Duddingstone. by R. Kent Thomas or Hector Chalmers, Artist, and [G.?] Patterson, Engraver. 1879. Source: Robert Louis Stevenson, Edinburgh, p. 34. Courtesy of the National Library of Scotland. Click on image to enlarge it.

Robert Louis Stevenson on Duddingstone

Duddingstone Loch lies under the abrupt southern side of Arthur's Seat ; in summer, a shield of blue, with swans sailing from the reeds ; in winter, a field of ringing ice. The village church sits above it on a green promontory ; and the village smoke rises from among goodly trees. At the church gates, is the historical jong, a place of penance for the neck of detected sinners, and the historical louping-on static, from which Dutch-built lairds and farmers climbed into the saddle. Here Prince Charlie slept before the battle of Prestonpans ; and here Deacon Brodie, or one of his gang, stole a plough coulter before the burglary in Chessel's Court. On the opposite side of the loch, the ground rises to Craigmillar Castle, a place friendly to Stuart Mariolaters. It is worth a climb, even in summer, to look down upon the loch from Arthur's Seat ; but it is tenfold more so on a day of skating. The surface is thick with people moving easily and swiftly and leaning over at a thousand graceful inclinations ; the crowd opens and closes, and keeps moving through itself like water ; and the ice rings to half a mile away, with the flying steel. As night draws on, the single figures melt into the dusk, until only an obscure stir and coming and going of black clusters, is visible upon the loch. [35]

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Stevenson, Robert Louis. Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes with Etchings by R. Kent Thomas from Drawings by S. Bough, R.S.A, and W, E, Lockhart, R.S.A. London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, 1879. Internet Archive. Contributed by the National Library of Scotland . Web. 3 October 2018.

Created 4 October 2018