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Stonehaven To Edinburgh

From Stonehaven we passed without special incident to Montrose, following an excellent but rather uninteresting road, though an occasional fishing-village and frequent view of the ocean broke the monotony of the flying miles. Montrose is an ancient town delightfully situated between the ocean and a great basin connected with the sea by a broad strait, over which a suspension bridge five hundred feet long carried us southward. I recall that it was at Montrose where an obliging garage man loaned me an "accumulator", my batteries had been giving trouble, scouting the idea of a deposit, and I gave him no more than my agreement to return his property when I reached Edinburgh.

At Arbroath are the ruins of the most extensive of the Scotch abbeys, scanty indeed, but still enough to show its state and importance in the "days of faith." Here once reigned the good abbott celebrated by Southey in his ballad of Ralph the Rover, familiar to every schoolboy.

Ten miles off the coast is the reef where
"The abbott of Aberbrothok
Had placed a bell on the Inchcape rock.
Like a buoy in the storm it floated and swung,
And over the waves its warning rung."

And where the pirate, out of pure malice, "To vex the abbott of Aberbrothok," cut the bell from its buoy only to be lost himself on the reef a year later. The abbey was founded by William the Lion in 1178, but war, fire and fanaticism have left it sadly fragmentary. Now it is the charge of the town, but the elements continue to war upon it and the brittle red sandstone of which it is built shows deeply the wear of the sea wind.

Dundee, no longer the "Bonnie Dundee" of the old ballad, is a great straggling manufacturing city, whose ancient landmarks have been almost swept away. Its churches are modern, its one remaining gateway of doubtful antiquity, and there is little in the city itself to detain the tourist. If its points of interest are too few to warrant a stay, its hotels, should the one given in the guide-book and also locally reputed to be the best, really merit this distinction, will hardly prove an attraction. It is a large, six-story building, fairly good-looking from the outside, but inside dirty and dilapidated, with ill-furnished and uncomfortable rooms. When we inquired of the manageress as to what might be of especial interest in Dundee, she considered awhile and finally suggested—the cemetery. From our hotel window we had a fine view of the broad estuary of the Tay with its great bridge, said to be the longest in the world. It recalled the previous Tay bridge, which fell in a storm in 1879, carrying down a train, from which not a single one of the seventy or more passengers escaped. Around Dundee is crowded much of historic Scotland, and many excursions worth the while may be made from the city by those whose time permits.

From Dundee an excellent road leads to Stirling by the way of Perth. There is no more beautiful section in Scotland than this, though its beauty is not the rugged scenery of the Highlands. Low hills, rising above the wooded valleys, with clear streams winding through them; unusually prosperous-looking farm-houses; and frequent historic ruins and places—all combine to make the forty or fifty miles a delightful drive. We did not pause at Perth, a city with a long line of traditions, nor at Dunblane, with its severely plain cathedral founded in 1100 but recently restored.

Stirling, the ancient capital, with its famous castle, its memories of early kings, of Wallace, Bruce and of Mary Stuart, and with its wonderfully beautiful and historic surroundings, is perhaps the most interesting town of Scotland. No one who pretends to see Scotland will miss it, and no motor tour worthy of the name could be planned that would not lead through the quaint old streets. From afar one catches a glimpse of the castle, perched, like that of Edinburgh, on a mighty rock, rising almost sheer from a delightfully diversified plain. It is a many-towered structure, piercing the blue sky and surrounded by an air of sullen inaccessibility, while the red-cross flag flying above it proclaims it a station of the king's army. It is not by any means the castle of the days of Bruce and Wallace, having been rebuilt and adapted to the purpose of military barracks. True, many of the ancient portions remain, but the long, laborious climb to the summit of the rock and the battlements of the castle will, if the day be fine, be better repaid by the magnificent prospect than by anything else. If the barrack castle is a little disappointing, the wide sweep of country fading away into the blue mountains on the west, Ben Venue, Ben Ledi and Ben Lomond of "Lady of the Lake" eastward the rich lowlands, running for miles and miles down the fertile valley of the Forth, dotted with many towns and villages; the wooded hills to the north with the massive tower of the Wallace monument and the dim outlines of the ruins of Cambuskenneth Abbey; or, near at hand, the old town under your very eye and the historic field of Bannockburn just adjoining, will make ample amends. The story of "The Lady of the Lake" pictures Stirling in its palmiest days, and no one who visits the castle will forget the brilliant closing scene of the poem. Here too,

"The rose of Stuart's line
Has left the fragrance of her name,"

for Mary was hurried for safety to the castle a few days after her birth at Linlithgow Palace, and as a mere baby was crowned Queen of Scotland in the chapel. The parish church was also the scene of many coronations, and in the case of James VI, later James I of England, John Knox preached the sermon.

One cannot go far in Scotland without crossing the path of Prince Charlie or standing in the shadow of some ancient building associated with the melancholy memory of Queen Mary, and, despite the unquestioned loyalty of the Scottish people to the present government, there seems to linger everywhere a spirit of regret over the failure of the chevalier to regain the throne of his fathers. Perhaps it is scarcely expressed, only some word dropped in casual conversation, some flash of pride as you are pointed to the spots where Prince Charlie's triumphs were won, or some thinly veiled sentiment in local guide-books will make it clear to you that Scotland still cherishes the memory of the prince for whom her fathers suffered so much. Passing Falkirk, now a large manufacturing town, dingy with the smoke from its great furnaces, we were reminded that near here in 1746 the prince gained one of his most decisive victories, the precursor of the capture of Edinburgh by his army. A few miles farther on is Linlithgow with its famous palace, the birthplace of the Queen of Scots. This more accords with our idea of a royal residence than the fortified castles, for it evidently was never intended as a defensive fortress. It stands on the margin of a lovely lake, and considering its delightful situation and its comparative comfort, it is not strange that it was a favorite residence of the Scottish kings. It owes its dismantled condition to the wanton spite of the English dragoons, who, when they retreated from Linlithgow in face of the Highland army in 1746, left the palace in flames.

From Linlithgow the broad highway led us directly into Edinburgh by the way of Princess Street.

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