Viewing The Sights Of Auld Reekie
Pte. Sam. McFarlane, of the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, who recently visited Edinburgh, writes to The Advance as follows:
It would take too long for me to tell you of the many picturesque places, the bonnie sights I have seen since I started my furlough. Edinburgh is the most beautiful city I have ever seen. The streets and buildings are superb, the beauty spots are many and varied. The interesting historical places should be called legion, for they are many.
I have seen the British Museum, Forth Bridge, Scott's monument, and garden, Knox's house, Holyrood Palace, Burn's residence, while in Edinburgh, St. Giles' Cathedral and a great many other places, but I lingered longer in the Kirkyard of old Grayfriars than any place else. Here are martyrs' prison cells, here the gravestone where the Scottish Covenanters signed the solemn league and covenant with their blood.
As I stood upon this hallowed spot there arose in my imagination the silent stern-faced Scot coming forward to sign his name, followed by his bowed wife, who sighs with trembling hand but stout heart; the buoyant youth full of life and disregard for the troublous times that are sure to follow; the sweet-faced maiden full of trust and hope. More and more follow.
What sought they in the old churchyard in the dark hours? Freedom to follow the dictates of their own conscience, freedom from oppression and tyranny.
For the same reasons millions have place their names on the muster rolls for active service, and have vowed to do or die to liberate the weaker nations of Europe who have been ground under the iron heel of the worst tyrant since there was first light.
The castle here is a volume in itself, obsolete now as a source of defense. It is very romantic and historic.
St. Margaret's Chapel, the smallest church in Scotland and oldest building in Edinburgh, stands close to the prison. I stood in the dungeon where the Marquis of Argyle slept his last night on earth previous to his execution, his head replacing that of Montrose on the Talbooth.
Queen Mary's apartments were in that day, I suppose, considered elaborate, but they would not cut much ice now-a-days. I looked out a window where her infant son, afterwards King James IV. of Scotland and I of England, was lowered out and taken to be baptized in the Catholic faith.
The gun carriage which bore the remains of our late lamented Queen Victoria, is in the hall, the same room where the young Douglases were lured to a banquet, given a mock trial and murdered.