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Chapter 2


Where longs to fall yon rifted spire,
As weary of the insulting air,--
The poet's thoughts, the warrior's fire,
The lover's sighs, are sleeping there.
Langhorne.

At the first Scotch town which we reached, my guide sought out his friend
and counsellor, to consult upon the proper and legal means of converting
into his own lawful property the "bonny creature," which was at present
his own only by one of those sleight-of-hand arrangements which still
sometimes took place in that once lawless district. I was somewhat
diverted with the dejection of his looks on his return. He had, it seems,
been rather too communicative to his confidential friend, the attorney;
and learned with great dismay, in return for his unsuspecting frankness,
that Mr. Touthope had, during his absence, been appointed clerk to the
peace of the county, and was bound to communicate to justice all such
achievements as that of his friend Mr. Andrew Fairservice. There was a
necessity, this alert member of the police stated, for arresting the
horse, and placing him in Bailie Trumbull's stable, therein to remain at
livery, at the rate of twelve shillings (Scotch) per diem, until the
question of property was duly tried and debated. He even talked as if, in
strict and rigorous execution of his duty, he ought to detain honest
Andrew himself; but on my guide's most piteously entreating his
forbearance, he not only desisted from this proposal, but made a present
to Andrew of a broken-winded and spavined pony, in order to enable him to
pursue his journey. It is true, he qualified this act of generosity by
exacting from poor Andrew an absolute cession of his right and interest
in the gallant palfrey of Thorncliff Osbaldistone--a transference which
Mr. Touthope represented as of very little consequence, since his
unfortunate friend, as he facetiously observed, was likely to get nothing
of the mare excepting the halter.

Andrew seemed woeful and disconcerted, as I screwed out of him these
particulars; for his northern pride was cruelly pinched by being
compelled to admit that attorneys were attorneys on both sides of the
Tweed; and that Mr. Clerk Touthope was not a farthing more sterling coin
than Mr. Clerk Jobson.

"It wadna hae vexed him half sae muckle to hae been cheated out o' what
might amaist be said to be won with the peril o' his craig, had it
happened amang the Inglishers; but it was an unco thing to see hawks pike
out hawks' e'en, or ae kindly Scot cheat anither. But nae doubt things
were strangely changed in his country sin' the sad and sorrowfu' Union;"
an event to which Andrew referred every symptom of depravity or
degeneracy which he remarked among his countrymen, more especially the
inflammation of reckonings, the diminished size of pint-stoups, and other
grievances, which he pointed out to me during our journey.

For my own part, I held myself, as things had turned out, acquitted of
all charge of the mare, and wrote to my uncle the circumstances under
which she was carried into Scotland, concluding with informing him that
she was in the hands of justice, and her worthy representatives, Bailie
Trumbull and Mr. Clerk Touthope, to whom I referred him for farther
particulars. Whether the property returned to the Northumbrian
fox-hunter, or continued to bear the person of the Scottish attorney, it
is unnecessary for me at present to say.

We now pursued our journey to the north-westward, at a rate much slower
than that at which we had achieved our nocturnal retreat from England.
One chain of barren and uninteresting hills succeeded another, until the
more fertile vale of Clyde opened upon us; and, with such despatch as we
might, we gained the town, or, as my guide pertinaciously termed it, the
city, of Glasgow. Of late years, I understand, it has fully deserved the
name, which, by a sort of political second sight, my guide assigned to
it. An extensive and increasing trade with the West Indies and American
colonies, has, if I am rightly informed, laid the foundation of wealth
and prosperity, which, if carefully strengthened and built upon, may one
day support an immense fabric of commercial prosperity; but in the
earlier time of which I speak, the dawn of this splendour had not arisen.
The Union had, indeed, opened to Scotland the trade of the English
colonies; but, betwixt want of capital, and the national jealousy of the
English, the merchants of Scotland were as yet excluded, in a great
measure, from the exercise of the privileges which that memorable treaty
conferred on them. Glasgow lay on the wrong side of the island for
participating in the east country or continental trade, by which the
trifling commerce as yet possessed by Scotland chiefly supported itself.
Yet, though she then gave small promise of the commercial eminence to
which, I am informed, she seems now likely one day to attain, Glasgow, as
the principal central town of the western district of Scotland, was a
place of considerable rank and importance. The broad and brimming Clyde,
which flows so near its walls, gave the means of an inland navigation of
some importance. Not only the fertile plains in its immediate
neighbourhood, but the districts of Ayr and Dumfries regarded Glasgow as
their capital, to which they transmitted their produce, and received in
return such necessaries and luxuries as their consumption required.

The dusky mountains of the western Highlands often sent forth wilder
tribes to frequent the marts of St. Mungo's favourite city. Hordes of
wild shaggy, dwarfish cattle and ponies, conducted by Highlanders, as
wild, as shaggy, and sometimes as dwarfish, as the animals they had in
charge, often traversed the streets of Glasgow. Strangers gazed with
surprise on the antique and fantastic dress, and listened to the unknown
and dissonant sounds of their language, while the mountaineers, armed,
even while engaged in this peaceful occupation, with musket and pistol,
sword, dagger, and target, stared with astonishment on the articles of
luxury of which they knew not the use, and with an avidity which seemed
somewhat alarming on the articles which they knew and valued. It is
always with unwillingness that the Highlander quits his deserts, and at
this early period it was like tearing a pine from its rock, to plant him
elsewhere. Yet even then the mountain glens were over-peopled, although
thinned occasionally by famine or by the sword, and many of their
inhabitants strayed down to Glasgow--there formed settlements--there
sought and found employment, although different, indeed, from that of
their native hills. This supply of a hardy and useful population was of
consequence to the prosperity of the place, furnished the means of
carrying on the few manufactures which the town already boasted, and laid
the foundation of its future prosperity.

The exterior of the city corresponded with these promising circumstances.
The principal street was broad and important, decorated with public
buildings, of an architecture rather striking than correct in point of
taste, and running between rows of tall houses, built of stone, the
fronts of which were occasionally richly ornamented with mason-work--a
circumstance which gave the street an imposing air of dignity and
grandeur, of which most English towns are in some measure deprived, by
the slight, insubstantial, and perishable quality and appearance of the
bricks with which they are constructed.

In the western metropolis of Scotland, my guide and I arrived on a
Saturday evening, too late to entertain thoughts of business of any kind.
We alighted at the door of a jolly hostler-wife, as Andrew called
her,--the Ostelere of old father Chaucer,--by whom we were civilly
received.

On the following morning the bells pealed from every steeple, announcing
the sanctity of the day. Notwithstanding, however, what I had heard of
the severity with which the Sabbath is observed in Scotland, my first
impulse, not unnaturally, was to seek out Owen; but on inquiry I found
that my attempt would be in vain, "until kirk time was ower." Not only
did my landlady and guide jointly assure me that "there wadna be a living
soul either in the counting-house or dwelling-house of Messrs. MacVittie,
MacFin, and Company," to which Owen's letter referred me, but, moreover,
"far less would I find any of the partners there. They were serious men,
and wad be where a' gude Christians ought to be at sic a time, and that
was in the Barony Laigh Kirk."*

* [The Laigh Kirk or Crypt of the Cathedral of Glasgow served for more *
than two centuries as the church of the Barony Parish, and, for a time,
was * converted into a burial-place. In the restorations of this grand
building * the crypt was cleared out, and is now admired as one of the
richest specimens * of Early English architecture existing in Scotland.]

Andrew Fairservice, whose disgust at the law of his country had
fortunately not extended itself to the other learned professions of his
native land, now sung forth the praises of the preacher who was to
perform the duty, to which my hostess replied with many loud amens. The
result was, that I determined to go to this popular place of worship, as
much with the purpose of learning, if possible, whether Owen had arrived
in Glasgow, as with any great expectation of edification. My hopes were
exalted by the assurance, that if Mr. Ephraim MacVittie (worthy man) were
in the land of life, he would surely honour the Barony Kirk that day with
his presence; and if he chanced to have a stranger within his gates,
doubtless he would bring him to the duty along with him. This probability
determined my motions, and under the escort of my faithful Andrew, I set
forth for the Barony Kirk.

On this occasion, however, I had little need of his guidance; for the
crowd, which forced its way up a steep and rough-paved street, to hear
the most popular preacher in the west of Scotland, would of itself have
swept me along with it. On attaining the summit of the hill, we turned to
the left, and a large pair of folding doors admitted us, amongst others,
into the open and extensive burying-place which surrounds the Minster or
Cathedral Church of Glasgow. The pile is of a gloomy and massive, rather
than of an elegant, style of Gothic architecture; but its peculiar
character is so strongly preserved, and so well suited with the
accompaniments that surround it, that the impression of the first view
was awful and solemn in the extreme. I was indeed so much struck, that I
resisted for a few minutes all Andrew's efforts to drag me into the
interior of the building, so deeply was I engaged in surveying its
outward character.

Situated in a populous and considerable town, this ancient and massive
pile has the appearance of the most sequestered solitude. High walls
divide it from the buildings of the city on one side; on the other it is
bounded by a ravine, at the bottom of which, and invisible to the eye,
murmurs a wandering rivulet, adding, by its gentle noise, to the imposing
solemnity of the scene. On the opposite side of the ravine rises a steep
bank, covered with fir-trees closely planted, whose dusky shade extends
itself over the cemetery with an appropriate and gloomy effect. The
churchyard itself had a peculiar character; for though in reality
extensive, it is small in proportion to the number of respectable
inhabitants who are interred within it, and whose graves are almost all
covered with tombstones. There is therefore no room for the long rank
grass, which, in most cases, partially clothes the surface of those
retreats where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at
rest. The broad flat monumental stones are placed so close to each other,
that the precincts appear to be flagged with them, and, though roofed
only by the heavens, resemble the floor of one of our old English
churches, where the pavement is covered with sepulchral inscriptions. The
contents of these sad records of mortality, the vain sorrows which they
preserve, the stern lesson which they teach of the nothingness of
humanity, the extent of ground which they so closely cover, and their
uniform and melancholy tenor, reminded me of the roll of the prophet,
which was "written within and without, and there was written therein
lamentations and mourning and woe."

The Cathedral itself corresponds in impressive majesty with these
accompaniments. We feel that its appearance is heavy, yet that the effect
produced would be destroyed were it lighter or more ornamental. It is the
only metropolitan church in Scotland, excepting, as I am informed, the
Cathedral of Kirkwall, in the Orkneys, which remained uninjured at the
Reformation; and Andrew Fairservice, who saw with great pride the effect
which it produced upon my mind, thus accounted for its preservation--"Ah!
it's a brave kirk--nane o' yere whig-maleeries and curliewurlies and
opensteek hems about it--a' solid, weel-jointed mason-wark, that will
stand as lang as the warld, keep hands and gunpowther aff it. It had
amaist a douncome lang syne at the Reformation, when they pu'd doun the
kirks of St. Andrews and Perth, and thereawa', to cleanse them o' Papery,
and idolatry, and image worship, and surplices, and sic like rags o' the
muckle hure that sitteth on seven hills, as if ane wasna braid eneugh for
her auld hinder end. Sae the commons o' Renfrew, and o' the Barony, and
the Gorbals and a' about, they behoved to come into Glasgow no fair
morning, to try their hand on purging the High Kirk o' Popish
nick-nackets. But the townsmen o' Glasgow, they were feared their auld
edifice might slip the girths in gaun through siccan rough physic, sae
they rang the common bell, and assembled the train-bands wi' took o'
drum. By good luck, the worthy James Rabat was Dean o' Guild that
year--(and a gude mason he was himself, made him the keener to keep up
the auld bigging)--and the trades assembled, and offered downright
battle to the commons, rather than their kirk should coup the crans as
others had done elsewhere. It wasna for luve o' Paperie--na, na!--nane
could ever say that o' the trades o' Glasgow--Sae they sune came to an
agreement to take a' the idolatrous statues of sants (sorrow be on them)
out o' their neuks--and sae the bits o' stane idols were broken in
pieces by Scripture warrant, and flung into the Molendinar burn, and the
auld kirk stood as crouse as a cat when the flaes are kaimed aff her,
and a' body was alike pleased. And I hae heard wise folk say, that if
the same had been done in ilka kirk in Scotland, the Reform wad just hae
been as pure as it is e'en now, and we wad hae mair Christian-like
kirks; for I hae been sae lang in England, that naething will drived out
o' my head, that the dog-kennel at Osbaldistone Hall is better than mony
a house o' God in Scotland."

Thus saying, Andrew led the way into the place of worship.

Sir Walter Scott