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to me from indulgencies of this nature; I always returned with increased ardour to the delights of study, after I had enjoyed a few hours sporting amongst the wild recesses of the neighbouring country.
But to detain you no longer upon this, comparatively, inactive period of my life, I will hasten to a more interesting one, wherein I have to relate those few important incidents which together, concurred to wean me from all connections with society, and place me amongst my native rocks and mountains, there to dwell in peace and solitary happiness, surrounded by all the animate, and inanimate beauties of the creation, and where
" Th'unbusied shepherd, stretch'd beneath the hawthoro,
The books I had read during my solitude had fired my mind with an ardent desire to see more of the world than I was yet acquainted with, for notwithstanding my long
acquaintance with my fellow-students, and having never made, any extensive excursions, I was, comparatively, very ignorant, of the then present state of society, and knew still less of the geneal face of the country.
Being determined to commence my travels without any further delay, I proceeded to Inverness, which is considered the metropolis of the northern districts of Scotland, in order to proceed through the western Highlands, and enter England by the way of Cumberland, with the intention of continuing my route first through Great Britain, and afterwards to visit the most interesting of the continental nations of Europe. The first part of this tour I have always considered as the most delightful period of my life, and I shall with pleasure recount its principal incidents.
“ Among the healthy hills, and ragged woods,
BEING determined to travel alone, I purchas. ed a small shaggy animal, of a man resident in Inverness, capable of carrying myself and baggage, which latter was contained in a pair of saddle-bags.
The brute I had bought was a female native of Shetland, small, sturdy, and active; but arrayed in such a profusion of blackish hair, been not a little puzzled to discover the species of animals to which it belonged.
However, at an early hour, upon one very fine autumnal morning, I mounted my little beast, and took my final leave of Inverness; a place in which I had met with more in. affected politeness, and genuine hospitality than I have since found amongst the more southern inhabitants of Britain.
The route which I had determined upon taking, immediately after my departure from Inverness, lies along the southern banks of that western chain of lakes, which run, with a slight inclination to the south, in a parallel line, directly across the kingdom, and their shores and romantic neighbourhood afford the finest views in Scotland. Indeed the beautiful is so admirably blended with the sublime, that no description, however bold, however warm, or however flowery, can give one who has not had the gratification of beholding it, an adequate idea of the exquisite scenery to be found in these regions.
Although this truly interesting country is barren and unproductive, when considered in the light of civilization, and rude and uncul.
tivated, when the great benefits of mankind are contemplated; yet to the enlightened tourist, or the enthusiastic artist, it is a perpetual source of delight, and every where presents them with objects of the highest admiration. These will for ever rejoice that Nature has left so vast, so sublime, so beautiful a void, if a void it may be termed; for these, perhaps, would rather call it Nature's chaotic retreat, where she dwells amidst her unformed matter, and frowns with disgust upon the petty exertions of man, who in vain endeavours to make her works more perfect. But to proceed.
Soon after I left Inverness, I was directed to quit the beaten road, and pursue one that branched off considerably to my right. The great encroachments made by the grass and moss, upon the almost trackless path, shewed too plainly, that the wandering Highlander, or curious traveller, seldom disturbed the modest flowers which here and there bespangled the grass-grown road, and fully evinced the wild solitude of my route.
After I had ridden about six miles, my ato