I admired, too, his urbanity, so opposite to the rapid, slang, Vivian-Greyish style current in the literary conversation of the day. “Sixty years since,” men had time to do things better and more gracefully than now.
With Dr. Chalmers we passed a couple of hours. He is old now, but still full of vigor and fire. We had an opportunity of hearing a fine burst of indignant eloquence from him. “I shall blush to my very bones,” said he, “if the Chaarrch”—(sound these two rr’s with as much burr as possible and you will get at an idea of his mode of pronouncing that unweariable word)—“if the Chaarrch yields to the storm.” He alluded to the outcry now raised against the Free Church by the Abolitionists, whose motto is, “Send back the money,” i.e. money taken from the American slaveholders. Dr. Chalmers felt that, if they did not yield from conviction, they must not to assault. His manner of speaking on this subject gave me an idea of the nature of his eloquence. He seldom preaches now.
A fine picture was presented by the opposition of figure and lineaments between a young Indian, son of the celebrated Dwarkanauth Tagore, who happened to be there that morning, and Dr. Chalmers, as they were conversing together. The swarthy, half-timid, yet elegant face and form of the Indian made a fine contrast with the florid, portly, yet intellectually luminous appearance of the Doctor; half shepherd, half orator, he looked a Shepherd King opposed to some Arabian story-teller.
I saw others in Edinburgh of a later date who haply gave more valuable as well as fresher revelations of the spirit, and whose names may be by and by more celebrated than those I have cited; but for the present this must suffice. It would take a week, if I wrote half I saw or thought in Edinburgh, and I must close for to-day.
PERTH.—TRAVELLING BY COACH.—LOCH LEVEN.—QUEEN MARY.—LOCH KATRINE.—THE TROSACHS.—ROWARDENNAN.—A NIGHT ON BEN LOMOND.—SCOTCH PEASANTRY.
Birmingham, September 30th, 1846.
I was obliged to stop writing at Edinburgh before the better half of my tale was told, and must now begin there again, to speak of an excursion into the Highlands, which occupied about a fortnight.
We left Edinburgh, by coach for Perth, and arrived there about three in the afternoon. I have reason to be very glad that I visit this island before the reign of the stage-coach is quite over. I have been constantly on the top of the coach, even one day of drenching rain, and enjoy it highly. Nothing can be more inspiring than this swift, steady progress over such smooth roads, and placed so high as to overlook the country freely, with the lively flourish of the horn preluding every pause. Travelling by railroad is, in my opinion, the most stupid process on earth; it is sleep without the refreshment of sleep, for the noise of the train makes it impossible either to