Kate Carnegie and Those Ministers
by Ian MacLaren
It was the morning before the Twelfth, years ago, and nothing like unto Muirtown Station could have been found in all the travelling world. For ... Show synopsis It was the morning before the Twelfth, years ago, and nothing like unto Muirtown Station could have been found in all the travelling world. For Muirtown, as everybody knows, is the centre which receives the southern immigrants in autumn, and distributes them, with all their belongings of servants, horses, dogs, and luggage, over the north country from Athole to Sutherland. All night, express trains, whose ordinary formation had been reinforced by horse boxes, carriage trucks, saloons and luggage vans, drawn by two engines, and pushed up inclines by a third, had been careering along the three iron trunk roads that run from London to the North. Four hours ago they had forced the border, that used to be more jealously guarded, and had begun to converge on their terminus. Passengers, awakened by the caller air and looking out still half asleep, miss the undisciplined hedgerows and many-shaped patches of pasture, the warm brick homesteads and shaded ponds of the south. Square fields cultivated up to a foot of the stone dykes or wire-fencing, the strong grey-stone farm-houses, the swift-running burns, and the never-distant hills, brace the mind. Local passengers come in with deliberation, whose austere faces condemn the luxurious disorder of night travel, and challenge the defence of Arminian doctrine. A voice shouts "Carstairs Junction," with a command of the letter r, which is the bequest of an unconquerable past, and inspires one with the hope of some day hearing a freeborn Scot say "Auchterarder." The train runs over bleak moorlands with black peat holes, through alluvial straths yielding their last pickle of corn, between iron furnaces blazing strangely in the morning light, at the foot of historical castles built on rocks that rise out of the fertile plains, and then, after a space of sudden darkness, any man with a soul counts the ten hours' dust and heat but a slight price for the sight of the Scottish Rhine flowing deep, clear, and swift by the foot of its wooded hills, and the "Fair City" in the heart of her meadows.