West. The appeal to the direct judgment {381} of Heaven, to determine the identity of the murderer of Oliver Proudfute, which is described as taking place within this building, was based upon a widespread belief that the corpse of a murdered person would bleed upon the approach of the guilty person,--the same superstition which Hawthorne used in 'The Marble Faun.'

Scott gives the Black Friars' Monastery a conspicuous place in his story, as the residence of King Robert III. That well-meaning but weak monarch had three sons: the eldest, David, Duke of Rothsay, died at Falkland Palace, under suspicious circumstances; the second, John, died in infancy; while the third, known in history as James I, nominally succeeded to the throne on the death of his father in 1406, but was held a prisoner by the English and did not actually come into his inheritance until 1424. One of his first acts was to throw Murdoch, the son and successor of the Duke of Albany, into prison, and a little later he punished the treachery of that nobleman by execution at Stirling Castle. James I was a great contrast to his weak-minded father and by the decisiveness of his character, the sagacity of his statesmanship, and the brilliancy of his literary attainments gave Scotland a memorable reign. It was due to his untimely death that Perth lost her prestige as the seat of the Scottish kings. He was suddenly surrounded by a band of three hundred Highlanders, who entered his apartment at the Dominican Priory and stabbed him to death with their daggers. The horror inspired by this assassination caused the abrupt transfer of the Court to Edinburgh and the King's successor, James II, was crowned at Holyrood Abbey instead of at Scone.


The house of the Fair Maid of Perth may still be seen in Curfew Street, near the site of the old monastery. A comparison of its neat, well-kept appearance with the pictures of the same house as it was before the 'restoration' shows that it has improved with age as wonderfully as Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-on-Avon. Not far away, in a very narrow and squalid close, is another house celebrated in the story--the veritable residence of Hal o' the Wynd. The rapid multiplication of the Smith family may cause the sceptical to doubt the authenticity of this landmark, but to the citizens of Perth it is the original dwelling of the famous Henry Smith, or Henry Gow.

The great public park and playground, north of the bridge, known as the North Inch, was the scene of the famous Battle of the Clans which took place in 1396. Thirty sturdy representatives of the Clan Chattan fought to the death with an equal number of the Clan Kay, or as Scott calls them, the Clan Quhele. When the conflict was about to commence, it was discovered that the Clan Chattan numbered only twenty-nine, whereupon a citizen of Perth, having no interest in the struggle, volunteered, for the paltry sum of half a mark, to risk his life in the frightful battle, and thus made up the required number. An ancient chronicler sums up the result in these quaint words:--

At last, the Clankayis war al slane except ane, that swam throw the watter of Tay. Of Glenquhattannis, was left xi personis on live; bot thay war sa hurt, that thay micht nocht hold thair swerdis in thair handis.

There is a touch of contrition in Scott's portrayal of the cowardice of Conachar. The novelist's brother, {383} Daniel, a man of dissipated habits, had been employed in the island of Jamaica in some service against a body of insurgent Negroes, and had shown a deficiency in courage. He returned to Scotland a dishonoured man and Scott refused to see him. A stern sense of duty impelled him to refuse even to attend the funeral of the man who had disgraced his family. In later years he bitterly repented this austerity and atoned for it by tenderly caring for the unfortunate brother's child.

Something of these feelings may have been in his mind when he wrote in his Diary on December 5, 1827: 'The fellow that swam the Tay would be a good ludicrous character. But I have a mind to try him in the serious line of tragedy.... Suppose a man's nerves, supported by feelings of honour, or say by the spur of jealousy, sustaining him against constitutional timidity to a certain point, then suddenly giving way, I think something tragic might be produced.... Well, I'll try my brave coward or cowardly brave man.'

Campsie Linn, where Conachar made his final appearance, and with a last despairing shriek 'plunged down the precipice into the raging cataract beneath,' is a pleasant little waterfall in the Tay, seen through a small clearing in the woods. It is scarcely a cataract nor are the precipices formidable. The religious house where Catharine took refuge has completely disappeared.

Falkland Castle, to which the Duke of Rothsay was carried, a prisoner, is in Fifeshire, about fifteen miles southeast of Perth. The rooms in which the Prince was quartered were probably in the old tower, which has completely disappeared. Excavations made by the Marquis of Bute in 1892 show it to have been an {384} extensive building fifty feet in diameter. The present castle, or the greater part of it, was built at a period somewhat later than that of the story. As early as 1160, Falkland was known as part of the property of the Earls of Fife, who were descendants of Macduff, the famous Thane of Fife, who put an end to the reign of Macbeth in 1057. On the death of Isabel, Countess of Fife, the last of her race, Falkland came into the hands of the Duke of Albany, the brother of King Robert III. Albany was intensely jealous of his nephew, the Duke of Rothsay, who, after attaining his majority, began to display traits of character more worthy than those ascribed to him in the novel. He was entrusted by the King with affairs of some importance and gave promise of developing into an active and vigorous successor to his father. This was, of course, a menace to the plans of Albany, who sought the crown for himself, and he therefore managed to exaggerate the young man's faults to the King and to stir up suspicions against him, until the feeble monarch consented to allow his son to be imprisoned for a time as a cure for his profligacy. The Queen, who might have interceded for the Prince, was dead, as was also the Bishop of St. Andrew, who had often been a mediator in the royal quarrels. Sir John de Ramorny, the young man's tutor, who had suggested to him the assassination of Albany and had been indignantly repulsed, revenged himself by false reports to his pupil's uncle, and was commissioned by the latter to arrest his former charge. The Duke of Rothsay was thereupon waylaid and carried to the Castle of Falkland. The common report was that he was placed in a dungeon and starved to death. It was said that a poor woman, who heard {385} his groans while she was passing through the garden, kept him alive for a time by passing small pieces of barley cake through the bars. Another woman fed him with her own milk, which she conveyed through a small reed to the famished prisoner. Another story is that the daughter of the governor of the castle was the one who took compassion on the Prince, and that her wicked father put her to death as a punishment for showing mercy. The Duke of Albany and the Earl of Douglas were charged with the murder, but maintained that the Prince had died from natural causes and the Parliament unanimously acquitted them. Lord Bute, who gave much study to the records of the case, was inclined to doubt the commission of an actual murder, but admitted that the cause of the young Duke's death must always remain uncertain.


James I and James II made important additions to Falkland, and James V, who found it in a ruinous condition, made many extensive repairs and additions. It was here that the latter king died of a broken heart, at the early age of thirty-two. A few moments before his death, when informed of the birth of his daughter, Mary, who became the Queen of Scots, he exclaimed prophetically, referring to the crown, 'It cam' wi' a lass and it'll gang wi' a lass.' Mary herself visited the castle annually for five or six years, before her marriage with Darnley and spent many happy days there. Her son, James VI, also made it his residence and was living there at the time he was enticed away in the 'Gowrie Conspiracy.' The last king to visit the palace was Charles II, who came for a stay of several days, after his coronation at Scone in 1651. Later the troops of Cromwell {386} occupied the place, and its historical interest ceased soon afterward.

'The Fair Maid of Perth' was finished in the spring of 1828. When the author laid down his pen, it was to mark the real close of the Waverley Novels. True, others were yet to be written, but they were the work of a broken man, and failed to come up to Scott's high standard. It is one of the marvels of literature that a novel so attractive and interesting as 'The Fair Maid' could be produced under circumstances so distracting and painful. No one places it in the same rank as 'Guy Mannering' and 'Ivanhoe,' yet it was popular at the time of publication and has always been regarded as entirely worthy of the reputation of the 'Great Wizard.' The indomitable will of the master was still able to hold his matchless imagination to its task, though the days of its power were now numbered.




The remaining tales of the Waverley Novels require only brief mention. There is but little in them of the 'Country of Sir Walter Scott,' and scarcely more of the author himself. They are the final efforts of a man whose extraordinary buoyancy of youthful spirit is at last beginning to sink beneath a burden too great for human endurance. To begin at fifty-five the uninspiring task of 'paying for dead horses' the vast sum of £117,000, an amount which few men are able to earn by honest labour in all the days of their lives, required a superb courage which only Scott's high sense of honour could have sustained. Scarcely had the resolve been made when a second crushing blow fell with a force more stunning than the first. His beloved wife, the companion of thirty years, was taken away at the hour of his greatest need. She who could relieve the tedium of his toil by slipping quietly into the room to see if the fire burned, or to ask some kind question, was no longer present to comfort him. He felt a paralyzing sense of loneliness and old age, which even the devotion of his daughter Anne could not relieve. To continue the awful grind of writing for money--for something which he could not enjoy nor save for any cherished purpose, but must surrender at once to others--required an almost superhuman exertion of will power. His health began to fail. Headaches and insomnia, added to rheumatism, {388} caused him great distress. His early lameness became intensified and made walking so painful that he had to abandon what had been his favourite form of exercise. The once vigorous frame had prematurely worn out under the strain imposed upon it. Scott had become an aged man at less than threescore years. Yet in these years of disappointment, grief, and physical pain he produced an amount of work of which an ordinary man might well be proud had it represented a lifetime of toil. From 1826, the year of Constable's failure, to 1831, this man of iron will produced no less than forty[1] volumes, besides fifteen important reviews, essays, etc., and in addition supervised the publication of his complete prose writings and the Waverley Novels, preparing for the latter a series of exhaustive introductions and notes.

I have anticipated a little by devoting a separate chapter to 'The Fair Maid of Perth' which appeared as {389} the Second Series of the 'Chronicles of the Canongate' in 1828. The 'First Series' was published in 1827 and comprised 'The Two Drovers,' 'The Highland Widow,' and 'The Surgeon's Daughter.' To many the chief interest lies in the Introduction. When the work was first projected, Scott thought of preserving his incognito by conceiving the tales to be the work of one Chrystal Croftangry, an elderly gentleman who had taken quarters for a time within the Sanctuary, as the immediate vicinity of Holyrood was called. Here, as in the famous Alsatia of London, debtors were safe from arrest. Scott at one time feared that the importunities of a certain relentless creditor might force him to take refuge in the Sanctuary. On November 1, 1827, he made this entry in his Journal: 'I waked in the night and lay two hours in feverish meditation ... I suppose that I, the Chronicler of the Canongate, will have to take up my residence in the Sanctuary, unless I prefer the more airy residence of the Colton Jail, or a trip to the Isle of Man.' Fortunately this creditor was silenced by Scott's generous friend, Sir William Forbes, who privately paid the claim out of his own pocket.[2]

There is much in Mr. Croftangry's lengthy biography to remind one of Sir Walter himself. He finds pleasure in visiting the Portobello sands to see the cavalry drill, suggesting at once the young quartermaster of the Edinburgh Volunteers, who rode a black charger up and down the sands while he composed some of the most spirited stanzas of 'Marmion.' He delights to spend the wet mornings with his book and the pleasant ones in strolling upon the Salisbury Crags--just as Walter, {390} the high-school boy and college student loved to do. In Mrs. Bethune Baliol, the genial old lady who assists Mr. Croftangry in his literary speculations, we have a kindly reference to a dear friend of the author--Mrs. Murray Keith, who died at eighty-two years of age, 'one of the few persons whose spirits and cleanliness, and freshness of mind and body made old age lovely and desirable.'

The volume is still more interesting because it contains Scott's first printed acknowledgment of the authorship of the Waverley Novels and gives an insight into some of the original suggestions of both characters and scenery. It also contains an account of the Theatrical Fund Dinner held in Edinburgh in February, 1827, in which Scott was publicly referred to as the author of the Waverley Novels and acknowledged in the presence of three hundred gentlemen the secret which he had hitherto confided to only twenty.

'The Highland Widow' is a story of that wild but beautiful portion of Argyllshire of which Loch Awe is the chief attraction. Dumbarton Castle, where the widow's unfortunate son bravely paid with his life for the mistaken teachings and indiscretions of his mother, is a conspicuous object on the right bank of the Clyde, a few miles below Glasgow. It stands on a high rock, the circumference of which at the base is fully a mile. It is still maintained as one of the defences of Scotland, in accordance with the Treaty of Union.

'The Two Drovers' is an excellent short story picturing the life of those men who drove their cattle from the {391} Highlands about Doune, to the markets of Lincolnshire or elsewhere in England, making the entire journey on foot, sleeping with their droves at night in all kinds of weather and enduring many hardships.

'The Surgeon's Daughter,' though it opens in one of the midland counties of Scotland, is chiefly a story of India, and the scenery is therefore not a part of Scott's Country, for he never saw it. The good old doctor, Gideon Grey, was, however, an old friend who lived in Selkirk, Dr. Ebenezer Clarkson, one of those hard-working country doctors who often combine, 'under a blunt exterior, professional skill and enthusiasm, intelligence, humanity, courage, and science.'

'Anne of Geierstein,' though sharply criticized by James Ballantyne and regarded by the author himself as a task which he hated, is nevertheless a wonderful work of imagination, in which the old-time genius is clearly manifest. Lockhart points out the power, which Scott retained in advanced years, of depicting 'the feelings of youth with all their original glow and purity,' and says that nowhere has the author 'painted such feelings more deliciously' than in certain passages of 'Anne of Geierstein.' He assigns as a reason the fact that Scott always retained in memory the events of his own happy life, and besides 'he was always living over again in his children, young at heart whenever he looked on them.'

Though admittedly erroneous in certain historical details, the volume contains some wonderful descriptions of scenery. Scott never visited Switzerland, where {392} the chief interest of the story lies, but seemed to have an instinctive grasp of its charm, which he accounted for by saying, 'Had I not the honour of an intimate personal acquaintance with every pass in the Highlands; and if that were not enough, had I not seen pictures and prints _galore_?' The story opens at the village of Lucerne, and the Lake of the Four Cantons, beneath the shadow of the awe-inspiring Mount Pilatus. Those who have travelled from this point to Bâle, and thence down the Rhine to Strasburg, should have a fairly good idea of the scenery of the novel--better, perhaps, than the author himself. Charles of Burgundy, whose character and career had made a strong impression upon Scott through the pages of Philippe de Comines, appears once more, and the novel closes with his defeat at Nancy and tragic death in a half-frozen swamp, the victim of the traitorous Campo-basso. The story of King René and the events at Aix in Provence was an afterthought, woven into the tale at the suggestion of James Skene, who supplied the necessary details.

'Count Robert of Paris' is a tale of Constantinople, a city which Scott had not visited. The difficulties under which it was written may be judged from such expressions in the Journal as these: 'My pen stammers egregiously and I write horridly incorrect'; 'The task of pumping my brain becomes inevitably harder'; 'My bodily strength is terribly gone; perhaps my mental also.' The spirit which enabled him to persevere in spite of Cadell and Ballantyne, who were again criticizing severely, may be seen from these lines: 'But I will fight it out if I can. It would argue too great an attachment {393} of consequence to my literary labours to sink under critical clamour. Did I know how to begin, _I would begin again this very day, although I knew I should sink at the end._'

In spite of the doctor's advice, he kept on with his dictation--for he could no longer use the pen--and finished 'Count Robert' amidst a frightful sea of troubles. He had suffered three or four strokes of apoplexy or palsy, and had experienced daily tortures from cramp, rheumatism, and increasing lameness. Yet in the midst of all this affliction he thought of his creditors and said repeatedly to Lockhart, 'I am very anxious to be done, one way or another, with this "Count Robert," and a little story about the "Castle Dangerous"'--thus to the last continuing the old trick of starting a new story before its predecessor was finished. He even resumed his youthful practice of going in search of material, and actually undertook an excursion to Douglas in Lanarkshire, where he examined attentively the old ivy-covered fragment of the original castle, the ruins of the old church, and the crypt of the Douglases, filled with leaden coffins. He even talked with the people of the village, after his old-time fashion, and gathered such legends as they could remember. He was now on familiar ground and speedily finished the latest story, bringing 'Count Robert' to a close about the same time. The two were published in November, 1831, as the Fourth Series of 'Tales of My Landlord.' These volumes completed the literary labours of Sir Walter, except that he continued to work a little at his notes and introductions, but at last he took the advice of his friends and agreed to do no more work of an exacting {394} nature. A journey to the Continent followed, including a visit to Malta, but in the following year he was glad to return to his beloved Abbotsford. On the 21st of September, 1832, lying in the dining-room of the mansion which his industry and courage had saved to his family, and listening to the rippling of his beloved river Tweed, the brave and honourable as well as honoured writer, breathed his last. He had fought a good fight and died in the belief that he had won. And so he had. For although the debt was not entirely paid, the subsequent sale of copyrights realized enough to satisfy all claims. Scott's sense of honour and superb courage had won a glorious victory.

[1] The volumes were:--

Woodstock . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 volumes

Life of Napoleon Buonaparte . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Chronicles of the Canongate, First Series,--comprising The Two Drovers, The Highland Widow, and The Surgeon's Daughter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Tales of a Grandfather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Chronicles of the Canongate, Second Series--The Fair Maid of Perth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Anne of Geierstein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

A History of Scotland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

The Doom of Devorgoil and Auchindrane . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

Tales of My Landlord, Fourth Series,--Count Robert of Paris, and Castle Dangerous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 __ 40

Three short stories, which Ballantyne objected to including in the Canongate Chronicles, were printed in The Keepsake. These were 'My Aunt Margaret's Mirror,' 'The Tapestried Chamber,' and the 'Death of the Laird's Jock.'

[2] See Chapter V, _Rokeby_, page 95.




In travelling so many miles to view the scenery of Scott's work, I think the strongest impression I have received is that of the all-pervading personality of Scott himself. It was one of the joys of the experience that so many places, not particularly attractive in themselves, should suddenly become interesting when found to be connected in some way with Scott's life or with something he had written; and that scenes of great natural beauty should become invested with a new fascination whenever they were found to suggest some line of poetry or to recall some well-remembered incident. I am sure I should never have given a second thought to the bit of an old wall which is now the scant remnant of Triermain Castle, had I passed it without knowledge of its identity; but it was worth going far out of the way to see, if only for the sake of realizing how the merest fragment of an old ruin could suggest a poem to Scott and how he could rebuild a castle in all its early magnificence and people it with the children of his fancy.

I know of no more romantic place in all of beautiful Scotland than the vale of the Esk, where the river flows between high cliffs, clothed with thick shrubbery and overhanging vines; and one can stand by the side of the stream, looking over the lacelike foliage of the tree-tops, and catch glimpses now and then of some fascinating old ruin, peeping down like a fairy castle, lodged in the {396} topmost branches. Yet when I recall its charm, I cannot help remembering how it transformed an Edinburgh lawyer of small reputation into a poet of world-wide fame.

Wherever we went, whether driving through the Canongate of Edinburgh, or looking across the Tweed toward the Eildon Hills, or listening to the shrill screams of the sea-fowl as they dashed about the dizzy heights of St. Abb's Head, or wandering quietly through the woods that lend a wild and fairy-like enchantment to the Trossachs, there was always the feeling that Scott had been there before and had so left the impress of his personality that his spirit seemed to remain.

It was a pleasant sensation, for there seemed to be in it an indefinable consciousness of the presence of Scott's own genial nature, that spirit of good-fellowship which so delighted Washington Irving when he enjoyed the rare privilege of wandering over the hills and valleys with Sir Walter, listening to countless anecdotes and ballads, and sharing his boundless hospitality for several days.

[Illustration: ABBOTSFORD]

This feeling became more and more intense as we went about in the Border Country, which must be regarded as Scott's real home, and it reached its culmination when we came to Abbotsford. Here, thanks to the courtesy of Mr. James Curie, the representative in Melrose of the Honourable Mrs. Maxwell-Scott, a great-granddaughter of the poet and the present owner of the estate, we were greeted with a kindness worthy of Sir Walter's own ideas of hospitality. We seemed to meet the original owner face to face--not the poet--not the novelist--but Walter Scott, the man.

The great mansion and the spacious, well-wooded estate which he took so much joy in creating and {397} struggled so desperately to save, seemed to typify all the success and all the failure of his career. The garden with the arched screen, copied by his own desire from the cloisters of Melrose Abbey; the pile of stones in the centre, that once formed the base of the ancient Mercat Cross of his native city; the stone image of the favourite old stag-hound Maida, placed just outside the door, as a constant reminder of the faithful friend of many years; the entrance itself, copied from the Palace of Linlithgow; the hall, with its fine carved woodwork from the old Kirk of Dunfermline; the museum with its collection of guns, swords, armour, and curious articles of every description, suggesting the author's antiquarian tastes and the loving interest which scores of friends took in presenting him with the things they knew he would appreciate; the library with its thousands of volumes representing the author's own literary tastes; the study with his own desk and chair; the dining-room with its highly prized ancestral portraits; and the bay-window through which Sir Walter looked for the last time upon the rippling waters of his beloved Tweed--all these seemed to bring his kindly personality nearer to us.

I believe it was this all-pervading personality, the spirit of brotherly kindness, of generosity and of love, that made Scott's life a success. It is reflected through page after page in the novels and poems, and shines out brilliantly from the beginning to the end of Lockhart's great biography. It is the very essence of that wholesome quality which has been so often remarked as one of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Waverley Novels.

There were no signs on Scott's property warning {398} trespassers to 'keep out.' He felt that such things would be offensive to the feelings of the people and if any of his neighbours could shorten a journey by walking through his grounds, he wanted them to have the advantage. There was one sign on his land, by a broad path through the woods, reading 'The _Rod_ to Selkirk.' The spelling was Tom Purdie's, but the implied invitation to take a 'short cut' through the private estate was warmly endorsed by his master. It was a pleasure to him to see children come up with a pocketful of nuts gathered from his trees, rather than run away at sight of him, and he declared that no damage had ever been done in consequence of the free access which all the world had to his place.

When he walked over his estate, talking familiarly with Maida, who almost invariably accompanied him, he would stop for a friendly word with every tenant. 'Sir Walter speaks to every man as if they were blood relations,' said one of them. Happy the companion who could take such a walk with him. 'Oh! Scott was a master spirit--as glorious in his conversation as in his writings,' wrote Irving. 'He spoke from the fulness of his mind, pouring out an incessant flow of anecdote and story, with dashes of humour, and then never monopolizing, but always ready to listen and appreciate what came from others. I never felt such a consciousness of happiness as when under his roof.'

The same kindliness, experienced by tenants and visitors, was extended to the servants of the family, as Tom Purdie could heartily testify. Tom was brought before Scott, as sheriff, charged with poaching. He told his story with such pathos,--of a wife and many children {399} to feed, of scarcity of work and abundance of grouse,--mingling with it so much sly humour, that the 'Shirra's' kind heart was touched. He took Tom into his own employment as shepherd, and no master ever had a more faithful servant. When Purdie died, twenty-five years later, he was laid to rest in the churchyard of Melrose Abbey, where his grave is marked by a simple monument, inscribed by his master, 'in sorrow for a humble but sincere friend.' Peter Mathieson, a brother-in-law of Tom, who was employed as coachman about the same time, survived his master. The portraits of both these servants occupy an honoured place on the walls of the armoury at Abbotsford.

No man was ever on more delightful terms with his family than Sir Walter. Captain Basil Hall, who spent a Christmas fortnight at Abbotsford, recorded that 'even the youngest of his nephews and nieces can joke with him, and seem at all times perfectly at ease in his presence--his coming into the room only increases the laugh and never checks it--he either joins in what is going on, or passes.' When writing in his study, if Lady Scott or the children entered, his train of thought was not disturbed. He merely regarded the interruption as a welcome diversion by which he felt refreshed. Sometimes he would lay down his pen and, taking the children on his knee, tell them a story; then kissing them, and telling them to run away till supper-time, he would resume his work with a contented smile. He considered it 'the highest duty and sweetest pleasure' of a parent to be a companion to his children. They in turn reciprocated by sharing with 'papa' all their little joys and sorrows and taking him into their hearts as their {400} very best playfellow. No man ever took more pleasure in the education of his children. On Sundays he would often go out with the whole family, dogs included, for a long walk, and when the entire party were grouped about him, by the side of some pleasant brook, he would tell stories from the Bible, weaving into them all that picturesque charm and richness which have made his written stories so delightful. He taught his children to love the out-of-door life, and especially insisted upon their attaining proficiency in horsemanship, that they might become as fearless as himself. 'Without courage,' he said, 'there cannot be truth; and without truth, there can be no other virtue.'

What Scott taught his children, he impressed upon all, by the force of example, throughout his life. Shortly before his death, in a few simple words, he epitomized his creed--without intending to do so--in a tender parting message to his son-in-law. 'Lockhart,' he said, 'I may have but a minute to speak to you. My dear, be a good man--be virtuous--be religious--be a good man. Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here.' When Lockhart asked if he should send for Sophia and Anne, he said, 'No, don't disturb them. Poor souls! I know they were up all night--God bless you all.'

This lifelong desire to 'be good' and to do good, without the slightest affectation, prudery, or sanctimoniousness, was I believe the crowning glory of Scott's life and the secret of his success.

Yet in many ways Scott was not successful. Judged by that test which is the only one allowed to many men, his life was distinctly a failure. In the ordinary usage of {401} the term, a man is accounted successful if he accomplishes his chief aim in life. Wealth is the aim of so many that rich men are usually considered successful, and those who die poor are commonly supposed to be failures.

Scott aimed to write a popular kind of poetry, and in this he succeeded. He then turned to fiction and here he was even more successful. But this kind of success did not represent his supreme desire. He sought to make it the means to an end, and the dream of his life was, after all, wealth. Not riches for himself. He was never mean enough for that, and selfishness did not enter into his nature. It was wealth for his family that he desired. He was a man of great pride and the old feudal system was full of attractiveness. He knew every detail of the history of the Scott family for centuries. He revered the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch as the head of his clan. As his writings, year after year, brought him financial returns almost fabulous in size, he began to cherish the desire to found a new branch of the Scott Clan. The irresistible impulse to add new lands to Abbotsford, regardless of cost, and to erect a great mansion, fit for the residence of an earl, all sprang from this one motive. The readiness with which he purchased a captaincy in the army for his eldest son, at a cost of £3500, and the cheerfulness with which he settled nearly the whole of Abbotsford upon young Walter and his affianced bride, promising that if he should be spared ten years he would give them as much more, are striking indications of his intense longing to establish the Scotts of Abbotsford among the great families of Scotland.

In this, the greatest ambition of his life, Scott was {402} completely thwarted. Though Abbotsford was saved from the wreck of his fortunes by an almost superhuman effort, the estate which passed to his heirs was not so large as he had expected, nor did his sons live long to enjoy it. The eldest, Walter, died in 1847, and as he had no son, the baronetcy expired with him. The younger son, Charles, had died in 1841.

The failure of Scott's hopes was the result of a long chain of circumstances. In early life he had undertaken the practice of law, and continued for ten years without rising above the level of mere drudgery, his earnings for the first five years averaging only eighty pounds annually and probably not rising very much higher during the subsequent years. Finding it necessary, at length, to give up the law entirely, he arranged to secure an appointment as Clerk of the Court of Session, to succeed an aged incumbent of that office. The agreement was that Scott should do the work while his predecessor drew the pay, in consideration of which he was to have the entire emolument after the old gentleman's death. The office was worth eight hundred pounds a year and offered a very fair substitute for the small earnings at the bar. Unfortunately the gentleman was so inconsiderate as to prolong his existence for six years after the bargain was made.

Scott was already in possession of a private income of one thousand pounds, to which the office of Sheriff of Selkirk added three hundred pounds, and was beginning to receive large rewards for his literary labour, 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel' bringing him £769 6_s._ for the first and second editions. It might be supposed that such an income would satisfy a young man not yet {403} thirty-four. Scott, however, was ambitious, and feeling the need of the additional income which did not at once materialize from the clerkship, sought to make up the deficiency by investing nearly all his capital in a commercial venture. He entered into a secret partnership with James Ballantyne in the printing business, which proved, with one exception, to be the greatest mistake of his life. The exception, which marked, in Lockhart's phrase, 'the blackest day in his calendar,' was in connecting his fortunes with John Ballantyne in the publishing business.

James Ballantyne's greatest fault was a tendency to rely too much upon Scott's judgment, and the latter was too much swayed by generous motives to be a prudent business manager. He would favour the publication of an unmarketable book rather than disappoint a friend. Moreover, his own great interest in works of an historical or antiquarian nature often led him astray. His judgment of good literature was better than his knowledge of what the public was likely to buy. The firm became loaded with unprofitable enterprises, which they, in turn, unloaded, in part, upon Constable, thus contributing one of the causes of the latter's downfall. Another weakness of James Ballantyne, who was an excellent printer and in many ways an exemplary man, was his distaste for figures and utter indifference to his balance-sheets--a fatal error for a business man.

John Ballantyne, a younger brother of James, was a light-headed, happy-go-lucky, careless little fellow, who could amuse a company of friends with comic songs and droll mimicry, who loved all kinds of sports, drove a tandem down the Canongate, was fond of {404} dissipation and gay company, and without the slightest capacity for business or interest in it. Like his brother he was intensely fond of Scott and loyal to him, but a reckless adventurer and spendthrift. Scott nicknamed him 'Rigdumfunnidos' and was always amused by him, but could scarcely have had respect for his business qualities. It must always remain a mystery why he entrusted so large an interest in his own fortunes to such a weakling.

An alliance, and, what is worse, a secret one, with two such men, who could not in any sense act as a brake upon Scott's own impulses nor steady him with the business experience which he sadly lacked, was mistake enough; but Scott himself committed a serious error in his own affairs. He fell into the habit of selling his literary productions before they were written, and carried this folly to such an extreme that about the time of the issue of 'The Fortunes of Nigel,' he had received payment, by notes, from the bookseller, for no less than four works of fiction, which at that time had not even been planned. They subsequently appeared as 'Peveril of the Peak,' 'Quentin Durward,' 'St. Ronan's Well,' and 'Redgauntlet.' The proceeds were spent upon the castle at Abbotsford before the books were even named. John Ballantyne was rapidly spending money which his firm had not earned, and Scott, who ought to have remonstrated against such rashness, was committing the same fault on a larger scale. Under the circumstances the only wonder is that the disaster was so long averted. When it came, Scott found himself involved in the debts of the Ballantynes to the extent of £117,000.


With superb courage he rose to the emergency. {405} Assuming the entire burden, and struggling against almost insuperable difficulties, he succeeded in paying £63,000, or considerably more than half of the indebtedness. Life insurance of £22,000 and £2000 in the hands of his trustees reduced the debt to about £30,000, which sum was advanced by Cadell, the publisher. All the creditors, except the latter, were then paid in full, and in 1847, fifteen years after Scott's death, Cadell was paid by a transfer of copyrights and the entire obligation was thus finally extinguished.

Had Scott died at the time of the Constable failure, leaving his affairs to be settled by the ordinary process of the law, and the Ballantyne creditors unpaid, the world would never have known whether the unprecedented success of his literary labours was after all quite sufficient to counterbalance the disastrous failure of his business affairs.

The catastrophe, however, brought out all the sterling qualities of his character. How much courage he possessed, what a high sense of honour, what patience, what endurance, even his closest friends had never realized. Just as those kindly personal qualities had woven an indescribable charm into the products of his fancy, such as no other series of writings had ever before possessed, so the highest and noblest traits of his character responded to the call of a great emergency, and converted the failures of a lifetime into a final triumph.




ABBOT, THE, 4, 10, 265-271; 348.

Abbotsford, 39, 46, 89, 90, 133, 146, 220, 233, 346, 352, 360, 376, 394, 396, 397, 398, 399, 401, 402.

Abercorn, Lady, letter to, 22.

Abercrombie, George, 119.

Aberfoyle, 74; clachan of, 192, 193; 194; old bridge, 193.

Adam, Rt. Hon. William, 267, 268.

Albany, Duke of, 381, 384, 385.

Allan-Fraser, Patrick, 154.

Allan, the river, 259.

Alsatia (Whitefriars), 323, 324.

Amboglanna, 136.

Annan, 357.

Annan, the river, 359.


Anne, Queen, 374.

ANTIQUARY, THE, 145-159.

Arbroath, 151-155; 158.

Argyle, John, Duke of, 202, 207.

Argyle, Marquis of, 225, 226, 227, 228, 231.

Arthur's Seat, 8, 60.

Ashby de la Zouch, 234, 235, 236.

Ashestiel, 48, 62, 106, 346, 352.

Auchmithie, 155, 158.

Avon, the river, 283.

Baiglie, the Wicks of, 10, 378.

Bailie, Joanna, letter to, 366.

Balfour, John, of Burley, 169, 177, 178, 179.

Baliol, Barnard, founder of Barnard Castle, 88.

Ballantyne, James, 5, 106, 365, 372, 391, 392, 403.

Ballantyne, John, 5, 273, 372, 403, 404.

Balmawhapple, 124.

Balquhidder, Kirk of, 188, 189.

Balue, Cardinal John de la, 234, 343.

Bannockburn, 81, 104.

Bard's Incantation, The, 159.

Barnard Castle, 86-88, 92.

Beaton, Cardinal, 155.

Becket, Thomas à, 373.

Bemerside Heights, 352.

Ben An, 12, 76.

Ben Ledi, 12, 73, 77.

Ben Lomond, 12, 193.

Ben Nevis, 233.

Ben Venue, 12, 74, 76, 78.

BETROTHED, THE, 365-369.

Birnam Wood, 380.

Bishop's Palace, the, Kirkwall, 307.

Blackford Hill, 8, 57, 59.

Black Ormiston, the Laird of, original of Julian Avenel, 261.

Blackwood, William, criticism by, of _The Black Dwarf_, 165.

Blair Adam Club, The, 267.

BLACK DWARF, THE, 15, 160-165.

Blenheim, battle of, 374.

Blenheim Palace, 373-375.

Bohun, Sir Henry de, 104.

Border Minstrelsy, 52.

Borthwick, the river, 35.

Bothwell Bridge, 168, 170, 171.

Bothwell Castle, 172.

Bower, Johnny, guide at Melrose, 41.

Bowhill, seat of the Duke of Buccleuch, 35.

Bowness, 357.

Bradwardine, Bears of, 107, 109.

Bradwardine, Cosmo Comyne, 118, 123.

Bradwardine, Rose, 113.

Braes of Balquhidder, 11, 66, 78, 186, 187, 196.

Branksome Hall, 37, 43.

Branxton Hill, 7.

BRIDAL OF TRIERMAIN, THE, 16, 20, 21, 91, 96-99; 104.


Brignall Woods, 91, 92.

Brig o' Turk, 71, 74, 77.

Brogar, Bridge of, 310.

Brown Square, 9.

Bruce, John, discoveries of, in Kinrossness, Shetland, 208, 209.

Bruce, Robert, 40, 80, 101, 102, 103, 124, 129, 152, 191, 230, 262, 304, 332.

Bryant, William Cullen, quoted, 164.

Buccleuch, Duchess of (Countess of Dalkeith), 31, 32, 34, 46.

Buccleuch, Duke of, 32; 35; 46; 49.

Buchanan, Francis, 120.

Buchanan, John, 72, 120.

Burgh-upon-Sands, 358.

Burns, Robert, 126, 142.

Byron, Lord, 104.

Cadell, Robert, 392, 405.

Cadyow Castle, 30; quotation, 31.

Caerlaverock Castle, 127-129, 135, 357.

Caerlaverock Churchyard, grave of Old Mortality, 167.

Calton Hill, 60.

Cambus Kenneth, 80.

Cambusmore, 72, 120.

Campbell, Robert MacGregor, original of Rob Roy, exploits of, 182-188; death of, 189.

Campsie Linn, 110, 383.

Canongate, The, Edinburgh, 209.

Cargill, George, original of Saunders Mucklebackit, 156.

Carlisle, 21, 121, 357, 358, 362.

Caroline, Queen, 204.

Carpenter, Miss Charlotte Margaret. _See_ Lady Scott.

Carrick, Margaret, original of Tib Mumps, 137.

Castell Coch, Wales, 368.

Castell Dinas Bran, 367.


Castle Street, Edinburgh, Number 39, Scott's residence, 346.

Castleton, 328.

Cat Castle rocks, 94.

Cathcart Castle, 271.

Chambers, Robert, quoted, 202, 204.

Chambers, William, quoted, 163.

Charles I, 90, 225, 233, 319, 322, 326, 374.

Charles II, 184, 242, 325, 326, 330, 332, 334, 335, 376, 385.

Charles of Burgundy, 338, 343, 344, 345, 392.

Chaucer, 374.

Chillingham Castle, 189-190, 191.

Christian, William (William Dhône), 332.


Churchill, John, Duke of Marlborough, 374.

Clare, Lady, 61, 63.

Claverhouse, John Grahame of, 170, 171, 179.

Cleikum Inn, 350.

Clerk, William, original of Darsie Latimer, 9, 110, 267.

Clickimin (_Cleik-him-in_), Pictish broch, 298.

Clifford Tower, 250.

Cluden, the river, 126, 205.

Clyde, the river, 172.

Coldingham Abbey, 56.

Coldingham Priory, 222.

Coldstream, 7, 61.

Colmslie, 260.

Comines, Philippe de, 341, 345, 392.

Coningsburgh, Castle of, 246, 247, 248, 249, 250.

Constable, Archibald, 272, 372, 403, 404, 405.

Constable, George, original of Monkbarns, 4, 147.

Constance de Beverly, 54-56, 64.

Corehouse, Lord, 42.

Corra Linn, 172.


Cragg Force, 94.

Craighall, 12, 110, 111, 112.

Craignethan Castle, original of Tillietudlem, 172-175.

Craigroyston, 185, 186.

Cranstoun (Lord Corehouse), original of the Baron of Cranstoun, 42.

Cranstoun, Miss (The Countess of Purgstall), 190.

Crichope Linn, 177.

Crichton Castle, 56-58, 221.

Cromwell, Oliver, 241, 374, 376, 377, 385.

Crookston Castle, 270, 271.

Crosbie, Andrew, original of Paulas Pleydell, 141.

Culloden, battle of, 116, 122, 123.

Cumberland, 135, 136.

Cumnor Church, 279.

Cumnor Hall, 272, 273, 276, 277, 278.

Cumnor, the village, 273, 281.

Curle, James, 396.

Dacre, Thomas, Lord, 20, 43.

Daim, Oliver le, 342.

Dalgetty, old soldier, 114.

Dairymple, James, Lord Stair, original of Sir William Ashton, 215, 216.

Dalzell, General, 179.

Darnley, Henry, Lord, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, 267, 271.

David I, 380.

David II, son of Robert Bruce, 183.

David Deans, house of, 212.

Davidson, James, original of Dandie Dinmont, 137.

Dee, river in Wales, 367.

Deepdale, 94.

Derby, Countess of (Charlotte de la Tremouille), 332.

Derby, Earls of, 332.

Derbyshire, 328.

Devil's Beef Tub, 361.

Dirk Hatteraick's cave, 131, 132.

Dods, Mrs. Margaret, 350.

Don, the river, 247.

Douglas, George, 269, 270.

Douglas, Lady, 269.

Douglas, 'The Little,' original of Roland Graeme, 270.

Douglas, Sir William, 269.

Douglas, village of, 393.

Doune Castle, 12, 80, 120.

Driver, Counsellor Pleydell's clerk, 142.

Drumclog, battle of, 170, 171.

Dryburgh Abbey, 304, 352.

Dryhope, 35.

Dudley, Edmund, 325.

Dudley, Guildford, 274, 325, 326.

Dudley, John, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland, 274, 277, 281, 325.

Dudley, Robert. _See_ Leicester.

Dugald Ciar Mohr, ancestor of Rob Roy, 183.

Dumbarton, 172, 270.

Dumbiedykes, 212.

Dumfries, 126, 127, 130, 131, 135, 191. Maxwelltown observatory, 166; the Mid Steeple, 205; Church of Kirkpatrick Irongray, 207.

Duncan, Rev. Dr., 353.

Duncraggin, 77.

Dundrennan Abbey, 270, 360.

Dunfermline, the Abbey, 40, 304.

Dunottar, Scott's meeting with Old Mortality, 167.

Dunstaffnage, 230, 231, 232, 379.

Dwarfie Stone, the, 312.

Earl's Palace, the, Kirkwall, 307.

Edinburgh, 7, 8. The Old Town, 9, 10; Brown Square, 9; High Street, 141; Parliament Square, 190-202; St. Giles, 60, 109-203; Tolbooth, 9, 200-205, 233; Advocates' Library, 200; Grassmarket, 203, 204; King's Park, 209, 212; Canongate, 209, 266; Salisbury Crags, 7, 8, 60, 210, 389; Queensbury House, 266; the Castle, 346; Castle St., 346; St. Cuthbert's Church, 114; St. Leonard's Crags, 8, 212; the Cowgate, 201; West Bow, 201; St. Anthony's Chapel, 8, 210, 211.

Edward I, 129, 191, 231, 324, 358, 379.

Edward III, 374.

Edward IV, 235, 240.

Edward VI, 274.

Egliston Abbey, 92, 93.

Eildon Hills, the, 38, 347, 352, 396.

Elibank, 36, 49, 106, 139, 332.

Elizabeth, Queen, 272, 273, 274, 275, 286, 287, 321, 326, 332.

Ellen's Isle, 69, 76.

Ellis, George, 32, 52, 96; quoted, 61, 64.

Emerson, Ralph Waldo, opinion of _The Bride of Lammermoor_, quoted, 215.

English Lakes, the, 15, 16, 96.

Engaddi, 369, 370.

Erskine, Rev. John, 10.

Erskine, William, 51, 96, 375.

Esk, vale of the. _See_ Roslin Glen.

Etal Castle, 62.

Ethie Castle, 154, 155.

Ettrick Forest, 47.

Ettrick, the river, 175.

EVE OF ST. JOHN, THE, 3, 30.

Eyemouth, 222.

Faa, Gabriel (Tod Gabbie), 138.

FAIR MAID OF PERTH, THE, 11, 378-386; house of, 382.

Fairy Dean, 259.

Falkland Castle, 383, 384, 385.

Fast Castle, 220.

Feckless Fannie, original of Madge Wildfire, 213.

Ferguson, Dr. Adam, 15, 160, 162.

Ferguson, Sir Adam, 15, 16, 81, 267.


Fitful Head, the, 300.

Fitz James. _See_ James V.

Flodden Field, 7, 53, 58, 61, 62, 64, 257.

'Flower of Yarrow,' the, 35.

Forbes, Sir William, 18, 95, 389.

Ford Castle, 62.

Forth, the river, 188, 192.

FORTUNES OF NIGEL, THE, 316-327, 404.

Fort William, 231.

Foster, Anthony, 274, 276, 279.

Fountains Abbey, 243, 244.

Friar Tuck, 237, 243, 252.

Gardiner, Colonel, 4, 116.

Gauger's Loup, the, 131.

Gemmels, Andrew, original of Edie Ochiltree, 6, 148.

George II, 327.

George V, 231, 320, 323.

Gilmerton, 280.

Gilsland, 16, 20, 97, 136, 159, 349.

Glasgow-- The Cathedral, 191, 192; the Tolbooth, 192; the Salt Market, 192; the Trongate, 195; Langside, 270.

Glencaple, 127, 357.

Glendearg, 259, 260.

Glen Finglas, 74.


Glenfruin, battle of, 183.

Glengarry. _See_ MacDonnel.

Gloucester, Cathedral of, 369.

Goblin Cave, the, 78.

Goldie, Mrs., 207.

Gordon, Jean, original of Meg Merrilies, 6, 7, 138.

Gordon, Madge, Queen of the Gipsies, 6, 138.

Gow, John, original of Cleveland, 313.

Gowrie Conspiracy, 221, 385.

Grahame, John. _See_ Claverhouse.

Graham of Killearn, 186-187.

Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 203, 204.

Gratz, Rebecca, original of Rebecca, 252.


Gray, Daft Jock, original of Davie Gellatley, 118.

Grandtully Castle, 13, 109, 111, 112.

Greenwich Palace, called Placentia, 326.

Greta, the river, 89, 91, 94.

Grey, Lady Jane, 274, 325, 326.

Grey Mare's Tail, 176, 177.

Grierson of Lag, 361.

GUY MANNERING, 126-144; scenes from, in Edinburgh, 10; Liddesdale, 15; England, 16.

Guy's Cliffe, 281.

Gwenwynwyn, Welsh hero, 368, 369.

Haddon Hall, 329, 330, 331.

Hall, Captain Basil, 399.

Kailyards, residence of Dr. Adam Ferguson, 160.

Hal o' the Wynd, house of, 382.

Harden, 35.

Harden, Wat of, 106.


Harthill, site of Front-de-Boeuf's castle, 239.

Hastings, William, Lord, 235.

Hawthornden, 24.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, his opinion of Scotland, 256.

HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN, THE, 8, 199-214, 326.

Heber, Richard, 52.

Henry I, 373.

Henry II, 329, 373.

Henry III, 374.

Henry VII, 240, 274, 335.

Henry VIII, 244, 258, 321, 325, 326.

Heriot, George, 318, 319.

Heron, Lady, 60, 63.

Heron, Sir Hugh, 7, 53.

Herries family, the, 359-360.


High Street, Edinburgh, 9, 141.

Hillslap, 260.

Hoddam Castle, 359, 360, 361.

Hogg, James, the Ettrick shepherd, 26, 139, 144, 176.

Holyrood Abbey, 304, 381.

Holyrood Palace, 10, 60, 112, 113, 209, 266, 267.

Hospitalfield, Arbroath, 153.

Howard, Lord William ('Belted Will'), 21, 43, 331.

Hoy, Island of, 312.

Hughes, Mrs., of Uffington, quoted, 124.

Hutton, Richard H., quoted, 64.

Innerleithen, 349.

Inverary Castle, 227, 231.

Inverlochy, battle of, 226, 231-233; Castle, 232.

Inversnaid, 119; the fort, 196; the falls, 197.

Iona, 103, 231.

Irthing River, the, 20, 97, 349.

Irving, John, 7.

Irving, Washington, visit of, to Abbotsford, 252, 306; Scott's letter to, 253; quoted, 41, 47, 145, 146, 347, 398.

IVANHOE, 234-254, 345.

James I of Scotland, 120, 129, 381, 385.

James II of Scotland, 83, 120, 381, 385.

James III, 58, 81, 120.

James IV, 53, 58, 59, 60, 63, 81, 120.

James V, 47, 58, 81; as Fitz James, 67, 75, 79, 80, 84; as 'Gudeman of Ballangeich,' 82, 129, 342, 385.

James VI of Scotland (James I of England), 36, 82, 221, 233, 317-321, 324-327, 385.

James VIII, the 'Old Pretender,' 113.

Jarlshof, Shetland Islands, 294, 298, 299, 300, 308.

Jedburgh, 14.

Jeffrey, Lord, 96; quoted, 64.

Jervaulx Abbey, 242.

John, King, 235, 242, 251, 374.

Jones, Paul, 130.

Keith, Mrs. Murray, original of Mrs. Bethune Baliol, 300.

Keith, Sir Alexander, 109.

Kelso, 5, 6, 7, 26, 150, 353, 358.

KENILWORTH, 272-289.

Kenilworth Castle, 273, 275, 277, 281, 283, 288, 289. Mortimer's Tower, 283, 284, 287. The Gallery Tower, 283, 284, 286. Cæsar's Tower, 284. Leicester's Building, 284. Henry VIII's Lodgings, 285. The White Hall, 285. The Presence Chamber, 285. The Great Hall, 285, 287. Mervyn's Tower, 286, 287. The Pleasance, 287.

Kenneth MacAlpine, 231.

Kilpont, Lord, original of the Earl of Menteith, 225-228.

Kilsyth, battle of, 233.

Kinblethmont, 158.

Kinfauns, Castle of, 379.

Kinross, 268.

Kirkcudbright, 130, 131.

Kirk Yetholm, 6, 138.

Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney Islands, 303-309.

Knox, John, 267, 380.

LADY OF THE LAKE, THE, 12, 22, 23, 66-85.

Lag, Castle of, 361.

Laidlaw, William, 347, 348.

Lammermuir Hills, 218, 221.

Lanark, 172.

Lanercost Priory, 20, 44, 97.

Lang, Andrew, quoted, 64, 214, 377.

Langshaw, 260.

Langside, battle of, 270, 271.

Lasswade Cottage, 22, 25, 45, 346.

Lauderdale, Duke of, 179, 180.

Lanrick Mead, 71, 77, 78.

LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL, THE, 21, 28-46, 348; quotation from, 24.

Lediard Falls, 121, 195.

LEGEND OF MONTROSE, A, 4, 224-233.

Leicester, Earl of (Lord Robert Dudley), 273, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 280, 283, 284, 285, 286, 287.

_Leicester's Commonwealth_, anonymous pamphlet, 276.

Lennel, 7, 61.

Leny, Falls of, 229.

Lerwick, capital of the Shetland Islands, 291-293, 296, 303, 311.

Leslie, General, 225, 233.

Leyden, Dr. John, letter to, 48.

Liddesdale, raids into, 1, 14, 26, 137.

Liège, 319, 343, 344, 345.


Lincluden Abbey, 126, 127.

Lindisfarne Abbey, 54-56.

Lindsay, Sir David, 56, 58.

Linlithgow, 58.

Llangollen, Wales, 366, 367; the 'Ladies' of, 367.

Loch Achray, 12, 74.

Loch Ard, 74, 192, 194, 195.

Loch Arklet, 196.

Loch Corriskin, 100.

Loch Doine, 78.

Loch Fyne, 231.

Loch of Harray, 310.

Loch Katrine, 11, 12, 66, 71, 74, 76, 78, 101, 184, 187.

Loch Leven Castle, 267, 268, 269, 359.

Loch Linnhe, 226, 230, 231, 232.

Loch Lomond, 12, 119, 120, 183-185, 196.

Loch of the Lowes, 175.

Loch Lubnaig, 77, 78, 193, 229.

Loch Oich, 123.

Loch Scavig, 102.

Loch Skene, 176, 177.

Loch of Sleapin, 102.

Loch of Stennis, 310.

Loch Tay, 379.

Loch Vennachar, 12, 71.

Loch Voil, 78, 189, 196.

Loches, Castle of, 341, 342.

Lockhart, John Gibson, 97, 347, 400; quoted, 48, 64, 214, 253, 317, 336, 366, 371, 372, 377, 391.

London, 316, 317, 320, 327, 334, 335.

London Bridge, 325.


Louis XI of France, 338, 339, 340, 341, 343, 344, 345.

Lyulph's Tower, 98.

Macallister's Cave, 102.

MacDonald, Flora, original of Flora MacIvor, 122.

MacDonnel, Colonel Ronaldson, of Glengarry, 123.

MacGregor, Clan, 182-184.

MacGregor, Helen, Rob Roy's wife, 195.

Mackay, Charles, 198.

MacVicar, Minister of St. Cuthbert's, 114.

Maida, Scott's favourite dog, 123, note; 371-375, 398.

Major Oak, the, in Sherwood Forest, 239-240.

'Making' of Sir Walter, the, 1-27.

Malcolm Graeme, 68, 79, 84.

Man, Isle of, 130, 331.

Manor Water, vale of, 15, 160, 163.

Marck, William de la, 342.

Margaret, Lady, of Branksome Hall, 33, 37, 41, 44 45.

MARMION, 7, 8, 20, 47-65, 353; quotations from, 3, 8.

Marquis of Annandale's Beefstand, 361.

Marriott, Rev. John, 50.

Mary, Queen of England, 274, 275, 326, 335.

Mary, Queen of Scots, 58, 81, 265, 266, 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272, 275, 359, 385.

Mathieson, Peter, 399.

Mayburgh, 98.

Meg Merrilies, 131, 137, 138.

'Meikle-mouthed Meg,' story of, 36.

Melrose, 33, 38-42, 45, 106, 255, 258, 265, 266, 304, 347, 348, 352, 399.

Menteith, Lake, 73.

Mercat Cross, of Melrose, 261.

Middleham Castle, 240, 241.

Miller, A. H., quoted, 195.

Millie, Bessie, original of Norna of the Fitful Head, 313, 314.


Mitchell, Robert, 169, 180.

Moddey Dhoo, legend of the, 334.

Moffat, 172, 175, 176.

Moffat Water, 175.

MONASTERY, THE, 4, 255-264, 348.

Monkbarns (Hospitalfield), 153.

Monmouth, Duke of, 170, 171, 179.

Montrose, Duke of, 182, 185, 187, 196, 202.

Montrose, the Marquis of, 225, 226, 228, 232, 233; sword of, 233.

Morritt, John B. S., 89, 90, 91, 134, 197.

Mortham Castle, 89, 94.

Morton, The Regent, 202.

Mount Sharon, 5.

Mousa, broch of, 247, 300, 301.

Mucklebackit, Saunders, 155-157.

Multon, Sir Thomas de, of Gilsland, 21, 369.

Mump's Ha', 136, 137.

Murdock, Duke of Albany, 129.

Murray, Earl of, 10, 30.

Murray, Sir Gideon, of Elibank, 36.

Muschat's Cairn, Edinburgh, 210.

Nasmyth, Sir James, 162.

Naworth Castle, 20, 43, 44, 231.

Neidpath Castle, 351.

Nethan, the river, 172.

Neville, Richard, Earl of Warwick, 282.

Newark Castle, 35.

Nith, the river, 126, 127, 357.

Norham Castle, 7, 53, 56.

Oakwood Tower, Stronghold of Wat of Harden, 35.

Oban, 230, 231.

Ochil Mountains, 59.

Odin, Stone of, 311, 313.

OLD MORTALITY, 166-181; Tennyson's opinion of, 167.

ORIGINALS OF CHARACTERS-- Alasco, an Italian physician employed by the Earl of Leicester, 277. Lucy Ashton, Janet Dalrymple, 216, 217. Lady Ashton, Lady Stair, 216, 217. Sir William Ashton, James Dalrymple, Lord Stair, 215, 216. Julian Avenel, the Laird of Black Ormiston, 261. Mrs. Bethune Baliol, Mrs. Murray Keith, 300. Bevis, Maida, Scott's dog, 123, note; 371-375, 398. The Black Dwarf, David Ritchie, 160. Josiah Cargill, Rev. Dr. Duncan, 353. Cleveland, John Gow, 313. Baron Cranstoun, George Cranstoun, 42. Effie Deans, Isabella Walker, 205-208. Jeanie Deans, Helen Walker, 205-208. Dandie Dinmont, James Davidson, 137; Willie Elliott, 137; Mr. Laidlaw, 137. Meg Dods, Marian Ritchie, 350. Driver, a clerk of Andrew Crosbie's, 142-143. Alan Fairford, Sir Walter Scott, 9, 362. Saunders Fairford, Walter Scott, father of Sir Walter, 9, 363. Rachel Geddes, 'Lady' Waldie, 5, 358. Davie Gellatley, Daft Jock Gray, 118. Roland Graeme, 'The Little Douglas,' 270. Dr. Gideon Gray, Dr. Ebenezer Clarkson, 391. Dirk Hatteraick, Yawkins, a Dutch skipper, 131. Darsie Latimer, William Clerk, 9, 362. Alice Lee, Anne Scott, 376. Allan McAulay, James Stewart, 227, 228. Flora MacIvor, Flora MacDonald, 122. Colonel Mannering, Sir Walter Scott, 144. Margaret of Branksome, Williamina Stuart, 43. Matilda of Rokeby, Williamina Stuart, 95. Earl of Menteith, Lord Kilpont, 227. Meg Merrilies, Jean Gordon, 6, 138, 148-151. Saunders Mucklebackit, George Cargill, 156. Tib Mumps, Margaret Carrick, 137; Margaret Teasdale, 137. Norna of the Fitful Head, Bessie Millie, 313. Edie Ochiltree, Andrew Gemmels, 6. Jonathan Oldbuck (Monkbarns), Sir Walter Scott, 4, 146; George Constable, 4, 147 Old Mortality, Robert Paterson, 166. Paulus Pleydell, Andrew Crosbie, 141-142; Adam Rolland, 143. Rebecca of York, Rebecca Gratz, 252, 253. Sir Robert Redgauntlet, Grierson of Lag, 361. Hugh Redgauntlet, one of the Herries family, 359. Rob Roy, Robert MacGregor Campbell, 182. Dominie Sampson, George Thomson, 140. Diana Vernon, Miss Cranstoun, 190; Miss Williamina Stuart, 191; Lady Scott, 191. Edward Waverley, Sir Walter Scott, 125. Madge Wildfire, Feckless Fannie, 213.

Orkney Islands, Scott's visit to, in a light-house yacht, 100.

Osbaldistone Hall (Chillingham Castle), 189-190.

Oxford, University of, 275, 276.

Paterson, Robert, original of Old Mortality, 166-168, 171.

Peat, description of, 295-296.

Peebles, 350, 331, 352.

Peel Castle, Isle of Man, 333.

Penrith, 98.

Péronne, 319, 343, 344.

Perth, 10, 109, 226, 231, 378-382.

Peveril Castle, 328, 330.

PEVERIL OF THE PEAK, 328-336, 404.

Philiphaugh, 233.

Pinkie, battle of, 257.

PIRATE, THE, 290-315.

Plessis les Tours, 337, 338, 339, 340, 341.

Pleydell, Paulus, 135, 140-143.

'Popping Stone,' the, 20.

Porteous, John, 203-204.

Porteous Mob, story of, 205.

Powis Castle, Wales, 368.

'Prentice's Pillar, the, 370.

Prestonpans, 4, 114, 115, 116, 147.

Purdie, Tom, 308, 399.

Purgstall, Countess of, 42.

Queen Margaret's Bower, 58.

QUENTIN DURWARD, 337-346; 347, 404.

Raby Castle, 93.

Raeburn House, 350.

Ramsay, David, 319, 320, 323.

Red Comyn, the, 191.

REDGAUNTLET, 5, 9, 355-364, 404.

Red Head, Cliffs of, 155.


René, King, 392.

Richard I, 43, 234, 239, 242, 248, 251, 365, 369, 374.

Richard II, 369.

Richard III, 240, 282.

Richmond Castle, 241, 242.

Ritchie David, original of the Black Dwarf, 15, 160.

Robert III, 381, 384.

Robin Hood, 237, 239, 245, 246, 252.

Robin Hood's Well, 246.

Rob Roy, 11, 12, 182-198.

Rob Roy's cave, 119, 197.

Rob Roy's gun, 233.

Robsart, Amy, 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 280, 284, 287.

Roderick Dhu, 67, 68, 76, 77, 78, 79.

ROKEBY, 19, 86-95, 96, 104.

Roman wall at Amboglanna, 136.

Rosamond's Well, 373.

Rosebank, 14.

Rose, William Stewart, 50.

Roslin Chapel, 369.

Roslin Glen (vale of the Esk), 22, 23, 24, 30, 45, 89, 94.

Rotherham, 236.

Rothsay, Duke of, 381, 384.

Rushen, Castle, Isle of Man, 331, 332.

Saddleback, 135.

St. Abbs Head, 218, 220.

St. Anthony's Chapel, Edinburgh, 8, 210, 211.

St. Bride, the chapel of, 77.

St. Clair, William, 370.

St. Cuthbert's Church, 114.

St. Cuthbert's Holy Isle, 54-56.

St. Giles Cathedral, 60, 199-203.

St. John, Church of, Perth, 380.

St. John, Valley of, 98.

St. Leonard's Crags, Edinburgh, 8, 212.

St. Magnus, Cathedral of, 304, 305, 306, 307.

St. Margaret's Loch, Edinburgh, 210.

St. Mary's Loch, 35, 175.

ST. RONAN'S WELL, 346-354, 404.

St. Thomas's Abbey (St. Ruth's), 151, 152.

Salisbury Crags, the, Edinburgh, 7, 8, 60, 210, 389.

Sandy Knowe, 2, 51, 353.

Scalloway, Castle of, 298, 302, 303, 309.

Scalloway, village in the Shetland Islands, 302.

Scone, Palace of, 110, 231, 379, 381, 385.

Scott Country, the, limits of, 337, 346, 366.

Scott, Anne, daughter of Sir Walter, 48, 376, 400.

Scott, Charles, son of Sir Walter, 48, 402.

Scott, Daniel, brother of Sir Walter, 383.

Scott, Miss Janet, aunt of Sir Walter, 2, 5.

Scott, John, brother of Sir Walter, 15, 90.

Scott, Lady (wife of Sir Walter), introduction of, to Sir Walter, 17, 329; courtship, 19, 20; marriage, 21; home at Lasswade, 22, 23; reference to Dryburgh, 352, 353; sickness and death, 372, 376, 399.

Scott, Michael, the wizard, 38, 41.

Scott, Mrs. Maxwell-, granddaughter of Sir Walter, 396.

Scott, Sophia, daughter of Sir Walter, 48, 400.

Scott, Thomas, brother of Sir Walter, 333.

Scott, Sir Walter-- Liddesdale raids, 1; residence at Sandy Knowe, 2; visit to Prestonpans, 4; his first pony, 4; at Kelso, 5; passes law examinations, 13; visit to English Lakes, 15; to Gilsland, 16; meets Miss Carpenter, 17, 349; marriage, 21; quartermaster of Edinburgh Volunteers, 25; his memory, 26; decides to abandon the practice of law, 28-30; Sheriff of Selkirk, 29; early poems, 30; Ashestiel, 48, 49; visit to Highlands, 72, 116; purchases Abbotsford, 89; Clerk of Court of Session, 90; aided by Sir William Forbes, 95; later Highland excursion, 119, 120; visit from Joseph Train, 133; visit to Dumfries, 135; to English Lakes, 135; salmon spearing incident, 139; at University of Edinburgh, 139; visited by Irving, 145-146; experience as member of Edinburgh Volunteers, 158-159; visit to Hallyards, 160; visit to Loch Skene, 175-177; visit to the Braes of Balquhidder, 188; clerk of Court of Session, 200; driving through Canongate, 209; suggests building the Radical Road, 210; guest at Studley Royal, 246; visited by Washington Irving, 252; 'refreshing the machine,' 255; presentation to the Duke of Wellington, 266; visit to Shetland Islands, 294, 298, 311, 313, 314; familiarity with history and literature of England, 317; duties as clerk of the Court of Session, 346; residence in Edinburgh, 346; fondness for country life, 347; practices in case of Peter Peebles, 363; visit to Wales, 366; distressing change in personal affairs, 371; announcement of authorship of Waverley Novels, 372; visit to Wicks of Baiglie, Perth, 378; feeling toward brother Daniel, 383; circumstances under which _The Fair Maid of Perth_ was written, 386; paying off the debt, 387; writings of the last five years, 388; importunities of a creditor, 389; Theatrical Fund Dinner, 300; spirit of perseverance, 392; apoplexy and other ailments, 393; journey to the Continent, 394; death, 394; personality of, 395; kindness, 397; generosity, 398; conversation, 398; relations with family, 399, 400; creed, 400; ambition, 401; failure of hopes, 402; relations with the Ballantynes, 403, 404; indiscretion, 404; courage and final triumph, 405.

Scott, Walter, 'Beardie,' great-grandfather of Sir Walter, 37.

Scott, Walter, father of Sir Walter, original of Saunders Fairford, 9.

Scott, Walter, son of Sir Walter, 48, 401, 402.

Scott, Sir William, of Harden, 36.

Scott, Sir William, of Buccleuch, 37.

Seymour, Lord, 277.

Sharp, James, Archbishop, 168-169, 180.

Sharpe, Charles Kirkpatrick, 360.

Sherwood Forest, 236, 237.

Shetland Islands, visit to, in a lighthouse yacht, 100.

Shortreed, Robert, 1, 14, 26,137.

Skene, James of Rubislaw, 52, 338, 392; quoted, 25, 26, 62, 138, 139, 176.

Skiddaw, 135.

Skye, Island of, 100, 102.

Smailholm, 2, 3, 4, 30, 261, 347.

Smellie, William, 141.

Solway Firth, 126, 127, 355, 356, 357.

Somerset, the Duke of, 277.

Staffa, 102.

Stennis, stones of, 310, 311.

Stewart, Alexander of Invernahyle, 116, 117, 118.

Stewart, James, of Ardvoirlich, original of Allan McAulay, 188, 227, 228.

Stewart, Patrick, Earl of Orkney, 298, 302, 308, 309.

Stirling Castle, 66, 78, 80-84, 381.

Stonebyres Linn, 172.

Strathgartney, 78.

Stromness, village in Orkney, 310, 311, 312, 313.

Stuart, Charles Edward, 10, 109, 111, 112, 113, 114, 116, 120, 125, 358, 363.

Stuart, Lady Louisa, 197, 214, 336, 364.

Stuart, Miss Williamina (Lady Stuart-Forbes), Scott's first love, 17, 18, 23; original of Margaret of Branksome, 42; original of Matilda, 95.

Studley Royal, 243, 246.

Sumburgh Head, 294, 296, 297, 208, 300.


Sweetheart Abbey, 126, 127, 135.



TALISMAN, THE, 21, 345, 365, 369-372.

Tantallon Castle, 60, 61.

Tay, the river, 109, 110, 379.

Teasdale, Margaret, original of Tib Mumps, 137.

Tees, the river, 89, 92, 93, 94.

Teith, the river, 229.

Temple, the, London, 322, 323, 324.

Terry, Daniel, 197, 375.

Teviot, the river, 35.

Thames, the, London, 320, 322.

Thomas the Rhymer, 222.

Thomson, George, original of Dominie Sampson, 140.

Thomson, Rev. John, of Duddingston, 220.


Thorsgill, the river, 92, 93.

Tillietudlem. _See_ Craignethan.

Tippermuir, battle of, 226.

Tolbooth, Edinburgh, 9, 201-205, 233.

Tours, 339, 341.

Tower of London, 325.

Train, Joseph, provides information used in _The Lord of the Isles_, 103; in _Guy Mannering_, 132-135; in _Old Mortality_, 171; in _The Heart of Midlothian_, 214.

Traquair, Earl of, 108, 109.

Traquair House, 13, 107, 108, 109, 112, 329.

Triermain Castle, 11, 97, 395.

Triermain Castle Rock, 16, 98.

Trossachs, the, 12, 66, 70, 71, 74, 75.

Tully Veolan, 107-111.

Turnberry Castle, 103.

Tweed, the river, 258, 348-353, 396, 397.

Twisel Bridge, 7.

TWO DROVERS, THE, 389, 390, 391.

Ullswater, 97.

Vaux, Sir Roland de, 97.

Vernon, Dorothy, of Haddon Hall, 329.

Villiers, George, first Duke of Buckingham, called 'Steenie,' 319, 322.

Villiers, George, second Duke of Buckingham, 335.

Waldie family, the, of Kelso, 5, 358.

Waldie, 'Lady,' original of Rachel Geddes, 5.

Waldie, Robert, 5.

Wales, 366, 367, 368.

Walker, Helen, original of Jeanie Deans, 205-208.

Walker, Isabella, original of Effie Deans, 205-208.

Walker, Patrick, author of _Life of Cameron_, 213.

Wallace, William, 81.

Wampool River, the, 358.

Wark Castle, 62.

Warrender, Sir George, 109.

Warwick Castle, 281, 282, 383.

Warwick, Earl of, 240.

Warwickshire, 281.

Wat of Harden, 35.

WAVERLEY, 8, 10, 106-125, 197.

Welbeck Abbey, 238.

Welshpool, 368.

Westmoreland, 135.

Whinnyrig, 357.

Whitefoord, Colonel, 116, 117.

Whitefriars (Alsatia), 323, 334.

Whitehall, Palace of, 321, 322, 335.

Wideford Hill, Kirkwall, 309.

William the Conqueror, 241, 248, 250, 282, 328, 373.

William the Lion, 152, 155.

Williams, Rev. John, Archdeacon of Cardigan, 366.

Wolf's Crag, 220.

Wolf's Hope, 222.

WOODSTOCK, 371-377.

Woodstock, village of, 372; palace of, 373-375.

Wordsworth, 16; letter to, 32; 35, 172.

Wright, Guthrie, 57; quoted, 135.

Wycliffe, Oswald, 88.

Yarrow, the river, 175.

Yawkins, Dutch skipper, original of Dirk Hatteraick, 131.

Yetholm Loch, 260.

York, Castle of, 250.

York Minister, 251.

York, city of, 234, 250.

York Water Gate, 322.