|European Letters, by T.W. Patton to
The Asheville Citizen:
Description of the Tour of the North Carolina Teachers, During the Summer of 1889
LAND HO! [pages 8-9]
|*Note: Copy has been re-formatted. Original two column format has been abandoned and special fonts have been standardized.|
Arran More, County Donegal, ireland, July 18, 1889.
dear citizen:—Hurrah for us ! We have at last discovered the great charm of an ocean voyage, to-wit: the delight of seeing dry land once more.
At 3.30 a. m. by ship's time (11 p. m. by yours) we leave our downy couch and on reaching: deck our weary eyes are greeted with the prominent headlands of the north coast of Ireland, mountains that remind us forcibly of those dear ones at home, the cliffs bold and distinct in the early morning light, and headlands sharply cut against the horizon. The mountains, we repeat, remind us of our own of Buncombe, but we have not the lovely sea, the foreground of the picture upon which at this moment our eyes are feasting.
Everyone is in a good humor. Sickness and discomfort are forgotten. Even the poor steerage passengers are enthused. As we wander amongst them one says: "Behold, sir, the Gem of the Globe! You see before you the birthplace of the European races. You behold now three corners of the world, and the whole universe is needed to make up the fourth."
"Pshaw," say we. "Why, we can wrap your whole dominion in one corner of America, so closely that you could never be found."
But we are all happy, and each rejoice in our own dear home.
We are now, at 7.30 a. m., sailing past the coast of Londonderry, the home of our excellent grandfather. Signs of life seem increasing on all sides, and we have just met and passed a steamer bound probably for far-away New York. We do not envy them the monotonous voyage which is before them. We are at this moment passing Tory Island very near by on our starboard bow — a rough, rocky headland with a prominent light-house. In front just comes to view Innestrahull, the point to which we have been reckoning for many days—the Sandy Hook of North Ireland.
Our last porridge on the gallant steamer Nevada has been swallowed, and really enjoyed, but so many persons have risen to see land that our share is curtailed and it seems as awful a crime in us to ask for more as in poor little Oliver Twist. Perhaps this is a violation of some Scottish statute; if so, we will be a frequent offender.
At last we see bonny Scotland. Two hemispherical rocks stand up out of the water on our left at considerable distance and we are told they are the Pass of Dura. On our right the Loch Foyl indents deeply the Irish coast. In front is Rathlin's Island, and off our starboard bow appears what we think is the famous Giant's Causeway. In this famous landmark we are much disappointed. It is not nearly so impressive as the Chimney Rocks, on the French Broad. We are all collected on the poop deck and, map in hand, watching every point with deep interest. The story of the Giant's Cause-wav is related pleasantly by Mrs. Yon Bulow. How there was a war between the giants of Ireland and Scotland, and the former decided to build a bridge to reach his enemy. The Irish giantess, to help her husband, carried her apron full of rocks, but through a rent they slipped into the sea and formed the Causeway
Get a map and you can fancy us at present midway between Rathlin's Island and the shore of Ireland at county Antrim. The beaut3' of the shore on both sides is very great. The chalk cliffs of the island stand out bold and white and the emerald shore of the "ould countrie" is most refreshing to our sea wearied eyes. All discomforts, stuffy cabins, bad food, saucy stewards, are forgotten in the full enjoyment of the scenes now before us, and all agree that already our
voyage hns been well repaid. A real, happy company arc we all this morning.
Our disappointment at the Giant's Causeway is more than made good by a sight of Fair Head, a lofty promontory of Ireland, presenting a seried front of huge rocky pillars reminding one of the Hudson's Palisades, but more impressive by far and rendered far more lovely by the background of green fields which skirt the bays on either hand. Now indeed is the time that we begin to regret that all you dear home folks are not here and helping us to take this in. Oh, indeed it is delightfully beautiful!
We are at this moment rounding Cant-ire Head and a most lovely view presents itself. Ben Lomond looming up in the distance, with the eternal blue which of right belongs to mountains, promises delights for our ride through the Trossachs to-morrow. Craige Alice or Alice's Crag is under our port bow, and a rugged rock it is, such as a Scotch lassie alone would select for her bower. We now catch a glimpse of the Isle of Craig, dear to all us Scotch as the scene of Robert Bruce's interview with the spider of historic fame. Viewed from this distance it seems surrendered to the use of the patron insect of Scotland.
At this moment we agree with Dr. Marshall that the most lovely landscape we ever beheld is spread before us. The Island of Arran, owned by the duke of Hamilton, presents under a foreground of sparkling waves a most thoroughly culivated area, with beautiful houses on every hand, while jutting promontories pnsh out toward us, covering and disclosing by turns exquisite bays and inlets, while in the distance the lofty and rugged mountains of Goat-fell raise their heads heavenward.
Holy Island is a rock apparently 1,000 feet high which towers over us as we sail along.
Now we have crossed to the Ayrshire side of the Frith of Clyde and the two sweet isles of Cumbrae, the smaller and the greater, stand before us, and in the intervening bav the attractive town of Millport, of wnich the inhabitants ought to be very good, because they are allowed to dwell In paradise already.
We are tempted to call on the Marquis of Bute, whose seat we are now passing, situated on the Island of Bute. He certainly seems to deserve the honor of a call, judging from the good care he seems to take of his preserves. The thorough cultivation of every foot of arable land is already perceptible, and as we glance again and again at His Lordship's magnificent domain we catch a parting sight of the glorious mountains of Goatfell as tinged by the evening sun that begins sinking in the west. We are asked "Are these more lovely than yours ?" Yes, we must confess it. These have two points of advantage, the cultivation of the lands, and the water foreground. These mountains at which we gaze with rapture are probably not more than 1,500 feet in height, but they show all that they have, because viewed from the sea level, while ours, four times as high, are approached so gradually as to'detract from the appreciation of their real height.
We are now passing a perfectly beautiful little town, Largo, on the Ayrshire side. Every house seems built of red sand and fairly glimmers in the sunshine.
At 9 o'clock, yet daylight, we reach Glasgow, of which we will advise you tomorrow. It is simply superb.