`Would you like to see a city given over, Soul and body, to a tyrannising game? If you would, there's little need to be a rover, For St. Andrews is the abject city's name.'
He was fond, too fond, of long midnight walks, for in these he overtasked his strength, and he had all a young man's contempt for maxims about not sitting in wet clothes and wet boots. Early in his letters he speaks of bad colds, and it is matter of tradition that he despised flannel. Most of us have been like him, and have found pleasure in wading Tweed, for example, when chill with snaw-bree. In brief, while reading about Murray's youth most men must feel that they are reading, with slight differences, about their own. He writes thus of his long darkling tramps, in a rhymed epistle to his friend C. C. C.
`And I fear we never again shall go, The cold and weariness scorning, For a ten mile walk through the frozen snow At one o'clock in the morning:
Out by Cameron, in by the Grange, And to bed as the moon descended . . . To you and to me there has come a change, And the days of our youth are ended.'
One fancies him roaming solitary, after midnight, in the dark deserted streets. He passes the deep porch of the College Church, and the spot where Patrick Hamilton was burned. He goes down to the Castle by the sea, where, some say, the murdered Cardinal may now and again be seen, in his red hat. In South Street he hears the roll and rattle of the viewless carriage which sounds in that thoroughfare. He loiters under the haunted tower on Hepburn's precinct wall, the tower where the lady of the bright locks lies, with white gloves on her hands. Might he not share, in the desolate Cathedral, La Messe des Morts, when all the lost souls of true lovers are allowed to meet once a year. Here be they who were too fond when Culdees ruled, or who loved young monks of the Priory; here be ladies of Queen Mary's Court, and the fair inscrutable Queen herself, with Chastelard, that died at St. Andrews for desire of her; and poor lassies and lads who were over gay for Andrew Melville and Mr. Blair; and Miss Pett, who tended young Montrose, and may have had a tenderness for his love-locks. They are a triste good company, tender and true, as the lovers of whom M. Anatole France has written (La Messe des Morts). Above the witches' lake come shadows of the women who suffered under Knox and the Bastard of Scotland, poor creatures burned to ashes with none to help or pity. The shades of Dominicans flit by the Black Friars wall--verily the place is haunted, and among Murray's pleasures was this of pacing alone, by night, in that airy press and throng of those who lived and loved and suffered so long ago -
`The mist hangs round the College tower, The ghostly street Is silent at this midnight hour, Save for my feet.
With none to see, with none to hear, Downward I go To where, beside the rugged pier, The sea sings low.
It sings a tune well loved and known In days gone by, When often here, and not alone, I watched the sky.'