Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Bonnie Scotland
Glasgow and the Clyde

At the junction of salt and fresh water navigation, beside Fort-William, the tourist begins a new stage of his journey, if in haste, speeding by the West Highland Railway through beautiful glens and over bleak and bare moorlands to come on the Clyde at Helensburgh. The older pilgrimage is by steamer down Loch Linnhe to Oban, past Ballachulish, where, if the Saxon can get his tongue round its name, he may land to visit "dreary dark Glencoe," whose grimly sublime seclusion seems in keeping with its tragic memories and with its legendary fame as birthplace of Ossian.

Oban, "Charing Cross of the Highlands," which Cockneys sometimes confuse with Holborn, and which in thick weather may rather suggest the Tilbury Docks, had in Dr. Johnson's day one "tolerable inn," now multiplied into a forest of hostelries, "a huddlement of upstart houses," above which the shell of an unhatched Hydropathic looks down on darker ruins of the "Land of Lorne." Here the not impecunious traveller might tarry long to visit the islands around or the lochs and falls inland. Turning his back on the cloudy Atlantic, he may take the Caledonian Railway by Loch Awe, Loch Tay and Loch Earn, and thus be wafted to Perth, Edinburgh, or Glasgow, while at Tyndrum it is open to him to make a cut across to the West Highland Line. But his most beaten path is still a watery one, on to the Crinan Canal, and through it to Ardrishaig, where he enters on the safe and luxurious navigation of the Clyde.

This is not a guide-book that can afford to expatiate in small print on all the aisles and monuments of this grand estuary, with its lochs opening like side chapels. The stranger will do well to halt almost wherever he pleases, and at a dozen resorts has a choice of steamboats plying up and down the water, as a Glasgow man calls it, even as his ancestors named the Esks and Avons which for them were alone familiar. The butterfly tourist, if he get a fine day or two, may settle on Tarbert, the isthmus of Cantire; or at Inveraray, the ducal village-capital of Argyll; or at Dunoon, its largest town; or at Rothesay, the Swindon Junction of this inland voyaging; or at the Cumbraes, whose minister prayed for "the adjacent islands of Great Britain and Ireland"; or at one and another of those snug bathing-places that almost line the shores. The gem, the bouquet, the crown of all Clyde scenery is, of course, Arran, to know which non cuivis contingit. But if he can find quarters in some airy hovel with rats running about the roof, or on some shake-down of an hotel annexe, and if the rain clears up over Goatfell, the reader will not regret taking my word for the exceeding loveliness of glens and corries, which have inspired painters, poets, and even guide-book makers.

Many writers have described Clyde voyaging. To

Glencoe, Argyllshire
Glencoe, Argyllshire

save myself trouble, let me borrow from the ingenious M. Jules Verne, who in his Rayon-Vert gives a remarkable account of this region and its inhabitants. It is always well to see ourselves as others see us, especially through the eyes of a famous story-teller. This story of his is intended to be amusing, and he appears to succeed in being funnier than he knew by reading up Sir Walter Scott and other works of fiction, then "combining his information."

The time is the present day ; the scene opens on the Clyde ; the dramatis persona are as follows: Two old bachelor brothers, Sam and Sib Melvill, have been avowedly "lifted" from those chieftains of the southron clan Cheeryble. They live together in kindly one-mindedness; they take snuff out of the same box; they quote Ossian in alternate stanzas, also Scott, and such good old Scottish proverbs as "let us leave that fly tranquil on the wall." They especially agree in spoiling their niece, Miss Helena Campbell, who, like other heroines of fiction, is beautiful to behold, and like other Scottish damsels of rank, does her hair up in a snood, believes in valkyries and "browines," then, though as good as she is charming, has a most troublesome obstinacy in getting her own way. This is a rich family, who have a town house in Glasgow and a cottage near Helensburgh, opposite the promontory always spelt "Rosenheat," a cottage of much gentility, with a tower, a terrace, and a park. Over a large household rule two faithful retainers of the olden time, (1) the "intendant" Partridge, who always sports tartan in the form of a kilt "above the philabeg," with blue bonnet, cow-skin brogues and other trappings of a Highland butler's livery; (2) a venerable housekeeper, who, like all housekeepers in the Highlands, bears the title of "Luckie," but is also styled Dame Bess, and addressed by Partridge as "Mavourneen," that well-known Scottish term of endearment, while her masters invariably summon her by crying "Bet! Beth! Bess! Betsey! Betty!" each word taking up a line, so as to make what printers call "fat" and what French authors, from the great Dumas downwards, must find very convenient for stretching out "copy."

Though Sam and Sib are Glasgow aristocrats, they seem so far in touch with the great metropolis as to take in the Morning Post, in which one day Miss Campbell reads an account of a wonderful green ray shed by the unclouded sun at his setting on an open sea horizon. Nothing will serve this wilful young lady but at once setting out to behold such an optical phenomenon. Gifted as she is, our heroine can have passed no high standard of geography, but her uncles explain to her that Oban is the nearest place at which an open sea view can be had. Va pour Oban! she exclaims. The sly uncles agree on the trip, all the more readily as they are aware how at Oban happens to be sojourning a certain Aristobulus Ursiclos, on whom they have their eye as an excellent parti for their ward.

The household is at once thrown into a confusion of packing, for by seven o'clock next morning it is necessary to be in Glasgow to catch the Oban steamer Columba, which seems rather a roundabout route for residenters at Helensburgh. At this early hour the party punctually embark, to be carried admiringly down the scenery of the Clyde, though, indeed, the faithful steward and housekeeper, always in attendance, shake their heads in sad harmony at every stage over the engines and smoke stacks that are overshadowing good old Highland customs, the sole example of which here given is unhappily referred to the Orkney Kirkwall. Messrs. MacBrayne have no cause of complaint as to praise of the steamer and her accommodations ; but the proprietors of Murray's Guide, with which the party are provided rather than Black's, might find ground of action in the French printers' libellous misspellings of names. That work is duly drawn on for notices of Dumbarton Castle, of Greenock, of ruined strongholds, and of the distant crests of Arran and Ailsa Craig. The passengers hold stiffly aloof in groups, except of course some French tourists, who bring their native sociability with them ; but there is none of the British morgue about Partridge, when he claps his hands in applause at the sight of a tower ruined for the MacDouglases by his young mistress' clan. They sail safely through the Kyles of Bute, past Ardrishaig, by the Crinan Canal, then up the Hebrides archipelago to Oban, where they install themselves, regardless of expense, in the best rooms of the Caledonian Hotel, awaiting the first fine sunset to catch the green ray.

At this ville des bains, not more than "a hundred and fifty years old," in August crowded with bathers, who do not satisfy French ideas of propriety by a bathing costume souvent trop rudimentaire, our friends soon fall in with Aristobulus Ursiclos, a mere Lowlander, who wears no kilt but, on the contrary, aluminium spectacles and such like, and having graduated both at Oxford and Edinburgh, is a scientist pour rire, not to say a prig and pedant of the darkest dye, seizing every chance to lecture on meteorology, mineralogy, chemistry, astronomy, in short de omni re scibili. It goes without saying that Miss Campbell at first sight takes a strong dislike to this false hero, who at once sets about playing the superior person over such a childish fancy as the green ray, also excites her contempt by his awkwardness at the British game of "crocket." Equally of course, a true hero has already been provided, a ram caught in one of the handy thickets of romance as due sacrifice to Hymen. This is Oliver Sinclair, a young and sympathetic artist, who sends notes of his travels to the celebrated Edinburgh Review, but at present has nothing more pressing on hand than to attach himself to the party.

The episodes of the story henceforth turn upon repeated efforts to see the green ray, always baffled by the weather or by some clumsy interference of Mr. Aristobulus, who can never understand when he is not wanted, though able to rebuke his companions' enthusiasm for the sea by instructing them that it is merely a chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen with 2½ per cent of chloride of sodium. In vain they hire a carriage-and-four to drive to the "village of Clachan," and on to one of the outlying islands, from which there is a clear sea, view, at Oban, as we know, blocked by the island of "Kismore."

After weeks of disappointment and bad weather, the whole party take steamer for Iona, where they put up at the "Duncan Arms," feasting daily upon a truly Scottish menu of haggis, hotch-potch, cockie-leekie, sowens and oat cake, the Highland Cheeryble brothers pledging one another in pint stoups—containing four English pints, we

Garelochhead, Dumbartonshire
Garelochhead, Dumbartonshire

learn—of "foaming usquebaugh," also in a drink called "whisky," with strong beer, "mum," and "twopenny" flavoured with a petit verre of gin. A Scottish breakfast, it appears, is a slighter meal, consisting of "tea, butter, and sandwiches." This good cheer is so engrossing that only after a few days they recall the fact of there being some ruins on Iona, which are then visited and described at much length, with all due enthusiasm on the part of the author. Dr. Johnson declares the man little to be envied whose piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona. That man is soulless Aristobulus, who excites our heroine's indignation by the cold-blooded manner in which he would peep and geologise among so sacred monuments, hammering off a piece of a cross to examine it as a mineral specimen. Worse, just as she was about to see the green ray, this unlucky spoil-sport lets off a gun, scaring up a cloud of gulls to obscure the for once bright sunset.

Miss Campbell is determined at any cost to shake off such a hateful suitor. She hears of another island called Staffa, from which a still opener view can be had. Nothing will hinder that in the frequented port of Iona a "Cowes-built" yacht is waiting to be hired. The obedient uncles charter her forthwith, engage a brass-bound captain and a crew of six men, provision her suitably, and sail off for Staffa, which, as the author explains, is at no great distance. Aristobulus, with his hammer and spectacles, is left behind, henceforth dropping out of the story.

Our heroine, having had the geological marvels of Staffa explained to her, is so delighted that she proposes to buy the island. Their yacht blown away before a storm, the passengers encamp in a cave and go through perilous adventures, for the scenery of which the guidebook comes in useful. Oliver Sinclair, whose life Helena had been the means of saving at his first appearance on the scene, now in turn rescues her in most romantic style ; and the young pair are so taken up with each other that they almost forget all about the green ray in search of which those long-suffering uncles have been dragged so far. At last comes one clear glorious sunset, lighting up a panorama of sea line that could not but have excited admiration even in "the most prosaic merchant {negotiant) of the Canongate." As the sun disappears, all the party behold the long-sought wonder, all but the hero and heroine, who are too intent on the rays lit in each other's eyes by a "light that never was on sea or land." After this, there is nothing left but "Bless you, my children," and a sumptuous marriage in "St. George's Church, Glasgow," transported for the occasion, apparently, from Hanover Square. All which, if one skip the guide-book passages, makes a very striking account of Scottish manners and customs, but prompts some doubt of the author's accuracy when he comes to deal with such more remote regions as the moon or the bottom of the sea.

It seems a rule with French writers to be careless about the local colour of their foreign scenes. Well known is the haughty answer of Victor Hugo to the Englishman who ventured to remonstrate with him on his Lords "Tom Jim Jack," and other ornaments of British aristocracy. He at least spared Scotland,—or was it he who translated the Firth of Forth by le premier du quatrieme, as another traductor elevated "a stickit minister" into un pretre assassine? If it be true that Dumas' chief "ghost" was by origin a Scotsman named Mackay, that voluminous romancer was ill-served in the wild work made for him of British topography. D'Artagnan, landing at Dover, found our posts "pretty well served," so well, indeed, that starting at 2.30 p.m. he rode to London in four hours, then on to Windsor, followed the king to a hunting-ground two or three leagues beyond, and galloped back to Buckingham House, all before nightfall, a feat that beats Dick Turpin and John Gilpin. When Charles I. exclaimed "Remember!" with his dying breath, he was of course addressing that preux chevalier Athos, hidden below the scaffold; and what Athos should remember was how the king had stowed a million of money in two barrels under the vaults of the Abbey of Newcastle. In due time Athos goes to turn up this deposit, then from Monk's camp at Coldstream on the Tweed, he and the General stroll over to Newcastle in the course of half an hour or so. Athos of course comes off successful in this midnight quest, but not so Monk, who, as M. Dumas first informed us, was kidnapped by D'Artagnan in the midst of his army and carried off in a fishing boat from Coldstream to Holland, to be laid bound before his lawful king, brought back after all in time to prevent Athos from exterminating a company of Scottish soldiers in defence of his million. The whole series of those Three Musketeers' adventures contains many such curious side lights on the history of our country. In a comic opera, of course, one need not read up for examinations; yet Scribe's Dame Blanche, bearing to the Monastery and Guy Mannering much the same relation as Thackeray's Rebecca and Rowena to Ivanhoe, should not have opened with a rustic Scots couple hard up for a godfather to their child, nor ended with the sale of an estate that carried with it a peerage and a seat in Parliament.

Perhaps, after all, Scottish writers may be trusted for a more faithful picture of their own country ; and one would commend the reader rather to Sarah Tytler's St. Mungo's City as a truthful and taking tale of Glasgow life, including a trip on the Clyde under characteristic circumstances. Only this trip is not one to be suggested to strangers, since it is an incident of Glasgow Fair, that concentrated week of more than Bank Holiday-making, when the great city of the West disperses itself to its waterside resorts so recklessly that in the familiar rainy weather churches as well as police stations may have to be thrown open to thousands of roofless and hundreds of senseless guests. Let the Sir Charles Grandisons of the south, and the Miss Ophelias of the States mix themselves rather with the Trades Holidays' bustle of Edinburgh, or the 12th August distraction of Perth station.

"The steamer (as our author describes this popular excursion), fluttering with flags from stem to stern, was pushing down the river on the sunny yet showery summer day, preceded and followed by many similar vessels, through the labyrinth of shipping from every part of the world—past wharves and warehouses deserted by toilers—past the yards, well known to ship-builders, with skeleton ships on the stocks, where the sheds were forsaken and the din mute. Down and down the living freight went, till green pastures and ripening cornfields began to smile under the very

Glen Sannox, Isle of Arran
Glen Sannox, Isle of Arran

frown of the hills rising in the distance. Here was the heart-shaped rock of Dumbarton, with the castle where Wallace had lain a prisoner. There were the crowded roofs of Greenock, clustered under its own storm-cloud, hanging over the city churchyard where Highland Mary was laid to rest. Yonder ran the Tail of the Bank, by which fleets have ridden at anchor, where Colin's solitary ship was seen through the morning mists by the sharp eyes of the loving gude-wife, so fain to tell that her man was 'come to town.' This was the entrance to the loch by whose shore the race of Macallum More slept soundly. Across the river the warning white finger of the Cloch Lighthouse bade belated crafts beware. Roseneath was fair as when Jeanie Deans landed under the guardianship of the Duke's man. At Toward Point the tenderest of Highland tragedies lingered with the memory of the old clan Lamont. At last the twin islands of Bute and Arran came full in sight, and Goatfell rose, brown and grey and russet—not purple as yet—unrivalled from the sea, and held up a rugged face to the fleecy clouds."

Reversing this route, and shortening it by train from Greenock, we come to St. Mungo's City, by Liverpool's leave, the second in Britain, yet none of your mushroom Chicagos, but a good old Lanark borough that has spread itself far over two counties, since the days when its Broomielaw harboured a few small craft, and its Fair was confined to the Green, on which the Earl of Moray encamped before crushing Queen Mary's cause in half an hour, at the battle of Langside, its field now within the extended municipal bounds. In her time Glasgow was already known as the Market of the West, showing the rudiments of a varied fabrication in its plaiding, and in such a "Glasgow buckler" as the adventurous Queen would fain have carried when she wished she were a man to "lie all night in the fields," and swagger mail-clad along the crown of the causeway.

Max O'Rell and other moderns have said very unkind things of Glasgow ; but all the early travellers extol the prettiness, pleasantness, and cleanness of this city on a once limpid river, qualities not so apparent nowadays. Along with too many most squalid slums, Glasgow has fine features in her ancient Cathedral, in her lofty Necropolis, in her picturesque Trongate, in her noble University Buildings elevated above the West End Park, and in her central square with its forest of illustrious effigies, "an open-air Madame Tussaud's." But these monuments are not so remarkable as the wealth and manifold industry of which signs abound on every hand, drowning the rustic charms noted by Defoe and Burt. In the Commonwealth days Richard Franck had dubbed Glasgow the "non-such of Scotland"-—"famous and flourishing"—on whose "beautiful palaces" and warehouses "stuft with merchandise" he expatiates in his conceited style. Even the crabbed Matthew Bramble was "in raptures with Glasgow." Pennant twice calls this, "the best built of any second-rate city I ever saw," and tells how Glasgow had been "tantalised with its river," soon to be deepened into such a highway of traffic.

By the middle of the eighteenth century Glasgow had not 20,000 inhabitants, but she began to make her fortune fast while the rest of Scotland rather sullenly prepared to exchange thistly patriotism for more profitable crops. Rum and tobacco were the foundation of a prosperity that came to be checked by the American Revolution; then the long-headed worthies of the Saltmarket took up cotton, and cotton was weighed down by iron, and iron was set afloat as well as wood; and a host of other trades sprang up, among them that Turkey-red dyeing that is for Glasgow what its purple was for Tyre.

On Glasgow Green, we are told, James Watt thought of the steam condenser that was the great practical step towards starting such merry-go-roundabouts here at Fair time, and so many wheels on which the progress of the world has spun with such acceleration "down the ringing grooves of change." If the first model of a steamship was made in Edinburgh, the first passenger paddle-boat that plied in Britain was that between Greenock and Glasgow in 1812. Glasgow, not quite so large as Edinburgh in James Watt's lifetime, had then begun to give the capital the go-by, even before she became environed by a wilderness of "pits and blast furnaces that honeycomb and blacken the earth, and burn with a red glare throughout the night for many a mile around," where another writer describes daylight showing " patches of sour-looking grass surrounded by damp stone walls; gaunt buildings soot-begrimed and gloomy; and an ever-increasing blue-grey mist pierced by tall chimneys." St. Kentigern, whose petit nom was Mungo, could hardly now identify the site of his hermitage among noisy Clyde ship-yards and busy streets, noted by jealous neighbours as too familiar with

The merchant rain that carries on
Rich commerce 'twixt the earth and sun.

The relations between the two chief cities of Scotland have been a little stiff since Glasgow rose so high in the world, as how should a laird of old pedigree, crippled by forfeitures and mortgages, not look askance from his castellated turrets on the spick and span buildings of an upstart millionaire neighbour, the one standing on his name and title, the other on his shrewdness, honesty, and strict attention to business rather than the graces of life. One suspects Sarah Tytler to be no west-countrywoman, from her kindly hits at Glasgow cotton lords and iron lords, with more money than they always knew what to do with, a generation ago; yet she loudly extols their generosity and public spirit; and in our time Bailie Jarvie's successors have distinguished themselves, like their rivals at Manchester and Liverpool, by a liberal patronage of art, proof of which may be seen in the new Corporation Gallery that is a legacy of the last Exhibition. Edinburgh wits are not so scornful now towards Glasgow cits, as in the days when Kit North—himself a Paisley body—joked his coarsest at the expense of the "Glasgow Gander," and Aytoun told scandalous tales of the Glen mutchkin Railway and the Dreepdaily Burghs.

In spirit and sentiment, the two cities have not always seen eye to eye. Auld Reekie often showed herself a bit of a Tory, the ladies of the family having even a tenderness for Jacobitism and philabegry, since Rob Roy lived not so close to their gates, and they knew the Dougal Cratur only as a red-nosed porter or town-guard of bygone days: thus the Red Indian, beneath whose war-paint the western settler could see no good unless mark for a bullet, might be hailed as a noble savage in Boston or New York. But Glasgow has always been

Loch Triochatan, Entrance to Glencoe, Argyllshire
Loch Triochatan, Entrance to Glencoe, Argyllshire

Whig, with grey homespun for its own wear rather than the tartans it manufactured in the way of business. It would have as little dealing as might be with the Pretender, an unwelcome guest who took it on his way back to the Highlands, and forced the citizens to rig out his ragged army with coats, shirts, and bonnets. In the troubled days of early Radicalism, again, the city of the west seethed with sedition, almost breaking out into revolt.

Glasgow was also markedly Presbyterian from an early date, and its monuments may well be crowned by one to John Knox. Its Cathedral is said to have been defended by pious craftsmen against an iconoclast mob; but in this reformed fane, under Charles I., met the Covenanting Assembly whose denunciation of prelates counts as the second Reformation. Even in the days when they dealt in rum, the Glasgow folk were noted as sober and douce, their morals, indeed, being pushed to austerity. Episcopal ministers and other bad characters were driven out of St. Mungo's bounds, when its licensed preachers became chosen from the "High flying" party of the Church. Theatrical performances were here held in horror after these had ceased to be banned in the capital. And as for the Sabbath-keeping that was the sacrament of old Presbyterianism, hear what Mr. H. G. Graham, in his instructive Social Life of Scotland in the Eighteenth Century, has to record of Glasgow:—

"To secure proper observance of the Sabbath, compurgators, or 'bumbailies,' patrolled the streets and wynds on Saturday night to see that by ten o'clock all folk were quietly at home; and if incautious sounds betokening untimely revelry issued from behind a door, or a stream of light from chinks of a window-shutter betrayed a jovial company within, they entered and broke up the party which dared to be happy so near the Lord's own day. On Sabbath, as in other towns, the seizers or elders, in their turn, perambulated the streets during divine service, and visited the Green in the evening, haling all 'vaguers' to kirk or session. The profound stillness of the Sabbath was preternatural, except when the multitudinous tramp of heavy shoes came from a vast voiceless throng of churchgoers. In these streets of which the patrols 'made a solitude and called it peace,' at all other hours no persons passed, no sound was heard, no dog dared bark. In the mirk Sabbath nights no lamp was lit, because all but profane persons were engaged in solemn exercises at home. During the day the window-shutters were, in strict households, just opened enough to let inmates see to walk about the room, or to read the Bible by sitting close to the window-panes."

Times have changed in Glasgow, for here Sunday trams came to be suffered before they desecrated Edinburgh. A certain vieille roche minister of Arran, not yet forgotten, who used to startle strange worshippers by addressing them, "O ye towrists and eemissaries of the deevil!" was also, if all tales be true, in the way of warning his flock that they grew wicked as Glasgow folk, and almost as bad as them of Edinburgh—the superlative profligacy of London being no doubt taken for granted. But some such moralist seems to have met his match in two Glasgow urchins whom he rebukefully catechised: "Whaur will laddies gang that play themselves on the Sabbath?" With real or assumed innocence one of the boys answered, "Tae the Green!" Then, on the stern corrector more fully explaining the drift of that question, he heard the lad exclaim, "Rin awa,' Jock; we mauna listen to the bad man sweirin'!"—an attitude now largely taken towards extreme Sabbatarians, even in Glasgow.

The more liberal spirit of contemporary Glasgow is largely due to its popular minister of half a century ago, Norman Macleod, who infected the Scottish Church with much of his own heartiness and width of mind. Many good stories are told of him, such as, a generation earlier, crystallised rather round the eminent personality of Dr. Chalmers, also a Glasgow minister. One, which Macleod used to tell of himself, seems an essence of the national character as developed under modern influences. This burly West Highlander, along with a reverend brother of feebler physique, having taken boat among the Hebrides, they were caught in such a storm that one of the boatmen proposed the ministers should pray; but "Na, na," said another; "let the little ane pray, but the big ane maun tak' an oar!" He has also told with much gusto how, in the early days of his ministry, he was put to the test of orthodoxy by a deaf old woman, who, adjusting her ear-trumpet, screamed at him, "Gang ower the fundamentals!" Another story, not so likely to be quite true, but representing a very human side of his nature, refers to a notorious Glasgow murderer, who capped a cold-blooded crime by treating himself to the services of this approved divine on the scaffold. It is said that the ghostly counsellor was so sickened by the man's cant, that on his last words, "Good-bye, Doctor: we shall meet again in the next world!" Macleod could not refrain from ejaculating, perhaps in the less emphatic Greek, "God forbid!"

Good Words, the popular magazine founded by Dr. Norman Macleod, made a powerful solvent of Presbyterian severity, introducing into family life stories for Sunday reading, along with broader views that called forth loud protests from more orthodox theologians. Another such influence was the novels of Dr. George MacDonald, in which he tossed and gored Calvinism with much acceptance, when formal statements of his doctrine would have been recognised as having foenum in cornu. The "Kailyard" Muse so much in vogue of late quite openly flirts with the carnal man, cuts up the Shorter Catechism to make curl-papers for more "up to date" sentiments, and grinds down the forefathers' faith for picturesque local colour. This generation hardly yet recognises a turn of the tide that floats such fiction into popularity. The plain fact is, which some do not love to hear stated, that the Churches of Scotland are passing into a transition state of unstable compounds, that would have horrified their old doctors. The absolute has thawed into the relative, and some of the once so solid landmarks of faith are already evaporating out of a fluid state into a very gaseous one. It is hard for hereditary believers to measure their drift from cast-off moorings; but the many Scotsmen living out of Scotland see, as a stranger does not, how the currents are setting. And even to an outsider who takes any interest in theology, it must appear that the logical turn formerly devoted to dogmatising on the darkest mysteries is now exercised rather in explaining away the standards and confessions once held so sacred, still nominally in honour, but no more consistent with actual belief than the foregoing mixed metaphors are with each other.

Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran
Glen Rosa, Isle of Arran

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus