We left the field early and went back through the muddy streets of Ayr. The street before the railway office was crowded, and there was so dense a mass of people on the steps, that it seemed almost impossible to get near. Seeing no other chance, I managed to take my stand on the lowest steps, where the pressure of the crowd behind and the working of the throng on the steps, raised me off my feet, and in about a quarter of an hour carried me, compressed into the smallest possible space, up the steps to the door, where the crowd burst in by fits, like water rushing out of a bottle. We esteemed ouvselves fortunate in getting room to stand in an open car, where, after a two hours’ ride through the wind and pelting rain, we arrived at Glasgow.
WALK FROM EDINBURG OVER THE BORDER AND ARRIVAL AT LONDON.
We left Glasgow on the morning after returning from the Burns Festival, taking passage in the open cars for Edinburg, for six shillings. On leaving the depot, we plunged into the heart of the hill on which Glasgow Cathedral stands and were whisked through darkness and sulphury smoke to daylight again. The cars bore us past a spur of the Highlands, through a beautiful country where women were at work in the fields, to Linlithgow, the birth-place of Queen Mary. The majestic ruins of its once-proud palace, stand on a green meadow behind the town. In another hour we were walking through Edinburg, admiring its palace-like edifices, and stopping every few minutes to gaze up at some lofty monument. Really, thought I, we call Baltimore the “Monumental City” for its two marble columns, and here is Edinburg with one at every street-corner! These, too, not in the midst of glaring red buildings, where they seem to have been accidentally dropped, but framed in by lofty granite mansions, whose long vistas make an appropriate background to the picture.
We looked from Calton Hill on Salisbury Crags and over the Firth of Forth, then descended to dark old Holyrood, where the memory of lovely Mary lingers like a stray sunbeam in her cold halls, and the fair, boyish face of Rizzio looks down from the canvass on the armor of his murderer. We threaded the Canongate and climbed to the Castle; and finally, after a day and a half’s sojourn, buckled on our knapsacks and marched out of the Northern Athens. In a short time the tall spire of Dalkeith appeared above the green wood, and we saw to the right, perched on the steep banks of the Esk, the picturesque cottage of Hawthornden, where Drummond once lived in poetic solitude. We made haste to cross the dreary waste of the Muirfoot Hills before nightfall, from the highest summit of which we took a last view of Edinburg Castle and the Salisbury Crags, then blue in the distance. Far to the east were the hills of Lammermuir and the country of Mid-Lothian lay before us. It was all Scott-land. The inn of Torsonce, beside the Gala Water, was our resting-place for the night. As we approached Galashiels the next morning, where the bed of the silver Gala is nearly emptied by a number of dingy manufactories, the hills opened, disclosing the sweet vale of the Tweed, guarded by the triple peak of the Eildon, at whose base lay nestled the village of Melrose.