Imágenes de páginas

of visitors that resorted to this Prince, at his palace of the Castle of Roslin; for he kept a great court, and was royally served at his own table, in vessels of gold and silver, Lord Dirleton being his master of the household, Lord Borthwick his cup-bearer, and Lord Fleming his carver, &c. He had his halls and other apartments richly adorned with embroidered hangings. He flourished in the reigns of James the First and Second. His princess, Elizabeth Douglass, was served by seventy-five gentlewomen, whereof fifty-three were daughters of noblemen, all clothed in velvets and silks, with their chains of gold and other ornaments, and was attended by two hundred riding gentlemen in all her journeys; and if it happened to be dark when she went to Edinburgh, where her lodgings were at the foot of Blackfriars' Wynd, eighty lighted torches were carried before her."

The old castle is almost entirely gone, and the pesent structure is a comparatively modern one. It belongs to the Earl of Rosslyn, descended from a collateral branch of the St. Clair family.

It is interesting to think of the magnificent old barons who kept state in the mouldering castles which everywhere adorn the Scottish landscape. Some of them were noble specimens of humanity, but the greater proportion of them were but splendid barbarians. They led a sort of rude animal life, and were distinguished chiefly for their towering pride and ungovernable passion. The following story of a hunting match between King Robert

Bruce and Sir William St. Clair, throws an inter

[ocr errors]

esting light on the spirit of the age and the history of the St. Clair family. "The king had been repeatedly baulked by a fleet white deer which he had started in his hunt among the Pentland Hills; and having asked an assembled body of his nobles whether any dogs in their possession could seize the game that had escaped the royal hounds, Sir William St. Clair promptly offered to pledge his head that two favorite dogs of his called 'Help and Hold,' would kill the deer before she crossed the March burn. The king instantly accepted the Knight's bold and reckless offer, and promised himself to give the forest of Pentland Moor in guerdon of success. A few slow hounds having been let loose to beat up the deer, and the king having taken post on the best vantage-ground for commanding a view of the chase, Sir William stationed himself in the fittest position for slipping his dogs, and in the true style of a Romanist, who asks a blessing upon a sin, and supposes the giver of the blessing to be a creature, earnestly prayed to St. Katherine to give the life of the deer to his dogs. Away now came the raised deer, and away in full chase went Sir William on a fleet-footed steed; and hind and hunter arrived neck and neck at the critical March burn. Sir William threw himself in a desperate fling from his horse into the stream; 'Hold,' just at this crisis of fate, stopped the deer in the brook, and Help' the next instant came up, drove back the chase, and killed her on the winning side of the stream. The king, who had witnessed the nicely poised result, came speedily down from


his vantage-ground, embraced Sir William, and granted him, in free forestry, the lands of Logan House, Kirkton, and Carncraig. Sir William, in gratitude for the fancied interference of St. Katherine in his favor, built the chapel of St. Katherine in the Hopes. The tomb of the wildly adventurous knight who was so canine in his nature as to reckon his life not too high a pledge for the fleetness and fierceness of his dogs, is still to be seen in Roslin chapel; and it very properly represents the sculpture of his armed person to be attended by a greyhound, as a joint claimant of the honor and fame of his exploits."

In the neighboring moor of Roslin is the scene of a great battle, in 1302, in which the Scottish army gained, in one day, three successive victories, a circumstance touchingly referred to by Delta, Dr. Moir of Musselburgh, author of 'Casa Wappy, 'Wee Willie,' and many other exquisite contributions to Blackwood's Magazine.

"Three triumphs in a day!

Three hosts subdued by one!
Three armies scattered like the spray,

Beneath one summer sun

Who pausing 'mid this solitude

Of rocky streams and leafy trees,-
Who, gazing o'er this quiet wood,

Would ever dream of these?

Or have a thought that ought intrude
Save birds and humming bees?"

How delightful, as we wander amid these hoary ruins and leafy bowers, so still and beautiful under the rich light of a summer noon, to think that the

old stormy times of feudal warfare have passed away forever, and that peace, with balmy wing, is brooding over this and other Christian lands.

But in this everyday life, the wants of nature must be met. Let us hie then to the village inn, just beyond the chapel. With our keen appetites, a snug dinner there will relish better than the most

splendid banquet of the St. Clairs.


Ramble through the Fields-Parish Schools-Recollections of Dominie Meuross--The South Esk-Borthwick and Crichtoun Castles-Newbattle Abbey-Dalkeith--Residence of the Duke of Buccleugh--" Scotland's Skaith," by Hector MacneilHis Character and Writings-Extracts from the "History of Will and Jean"

RECROSSING the North Esk, we ramble through the country in a north-easterly direction, passing through highly cultivated farms, with large comfortable homesteads. The fields everywhere are filled with laborers, hoeing, ploughing, and weeding, most of them cheerful as larks, and making the woods ring with 'whistle and song.' That plain but substantial edifice, under the shadow of the great oak tree hard by the old church, is a parish school-house, in which perhaps are gathered some fifty or sixty boys and girls, from all ranks of society, plying their mental tasks, under the supervision of an intelligent schoolmaster. Every morning in that school-house the Word of God is reverently read, and earnest prayer offered, exerting upon all minds a healthful moral influence, and producing impressions of a religious kind, which may last forever. Any boy may be fitted for college, or for commercial pursuits, in such a school, and the expense to the parent will be next to nothing. What then must be the amount of good

« AnteriorContinuar »