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And still, in age, he spurned at rest,
Scott of Harden married Mary Scott, daughter of Phillip Scott, of Dryhope, and celebrated in border song, under the name of the Flower of Yarrow. Sir Walter Scott descends from one of their five sons. There is extant, a curious charter, which demonstrates the suspicion which the Baron of Harden awakened in the minds of his best friends. In his marriage contract, his father-in-law agreed to board him and lodge him during a year and a day; but five barons agreed to force the son-in-law to depart, if he took it in his head to remain after that time. A public notary signed the deed in the name of all the parties, none of them being able to read or write. Now-a-days, thanks to the parochial schools, there is scarcely a Scotch peasant, who cannot, like Burns, send a love letter to his mistress.
The horn of the formidable Baron of Harden is yet in the possession of one of his descendants,
* I cite the passage, in order to have occasion to make the arms of Sir W. Scott known. The bandlet of Murdieston was added to them after the acquisition of the demesne of that name. They are supported by a dog, with the device, Watch Weel, and surmounted by the exergue, Reparabit sua cornua Phaebe; as if to say to the moss troopers: To horse; it will be full moon when you arrive on the estates you are go
ing to plunder. *---
Mr. Scott of Harden. When provisions were on the point of failing, his wife, the Flower of Yarrow, served up as the last dish on the supper table, a pair of spurs. The moss troopers did not require any explanation of this riddle ; the horn sounded; the horses were bridled and saddled ; and the troop taking the field, proceeded on an expedition to England, or to the domains of some enemy who had supplied them with a plea of retaliation. On his return from one of these excursions, Scott of Harden introduced to his wife an orphan, whom she brought up and became attached to. This young captive grew up in the midst of tales of war, without contracting a partiality for its cruel pleasures. Nature and misfortune had conspired to make him a poet; he sung the exploits of the marauders; but only for the sake of introducing in his songs such subjects as he preferred; the description of the mountain and valley where he loved to indulge in reverie, the games of the shepherds, their amours, &c. &c. Tradition has preserved the pastoral ballads of this poet, but his name and birth have remained unknown. He has supplied an episode replete with elegance, to Dr. Leyden, a friend of Sir W. Scott, in his poem entitled Scenes of Infancy. The Lay of the Last Minstrel is, as may be seen, a faithful picture of feudal manners of Scotland. I'rom Borthwick, the road winds between more nearly approximating hills, as far as Galashiels, a little village where there is a manufactory of common cloth, which formerly cost no more than 2s. 6d. per yard, but having been improved, now costs three times that sum. This village derives its name from the rivulet of Gala, famous in the Scotch songs, and which augments the still more famous waters of the Tweed. We now begin to recognize the places so admirably described in the Monastery; the hills delineate their outlines in graceful contours on the horizon; the colours of the heath which covers their eminences, contrast with that of the knots of oak, birch, and willow, &c. at their base, and with the still more vivid verdure of the vallies. In the general aspect of the landscape there is nothing sublime; it will not bear comparison with the highlands of the north; here all is calm and pastoral. Nothing can be more enchanting than the banks of the Tweed. I followed its course on foot, till I recognized the white turrets of Abbotsford castle, situated on the opposite bank, and deriving its name from its situation. This chateau strikes the imagination in the first instance by its eccentric construction, the irregularity of which renders it difficult to describe. It consists of a principal tower, which commands others of a minor elevation. It is a mixture of the architecture of old fortresses with that of the gothic abbey; the casements of unequal form are distributed at greater or smaller distances from one another, on the façade and the sides. In the intervals which separate them, niches appear to have been designed for the statues of saints, and one is still occu
pied by a holy Virgin. Coats of arms also adorn the entablature here and there. Nor is the roof less curious in the singularity of the antique chimnies, battlements and turrets which surmount it. The edifice is not completely finished; and the work-people are still employed there. I was tempted to risk crossing the ford of the Tweed, the mirror of which reflects this fantastic manor and the wood of young larch planted by Sir Walter Scott himself on its banks; but I reflected with a smile on the misadventure of the father Sacristan;” and although I was under no alarm of being played the same trick by some malicious fairy, I sought a surer passage a little lower down over a bridge; it was not that, the keeper of which was so deaf to the entreaties of the unfortunate monk. I also vainly looked for the mill of Mysie; but luckily the striking ruins of Melrose Abbey still attest the magnificence of the great monastery of Kennaquhair. I bent my way to the village of Melrose, in order to rest there awhile before I returned to visit Abbotsford. I hired a bed for the night, and ordered supper. Although my philosopher did not accompany me in this excursion, I shall not be inclined to lose sight of the realities of ordinary life for romantic reminiscences ; neither for the rural charms of Teviotdale, nor for the ruins of its abbeys and its chateaux.
* Monastery, vol. 1, chap. 5.
It was three o’clock in the afternoon when I departed from the George at Melrose, in order to proceed to Abbotsford. The horizon had been clear since morning, and the air as mild as the month of May in France, although illuminated by an August sun. About middle day a light breeze arose at intervals, pursuing a few transparent clouds across the azure of the sky. The elegantly abrupt mountains of Roxburghshire were gilded with a vivid light from their extreme summit to their base: anon, broad shadows rapidly descended their sides and appeared to lose themselves in the waves of the Tweed. These fluctuating colours of the landscape added to the charm of its variety. In other respects the plains were calm and silent. I saw no rural labours going on ; the river ran peaceably and secludedly along; and its murmur did not reach even the path I followed on its right bank.
At the end of half an hour's walking through a scene, the solitude of which constantly aug. mented its smiling characteristics, I found myself at the limits of the domain of Sir Walter Scott, OT at least of the ring fence which surrounds his