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ANOTHER WALK IN EDINBURGH AND A VISIT TO ABBOTSFORD
"THE lassies are going with me to do a bit of shopping in Princes Street," said Mrs. Gordon, as they all sat around the breakfast-table one morning.
"We want to buy a present for mother's birthday while we are here. It is week after next, you know," said Janet.
"I don't suppose you want to go with us, Don; lads don't like to buy things," she added, with a twinkle in her eye.
"Oh! Well, if you are only going after trinkets, I wouldn't give a ' bawbee' for that kind of fun. Now, if you were really going to see things, that might be different," said Donald, eagerly.
"You have not seen the 'Dog's Monument,' and lots of things yet," he continued, thinking it a little beneath his dignity to go shopping, but in his heart really wishing to go, if only he were begged hard enough.
"No one can tell the story of the faithful dog better than Don, so you lassies ought to get him to show you his grave and that of his master," said the doctor, who saw Don's trouble, and was ready to help him out.
Of course this made the little girls wild to hear all about it, so Don had to promise to go with them and show them the spot.
It did not take long to reach Princes Street, which the Scotch people think the finest street in the world. It is a splendid broad thoroughfare; on one side are the beautiful "Gardens," with flowers, statues, and walks, while rising high above is the old castle on its height. On the other side of the street are the great shops and hotels. The shops are full of pretty Scotch things. There you may see all the different kinds of "Clan" tartans, and there are a great many of them. There also are heaps of "cairngorms" and purple amethysts, which is another precious stone found in Scotland, and is almost as much of a favourite as the "cairngorms" Both of these stones were much used to ornament the ancient Scotch swords and daggers, and were often set into brooches used to fasten the tartans, as you see in the piper's picture.
The jewellers now make them up into all kinds of souvenirs of Scotland; little claymores and daggers for pins, and copies of old-time brooches, and all kinds of quaint things.
"Well, dearies, what do you think your mother would like?" asked Mrs. Gordon, as they passed by the gay shops.
There were so many beautiful things to choose from it was difficult for the little girls to make up their minds. At last Mrs. Gordon said a brooch would make a pretty present, which pleased Marjorie, who was so fond of pretty things to wear.
Janet was in favour of a gold pen. So at last it was agreed that Marjorie should buy the brooch with an amethyst set in it, and Janet should get a pretty pen with a cairngorm set in the handle. Don by this time was as much interested in "shopping" as the girls, and bought a pretty blotter, with the handle made of Scotch pebbles, for his aunt. So everybody was highly pleased, and most of all was Mrs. Lindsay, when she received her presents.
After this, Mrs. Gordon bought them all some "Edinburgh Rock," which is a nice, creamy candy, that isn't a bit like a rock, but which just melts in one's mouth.
Then they all climbed to the top of the Scott Monument, which stands in the Princes Street Gardens, from which place they had a fine view of the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
Don now led the way to the memorial which was put up to the faithful little dog called "Grey Friars Bobby." "This is his story," said Don: "When his master died, and was buried in Grey Friars churchyard, the poor little dog was so broken-hearted that for twelve years he never left his master's grave except at night, when the caretaker of the cemetery took him into his house and fed him. As soon as the door was opened each morning, he would run to his master's grave and stay there until he was taken in again at night. One day the caretaker went for him as usual, and found him lying dead, stretched across the grave. He was buried in the same grave with his master, to whom he had been so faithful."
The monument, in the street without, is in the form of a drinking-fountain, with a statue of the little dog on the top. It was put up so that the story might not be forgotten.
Don pointed out the grave to the little girls, through the railing of the churchyard, and then Mrs. Gordon said they must hurry home, for it was late, and the doctor would think they were lost.
Janet and Marjorie had received permission to remain away from home another week for the visit to Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott's old home, so one day soon after the young people boarded the train bound for Abbotsford.
"We are now not far from the English boundary-line, or 'Border,' as the Scotch call it," said Doctor Gordon, as they approached Melrose, the station at which they were to alight.
This "Border" land was the scene of countless fights and feuds between the Scotch and English in the old days when the two nations were enemies. The English would dash across the Border, seize the sheep and cattle belonging to the Scotch, burn their homes, and then quickly escape to their own territory.
Then the Scotch would take a turn at the same game, and so it went on for ages. Because of this warfare the Border had to be strongly fortified on each side, and many ruins of these old castles and watch-towers are yet to be seen in these parts.
Much has been written by Scottish authors and poets about the daring deeds of the Border Clans of that time.
Sir Walter Scott could claim relationship with most of the Border Clans, and was very proud of it, and many of the most romantic tales and daring deeds of which he has written dealt with these same Clansmen.
"This is Melrose, now," said the doctor, looking out of the window.
So it was, and the young people lost no time in gathering up their belongings, and in memorial cross. Many of the old Scottish towns (and English ones, too, for that matter) have these old stone crosses, usually set in the middle of the main street, or in the public square.
After eating their dinner at one of the old-fashioned inns of the town, Doctor Gordon stowed his small tourists away in a carriage, and off they went for Abbotsford, chattering most gaily; for while the Scotch people are often very shy and quiet among strangers, they are as lively as possible among themselves.
"Over there, not far away, is Kelso," said Doctor Gordon, pointing over the rolling hills. "It has been called the most beautiful town in Scotland, but you know we Scots all think our own town the handsomest. Eh, lassies?" laughed the doctor.
"There is Abbotsford now," said Mrs. Gordon, and the children looked eagerly at the big stone house and the "silvery Tweed" which flows by its gardens and lawns.
The place is still the property of a member of the Scott family.
Our little party were shown many of the rooms where the great author lived and wrote, and they also saw many curious and beautiful things, for Sir Walter loved to collect relics of his country. Don was greatly interested in the sword and other belongings of the real Rob Roy, and the picture of Scott's favourite dog, for he was a great lover of dogs.
But time was short, and so our travellers had to hurry away, for they were to take a drive to Dryburgh Abbey, situated a few miles away.
This is another old ruined abbey. It is here that Sir Walter Scott is buried. There are only a few walls of the abbey still standing, and where the old abbey church formerly stood is now a garden set about with walks and trees.
In one of the ruined aisles of the church which stands in one corner of this garden can be seen the tomb of Scott and the other members of his family.
The children went back to Edinburgh tired, but happy, after a day which they will never forget.
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