The Landscape Guide

Life of John Claudius Loudon his wife

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Tour of Scotland

After visiting the beautiful scenery in Westmoreland and Cumberland, we passed through Carlisle, and entered Scotland by way of Longtown and Langholme. It happened that there was a fair at the latter place, and the town was so exceedingly full that they not only could not give us a bed, but. we could not even find a place to sit down. We had a four-wheeled phaeton with only one horse, and, as we had traveled from Carlisle that day, the animal was very much tired; it was also a serious annoyance to us, after having entered Scotland, to have to return twenty miles into England, as we were told we must do, Longtown being the nearest place where we were likely to obtain accommodation for the night. Fortunately for us, Mr. Loudon, having heard that Mr. Bell, who resided at Woodhouselee, only a few miles from Langholme, had a fine collection of American plants, determined to call there, and ask permission to see them. We did so; and, when Mr. Bell heard how we were situated, he most hospitably insisted on our staying at Woodhouselee all night, though we were wholly strangers to him.

The next day we proceeded through Gretna Green and Amman to Dumfries, in the neighbourhood of which we staid about three weeks, spending part of the time at Closeburn with Mr. Loudon's very kind friend Sir Charles Menteath, and part at Jardine Hall with Sir William and Lady Jardine. We afterwards staid at Munches and other seats in Dumfriesshire; and when we entered Ayrshire, the county to which Mr. Loudon's family originally belonged, he was received with public dinners at Ayr and Kilmarnock. A public dinner was also preparing for him at Glasgow; but while we were staying at Crosslee Cottage, near Paisley, the residence of Archibald Woodhouse, Esq., one of his most highly esteemed friends, he received a letter from Bayswater, informing him of the severe illness of his mother, and her earnest wish to see him. Mr. Loudon was warmly attached to his mother, and as, unfortunately, we did not receive the letter till late at night, for we had been dining in the neighbourhood, we did not go to bed, but packed up every thing so as to be able to set off with daylight the next morning for Glasgow, where we left Mr. London's man with the horse and carriage, and proceeded to Edinburgh by coach, though we could only get outside places, and it rained; besides which, Mr. Loudon had never ridden on the outside of a coach since his knee had become stiff, and he could not ascend the ladder without the greatest difficulty. Nothing, however, could stop him in the performance of what he considered his duty, and indeed I believe his eagerness to see his mother overpowered every other feeling. It was also a singular circumstance, that, on his return to Edinburgh after an absence of nearly thirty years, he should he obliged to pass through it almost without stopping; yet such was the case, as we found on our arrival at the inn that a packet was just about to sail for London, and that if we did not avail ourselves of it we should be compelled to wait several days. We, therefore, hurried down to the pier; and, finding that the captain of the vessel was just going on board, we hired a boat, and were luckily in time to save our passage. We had a very quick voyage, and arrived at Bayswater about half an hour after the letter we had sent from Glasgow to announce that we were coming. Mr. Loudon's mother was so delighted to see her son, that she seemed partially to revive; so much, indeed, that we had hopes of her recovery. Nature, however, was too far exhausted, and she died about six weeks after our return, in October, 1831.


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