A London gentleman produced a most unique picture on the forehead of one of these hills, which may be seen at a great distance. In the first place, he had a smooth, lawn-like surface prepared on the steep slope. Then he cut out the form of a horse in the green turf, sowing the whole contour of the animal with lime. This brought out in such bold relief the body and limbs, that, at several miles distance, you seem to see a colossal white horse standing on his four legs, perfect in form and feature, even to ear and nostril. The symmetry is perfect, although the body, head, legs and tail cover a space of four acres!
The next day I took staff for Northallerton, reaching that town about the middle of the afternoon. Passed through a highly cultivated district, and saw, for the first time, several reaping machines at work in the fields. I was struck at the manner in which they were used. I have noticed a peculiarity in reaping in this section which must appear singular to an American. The men cut inward instead of outward, as with us. And these machines were following the same rule! As they went around the field, they were followed or rather met by men and women, each with an allotted beat, who rushed in behind and gathered up the fallen from the standing grain so as to make a clear path for the next round. There seemed to be no reason for this singular and awkward practice, except the adhesion to an old custom of reaping. The grain was not very stout, nor was it lodged.
From Northallerton I hastened on to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in order to attend, for the first time in my life, the meetings of the British Association. I reached that town on the 25th of August, and remained there a week, enjoying one of the greatest treats that ever fell to my lot. I will reserve a brief description of it for a separate chapter at the end of this volume, if my Notes on other matters do not crowd it out.
HEXHAM—THE NORTH TYNE—BORDER-LAND
AND ITS SUGGESTIONS—HAWICK—
TEVIOTDALE—BIRTH-PLACE OF LEYDEN—MELROSE AND DRYBURGH ABBEYS—
ABBOTSFORD: SIR WALTER SCOTT; HOMAGE TO HIS GENIUS—THE FERRY AND
THE OAR-GIRL—NEW FARM STEDDINGS—SCENERY OF THE TWEED VALLEY—
EDINBURGH AND ITS CHARACTERISTICS.
On Thursday, Sept. 3rd, I left Newcastle, and proceeded first westward to the old town of Hexham, with the view of taking a more central route into Scotland. Here, too, are the ruins of one of the most ancient of the abbeys. The parish church wears the wrinkles of as many centuries as the oldest in the land. Indeed, the town is full of antiquities of different dates and races,—Roman, Scotch, Saxon, Danish and Norman. They all left the marks of their glaived hands upon it.