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No. XX.-SATURDAY, 4th AUGUST, 1827.
ame, wheats wilcase to the
THE WATERING -PLACES. No. III.
Thy bloom seems lovelier from thy solitude:
May sod as dewy hide its faults at last.” SPIRIT of gentle and all-noiseless beauty, which, hovering o'er the lonely Glenfinart, descends upon its peaceful bosom in mild dews, nurturing sunshine, and revivifying airs, could any invocation of mine win thee to visit me even in thy ethereal person, I would bid thee hail! But unto the solitudes of a city cell thou permeatest not, save through the subtile channels of the memory, which hath been stamped with deep devotion to thy majesty and loveliness, even in the thrilling presence of thyself. It is to remembrance, then, that I turn, and with the hasty and dim lines of a rude pencil, sketch, or try to image faintly out some of the 'witching features of thy many beauties, Ardentinny!
In sailing up Loch Long, just as your vessel may be said to leave the waters of the Clyde behind its wake, and comes fairly within the shadow of the hills which swell up gently on the east, but spring more abruptly out of the western shore of the Lake, you come to a miniature Dumbarton Rock-a promontory, that whilst it juts out distinctly from the shore, yet has its seaward face of a shelving character, which prevents its ruggedness of substance from giving it an aspect of sternness. Indeed, its height is not such as to impart any thing of the terrible to its look; but yet it forms a natural bastion which the hand of man would in vain essay to surpass in strength
as in durability. Behind the shelter of this rock spreads inward the silver stranded bay—and backward from it rises the modest range of sylvan cots, school-house and all,of Ardentinny.
Perhaps my readers will not recognise in this not unmusical name to me it is full of sweetness—the more euphonous Aranteenie of Tannahill, who, even without the sanction of popular abridgment, took upon him to alter the name of the place to what he thought had a sweeter sound. To me the transformation appears somewhat lack-a-daisical and maudlin; but perhaps it was needed by the rhythm or the rhyme of the delightful song in which he introduces it. At all events, had the liberty taken been even greater, he and his kindred coadjutor, Mr. R. A. Smith, who has married it to such sweet sounds, have more than repaid it by the celebrity this lovely lay has conferred upon a spot which else had been but known to the few devoted lovers of nature who seek out its most sequestered nooks to worship in-until steam-boats were invented-and it became, although still, thank heaven, only so by some licence of interpretation, a Watering-Place.
When Tandahill visited it, he went as I first did-a disinterested admirer of its beauties, and prepared to suffer much fatigue and inconvenience in searching out and paying homage to them. It was not the luxury of a sail under the awning of a gaily painted galley which cleaves through the calm waters, unruffled by a breath of wind, that first tempted us to explore the sequestered glen of the Finart. No, no! the enjoyment of such conveniences may not now detract from the feeling of lofty and enthusiastic enjoyment with which I still can thread its mazes, but it was the simple love of nature, in its sweet and untainted solitudes alone, that first wooed me there.
Tannahill, with a similar feeling, had penetrated into the dell ere steam-boats were, and, overtaken by a day of comfortless drizzle, which, it must be confessed, does occasionally make even this spot disagreeable, found a Highland lassie, the daughter of the innkeeper, whose kindness and spirit within her father's house, more than compensated to the bard the want of warmth and sunshine without. In one of these moments of generous and unhesitating enthusiasm, which minds consituted like his ever and anon give way to, he composed this beautiful song, “ The Lass o’ Aranteenie.” Common individuals
are apt to think that such bursts of sentiment, untamed by the experience of past disappointments in the estimates made of individual character, whether they are expressed in verse or the warm language of compliment and praise, are but the result of hypocritical, or, at best, worthless complaisance. They little know how much sincerity is often felt in giving expression to sentiments they think exaggerated, sometimes because they are conscious of being unworthy of them; or how much pain the revulsion of feeling occasions, when he who has uttered them discovers how greatly their fervency was beyond the merit of the object. It was so with the bard of Renfrewshire. He came back to Ardentinny; but he discovered, on his second visit, that its “ flower” was, although a mountain daisy, but a common-place specimen of her class indeed, a very woman.
But let me resume. The etymology of Ardentinny, I believe, there are sundry grave speculations concerning; but as I never trouble myself about Celtic derivatives, I certainly shall not annoy my readers at this time by transcribing any of them.
A ferry has been long established here across to the isthmus of Roseneath, and from thence there is one to the mainland of Dumbartonshire, and hence the existence of an inn, and of a road leading up the glen. Let us follow it. Above the inn there is a little tangled copsewood of dwarf oak and birch, springing up from the roots of trees long since cut down, and through its umbrage a wall of rock is seen to peer, from the top of which there is obtained, rather from its site than altitude, a pretty view of the bay and hills which hem it in. But let us descend to the beach-so pebbly, yet so smooth. Beneath the shelter of a line of trees, there stand the humble dwellings of contentment—at least, of health, and, judging by their aspect, of some degree of comfort. Nets are on the beach, and boats beside them. Fishing, then, is the avocation of some of the inhabitants, and the six fresh herrings you could, and I did eat to breakfast, reader, bear testimony to their skill. The boatmen, whose labour is when we sleep, are in bed; but the stillness of noon is not made deeper from that, for see that swarm of kilted urchins escaping with almost winged glee from the neat little school-house, which yet the rogues hold to be a prison in this fine weather; and there, in tartan coat, is the worthy dominie of the district. We shall salute him. Hail and good-bye are past, and onward up the glen go we, till we come to that part of the road where the o'erarching trees make shadowy the path. How cool on the ear the sound of dropping water comes, in such a grateful seclusion. Here is the silver ribband of its fall into the sculptured basin taste has placed to receive the cordial drops that wearied thirst, without its treasuring aid, might long wait for; and there, from out its caverned reservoir, runs on the limpid streamlet, hastening to dally with the flowery meads that wait to fondle it before its brief but happy course is ended in the loch below. It passes close to the house of “ her, the lady of the glen," as Rogers has prettily called the lady Susan Hamilton, sister to the Duke of that name, and wife to the Earl of Dunmore, the owner of these hills and this sweet valley. It is like its noble mistress, beautiful in its simplicity, dignified in its seclusion, happy-like amid the happiness it spreads around it. These walks, those arbours, every climbing plant that wreathes the garden front, bespeak the taste that planned, as much as does the comfort and cleanliness of the village, and the happy intelligence and decent clothing of its children, the benevolence which wastes not all the sweet sympathies that the nurturing of nature's inanimate creations excite, in merely tending these, but can turn the stream of kindliness that rises, as it were, amid the solitudes of its beauties, towards the habitations of the children of men-gladdening and refreshing them.
Now, follow who will the lovely road which inward leads to where you climb the hill that looks down upon Loch Eck-pass the romantic bridge, or pause and sketch its picturesque outline if you please— I must return, for I have promised to take an early dinner with the only resident family visitor at Ardentinny, and whose presence alone confers on it a title to the hackneyed name of Watering-Place. Its beauties are yet unprofaned by the vulgar throng—but it has all the comforts of the place of most crowded resort-and what without a dinner would be even the cell of
THE HERMIT OF THE WEST.
SPECIMENS OF A SERIES OF NEW READINGS
IN BAILEY AND JOHNSON.-No. IX. Pain.—The primum mobile of existence, since, to escape
from its incessant pursuit, is the secret of all our actions.
Partridges Winged animals: English Squires shoot Pheasants. men, that they alone may shoot them. Passing.-The only employment of Time, and evidence of
its existence. Pay. The only action which some feel any difficulty in
performing. Physic.—Any preparation which we swallow with reluc
tance, at the bidding of our fears or physicians. Pickle.— A term applied to what we put on meat, to pre
serve it; and take with it, to destroy it. Quack.--A title which the Faculty assume the power of
conferring on all who kill without their permission. Qualified.—See the above.-In some places it only means, having as many acres as will serve to supply wadding
to your fowling-piece, and birds to shoot at. Question, A.—The only thing that is easier asked than a
favour. Quick.—To the snail the pace of the worm-to the worm
the stride of the man-to man the speed of time between the hour of receiving a favour and the day of re
turning it. Quill.-The lever of Archimedes. Quota.—The present quantity of copy for “ The Ant,”
from its Lexicographer. Quotation,-Forms no part of these definitions.
THE SETTE E. No. I.
SCENE-A BLUE Parlour in the Holy Land.
Interlocutors-Miss PENSIVILLIA CERULEA DUN, (who has been 28
for the last quarter of a century,) and CHARLES HERON. C. H.-- True, Madam, the ancient and venerable name
Miss P.-0, Sir, it is not the antiquity of the name I allude to, for of that I cannot of course speak; but its euphonous superiority.
C. H.-I perceive, Madam. Questionless there's a rhythmical beauty in Settee, which neither Sofa, Couch, Ottoman, Fateuil, nor any other term applied to that agreeable seat which does not niggardly circumscribe the breadth of space you may occupy, nor yet exclude such agreeable companionship of contact as I at present have the happiness to be permitted to enjoy with a fair friend-(the lady bows)—can ever possess to one whose delightful associations of compliments softer than those cushions, smoother than this