Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

1

ancient Gala Water song was composed. To great a length of water to fish, and that, too, of a go still farther back into the history of this dis much larger and more likely stream, the after trict, it is remarkable that in very ancient times half of our basket was generally less, and especiit was called Wedale, or the Vale of Woe. It ally so in weight, than that which we had acbelonged to the Bishops of St. Andrew's, and quired from the contributions of Ermit. What the Bishop had a palace here, which gave to the Mr. Stoddart says of the Gala Water trouts Kirkton the appropriate name of Stow. The now may be said to be quite applicable to the Bishops of St. Andrew's often resided at the days we are talking of—I mean that they Stow of Wedale, whence they dated many of might have "weighed from a pound downwards,"> their Charters, and we have ourselves a Charter but we did, now and then, catch one of about dated in the year 1316, which gives over to Robert two pounds, or two pounds and a half. But by Lauder, of Bass, a certain portion of that way of enabling Mr. Stoddart to compare the rock, on which they had the site of a chapel, and piscatorial provision now afforded by the Gala, which is signed “Apud Wedale," by John de with that which it so liberally afforded about Lambyrton, then Bishop of St. Andrew's. fifty years ago, we may perhaps be allowed to

Oh how refreshing it is for us, old fellow as recall a day when we started with our revered we now are, to throw ourselves back in our arm- companion by about a quarter to seven o'clock in chair, to shut our eyes, and to dream over again the morning, from our inn at Bankhouse. We were those happy hapry days of our youth-hood which attended by a servant who carried two creels on were spent by us as young anglers on the banks crossbelts, whilst we bore another on our back. of Gala Water! We were blessed with a father Our plan of operations for the day was so arwho, during our holidays from school or College, ranged, that the elder gentleman of the two, who was at all times ready to be our companion in was a most beautiful and skillful fly fisher, should all rational and healthful amusements. Rising precede us about a hundred or a couple of hunat so very early an hour, in what may be called dred yards, angling as he pleased with the fly, the Ilow of East Lothian, that we found our- and that we should follow to pick up, by means selves, after a walk of some ten or twelve miles, of the worm, whatever we might be able to glean perhaps by six or seven o'clock in the morning, after him. Strictly pursuing this arrangement, on the margin, and near to the source of a little we fished from Bankhouse down to Galashiels, moorland burn called Ermit, which rises out of and there turning, we thence retraced our steps Soltrahill, and becomes a tributary to the Gala ; and fished the whole of the Gala up to its point how eagerly, and with what a beating heart did of junction with Ermit, where, bidding the larger we sit down to put the pieces of our rod together, stream farewell, we followed the smaller up through and to adjust the other parts of our tackle ! the wild moors, nearly to its source, where its The stream was altogether so tiny, that to those thread of water had become so small that it could who knew it not, it would have appeared either hardly yield a sufficient quantity to afford room that we were mad, or that we were Cockneys, for exercise to an active stickleback. Here we that we should suppose that we could extract stopped to devour our sandwiches, to drink our trouts from it, for at one time it would appear glass of sherry, to put up our rods and tackle, running thin and glittering in the sun over a and to pour out the contents of our creels on a narrow bed of pebbles, where its depth was so nice bit of green sward, and to admire and to little that even a very small trout would have been count our trouts. To our surprise we found that stranded if it had ventured to make a passage we had a few more than thirty-six dozen. Most over it, and then, by and bye, contracting itself, of the large ones had been killed by the bait rod ; and inclining to one side, it, as it were, thrust but whilst the spoil due to it may have weighed its black stream under the overhanging shadow a little more than that produced by the fly, yet of a mossy bank of perhaps some three feet from the fly rod had taken the greater number. As its surface, where it curled and eddied along in the sun was getting low, and that we had still a dark, narrow, but animated pool, of some few some ten or twelve miles to walk home, we re. yards in length. Here it was that the “monarch turned our trouts to the three creels, which they of the brook” was generally to be found, and filled very decently, and starting off for the low flattered, as he necessarily was, by our thus early country at a good pace, we reached our residence presenting ourselves at his levce, it frequently at about ten o'clock at night. happened that he readily rose, and ultimately We confess that we are pretty well acquainted agreed to accompany us in our morning's walk, with most of the districts of Scotland, but we have our creel being opened wide for his a commoda- no difficulty in stating, that we know of no distion. Our practice was to follow the run of this trict which has been so completely metamorphosed little burn, for some four or six miles or so, down since the days of our youth as that of Gala Water. through the bare moorland, to its junction with According to our early recollections, the whole the Gala a little way below Crookstone house, wore a pastoral character. Crops were rare, and by the time we reached which point we were fences hardly to be met with. Not a tree was to generally in possession of a very handsome faite be seen, except in the neighbourhood of one or two à peindre dish of trouts—indeed it was some- old places, and especially at and around Torwoodwhat remarkable that although before reaching lee and Gala House, near the mouth of the river. our inn at Bankhouse, the place of our rest and Everything within sight was green, simple, and refreshment for the evening, we had fully as | bare ; the farm-houses were small and unobtrusive,

and one or two small places of residence only, be- | the line of the glen most unexpectedly displayed longing to proprietors were to be seen. The Break- to us, at some little distance a-head, a large buildneck road ran, as we have already hinted, along ing of three stories, with a great number of small the west side of the valley, being conducted in windows in it, with several lower subsidiary buildstraight lines right up and down hill. The inn ings attached to it, and with a long green by the of Bankhouse was then the only place of shelter river's side, wbere posts and ropes were set up, on in the whole dis a snug and very quiet place which hung a great number of webs of coarse of retreat for a tired and hungry ang!er, and kept grey cloth. On inquiry we found that this was a very clean, but having nothing about it of the manufactory of that particular article, and that character of the inns we require now-a-days. We it was all that formed the village of Galashiels. have already had occasion to notice the change It stood on the flat ground nearly opposite to the and improvement of the public road. The whole venerable old place of Gala House which, with country is fenced, cultivated, and hedged round. its park, and noble extent of timber, covered, as Thriving and extensive plantations appear every- they still do, the slopes to the westward. But even where. Neat and convenient farm-bouses and the beauty of these did not allay the irritation of steadings are common; and several very handsome our young Isaac Walton feelings, which had residences of proprietors are happily dispersed been torn by the idea of a manufactory breaking through different parts of the valley. Small inus so suddenly in on the quiet, silent, and pastoral are very frequent by the wayside ; and that of valley which we had bren, all the morning, so Torsonce, which may be called the principal one, is dreamily descending. We turned hastily on our as comfortable a house of the kind as the king-heels, and never again attempted to throw a line, dom can boast of. But even this improved state until we had fairly shut ourselves out from all of things is not enough for the rapid march of view of the obnoxious olject. Wo had neither human improvement ; for now, at this moment, a opportunity nor occasion to visit it again for some railway is constructing ; and we must heartily con- twenty five years or so, and then we found the gratulate the able gentleman who has engineered whole gorge of the valley filled with a large and it, not only for the ingenuity and science which he thriving manufacturing village. hasdisplayed, but likewise for his great antiquarian But to give the reader a just and perfect knowresearch, and for the sagacious humility which he ledge of the changes which this village has underhas exhibited in at once adopting the line sug- gone, which are, in themselves, so very curious and gested by the nymph who, as the ballad tells us, interesting, we shall quote froin our good friend “kilted her coats aboon her knee” to enable her Mr. Robert Chambers, who has taken a good to follow her love through the water,” and to deal of trouble, as he generally does in regard to carry it right up the centre of the valley by a won all things, to make himself well informed on the derful series of bridges, so that even the modern subject. “ The old village of Galashiels,” says he, road, with its whole complement of inns and “which is first mentioned in authentic records of the public houses, will very soon be left useless and reign of David II., lay upon an eminence, a little unoccupied.

to the south of the present town. It was merely We should have mentioned, that the Gala rises an appendage of the baronial tower which, with out of a part of the property of Fala, and soon many modifications and additions, is now known afterwards receives from the west the large tribu- by the name of Gala House, and forms the seat tary of Heriot water, which drains a very fine of Scott of Gala. The old town contained about hill estate of that name belonging to the Earl of four or five hundred inhabitants, the greater part Stair. It is augmented by no other very im- of whom supported themselves by weaving. It portant contribution, although it is joined by a was erected into a barony in 1599. All the number of burns of lesser note.

houses belonged to the superior, Scott of Gala, Having doubtless surprised our readers by the whose fainily came in the place of the Pringles of change which we have informed him has taken Gala, in the year 1632.” From what we have place on the surface of this highly improved dis stated as to our own personal observation regardtrict, we must now proceed to describe that which ing the miserable appearance which the village has taken place on the village of Galashiels ; and of Galashiels made on its new site at the time we this we do rather at variance with our general visited it about fifty years ago, it would appear rule of passing by such places, without much no- that the manufacture of cloth having afterwards in tice, entirely from the really wonderful history some degree succeeded, feus, or perpetual building which it presents during its various epochs. We leases, were granted by the proprietor, all along the shall begin by informing the reader as to what its river side, and the village quickly began to grow state was nearly fifty years ago, when our juvenile immensely in size, and rapidly to increase in its piscatorial wanderings first brought us acquainted manufactures. It now consists of several streets with it. We had extended our usual angling ram- running parallel with the river. By the last ble from our inn at Bankhouse, being led ou from account taken, it contained two thousand two one inviting stream or pool to another, until, after hundred and nine inhabitants. The annual conpassing the fine old place, and park, and woods of sumption of wool amounts to 21,500 stones imTorwoodlee, which at that time burst suddenly, perial, of which 21,000 are home-grown, and 500 and with the most richly luxuriant effect upon one foreign, chiefly from Van Dieman's Land. Nearly who had hitherto seen nothing but the simple, half of the raw material is manufactured into unwooded, and pastoral valley above, a bend in yarns, flannels, blankets, shawls, and plaids, the other half being used for narrow cloths, which | steeple of the tolbooth alone exists as a melanbring, in the market, from twentypence to six choly monument of the deserted village. The shillings and sixpence per yard, together with vane on the top of this structure still obeys the crumb-cloth or carpeting, of grey or mixed wind, and the clock is still in motion ; but both colours. The committee on prizes of the honour- are alike useless to the people—the former being able the commissioners of the board of trustees concealed from public view, while the dial-plate for the encouragement of Scottish manufactures, of the latter is a mere unlettered board, over which have declared that, by the use of foreign wool, a single hour index wanders, like a blind man the flannels manufactured here have risen to a exerting his eloquence to a set of friends who degree of fineness surpassing most of those made have vanished before his face. in Scotland, if not those even of the finest Welsh We shall make but one quotation more from our manufacture. Blankets, both of the Scottish friend Mr. Chambers, in regard to the old village and English fabric, are successfully made, and of Galashiels. “The armorial bearings of Galashawls, which are accommodated to all dimen- shiels are a fox and plum-tree ; and the occasion sions of purse as well as of person. Besides these, is thus accounted for. During the invasion of a manufacture of Indiana for ladies' gowns has Edward III., a party of English, who had been arisen, the price of the article being from eight repulsed in an attempt to raise the siege of Edinto nine shillings a-yard. The author of the new burgh Castle, came and took up their quarters statistical account says, that the premiums given in Galashiels. It was in autumn, and the soldiers by the honourable the commissioners of the board soon began to straggle about in search of the of trustees for the encouragement of Scottish plums which then grew wild in the neighbourmanufactures, for the best cloths at given prices, hood. Meanwhile, a party of the Scots having and their encouragement of the judicious outlay come up, and learned what their enemies were of capital, and the enlargement and improvement about, resolved to attack them, saying, that they of machinery, have greatly contributed to the would prove sourer plums to the English than extension and improvement of the manufactures they had yet gathered. The result was such as of Galashiels.

fully to justify the expression. They took the We cannot quit the subject of this wonderful unhappy Southrons by surprise, and cut them off rise of Galashiels and its manufactures, without almost to a man. In commemoration of the exquoting the following most gratifying passage ploit, the people have ever called themselves the from our friend Mr. Robert Chambers, on the Sour Plums of Galashiels, and they are celesubject of the morals of the place, which, if, as brated in an old song, the air of which is well we have no reason to doubt, it be still correct and known to Scottish antiquaries for its great age. applicable, would seem to furnish a curious view The arms, though originating in the same cause, of the idiocracy of man, arising from the long- seem to have been vitiated by the common fable of cultivated habits of his race. “ The people of the fox and grapes. All the old people agree in the Galashiels,” says Mr. Chambers, are remark- tradition, that Galashiels was once a hunting staable for steady industry ; but, though active and tion of the king, when, with his nobles, he took his enterprising far beyond their neighbours, it must pastime in the forest. The lodge or tower in which be mentioned to their honour, that they are tainted he resided, was pulled down only twelve years by none of the vices appropriate to manufactur- ago, in order to make room for some additions to ing towns. This is perhaps owing to the circum- the parish school. It was called the Peel, and stance that manufactures have here risen natu- was a rudely-built square tower, with small winrally among the original people of the district, dows, two stories high, rybots of freestone-stone and not been introduced by a colony from any stair-and finer in appearance than any other large manufacturing town; on which account, house in the whole Barony, that of Gala alone the inhabitants not having received vices by ordi- excepted. It was built of very large stones, some nation, and being all along and still isolated of them about six feet long, and extending through amidst people of the highest primitive virtue, re- the whole thickness of the wall. A narrow lane tain all the pleasing characteristics of the lowland leading from this tower to a part of the town rustic, with the industrious habits, at the same nearer Galahill, was called the king's shank; and time, of the Manchester and Glasgow mechanic." what adds to the probability of the tradition, there For our own parts, we can with truth and sin- was a clump of birches on the south or opposite cerity affirm, that we believe the population of side of the hill, called the touting birk, where it Galashiels to be of a very superior description, is conjectured the hunters would be summoned as regards honesty, and resolute determination from the chase, the forest lying open before the of principle ; and we can never forget the honour place.” Galashiels may be considered as the we received from them, when they marched up port or gate that shuts in the whole glen of the in a body with their flags and banners to the Gala water. But the stream itself, after leaving meeting which we have already noticed as having the village, and having been thoroughly polluted been held at Selkirk; and the three cheers with by the various coloured dyes and chemical agents which they hailed us as they left the town still employed in the manufactures, has a run of ring very gratefully in our ears.

about a mile to the eastward, through the property The site of the old village can still be traced of Langlee, till its junction with the Tweed. Much by the aid of a proper cicerone within the grounds has been done by our old friend Mr. Bruce, the of Gala House, where “the short little clay-built proprietor, for the embellishment of this place, and

to us, who well remember it at the time when some, versing the romantic ravine called the Nameless even of the oldest plantations, were only making, Dean, is thrown off from side to side alternately, it does appear a most wonderful change to see like a billiard ball repelled by the sides of the the great extent of well-grown young timber that table on which it has been played; and in that now exists, and under the shade of which one may part of its course, resembling the stream which ride ; and this may be said to be nothing more pours down Glen Dearg, may be traced upwards than a sample of the general improvement which into a more open country, where the banks retreat has taken place all over this beautiful wide valloy, farther from each other, and the vale exhibits a of which Melrose and its venerable ruins may be good deal of dry ground, which has not been neconsidered as the centre, and the extent of which glected by the active cultivators of the district. may be said to run from the mouth of Gala water to it arrives, too, at a sort of termination, striking that of the Leader. At the time the monks made in itself, but totally irreconcilable with the nartheir first settlement here, it was doubtless far rative of the romance. Instead of a single Peelfrom being one of the poorest districts in the house, or Border-tower of defence, such as Dame country; but, although we know that a great deal Glendinning is supposed to have inhabited, the of oak timber then existed in this vale, yet we head of the Allan, about five miles above its question much whether in their time, or ever junction with the Tweed, shews three ruins of since, it has exhibited so truly rich an appearance Border Houses belonging to different proprietors, as it does at present, for it may be said to be and each, from the desire of mutual support so literally filled with tasteful dwellings, embosomed natural to troublesome times, situated at the exin orchards and gardens, and in tufted groves and tremity of the property of which it is the principal shrubberies, whilst the gay little villages of Gat- messuage. One of these is the ruinous mansiontonside and Newstead, and those of Melrose and house of Hillslap, formerly the property of the Darnwick, much more antique, but now greatly Cairncrosses, and now of Mr. Innes of Stowe ; a extended since our first acquaintance with them, second, the tower of Colmslie, an ancient inheripresent interesting features in the scene ; and the tance of the Borthwick family, as is testified by noble ruins of the ancient Abbey seem to preside their crest, the goat's head, which exists on the over the whole, with a holy and religious air, ruin ; a third, the house of Langshaw, also ruinwhilst the lovely Eildon hills, rising with their ous, but near which the proprietor, Mr Bailie of tricuspid summits immediately to the south, Jerviswood and Mellerstain, has built a small atford a prominent feature, which distinguishes shooting-box. All these ruins, so strangely this scene from every other similar vale whatso- huddled together in a very solitary spot, have reever.

collections and traditions of their own." We In following the stream of the Tweed down- have more than once threaded this solitary glen wards from the mouth of the Gala, we find the in days of yore, with very great delight. Indeed left bank covered with the plantations and it was a common practice of ours to make a pleasure-grounds of the Pavilion, a hunting-seat direct line of our journey from East Lothian to belonging to Lord Somerville, the creation of Melrose, in doing which we traversed the ancient which, on the bare slope of the hill, may almost be Girthgate. This was a bridle way over the hills, said to be embraced within our recollection. The used by the monks of Melrose, in the frequent Tweed is here joined by a very pretty little communication between their Abbey and the stream called the Allan, which comes down from Hospital or Hospice of Soltra ; and well do we the hills on the north. It is remarkable for the remember the ease with which we traced it, excellence of its trout. Although Sir Walter though unguided, and for the first time, entirely Scott made no slavish sketches from the scenery by the green-sward line which it had still left, of this glen, whilst he was describing his Glen through the heather, and often did we picture to Dearg in the Monastery, yet there is every ourselves the antique groups of monks and other reason to believe that he took many hints from such travellers, whose frequent feet, as well as the nature he found here. The glen is remark- those of their horses, had so worn off and entirely able for the superstitious associations connected obliterated the heather. with it, and it bears the popular appellation of Soltra was an hospital founded by Malcolm IV. the Fairy Dean, or the Nameless Dean, from the for the relief of pilgrims, and for poor and sickly belief that prevails that it is haunted from one people, and it had the privilege of a sanctuary, end to the other by those tiny spirits who are as the name of Girth signifies. Milne, the author always propitiated by the name of " the good of the old description of the parish of Melrose, neighbours” being bestowed on them. It would published in 1794, thus notices the bridge with appear that, in evidence of the actual opera- which the Girthgate was connected--a bridge of tions of the fairy people even in the present day, which Sir Walter Scott has made so romantic a little pieces of calcareous matter are found in the About half-a-mile above Darnwick, to the glen after a flood, which either the labour of west, on the south side of the Tweed, stands those tiny artists, or the eddies of the brook Bridgend, called so from the bridge there, three among the stones, have formed into a fantastic pillars of which are still standing. It has been a resemblance of cups, saucers, basins, and the like, timber bridge ; in the middle pillar there has been in which children who gather them pretend to a chain for a drawbridge, with a little house for discern fairy utensils. Sir Walter Scott tells us, the convenience of those that kept the bridge, that the little stream of the Allan, “after tra- 1 and received the custom. On this same pillar are the arms of the Pringles of Galashiels." So equalled, and which we are not ashamed to say far as we are aware, not a vestige of this bridge were such as frequently to call forth a certain remains, except the foundation of some of the degree of moisture from our eyes, as well as from pillars.

use.

of the angling companion who sat oppoWe have already stated that we were wont to site to us. Then his lively reel and strathspey establish our piscatorial headquarters at Melrose. music was equally remarkable in its way; and Our inn was the George, which was kept by David when his fancy led him suddenly to strike up Kyle, who is so happily introduced into the intro Tullochgorum, or anything of that description, ductory epistle which precedes “The Monastery.” | all manner of fatigue was forgotten in a moment, Sir Walter acknowledges that he drew the sketch and we found ourselves, as if impelled by the enfrom the life, and certainly he has been most suc- chanting effects of Oberon's horn, footing it to cessful in his portrait. When we knew him, he the music right featly, and cracking our fingers, was a hale good-looking man, in the full vigour and shouting like good ones. Many, many is of life, but he was making daily and serious in the time that we have listened to the soft and roads on his constitution by the strength and touching airs, and danced to the lively strains of depth of his potations. He took the whole man- Nathaniel Gow-and it was once our lot to listen agement and control of the household economy of to this description of music performed by a supethe inn, leaving his wife and daughters, who were riorly gifted brother of his on board the Edgar all remarkably handsome lady-like persons, to fol- seventy-four, in the Downs, where, strange to say, low their own domestic pursuits in the private he was literally a sailor before the mast, but we part of the house towards the back. There was hesitate not to assure our readers that the perno pretence at any great degree of finery in the formances of poor blind Jamie Donaldson of Melstyle of the table, but every thing was good of its rose were greatly superior to both. We must not kind, and put down in the most comfortable man- forget to say, that he was equally remarkable in ner, and the cut of salmon, as well as “the fowls his performance on the clarionet which in his with egg sance, the pancake, the minced-collops, mouth, became quite a different instrument from and the bottle of sherry,” of which Sir Walter what it is even in the hands of the best performers. makes him speak to Captain Clutterbuck, never Alas! our poor blind musician had the same thirst failed to be first-rate oftheir kind. Ourlandlord was for strong drink that possessed his kind patron always ready, when he could conveniently absent and protector and host, and accordingly, whilst himself from his concerns, to give us his company David Kyle himself died in April, 1805, aged 52, and his advice whilst angling, and when he joined poor Donaldson departed 31st March, 1808, aged us, as he often did after dinner over our bottle of 50. His tombstone in the Abbey church-yard sherry, we found him brimful of information. bears no inscription, but a rude representation of But, perhaps, the greatest source of enjoyment his head, with the face marked with the small-pox, afforded by this quiet little village inn—for which disease wasthe cause of his blindness in early in those days it really was the small inn of a youth, and in the centre of the stone is a violin small village-arose from the circumstance that a crossed with a clarionet. Alas! of all that fine certain blind man, an Orpheus, of the name of family of whom David Kyle was indeed so justly James Donaldson, resided permanently in the proud at the time we knew him, we have reason to house, lodged and fed, partly, perhaps, from the fear that not a single scion remaius! As for the good-natured liberality of David Kyle himself, George itself, it has undergone enlargement and and partly from the conviction, that his being here improvement, proportionable to the increased size made many a traveller stretch a point towards of the village, as well as of the traffic which now evening to get on to the George for the night, or to passes through it; and although its present landtarry for the night there in spite of the affairs of lord, Mr. Manuel, may not rival old Kyle in retravel that pressed him on. To us who, after the gard to originality of character, he can in nowise fatigues of a successful day's angling, and a com- be surpassed by any one in the attention which fortable dinner, were seated for the evening to he pays to the guests, and in the exertions he enjoy our rest and a moderate glass of wine, it uses in making them comfortable, and that in a was indeed a luxury of the very highest order to style somewhat superior to what might have been get the blind man into our parlour ; and he, for termed the rough and round of those days to his part, held us so well in his books, that he which we have been referring. never failed to be at our command whosoever David Kyle's father was a baker at Galashiels, might be in the house. We pray our gentle and and one of the most successful anglers whose indulgent reader to give us credit for our asser- fame has been recorded on all those waters. He tion that we do know something of music, and was the first man, so far as we are aware, that that, at all events, we should make no such flour. practised that mode of angling with the worm ish of trumpets as we may now appear to be which Mr. Stoddart has so well described in his making, unless as a prelude to something really book. It must now be approaching the lapse of a first-rate in its way, and we solemnly declare, that century since he taught it to our father, who was this blind man's performance upon the violin was then a lad. The system to which we allude is that matchless in its own particular style. He per- of using the bait when the river is small and clear. formed the old Scottish airs, and especially those The angling from Gala Water foot to Leader of the most tender and pathetic description, with foot is all excellent, both for salmon and trout, a delicacy and feeling that we have never heard / when the river is in proper condition ; and then

the eyes

« AnkstesnisTęsti »