And now we must suppose him once more embarked on the Solway frith. The wind was adverse, attended by some rain, and they struggled against it without much assistance from the tide. The boat was heavily laden with goods (part of which were probably contraband), and laboured deep in the sea. Brown, who had been bred a sailor, and was indeed skilled in most athletic exercises, gave his powerful and effectual assistance in rowing, or occasionally in steering the boat, and his advice in the management, which became the more delicate as the wind increased, and, being opposed to the very rapid tides of that coast, made the voyage perilous. At length, after spending the whole night upon the frith, they were at morning within sight of a beautiful bay upon the Scottish coast. The weather was now more mild. The snow, which had been for some time waning, had given way entirely under the fresh gale of the preceding night. The more distant hills, indeed, retained their snowy mantle, but all the open country was cleared, unless where a few white patches indicated that it had been drifted to an uncommon depth. Even under its wintry appearance, the shore was highly interesting. The line of sea-coast, with all its varied curves, indentures, and embayments, swept away from the sight on either hand, in that varied, intricate, yet graceful and easy line, which the eye loves so well to pursue. And it was no less relieved and varied in elevation than in outline by the different forms of the shore; the beach in some places being edged by steep rocks, and in others rising smoothly from the sands in easy and swelling slopes. Buildings of different kinds caught and reflected the wintry sunbeams of a December morning, and the woods, though now leafless, gave relief and variety to the landscape. Brown felt that lively and awakening interest which taste and sensibility always derive from the beauties of nature, when opening suddenly to the eye, after the dulness and gloom of a night voyage. Perhaps,--for who can presume to analyse that inexplicable feeling which binds the person born in a mountainous country to his native hills,--perhaps some early associations, retaining their effect long after the cause was forgotten, mingled in the feelings of pleasure with which he regarded the scene before him.
"And what," said Brown to the boatman, "is the name of that fine cape, that stretches into the sea with its sloping banks and hillocks of wood, and forms the right side of the bay?"
"Warroch Point," answered the lad.
"And that old castle, my friend, with the modern house situated just beneath it? It seems at this distance a very large building."
"That's the Auld Place, sir; and that's the New Place below it. We'll land you there if you like."
"I should like it of all things. I must visit that ruin before I continue my journey."
"Ay, it's a queer auld bit," said the fisherman and that highest tower is a gude landmark as far as Ramsay in Man, and the Point of Ayr--there was muckle fighting about the place lang syne."
Brown would have inquired into further particulars, but a fisherman is seldom an antiquary. His boatman's local knowledge was summed up in the information already given, "that it was a grand landmark, and that there had been muckle fighting about the bit lang syne."