Puslapio vaizdai
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The chief hill of Teviotdale, called Ruberslaw, which possesses a strongly-marked character of its own, rises a little way to the south of Denholm, and presents a striking feature to be seen from all parts of the country. It is said that the celebrated Covenanter, Peden, used to hold his conventicles in different parts of this hill. We cannot help feeling a deep sympathy with those congregations of modern times who cannot obtain sites for the erection of churches, where they may peacefully worship God in their own way. But how much more dreadful were the persecutions of those older times! The poor people, of both sexes, and of all ages, were driven by the ruthless sword of the dragoon from the moor to the moss, and from the moss to the ravine, and where the question was not regarding a site for the church, but a site on which the poor pious peasant might seat his person, to listen to the edifying prelections of his venerable pastor, and where a service begun in prayer and praise to the most High God, frequently ended in the brutal and bloody slaughter of the helpless and the innocent.

A little way below the village of Denholm, the river Teviot receives the Rule as a tributary. Its name, of Gaelic origin, means the rumblingnoised river, and is exactly descriptive of the character of the stream, which rushes over a rough, rocky channel, filled with boulders, and producing a tremendous din. This stream is celebrated from its association with Walter Scott's "Jovial Harper"-"Rattling Roaring Willie." Having quarrelled at a drinking bout with one of his own profession, who had the strange soubriquet of " Sweet-milk," owing to his having come from a place on the Rule water of that name, they instantly proceeded to settle the matter by mortal duel, when "Sweet-milk" was killed close to a thorn tree which still bears his

name. Willie was instantly devoted to be hanged at the fair at Jedburgh, and, by way of a last dying speech, he gave forth a long ballad. Of this we shall only give the following stanza as a sample:-

"The lasses of Ousenam water

Are rugging and riving their hair,
And a' for the sake of Willie,

His beauty was so fair:

His beauty was so fair,

And comely for to see,

And drink will be dear to Willie,

When Sweet-milk' gars him die."

The Vale of the Teviot, as we proceed downwards to Ancrum Bridge, is wide and expanded, richly cultivated, and ornamented on both sides by the extensive plantations of Chesters, and other gentlemen's seats. The river is broad, clear, and sparkling; and the scenery, as it is usually seen, is riante and cheerful. But we cannot avoid noticing that, as we were returning towards Jedburgh from our visit to Minto, we saw it under circumstances that produced one of the grandest effects we ever witnessed. In a space of time so short that it appeared almost momentary, a clear bright sky was overshadowed by an inky curtain, as if the change had been produced by dropping a scene in a theatre. This soon spread itself like a canopy over the whole hemisphere, and its intense blackness was broken up in several places with great irregular streaks of a lurid fiery Indian red, as if dashed on it in mere idle whim, by the hogtool of some playful artist. Under the hedge, at the upper end of a steepish hill, was a small gipsy encampment, which we had noticed by the way as we went. But now the squalid owner of the tent, cart, and pony pasturing, had kindled a large bickering fire, by which he sat carelessly smoking, whilst his wife lay sound asleep in the door of the tent, half within and half without, with a babe in her arms. All at once, the lightning began to flash from the sky, and the distant thunder rolled grandly away, and flash after flash, and peal after peal, succceded each other for a considerable time. We, of course, made the best of our way, under the apprehension that, as the carriage was open, the ladies of the party were about to be drowned in a deluge. But strange to say, not a drop of rain fell; although the darkness became such, as night approached, that we could not possibly have proceeded but for a pair of lamps, on the mail-coach construction, with which the carriage is provided.

The Teviot is formed from the north, by the beautiful water of Ale, a little above Ancrum Bridge.

We remember, in those days of our piscatory excursions to Melrose, that, having started from home one evening after supper, and walked all night with a companion, we reached that sweet spot in the morning, and having made an excellent breakfast, whilst our friend went to bed to recruit his strength, we prepared for a long day's angling. On this occasion, we procured a very decent, respectable, and sober man, as an attendant, a souter from Selkirk, whose name we regret much has escaped our memory, so that we

cannot now record it, as we should have much wished to have done. By his advice, we resolved to try the upper part of the water of Ale, and accordingly we walked round by Saint Boswells, and then joining that stream, we proceeded to fish it upwards. The day unfortunately was cloudless, and we had no sport, but we were charmed with our walk. For one long stretch, if we remember right, we wandered along, through sweet-scented meadows, with the stream running deep and clear, and with its waters almost level with the grassy plain through which they flowed. Trouts we saw in plenty, but the rogues only laughed at us when we offered them either a fly or a worm. On we walked, however, until our friend, the souter, suddenly stopping, and peering cautiously over the enamelled bank, into the water, waved to us to approach, and pointed out a large pike which lay on the mud at the bottom, within a foot of the side we stood on, and at a depth of some three feet, or a little more. He seemed to be a fish of some seven or eight pounds weight. Back the souter led us from the side of the stream. "We shall soon have that fellow," said he; and, sitting down on the grass, he shortened his rod to the length of the butt piece, and then he quickly tied three large hooks back to back, put a sinker to them, and fixed them to the end of his reel line. Both of us then approached the edge of the bank, whence we still saw the pike quietly reposing in his old position. Dropping his hooks gently into the water a little beyond him, he guided them towards the broadside of the fish, and then giving a powerful jerk, he, to his great surprise, whisked him quite out of the water, and over his head, to the full | extent of the line; and owing to his force not being sufficiently resisted, the worthy souter fell smack on the broad of his back upon the green sward. On picking up the prize, it turned out to be one of those thin slabs which an expert carpenter cuts off the side of a log that he is preparing for sawing, by squaring; and certainly we must confess that, when stuck up on edge in the mud, at the bottom of the water, head and tail regularly up and down stream, its deceptive appearance was complete.

This disappointment, which produced much laughter, only whetted the worthy souter's desire to have fish somehow or other; and, accordingly, having made our way up the stream as far as Midlem bridge and mill, we came to a very long gravelly-bottomed pool, of an equal depth all over, of from three to four feet. Here the souter seated himself; and, shortening both our rods, and fitting each of them with the three hooks tied back to back, he desired us to follow him, and then waded right into the middle of the pool. The whole water was sweltering with fine trouts, rushing in all directions from the alarm of our intrusion among them. But after we had stood stock-still for a few minutes, their alarm went off, and they began to settle each individually in his own place. There's a good one there," said the souter, pointing to one at about three yards from him; and, throwing the hooks over him, he jerked him up, and in less than six seconds he


was safe in his creel. We had many a failure before we could succeed in catching one, whilst the souter never missed; but at length we hit upon the way; and so we proceeded with our guide, gently shifting our position in the pool as we exhausted each particular spot, until the souter's creel would hold no more, and ours was more than half filled with trouts, most of which were about three quarters of a pound in weight; and, very much delighted with the novelty of our sport, we made our way back to Melrose, by the western side of the Eildon hills, and greatly astonished our companion with the slaughter we had made, seeing that he had been out angling for a couple of hours in the Tweed, without catching a single fin.

The Ale water is really a lovely stream; but, perhaps, the beauties it displays all around the house of Kirklands, the charming residence of our much-valued friend, Mr. John Richardson, are more striking than most of the other parts of it. The banks are steep and richly wooded, and the river sweeps around the grounds of Kirklands so as almost to make a peninsula of them. The house, of one of Blore's Elizabethan plans, stands on a fine terrace, commanding a long reach of the river downwards, and the wooded park of Ancrum on its eastern side. In a most picturesque spot, immediately under the eye, lies the church, with its neat and well-kept churchyard. We know very few residences anywhere more delightful; and then the host himself!—a host indeed in himself for more highly relished as his conversation must always be when it is enjoyed here among the scenes that he loves, it is yet such as might make us forget our situation, if in the midst of one of the most dull and barren scenes of nature. The personal friend of Scott, and of every really intellectual being that has existed, or that does exist, during his time, and estimated by all of these as of the highest mental powers, he is of manners the most modest, simple, and unassuming. Even at the risk of offending him, however, we must here introduce a small copy of verses, written to supply words to one of the Scottish songs in our worthy and venerable friend Mr. George Thomson's edition, which may prove that, in settling in Teviotdale, he was quite fitted to take his place among its numerous poets, past, present, or to come :—

"O Nancy, wilt thou leave the town,

And go with me where Nature dwells?
I'll lead thee to a fairer scene
Than painter feigns or poet tells.
"In Spring, I'll place the snow-drop fair
Upon thy fairer, sweeter breast;
With lovely roses round thy head,

At Summer eve, shalt thou be drest.
"In Autumn, when the rustling leaf
Shall warn us of the parting year,
I'll lead thee to yon woody glen,

The red-breast's evening song to

"And when the Winter's dreary nig

Forbids us leave our shelter'd
Then, in the treasure of thy minemi'd,
Shall Nature's charms be all

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The village of Ancrum, which stands on the right bank of the stream, is somewhat picturesque, and it has an air of antiquity about it which renders it interesting. Thomson, the poet of "the Seasons," spent much of his time in the manse, with Mr. Cranstoun, the then clergyman of the parish. The house stands at no great distance from the wooded brink of the sandstone cliffs that line and overhang the river upon that side for more than a mile. There are some caves in the face of the cliff, and in one of these, accessible through the brushwood from above, Thomson was fond of sitting to indulge his reveries. His name

is carved on the roof, as it is believed, by his own hand. The view he must have enjoyed from this his rocky retreat was extremely beautiful; for, looking perpendicularly down upon the stream which ran along the base of the cliffs, his eye could roam over the whole length and breadth of the extensive haugh on the Ancrum side of the river, with the lawn and noble timber of the park rising from the farther side of it. The haugh is cut off at its lower end by the cliffs of sandstone rising grandly and picturesquely from the river's brink, and these are curiously perforated with caverns, some of which open one into another.

The angling on the Ale about Kirklands and Ancrum is quite excellent, as both Mr. Richardson and Sir William Scott can testify, though we do not understand that the trouts are very large.

Ancrum (Almcrom, the crook of the Ale), the residence of our friend, Sir William Scott, is a noble, old, baronial Border place, which stands on an elevation between the Ale and the Teviot. The park is extensive, and of very varied and beautiful surface, and the trees are old, and of the most magnificent growth. Some of the limes are peculiarly grand. The ancient mansion stands on a wide terreplein, overlooking both the park and the distant country; and Sir William has had the good taste to make an addition, in which he has contrived to employ a large mass of masonry, which now looks to be the oldest part of the castle. Adjacent to Ancrum, and on the same side of the Teviot, but lower down, and just above its junction with the Jed, stands the Marquis of Lothian's place of Mount Teviot, exhibiting a cheerful, smiling appearance, and having extensive, well-disposed, and well-grown plantations around it, and covering the rising grounds behind it.

We now come to one of the most beautiful as well as most important tributaries of the Teviot; we mean the river Jed, which rises out of the Carter Fell. There it is that the scene of the ancient ballad of " The Young Tamlane" is laid.

"O I forbid ye, maidens a',

That wear gowd in your hair,
To come or gae by Carterhaugh,
For Young Tamlane is there."

And its neighbourhood is also rendered classical by the Reidswire, which is a part of the face of the Carter mountain, about ten miles from Jedburgh, celebrated as being the scene of the conflict described in the ancient ballad of "The Raid of the Reidswire," where a friendly meeting of

the two Wardens of the Marches, for the redressing of wrongs and punishing of crimes, ended in bloody slaughter :—


"The seventh of July, the suith to say,
At the Reidswire the tryst was set;
Our wardens they affixed the day,

And as they promised, so they met.
Alas! that day I'll ne'er forget!
Was sure sae feared, and then sae faine-
They came theare justice for to gett,
Will never green to come again.
"Carmichael was our warden then,

He caused the country to conveen;
And the Laird's Wat, that worthie man,
Brought in that sirname weil beseem:
The Armstranges, that aye hae been
A hardy house, but not a hail,

The Elliot's honours to maintain, Brought down the lave o' Liddesdale. "Then Tividale came to wi' spied;

The Sheriffe brought the Douglas down,
Wi' Cranstane, Gladstain, good at need,
Baith Rowle water, and Hawick town,
Beangiddart bauldly made him boun,
Wi' a' the Turmbills, stronge and stout;
The Rutherfoords, with grit renoun,
Convoy'd the town of Jedbrugh out.
"Of other clans I cannot tell,

Because our warning was not wide-
Be this our folks hae ta'en the fell,

And planted down pallioner, there to bide;
We looked down the other side,
And saw come bocasting ower the brae,

Wi' Sir John Forster for their guyde,
Full fifteen hundred men and mae.

"It grieved him sair that day, I trow,
Wi' Sir George Vearonne of Schipsyde house;
Because we were not men enow,

They counted us not worth a louse.
Sir George was gentle, meek, and douse,
But he was hail and het as fire;

And yet for all his cracking crouse,
He rewd the raid of the Reidswire.
"To deal with proud men is but pain;

For either must you fight or flee,
Or else no answer make again,

But play the beast, and let them be.
It was no wonder he was hie,
Had Tindaill, Reedsdaill, at his hand,

Wi' Cukdaill, Gladsdaill, on the lee, And Hebsrime, and Northumberland. "Yett was our meeting meek eneugh,

Begun wi' merriment and mowes,
And at the brae, aboon the heugh,
The clark sat doun to call the rowes;
And some for kyne, and some for ewes,
Call'd in of Dandrie, Hob, and Jock-

We saw come marching ower the knows,
Five hundred Fenwicks in a flock-
“With jack and speir, and bows]all bent,

And warlike weapons at their will:
Although we were na weel content,

Yet, by my troth, we fear'd no ill.
Some gaed to drink, and some stude still,
And some to cards and dice them sped;
Till on ane Farnstein they filed a bill,
And he was fugitive and fled.
"Carmichaell bade them speik out plainlie,
And cloke no cause for ill nor good;
The other, answering him as vainliз,
Began to reckon kin and blood :

He raise, and taxed him where he stood,
And bade him match him with his marrows;

Then Tindaill heard them reason rude, And they loot off a flight of arrows. "Then was there nought but bow and speir,

And every man pulled out a brand ; 'A Schafton and a Fenwick' there:

Gude Symington was slain frae hand. The Scotsmen cried on other to stand, Frae time they saw John Robson slain

What should they cry? the King's command Could cause no cowards turn again.

"Up rose the laird to red the cumber,

Which would not be for all his boast;
What could we doe with sic a number-
Fyve thousand men into a host?
Then Henry Purdie proved his cost,
And very narrowlie had mischief'd him,
And there we had our warden lost,
Wert not the grit God he relieved him.
"Another throw the breiks him bair,

While flatlies to the ground he fell ;
Then thought I weel we had lost him there,
Into my stomack it struck a knell !
Yet up he raise, the truth to tell ye,
And laid about him dints full dour;
His horsemen they raid sturdily,
And stude about him in the stoure.

"Then raise the slogan with ane shout-
Fy, Tindaill, to it! Jedburgh's here!'

I trow he was not half sae stout,

But anis his stomack was asteir,
With gun and genzie bow and speir,
Then might see mony a cracked crown!
But up amang the merchant geir,
They were as busy as we were down.

"The swallow taill frae tackles flew,

Five hundredth flain into a flight;
But we had pestelets enew,

And shot among them as we might.
With help of God the game gaed right,
Fra time the foremost of them fell;

Then ower the knowe, without good-night,
They ran with mony a shout and yell.

"But after they had turned backs,

Yet Tindaill men they turned again,
And had not been the merchant packs,
There had been mae of Scotland slain.
But Jesu! if the folks were fain,
To put the buzzing on their thies;

And so they fled wi' a' their main,
Down ower the brae, like clogged bees.

"Sir Francis Russell ta'en was there,

And hurt, as we hear men rehearse;
Proud Wallington was wounded sair,
Albeit he be a Fenwick fierce.
But if ye wald a souldier search,
Among them a' were ta'en that night,
Was nane sae wordie to put in verse
As Collingwood, that courteous knight.
"Young Henry Schafton, he is hurt;

A souldier shot him wi' a bow;
Scotland has cause to mak' great sturt,
For laiming of the Laird of Thow.
The Laird's Wat did weel indeed;
Ilis friends stood stoutlie by himsell,
With little Gladstain, gude in need,
For Gretein kend na gude be ill.
"The Sheriffe wanted not gude will,

Howbeit he might not fight so fast;
Beanjiddart, Hundlie, and Huntshill,
There, on they laid weel at the last.
Except the horsemen of the guard,
If I could put men to availe,

None stoutlie stood out for their laird,
Nor did the lads of Liddisdail,

"But little harness had we there ;

But auld Badreule had on a jack,
And did right weel, I you declare,

With all his Turmbills at his back.
Gude Edderstane was not to lack,
Nor Kirktoun, Newton, noble men!
Thus all the specials I of speak,
By others that I could not ken.
"Who did invent that day of play,

We need not fear to find him soon;
For Sir John Forster, I dare well say,
Made us this noisome afternoon.
Not that I speak preceislie out,
That he supposed it would be perril ;

But pride, and breaking out of feuid,
Garr'd Tindaill lads begin the quarrel.”

Like most of these rivers, the upper part of the Jed is devoid of wood, but its lovely stream soon becomes buried in the deep and impenetrable shades of the grand remains of the ancient Caledonian forest, which still extend themselves along its banks. We, from experience, do not hesitate to declare, that our wanderings through these sylvan wildernesses have been productive of much more exciting sensations than those merely which might be engendered by the effect of woodland scenery alone. Every giant tree that spreads its wide leafy canopy abroad over our heads seemed to link as by association with centuries long gone by. We, for our own part, had no doubt that many of them beheld the return of our victorious Scottish army from Otterburne, moving with chastened step, under the deep affliction of the loss of their hero, Lord Douglas, which converted their triumph into mourning, and their march into a funeral procession, as we have had occasion to describe it in our Historical Romance of "The Wolfe of Badenoch."

The site of the ancient Jedburgh, which is said to have been founded in 845, lies about four miles above the present town, and nothing can be more romantic or beautiful than the whole of the great road in its way to the present town, both road and river winding among high banks, covered with the grand remains of the ancient forest. The Marquis of Lothian's old castle of Fernieherst, on the right bank, now partly in ruins, is one of the most interesting objects the lover of such antiquities can meet with. It was built by Sir Thomas Kerr in 1490, and it was a fortress of so much importance as to have undergone several sieges, by the armies of both countries. One memorable beleaguerment was by the Scottish forces, assisted by French auxiliaries, who recaptured it from the English. Beaugé, one of the French officers, has left a curious and very particular account of this siege, which, we grieve to say, was full of cruel atrocities on the part of the Scots, in revenge for those formerly perpetrated by the English. The remains consist of a large square tower, with a number of picturesque subsidiary buildings. The oldfashioned garden is curious and interesting, and, altogether, we know few places where we should more willingly spend a long summer's day than amidst the woods of Fernieherst, and we must own we should have liked it better previous to the present approach being made, by which a carriage

may now get up to the door of the building. It could then only be reached by a confined path, which made its devious way among the huge oaks. Among these, at the top of the ascent from the haugh below, stands the great oak called "The King of the Wood," and on the haugh itself stands "The Capon Tree," both of which we have had occasion to notice in our edition of "Gilpin's Forest Scenery."

The romantic character of this region is augmented by the curious caverns, apparently artificial, which are found on the banks of the Jed, at Hundalee, Lintalee, and Mossburn-ford. These were supposed to have been used as places of retreat and concealment in the olden times. The camp where Barbour, in his "Bruce," makes the Douglas lie, for the defence of Jedburgh, is at Lintalee, about a mile from the town, and it was here that he killed, in personal encounter, the Earl of Brittany, the English commander, and defeated his army with great slaughter.

Nothing can possibly be more romantic than the approach to Jedburgh, by the winding road and merrily dancing river, the bottom for the most part closely enclosed between steep, rocky, wooded banks, but now and then expanding into little grassy glades, where the sunshine has full power to rest, and to produce a brilliant effect in opposition to the deep neighbouring shades, or where night might spread a moon-lit carpet for the faeries to dance upon. And then, again, when the antique town bursts upon the eye, filling its little rock-and-wood-environed amphitheatre, and rising backwards to the north from the sweep of the river that half surrounds it to the south, with the tower of its beautiful ruined Abbey rising grandly over it, we pledge ourselves that the traveller will admit that he has seen few scenes more interesting or beautiful.

citizens that fell into his hands. In our limited
space, it would be vain to attempt to describe the
Abbey; all we can say is, that it is one of the most
beautiful specimens of the Saxon and early Gothic
that Scotland possesses. As a ruin it is highly
picturesque, and as a feature in this most roman-
tic town it is invaluable. The houses towards
the upper part of the burgh, or the "Townhead,"
as that quarter is called, are peculiarly worth
notice. Mr. Chambers tells us that the very old
houses of which it is composed have suffered few
repairs, and no alterations, for generations, from
their old-fashioned inhabitants, who form a society
by themselves, and would by no means condescend
to intermarry with the people at the lower end of
the town, or the "Townfit," as being moderns,
and infinitely inferior to themselves in point of
antiquity. We must confess that we beheld a
railway planning up to Jedburgh with anything
but equanimity. We speak as an antiquary,
and we, in that character, predict, that the day it
is opened, the romance of Jedburgh will be gone.
Perhaps the most interesting relic in the town
is the house where Queen Mary was laid up with
that serious illness which so nearly carried her
off, and which was the result of her almost incre.
dible exertion and fatigue in riding into Liddis-
dale to visit Bothwell, who lay at Hermitage
Castle wounded by the banditti. It has been
constructed as a Bastel house; it has a plain
barn-like appearance on the one side, and on the
south side, where there is a large garden between
it and the river, a square tower projects from the
building, in which was Mary's apartment, with
that of her tire-woman immediately above.
had occasion to visit it recently, and were much
gratified by being admitted by the ladies who
inhabit it. We could not help figuring to ourselves
the Queen lying in this truly sorry apartment,
oppressed by her malady, and with every reason
for her to believe that she would never see another
chamber but the grave; and indeed it becomes a
matter of question, whether it might not have
been better for her if she had then and there
finished her chequered career. The roof of this
building is thatched, as were those of all the
houses in the town, and it is one of the few
thatched roofs that now remain.


Jedburgh and its little vale are filled with gardens, which produce very superior fruit, especially pears, which form a considerable article of sale for the inhabitants. Its air of retirement is

Jedburgh is one of those places which is unique in itself, and, notwithstanding our rule about towns, it would deserve to be more thoroughly described than either our time or paper will allow us to do. Its important and exposed situation compelled it, in the ancient troublesome times, to be fortified both within and without. At the upper end of the town was a very strong castle, which now no longer exists, and most of the larger houses in the place were fortified in the style of Bastel houses, and many traces yet remain to enable the learned antiquary to detect what it once was. Its old name was Jedworth, corrupted into Jethart, and its inhabitants were always very warlike, wielding | altogether most fascinating. It is quite a place a huge pole-axe called "the Jethart staff," with which they drove down all before them, and shouting their resistless war-cry "Jethart's here!" They are supposed to have carried the fortune of the day at the affair of the Reidswire. Their boldness was excessive; and the story is well known of the Provost, who, in defiance of their powerful neighbour, Kerr of Fernicherst, who espoused the cause of Mary against her son, seized on the poursuivant who brought her letters, compelled him to eat them at the cross, and then scourged him, en derriere, with his bridle. Fernieherst revenged this by hanging no less than ten of the

[ocr errors]

to inspire a youthful poet, and we doubt not that the circumstance of Thomson having received his earlier education here, which gave him an opportunity of wandering about amid Nature's scenes, and filling his mind with her choicest pictures, animate as well as inanimate, may have largely contributed to foster his future peculiar poetical turn. We have heard and read wonder expressed, that he could paint somany things of this kind with so accurate a pencil, seeing that the obesity and indolence of his more advanced life was so great, that he never went out, and that, consequently, he could never have witnessed the animated scenes

« AnkstesnisTęsti »