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XXXVI.

IN SCHOOL DAY S.

STILL sits the school-house by the road,

A ragged beggar sunning; Around it still the sumachs grow,

And blackberry-vines are running.
Within, the master's desk is seen,

Deep scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats,

The jack-knife's carved initial;
The charcoal frescoes on its wall;

Its door's worn sill betraying The feet that creeping slow to school,

Went storming out to playing !
Long years ago a winter sun

Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,

And low eaves' icy fretting.
It touched the tangled golden curls,

And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps delayed

When all the school were leaving.

For near her stood the little boy

Her childish favour singled : His cap pulled low upon a face

Where pride and shame were mingled. Pushing with restless feet the snow

To right and left, he lingered ;As restlessly her tiny hands

The blue-checked apron fingered.

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt

The soft hand's light caressing, And heard the tremble of her voice,

As if a fault confessing:

“I'm sorry that I spelt the word :

I hate to go above you,
Because,"—the brown eyes lower fell,-

“Because, you see, I love you!"

Still memory to a gray-haired man

That sweet child-face is showing. Dear girl! the grasses on her grave

Have forty years been growing !

He lives to learn, in life's hard school,

How few who pass above him Lament their triumph and his loss,

Like her, because they love him.

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XXXVII.

DUNNET HEAD.*

The coast scenery, east and west of Thurso, is very grand. On the one side it rises in Holborn Head, and on the other into the long perpendicular rocks of Dunnet Head. Holborn means Hell's child, from Hollu the goddess of hell, and biorn child. Many a ship has been dashed against the rocks there. This has probably originated the peculiar name of the headland.

When a ship in the North Atlantic is caught by a storm, and the wind blows violently from the west, she is driven towards the rock-bound coast of the Hebrides. If she can weather the Butt of Lewis, she is driven towards the gigantic rocks of Cape Wrath, which extend for about fifty miles towards Holborn Head. If she can manage, by backing, to enter Scrabster Roads, she is safe. If not, she is driven upon the rocks, and utterly destroyed ship, men, and cargo.

The' faces of the rocks are hollowed into gaping caverns, where the waves thunder in, and roll along the gyoes 2 far inland. The leap of the waves is only exceeded by their rebound seaward again. They rush up the face of the rock like a pack of hounds, and spread themselves along the summit in blinding showers of spray.

* From The Life oj Robert Dick.

As you stand upon the top of the rocks in fine weather, they seem to precipitate themselves into the sea,-in many cases overhanging the water.

Inside of Holborn Head is Scrabster Roads. Many ships ride at anchor there while the wind blows hard from the west. They are well protected by the headland, which juts out towards the north-east. Scrabster Harbour is also comparatively safe.

But when the wind blows from the north or north-east, the ships riding at anchor there are in great danger. The waves come in with great force. They come hissing along with their fleece of froth, and break with violent force upon the shore. They rebound, again, dragging the pebbles under them with a rattle, and—to quote the words of Hardyare like “a beast gnawing bones.”

After one of these storms, Dick went down to the sea-shore to ascertain whether any of the secrets of Nature had been laid bare. “We have had a terrible storm here," he says; "such a force of wind that I have never felt the like, so terribly strong and continuous. It has caused great disaster to the shipping. The storm fairly whipped six vessels out of Scrabster Roads, and dashed them ashore to ruin.

"When the wind abated, I went down to the shore, and found a piece of old land strewed here and there with prostrate hazel stems. I picked out of the clay five nuts. How long it is since they grew I know not, but it must have been ages ago. Perhaps geologists would say that they grew when Britain stood thirty feet higlier than it does now. But that is all conjecture. Certainly, the land along our shore had once a very different appearance.

On another occasion he says,—“The wind today blows fearfully hard. A large ship, with seventeen men on board, is ashore at Ham, thirteen miles off. About mid-day we expected a ship ashore here. Unless the wind abates, I should not be surprised if others came ashore to-morrow. The wind is howling like mad, and roaring like thunder over the town."

Dunnet Head, north-east of Thurso, was one of Dick's favourite haunts. It was a long walk to the lighthouse, which fronts the Pentland Firth. But he often wandered to it, and descended the headland to the sea by paths known only to himself. The perpendicular rocks which surround the head, average about two hundred feet high; but at the northern end, which forms the northernmost point of Scotland, the rock rises three hundred feet above sea level ; and from the summit of the contiguous eminence, the height above the sea is more than four hundred feet.

Dunnet Head forms a peninsula, extending from the village of Dunnet on the south to the village of Brough on the north. From these points it extends northward. The peninsula contains about three thousand acres of uncultivated moor, with no fewer than ten small lochs or tarns on its summits. In winter time the lochs are crowded with swans, geese, ducks, and northern sea-fowl. Most

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