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We resumed our seats in our carriage, and proceeded to Abbotsford, the late residence of Sir Walter Scott, four miles above Melrose, on the Tweed. The estate of Sir Walter a few years since was “a naked moor,” but is now under a high state of cultivation and most splendidly ornamented.
“Sir Walter Scott was a most zealous agriculturist, and arboriculturist especially; and it was allowed that he had done things with this estate, since it came into his possession, which would have been reckoned wonders, even if they had occupied the whole of a clever and skillful man's attention, during more years than he was laird of Abbotsford. There is some excellent arable land on the banks of the Tweed, toward the little town of Melrose, which lies some three miles from the mansion; but the bulk of the property is hilly country, with deep narrow dells interlacing it. Of this he planted fully one-half, and it is admitted on all hands, that the rising forest has been laid out, arranged, and managed, with consummate taste, care, and success. So much so, that the general appearance of Tweed-side, for some miles, is already quite altered and improved by the graceful ranges of the woodland; and that the produce of these plantations must, in the course of twenty or thirty years more, add immensely to the yearly rental of the estate. In the mean time the shelter afforded by the woods to the sheep-walks reserved amidst them, has prodigiously improved the pasturage, and half the surface yields already double the rent the whole was ever thought capable of affording while in the old unprotected condition. All through these woods there were broad riding-ways, kept in capital order, and conducted in such excellent taste, that we might wander for weeks amidst their windings without exhausting the beauties of the poet's lounge. There are scores of charming waterfalls in the ravines, and near every one of them you find benches or bowers at the most picturesque points of view. There are two or three small mountain lakes included in the domain—one of them not so small neither—being nearly a mile in circumference; and of these, also, every advantage has been taken. Amidst these woods, the late Sir Walter, when at home, usually spent many hours daily, either on his pony or on foot, with ax and pruning-knife in hand. Here was his study; he, it seems, like Jacques, was never at a loss to find “books in trees.”
“The Muse nae poet ever fand her
The house stands upon the slope of the hill, within a few rods of the Tweed. It is constructed upon a plan altogether unique, devised by the genius and conformed to the taste of the noble proprietor. As a whole it is unlike anything else in all the world, but its parts are either original portions of the structures of all ages and countries, or close imitations of them. All orders of architecture found a patron in Sir Walter Scott, and are here brought into a group. The following description is true to the life:— “The house is more than one hundred and fifty feet long in front, and was built at two different onsets; has a tall tower at either end, the one not the least like the other; presents sundry crowfooted, alias zigzagged, gables to the eye; a myriad of indentations, and parapets, and machicolated eaves; most fantastic waterspouts; labeled windows, not a few of them of painted glass; groups of right Elizabethan chimneys; balconies of divers fashions, greater and lesser; stones carved with heraldries innumerable let in here and there in the wall; and a very noble projecting gateway, a facsimile of that appertaining to a certain dilapidated royal palace, which long ago seems to have caught in a particular manner the poet's fancy, as witness the stanza:— “Of all the palaces so fair, Built for the royal dwelling, Above the rest, beyond compare, Linlithgow is excelling.’” Melrose and its Vicinity. You enter from the porch way, first into the “hall,” a rather dark and gloomy room, about forty feet long, the two lofty windows being covered with coats of arms. The floor is of black and white marble from the Hebrides, and the walls of richly carved oak of a dark color, and brought from the old palace of Dunfermline. The “armory” contains a world of curiosities in the war line. Here are bows and arrows, swords and spears, darts, daggers, guns, and steel armor, collected from all parts of the world, and representing the modes of warfare in all ages. The armory is particularly rich in auld Scotch arms. Here is Rob Roy's gun, with his initials, R. M. C., Robert Macgregor Campbell, engraved upon it. The baronet seems really to have “—had a fouth o'auld nick-nackets, Rusty airn caps and jinglin' jackets, Wad haud the Lothians three in tackets, A towmont' guid.”
The “dining-room” is hung in crimson, but almost entirely covered with pictures. Among these we particularly noticed “the head of Mary, queen of Scots,” in a charger, “painted by Amias Canrood, the day after the decapitation,” and sent, some years ago, as a present to Sir Walter from a Prussian nobleman, in whose family it had been preserved for more than two centuries. The eyes are closed, and the features smooth and natural. But the associations are melancholy. The “breakfast-room” looks toward the Tweed, in the front of which, outside, is a small platform, where a highland band was wont to perform while the baronet took his breakfast. The “drawingroom” is a large saloon with antique ebony furniture; the chairs are beautifully wrought, and were a present from George IV. The “library” contains fifteen thousand volumes—a most curious collection of history, poetry, and romance. The “study” is about twenty-five feet square, having a plain writing desk in the centre, and the chair in which “the great unknown” sat when he wrote his novels:–it is a plain arm-chair, with cushions covered with leather. On each side of the fireplace are shelves filled with books of reference, and there is a light gallery elevated and running round three sides of the room, with a hanging stair in one corner, which contains shelves filled with books. This room, “the lion's own den,” was never entered by any one except Lady Scott and a servant. And, when swept and dusted by the servant, Mrs. Scott was always present. The last room we shall notice is the “closet,” which contains the wearing apparel of Sir Walter, and several implements used by him when he went abroad over his premises: these were his staff, his pruning-hook, spade, hoe, &c. But the hand that wielded them is palsied in death. At the front of the door is a marble bust of Sir Walter's favorite dog, under which his body was deposited. The most petty things were made to assume a magnitude approaching sublimity, under the hand of this great and singular genius. We were reminded that this, Aug. 15th, was Sir Walter's birthday, a fact which we had forgotten. And on this day his statue was placed upon its pedestal under the superb monument erected in Edinburgh. We left Edinburgh a day too soon to witness the imposing ceremony, an account of which filled so many newspapers, but just in time to be in the room where Sir Walter Scott breathed his last, upon his birthday. We left Abbotsford with increased admiration of the genius of Sir Walter Scott, and also with increased regret that his great talents had not been consecrated to God by a more decided devotion to our holy Christianity. We returned to Melrose, and took breakfast atten o'clock, and at eleven took our seats upon the top of the stage for Newcastleupon-Tyne. We passed Jedburgh Abbey, a most magnificent ruin, —an erection “by pious King David.” Our way lay through large “moors,” which, if they were but distributed among the people, and cultivated, would yield a living for thousands of the poor, who are in almost a starving condition. Our seats were rendered exceedingly uncomfortable by a rain which commenced soon after we left Melrose, and continued through the day. We all raised our umbrellas, but then the difficulty was to avoid the drippings from those held by our friends on either side. After becoming thoroughly wet, the “inside” having been emptied of its nobility, we obtained a sort of half-way consent of the driver to take a seat there. There we were safe and comfortable. The following line was lettered with a paint-brush in a prominent place: “Licensed for 17, 4 inside and 13 out.” We fell in with several of the hunting gentry, who had become satisfied with the “hunter's luck,” and were making their way home. The season for shooting grouse had just begun; that is, the time had come when the “game laws” permit this species of sport. And taking the men, we, in some cases, had to take gun, dogs and all, with them. It was amusing to see with what animation these sons of Nimrod would talk over their success. One who had taken quarters in an inn where the stage halted, came out and accosted a companion upon the stage, with the question:— “What success what success " The answer, as near as we can recollect, was somewhat equivocal. “I,” rejoined the knight of the musket, “came in completely exhausted: I went out yesterday, I saw several, and shot one;—I had that cooked for my supper, but it has rained so severely to-day, I have done nothing. But there is game plenty at the north.” The remarks were common-place; but the interest with which they were made, and the evidence of excitement produced by shooting a bird about the size of a wild pigeon, gave us some small idea of the reason why, in the old world, hunting is so regulated by law as to be almost entirely monopolized by the gentry. We passed a nobleman's hunting grounds this day, which show in a different way, and upon somewhat a large scale, the importance which is put upon the sport. For miles the country was divided between forest and moor. Here thousands of acres, which, if cultivated, would yield an abundant reward to the laborer, are entirely unoccupied except by deer, rabbits, and birds. In the centre of these “hunting grounds” is a large establishment, consisting of a country-seat, a few cottages for “game-keepers,”—stables, and kennel. And here the proprietor spends a few weeks— sometimes only a few days—in the year in sporting. Such remnants of the old feudal system still remain in England, Scotland, and Ireland: but how long the unnatural monopoly will be permitted to continue, God only knows. The burdensome monopolies of the old world are now under a pressure which may modify, or even ruin them.
We reached Newcastle at half-past seven, and took quarters at the “Queen's Head Hotel.”
ART. WII.-CRITICAL NOTICES.
1. The Philosophy of Christian Perfection; embracing a Psychological Statement ysome of the Principles of Christianity on which this Doctrine rests: together with a Practical Examination of the Particular Views of several recent Writers on this Subject. 12mo., pp. 159. Philadelphia: Sorin & Ball. 1848.
THE subject of Christian perfection is one which, at the present time, excites as much interest, and receives as large an amount of attention, from the Christian mind of the country, as any other one theological doctrine. Books have been produced for and against the doctrine ; reviews, and other periodicals, have discussed it, in the way of argument, pro and con. Philosophers have endeavored to bring it to the test of philosophical analysis, and have dressed it up in the habiliments of scientific momenclature, while imaginative and eccentric minds have reduced it to a mere ideal existence. It concerns considerate minds to look over the mass of thought—good, bad, and indifferent—which has been evolved upon the subject, and inquire how much progress has been made, especially within the present century, toward a better understanding of the doctrine, and a more complete experiment upon it as a practical truth. We have examined with some care, perhaps, all the theories of Christian perfection, and are finally settling down upon the conclusion, that, in the general, so far as they look beyond the lines distinctly drawn in the Bible, they are calculated to throw the honest and consistent inquirer into perplexity and doubt. Mr. Wesley theorized sufficiently upon the subject, and the difficulties, real or supposed, in which his positions are involved, attach invariably to his speculations, and not to his plain statements of the doctrine, or the fact, of Christian perfection. But he was met with speculative objections, and attempts to push out the subject to ultimate doctrines, and to show its antagonism in relation to speculative principles, and he sometimes made the effort to satisfy the demands of his antagonists. In