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Unformatted text preview: red tide. Not that it was red when we passed, but electro purior. Through slaty hills whose sides are shagged with thorn, Where springs, in scattered tufts, the dark green corn, Towers wood-girt Harden far above the vale. And very dark green, almost blue, was the corn in September, 1888. Upwards, always upwards, goes the road till you reach the crest, and watch far below the wide champaign, like a sea, broken by the shapes of
45 ANGLING SKETCHES hills, Windburg and Eildon, and Priesthaughswire, and "the rough skirts of stormy Ruberslaw," and Penchrise, and the twin Maidens, shaped like the breasts of Helen. It is an old land, of war, of Otterburn, and Ancrum, and the Raid of the Fair Dodhead; but the plough has passed over all but the upper pastoral solitudes. Turning again to the downward slope you see the loch of Alemoor, small and sullen, with Alewater feeding it. Nobody knows much about the trout in it. "It is reckoned the residence of the water-cow," a monster like the Australian bunyip. There was a watercow in Scott's loch of Cauldshiels, above Abbotsford. The water-cow has not lately emerged from Alemoor to attack the casual angler. You climb again by gentle slopes till you reach a most desolate table-land. Far beyond it is the round top of Whitecombe, which again looks down on St. Mary's Loch, and up the Moffat, and across the Meggat Water; but none of these are within the view. Round are pastorum loca vasta, lands of Buccleugh and Bellenden, Deloraine, Sinton, Headshaw, and Glack. Deloraine, by the way, is pronounced "Delorran," and perhaps is named from Orran, the Celtic saint. On the right lies, not far from the road, a grey sheet of water, and this is Clearburn, where first I met the Doctor. The loch, to be plain, is almost unfishable. It is nearly round, and everywhere, except in a small segment on the eastern side, is begirt with reeds of great height. These reeds, again, grow in a peculiarly uncomfortable, quaggy bottom, which rises and falls, or rather which jumps and sinks when you step on it, like the seat of a...
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