In the Border Country, Popular Books on Art by W. Shaw Sparrow
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In this book the historical notes are written by one who lives by the Tweed, and whose name is associated with Border subjects. Mr. Crockett's work is filled with the Past, while the outdoor sketches by Mr. Orrock are at once so faithful topographically, and so much in sympathy with the classic traditions of English Water-Colour, that they show us what the Border Country is to-day, when seen through the medium of a painter's observation and knowledge.
Most of us prefer to spend our holiday tours away from our own country. There is a feeling of mild adventure when the land we behold is unknown to us, and when the language we hear filters into our questioning minds through an interpreter's suavity and chatter. And if we go to Switzerland we may earn even a reputation for intrepid pluck among the friends who listen to us on our return home, while the unlucky guides, who found for our trembling feet a pathway around each danger, will amuse their families during the winter with little tales at our expense, told with rough satire and with short, gruff peals of laughter resembling the noise of a crackling ice-sheet when it begins to slip downhill.
No doubt, heroism on the hillside has a vast attraction to brave, fearless hearts like our own; but we should find, here in our own country, quite as much adventure as is good for us, and quite as much novelty also, if only we could bring ourselves to believe that knowledge of native scenes and traditions does not come to us in baptism or by virtue of our birth as British folk. If you ask a friend whether he knows the Border Country, he will probably answer yes, and then go on to say that he when a lad at school was a great reader of Scott, and thank heaven! his memory is a good one. Push the matter further, ask whether he has verified the truth of Scott's descriptions by a visit to the places described, and you will probably hear that your friend would rather dream of the North Pole or be bitten fiercely by the swarms of lively insects treasured throughout Brittany in every cottage and hotel.
All this being somewhat commonplace, you may wish to get closer to this subject, and your friend at last, driven to bay, comes to the real point that pricks and distresses him. "You see," he will say, "a holiday tour at home is such a dickens of a gamble. You can't say how much it will cost. The only thing at all certain about it is that the cost will be more than you can afford. Wherever you go you become a goose to be plucked."