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him what we thought. J , after three years'

work in the English cathedrals, felt himself no
mean authority.

" It's the finest in the world," said the verger.

" In Great Britain perhaps, but not in Europe,"
said J ; for we had been but a moment be-
fore comparing it, as it now is, a cold, bare, show-
place, to the under church of Assisi with the fres-
cos on the walls, the old lamps burning before
altars, the sweet smell of incense, and the monks
kneeling in prayer.

" I only tell you what those qualified have said,"
and the verger settled the matter and J 's pre-

It was in the Glasgow crypt Rob Roy gave the
warning to Frank Osbaldistone. The guide-book
recalled the incident, which we had forgotten. In-
deed the farther we went, the more we were re-
minded that to travel in Scotland is to travel
through the "Waverley Novels, arid that these to
us were but a name. Since our return we have
tried to read them again, to be quite honest, with
but indifferent pleasure. We are so wanting in

8 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

appreciation that we find Scott's description of
the crypt stupid, and we are not thrilled by the
daring deeds of the MacGregor.

The Art Gallery in Glasgow was no less a sur-
prise to us than the Cathedral. Its catalogue con-
tains more Titians, Rembrandts. Hobbemas, and
other great masters than any other in Europe.
But if we wondered at the catalogue, we were still
more astonished when we came to see the pictures !

We stayed in Glasgow until Monday morning,
when we again took the train, but this time for a
few miles only. "We bought tickets for Kilpatrick,
and a sharp lookout we had to keep for it from the
carriage windows. At the stations, no one called
the names, which, in true British fashion, were less
easy to find than that of the best brand of mus-
tard or of the best hotel in Glasgow. At Kil-
patrick, when I pulled my head in after the usual

search, J was already at the opposite door.

He did not care where he was, he said ; he would
get out. In the distance, we could see Dumbarton
Rock rising from the plain against a blue sky.
Here, as in our plans for the day's journey, it was
the one prominent landmark.

Kilpatrick is said to have been the birthplace of
St. Patrick. I do not know what authority Black*
has for the legend ; certainly not that of the vil-

*Not William, but the guide-book Black.

In the Highlands. 9

lagers. St. Patrick was no British man, one of
them told us ; and, moreover, he never lived in
Kilpatrick, but on the hill. But had we ever
heard of Captain Shonstone, the hairbor-maister ?
He was a great man.

We made a great show of briskness by going
the long way round by the canal. This was the
only time throughout our journey that we turned
from the main road except to take a short-cut.
Mr. Lee Meriwether, in his Tramp Abroad, thought
it an advantage of walking that he could leave the
road to see whatever was to be seen near, but not
from it. For our part, after the first mile, we
never took an extra step for any sight; that is,
whenever our knapsacks were on our backs. At
Dumbarton we did not even climb the rock, though
Dr. Johnson walked to the very top. Instead, we
lunched and talked politics with the British work-
man in a coifee tavern.

After Dumbarton, we left the Clyde to follow
the Leven. It was just beyond the town we first
saw Ben-Lomond, a blue shadow on the horizon
when the clouds were heavy above ; a high bare
mountain, seamed and riven, when the sun shone
upon it. We lost sight of it in a succession of
long, stupid villages ; on the shady road, where the
trees met overhead, we could see it again through
the net-work of branches. Clouds were low on its
heights, and a veil of soft light rain fell before it

10 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

when, having left our knapsacks in the inn at Bal-
locli, we rowed up the Leven, a little quiet river
between low woods and flat meadow-land, to


It was the first Scotch lake we saw, and we thought
it very like any other lake.

We were off by eight in the morning. It was
clear and cool, like an October day at home. Our
road lay for a while close to the loch, then turned
and went round the parks and lawns that sloped
gently to the shore, so that it was only over a stone
wall or through a gap in the hedge we could see
the blue water and the wooded islands. We were
now on the fighting-ground of the Colquhoun and
the MacGregor, we learned from Black, who we
know it to our cost is a better guide to the ro-
mance and history of Scotland than to its roads.
It is but poor comfort when you ask for a good
route to be given a quotation.

Rob Hoy is the hero of Loch Lomond, and if
you cross as we did not to the other side, you
may see his cave and his prison and a lot of his
other belongings. But I think that which is best
worth seeing on the loch is the Colquhoun's vil-
lage of Luss, with its neat, substantial cottages and
trim gardens. In the Highlands you can have
your fill of tales of outlaws and massacres and
horrors; but it is not every day you come to a

In the Highlands. 13

village like this, where men are allowed to live a
little better than their beasts.

At the Colquhoun Arms in Luss we ate our
lunch, and that was our undoing. It left us in a
mood for lounging, and we had still eight miles to
go. We found it harder work the second day
than the first. Our knapsacks weighed like lead,
and did not grow lighter ; each mile seemed inter-
minable. This was the more provoking because
with every step the way grew lovelier. Almost
all the afternoon we were within sight of the
loch, while on our left the mountains now rose
from the very road-side, and hedges gave place to
hill-sides of ferns and heather-patched bowlders.
Used as we both were to cycling, the slowness and
monotony of our pace was intolerable. We longed
for a machine that would carry us and our knap-
sacks with ease over the hard, dustless road. For
one mile we tried to keep each other in counte-
nance. J was the first to rebel openly. The

Highlands were a fraud, he declared ; the knap-
sack was an infernal nuisance and he was a fool to
carry it. About three miles from Tarbet he sat
down and refused to go any farther.

Just then, by chance, there came a drag full of
young girls, and when they saw us they laughed,
and passed by on the other side. And likewise a
dog-cart, and the man driving, when he first saw
us, waved his hand, taking us to be friends ; but

14 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

when he was at the place and looked at us, he also
passed by on the other side. But two tricyclers,
as they journeyed, came where we were ; and
when they saw us they had compassion on us,
and came to us, and gathered up our knapsacks
and set them on their machines and brought them
to the inn and took care of them. And yet there
are many who think cyclers nothing but cads on
casters !

To tell the truth, had these two men been
modern Rob Roys, we would have yielded up our
knapsacks as cheerfully ; nor would we have sor-
rowed never to see them again.

As we went on our way lightly and even gayly,
we came to the inn at


and were received by a waiter in a dress-coat. It
was a big hotel low down by the loch, with Ben-
Lomond for opposite neighbor. The company at
dinner was made up of Englishmen and English-
women. But everybody talked to everybody else.
An Englishman, it seems, becomes civilized in the
Highlands. There, those he sits down with at
dinner, as is the way with Frenchmen, are his
friends ; at home, he would look upon them as his

After dinner we went to walk with the cy-
clers. As a great theatrical moon came sailing up

Iii the Highlands. 1 7

through the sky behind Ben-Lomond, one told us
in broad Scotch how from the Jungfrau he had
once watched the moon rise, and at the sight had
bur-r-r-st into tee-eers. But just then, had I wept
at all, it must have been from sheer weariness, so
I turned my back upon the beauty of the evening
and went to bed.

It was well on towards noon the next day be-
fore we were on our way.

"It looks like business," said a young lady
feeding a pet donkey, as she saw us start.

" It feels like it too," said I, dolefully, for the
knapsacks were no lighter, and our feet were
tender after the sixteen miles of the day be-

It was two easy miles to Arrochar, a village of
white cottages and a couple of inns, one with a
tap, the other with a temperance sign. Here we
were ferried across Loch Long by a fisherman sad
as his native hills. It was a wretched season, he
told us ; there were few people about. On the
west side of the loch, the road was wild, and soon
turned up to Glencroe. At the lower end of the
pass, sheep browsed on the hill-sides, and in tiny
fields men and women were cutting grass. The
few cottages were new. But these things we left
behind when the road began to wind upward in
short, sudden curves. It was shut in on both sides
by mountains; the sun glittered on their sheer

18 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

precipices and overhanging cliffs and on the hun-
dreds of watercourses with which their slopes
were seamed. The way was steep, and I thought
I should have died before I reached the top. At
the last we made a short-cut up to the stone
known, out of compliment to Wordsworth, as
"Rest and be Thankful." There may be men
and women with so much poetry in their souls,
that after that stiff climb they will still care to find
the appropriate lines in their guide-books, and
then have breath enough left to repeat them.
But we were too hot and tired to do anything but
lie on the grass and, as we rested, look down upon
and enjoy the wonderful pictures away beyond and
below us.

In this lonely place a little loch lies dark and
peaceful among the hills. Restil, its name is;
I do not know what it means, but it has a pretty
sound. Nothing could be more monotonous, to
tramp over than the long stretch of road which
follows Kinglas Water almost to the shores of
Loch Fyne. Our feet were blistered, and now
ached at every step. Our shoulders were sorely
strained. The things we said are best not writ-
ten. When the coach from Inverary passed and
until it was out of sight, we made a feint of not
being tired. But the rest of the way we now
grew eloquent in abuse, now limped in gloomy

In the Highlands. 19

It was a mistake (which we afterward regret-
ted) going to


and I do not know why we made it, except that
in mapping out our route we had little help from
Black. We had to learn from experience, which
is but a poor way, if you find out your errors
when it is too late to mend them. We were bound
to Inverary, Dr. Johnson's next stopping - place.
At the top of Glencroe, we should have turned to
our left and walked down Hell's Glen to St. Cath-
arine's, where there is a steam ferry to Inverary
on the opposite shores of Loch Fyne. As it was,
we had turned to our right and walked to a point
almost at the top of the loch where there was no
ferry, and where five miles lay between us and St.
Catharine's. This was the coach road from Tar-
bet, and the guide-book has but little interest in
travellers who go afoot. Though one hears much
of walking tours in the Highlands, but few are
made. In seven weeks' walking we scarcely met
even a tramp.

We felt our mistake the more keenly because of
the unpleasantness of the inn. The landlady greet-
ed us warmly ; like the ferry-man of the morn-
ing, she found there were too few tourists abroad.
But her greeting was better than her rooms or her
dinner, and she herself was unco' canny.

20 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

There was in the inn a young artist whose name
she told us. We had never heard it, and this
showed onr ignorance ; for he came from London,
where he had won the first prize in an exhibition,
and his wife, who was with him, had won the sec-
ond, and altogether they were very great, and it
was small wonder they did not care to dine with
unknown travellers who carried sketch-books.
But, indeed, I think in no country in the world ex-
cept Great Britain will one artist not be glad to
meet another when chance throws them together.
An English artist wrecked on a desert island
would not recognize a brother artist in the same
plight as " one of the fraternity," unless the latter
could make good his claims by the excellence, not
of his work, but of his letters of introduction or
the initials after his name. Nor does he unbend
in the Highlands, where Englishmen of other
crafts become so very sociable.

When we walked out after a bad dinner, the
eastern hills rose against the pale yellow light of
the coming moon. One star sent a shining track
across the dark water, over which every now and
again the wind marked its passage in long lines
of silver ripples. Of all the sweet still evenings
of our journey, we shall always remember this as
the sweetest and stillest.

It was in the morning that the landlady showed
her canniness. She sent us off in her boat to be

In the Highlands.


rowed across the loch ; this, she said, we should
find the shorter way to Inverary. But on the
water one of the boys let slip the truth. We
should have half the distance to walk if we went
straight from Cairndow to St. Catharine's, there
to cross by the steam ferry. Judge of our right-
eous wrath! "When they rowed us back to the


Cairndow side, the boys were careful to land us a
good quarter of a mile below the inn. The worst
of it was that once on shore again, we did not
know whom to believe, the mother or the children.
We were in a fine state of doubt, until a woman
in the first cottage we came to reassured us. This

24 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

was by far the shorter way, and we need not hurry,
she added ; we could not help reaching St. Cath-
arine's in time for the ferry at eleven.

She was right. It seemed a short walk by the

loch. We stopped only once, that J might get

an old ruin on the very water's edge. When we
came to St. Catharine's we had an hour or more to
sit at the inn door. It was one of those hot, misty
days, which are not rare during the short High-
land summer. The mountains were shrouded in
a burning white haze. The loch was like glass.
On its opposite shore, Inverary, white and shining,
was reflected in its waters ; and close by, at the
foot of the hills, the turreted castle of the Argylls
stood out strongly against the dark wood.

Here we made up our minds to go to Dalmally
by coach. It was much too hot to walk. This
left us free to take a nearer look at the castle,
which, when we saw how painfully it had been
restored, we thought less fine. In the town itself,
though there is plenty sketchable, there is noth-
ing notable, save the old town -cross, with its
weather-worn carvings, which stands upon the
shore, with loch and hills for background.

After lunch at the Argyll Arms, suddenly an
excursion steamer and the coach from Tarbet
poured streams of tourists into the place. Two
more coaches dashed out from the hotel stables.
The wide street was one mass of excursionists

In the Highlands. 25

and landlords and waiters, and coachmen in red
coats and gray beavers, and guards with bundles
and boxes. There was a short, sharp struggle for
seats, and in the confusion we came off with the
best, and found ourselves on the leading coach,
whirling from the glare of the loch, through the
cool shade of a wooded glen, to the stirring sounds
of the " Standards on the Braes of Mar," shouted
by a party of Lowland Sandies who filled the other

At the first pause, the coachman pointed to
deer standing quietly under the graceful silver
birches that shut in the road.

" Shush-sh-sh-sh !" screamed the Sandies, in a
new chorus.

" Why canna ye put salt on their tails ?" cried

Though later, cows and sheep and ducks fled
before their noise, the deer never stirred. And
yet, I suppose, in the season the Duke of Argyll
and his guests come stalking these tame creatures,
and call it sport.*

* It is for this supposition we have already been taken so
severely to task and laughed at for our imagined ignorance
of the difference between roe deer and red deer. We are glad
to have afforded the critics amusement ; but we have since
looked into the matter, and a friend, a Highlander who
knows the Highlands as well as if not better than any of our
critics, assures us there are red deer in these woods. So
much for that wild burst of criticism ! But if this were not

26 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

All that afternoon, through the woods of Glen-
aray and across the purple moorland beyond, afar
over the banks and braes and streams around, there
rang out the strong voice of Sandy off for a holi-
day. Highland valleys were filled with the pathetic
strains of

"We started up a candy shop, John,

But couldna make it pay,
John Anderson, my jo!"

Highland hills re-echoed the burden of a loving
father's song :

"For she's my only daughter,
Tis I myself that taught her
To wear spangled clothes
And twirl round on her toes,
And her name it was Julia McXaughter."

Between songs there were jokes, as at the min-

" Ta-ta, James ; au revore," they called to men
mowing in the meadows.

" And havna ye a letter for us ?" they asked the
old woman at a lonely post-office.

To a beggar by the way-side they gave witti-
cisms with their pennies :

" Canna ye sing a Gaelic song?"
"Canna ye stand on your head?"
"He's a Grecian!"

the case, our supposition would not have been unnatural
when certain aspects of British sport are considered the
hunting in Epping Forest, the performances of her Majesty's
stag-hounds, for example !

Iii the Highlands. 27

If the point of their jokes is not very clear, the
fault is not mine ; I am trying to be not witty, but

There was one in the party a woman, of
course who remembered duty.

" Isn't it bonny country ?" she kept asking.
"And what's yon bonny glen, my laddie?" and
she poked the guard.

"And Sandy, mon, ye're nae lookin' at the scen-
ery," she said to her husband.

"Toot, I clean forgot the scenery," and Sandy
broke off in his singing to stare through his field-
glass at a bare hill-side.

Almost within sight of Loch Awe we came to
a hill that was so steep we all left the coach and
walked a couple of miles up the shadeless hot
road. An objection sometimes made to cycling
is that it is half walking ; but in the Highlands
you would walk less if you rode a cycle than if
you travelled by coach. From the top of the hill
we looked down to where, far below, lay Loch
Awe and its many islands. In this high place,
with the beautiful broad outlook, gypsies had
camped. I never yet knew the Romany who
did not pitch his tent in the loveliest spot for
miles around.

We had no definite plan for the night. We
left it to chance, and we could not have done
better. At the station at Dalmally we said good-

28 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

by to our friends, who went gayly to another bon-
ny glen, and we took the train for Loch Awe. It
hurried us round the top of the loch in a few min-
utes to Loch Awe station, where on the platform
were crowds of men in conventional tweed knick-
erbockers and Norfolk jackets, and women in jock-
ey caps and f ore-and-af ts ; and moreover, there were
pipers with their pipes under their arms. From the
carriage window we had seen the Loch Awe hotel,
perched high on the hill-side, and looking down to
the gray ivy-grown ruins of Kilchurn. It seemed
no place for tourists who carried their baggage on
their backs. But hardly had we left the carriage,
when up stepped an immaculate creature in blue
coat and brass buttons to tell us, with his cap in his
hand, that our telegram had been received and the
Port Sonachan boat was in waiting. That from
all that elegant crowd of travellers he should have
picked us out, the only two in the least disreputa-
ble-looking and travel-worn, showed, we thought,
his uncommon discrimination. If, without know-
ing it, we had telegraphed to a hotel of which
we had never heard, if in consequence a private
steam-yacht was now at our disposal, why should
we hesitate ? Indeed, we had not time, for immedi-
ately a sailor seized our shabby knapsacks and car-
ried them off with as much respect as if they had
been Saratoga trunks. We followed him into a
little yacht, which we graciously shared with an

In the Highlands.


Englishman, his wife, two children, eleven bags,
and three bath-tubs.

The man in the bine coat kindly kept his boat at
the pier until J - had made quite a decent note


of Kilchurn Castle. It has its legends, but it is
not for me to tell them. Mr. Hamerton, who has
written poetry about it and ought to know, de-
clares they are not to be told in prose. Then we
steamed down the loch, past the islands, one with

30 Oar Journey to the lltbrides.

a lonely graveyard, another with a large house;
past the high mountains shutting in the Pass of
Brander, to a hotel perfect of its kind. It stood
on a little promontory of its own. A bay-window
in the dining-room commanded the view north,
south, and west over the loch. As we ate our
dinner we could watch the light slowly fade
and the hills darken against it. The dinner was
excellent, and the people at table were friendly.
There was a freedom about the house that made
us think of Dingman's Ferry in its best days, of
the Water Gap before its splendor came upon it,
of Bar Harbor before it was exploited. It was
not a mere place of passage, like the hotels at
Tarbet and at Loch Awe ; but those who came to
it stayed for their holiday. All the men were
there for the fishing, which is good, and most of
them, tired after their day's work, came to dinner
in their fishing clothes. Their common sport
made them sociable. They were kind to us, but
in their kindness was pity that we too were not
fishermen. The landlord, who was a Cameron,
was neither great nor obsequious. He had inter-
est for this man's salmon and that man's trout,
and good counsel for our journeying. He had
been game-keeper for many years on the shores
of Loch Awe, which he knew and loved. He
had seen Mr. Hamerton, and his boats and his
painter's camp. Since we have been to Loch Awe

In the Highlands. 33

we have had an admiration for Mr. Haraerton
which his book about it never gave us. Seldom
do men show greater love for beauty in their
choice of a home than he did, when he set up his
tent on the island of the dead. As his books
show, he is sufficient unto himself. Before the
first mouth had ended, many might have wearied
for other company save that of the hills and the
water, the dead and a madman.

We left Port Sonachan in the morning. Mr.
Cameron walked down to his pier with us, and a
Duncan rowed us across to South Port Sonachan,
where there is another hotel, and where we took
the road to Loch Etive. Again the morning was
hot and misty. In the few fields by the way
men and women were getting in the hay, and the
women, in their white sacks and handkerchiefs
about their heads, looked not unlike French peas-
ants. On each hill-top was a group of Highland
cattle, beautiful black and tawny creatures, stand-
ing and lying in full relief against the sky. Two
miles, a little more or less, brought us to a village
wandering up and down a weed-grown, stone-cov-
ered hill-side. To our left a- by-road climbed to
the top of the hill, past the plain, bare kirk, with
its little graveyard, and higher still to two white
cottages, their thatched roofs green with a thick
growth of grass, and vines growing about their
doors, the loch and the mountain in the background.

34 Our Journey to the Hebrides.

But the cottages, which to the right of our road
straggled down to a rocky stream below, had no
redeeming whitewash, no vines about their doors.
The turf around them was worn away. Some
were chimneyless ; on others the thatch, where
the weeds did not hold it together, had broken
through, leaving great holes in the roof. On a
bench, tilted up against the wall of the lowest of
these cottages, sat an old gray-haired man in Tarn
o' Shanter, his head bent low, his clasped hands
falling between his knees. It was a picturesque
place, and we camped out a while under an old
cart near the road-side. Perhaps it would have
been wise if, like Mr. Hamerton, we could have
seen only the picturesqueness of the Highland
clachan, only the color and sublimity of the huts,
only the fine women who live within them. But
how could we sit there and not see that the pict-

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