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* the oldest herd on the Pentlands ' ; the second is a pen-portrait
of his maternal grandfather, old Dr. Balfour, drawn with exquisite
delicacy and sympathy (the reader should compare it with the
equally beautiful account of his father, Thomas Stevenson) ; and
•fche third is an account of the building of the Dhu Heartach Light
on Erraid Island in the Mull of Ross. This trilogy, besides its
extraordinary literary merits, its pathos and humour, brilliant
portraiture and local colour, has a pathetic interest of its own.
Stevenson writes with all an exile's wistfulness of the scenes and
faces of his youth: ' memories of childhood and youth, portraits
of those who have gone before us in the battle—taken together,
they build up a face that " I have loved long since and lost awhile,"
the face of what was once myself,' is how he describes these essays
in the note to Memories and Portraits. * I was but led away by
the charm of beloved memories and by the regret for the irrevocable
dead,' he tells us.
Mr. Galton. Sir Francis Galton, the anthropologist.
Royal Ecossais . . . Albany Regiment. From the 15th century,
it was customary for the French Kings to employ body-guards
of foreign mercenaries, as they were unable to trust their own
subjects. For this purpose Charles VI raised the Scottish archers
who are described in Quentm Durward. The Albany Regiment
was a similar corps raised by the half-French Regent Albany
(1481-1536). Scotland was a poor country, and many Scotsmen
served as soldiers of fortune in Holland, Norway and other countries
in the Middle Ages.
polders. Low-lying country behind the dykes of Holland.
Naaman. The Syrian general, who was told by the prophet
Elisha to bathe in the river Jordan in order to cure his leprosy.
He exclaimed indignantly, * Are not Abana and Pharphar, rivers
of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel ? ' (2 Kings v).
Tummel. It is not necessary to locate exactly all these places
in ' Robert Stevenson's country.' In 1867 Thomas Stevenson took
Swanston Cottage in the Pentland Hills, and here the lad roamed and
dreamed and wrote bad verses and chattered with the shepherds.
' The house where he was born is within a bow<*hot of the Water of
Leith : some five miles to the south are Caer Ketton and Allermuir
and other crests of the Pentlands, and below them Swanston Farm,
where year after year in his father's time he spent the days basking
on the hill slopes ; two or three miles to the westward of Swanston
is Colinton, where his mother's father, Dr. Balfour, was minister
... in this triangular space Stevenson's memories and affections
were firmly rooted.'
Kingussie. The following is from Sir Sidney Colvin's Memories
and Notes, p. 134 : 'I spent two or three weeks of radiant weather
alone with him in the old hotel at Kingussie in Inverness-shire [m
1882]. . . . The burn or mountain streamlet at the back of Kingussie
village is for about a mile of its course after it leaves the moor one of
the most varied and beautiful in Scotland, racing with a hundred
little falls and lynns beside the margin of an enchanting fir-belted,