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“Roxburgh! how fallen, since first, in Gothic pride,
Thy frowning battlements the war defied;
Mary Lundie was born in Kelso, that "sweet bird of Scotia's tuneful clime,” whose interesting biography is so well known to the Christian public of America.
I had half an hour's interview with the Rev. Horatius Bonar, the pastor of a Free Church here, and author of those delightful and popular little works, the “ Night of Weeping," “ The Morning of Joy,” and the “ Story of Grace.” His wife is a sister of Mary Lundie.
I then rode a couple of miles down the romantic banks of the Tweed to the rustic village of Sprouston, and visited the house in which dwelt my maternal grandfather, who, near half a century since, went to his home on high ; the house where a beloved aunt still resides, where my dear mother passed her childhood-a place of such singular simplicity, that there has scarcely been a change in it, except such as have been made by the hand of death, in the course of half a century. .
As I entered the village, reining up my horse, I inquired of a ragged little urchin if there was a hotel in the place. Never having heard of any. thing of that sort before, he scratched his bonnet. less head as he replied, " I dinna ken.”' I repeated my question, asking him if he knew if there was an inn. He seemed as much puzzled as ever. I then asked him if he could tell me where to put my horse. “O ay,” he replied, “my faither has a byre ; I'll pit him in it, and gie him some corn.'' Leaving my horse in charge of this ragged little ostler, I went in search of my friends.
Again mounting, I proceeded homeward. As I rode along, some miles from Kelso, I saw on an eminence, at a considerable distance from the main road, an old ruined edifice of massy stone. Upon inquiring, I learned it was “ Smaylholm Tower," the scene of Sir Walter Scott's fine old ballad of the “ Eve of Good St. John.” Making my way up a private lane, I soon found myself at the farm house which stands near. As I alighted to open the gate, I met the farmer, of whom I asked permission to cross his grounds to the old tower. This he readily granted, telling me at the same time that the farm on which we stood was 6. Sandyknowe,” the place at which Sir Walter lived for many years when he was a boy, and the scene of the earliest efforts of his genius. The scenery around is very rough and striking : the poet himself has thus described it :
“It was a barren scene, and wild,
The Tower consists of a lofty square building, and as it stands on an eminence, it can be seen from a great distance. Irregular piles of picturesque rocks lie scattered around, among which it is diffi. cult even to walk ; so that when its walls were perfect, and before the discovery of gunpowder, it is easy to conceive that this fortress may have been impregnable. Fastening the bridle of my horse to one of these rocky fragments, I clambered up to the base of the Tower, whence I ascended by a narrow winding stair, built in one corner of the thick wall, to the top. There is just one room in each story ; the top of the lower one being arched, forms the floor of the next above. The roof has fallen in, but the walls seem likely long to withstand the blasts of winter. Having read Sir Walter's ballad in boyhood, as well as often since, I could easily conjure up the Baron of Smaylholm and his lady gay, English Will, and Sir Richard of Coldingham, to people once more the desolate halls of this mouldering but venerable ruin.
“ Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and towers,
Sat legislation's sovereign pow'rs !
As busy trade his labor plies;
Bids elegance and splendor rise.”
AFTER satisfying my curiosity with reference to the places around the scene of my childhood, I mounted the old-fashioned stage coach, to make my thirty miles journey to Edinburgh; eschewing railroads and locomotives as modern interlopers, jarring sadly with old associations, and not in keeping with my present romantic frame of mind.
On my way, I passed through the borough of Lauder, the antiquated town of Dalkeith, and over the barren summit of Soultra Hill. Of all the cities in Europe, the metropolis of my native land was the one which, from childhood, I had been most anxious to see. Its historical associations had long been impressed on my memory ;