Ulva Cottage, Hamilton. Aug. 8th 1872.
My dearest Hans Andersen,
I promised to write whenever we had any news of Papa, and now we have had. I was so glad to get your letter but waited to see if we heard anything from Papa before I answered it.
I have had such a delightful summer trip this year. I don't think I ever enjoyed one so much. We went to Iona, one of the Hebridean islands. There is an old Cathedral, built about the time of Queen Margaret. It must have been, when new, a magnificent building for such an ancient time. The arches, the pillars, the tombstones, the Gothic-arched doorways, all bear witness of farback grandeur. Everything has been carefully carved, but it is now wom, in some places, defaced, by time and weather.
Then there is St. Oran's Chapel a small roofless ruin. It has what once has been a beautiful triple arch, but beautiful carved. There are some tombstones in it. Round the Chapel is asmall graveyard, where Scotch, Irish, and French kings lie peacefully side by side with knights priors; and bishops. The only other ruin is the Nunnery a beautiful mass of stones and lime. Beautiful red granite abounds everywhere there.
The place where St. Columba landed first is a bay called Port na Cunaich. His boat was of wickerwork 60 feet long. It is said he drew his [boat] up on the grass and covere d it with stones and grass. There is a mound up in the grass, 60 ft. lang, and it is believed it is it. On this shore, and on no other is found the greenstone, a bit of which, unpolished I send to you. I would have sent more, but (they say if you have a bit in your pocket you will never be shipwrecked) it would break the charm to do so. I will send you, next time I write an unpolished Scotch pebble from Iona, at Columba's landing place.
The other wonder of lona is the Spouting Cave. It is occasioned by a deft in the rock on the Atlantk side of the island. It is hollow under. When one great wave comes dashing in with unbroken fury and then going out of the deft it meets the next wave which drives the first back into the deft, and having nowhere to go, dash up through the deft to an iminense height. We were told, that in winter it goes sometimes to the height of 50 ft. It looks lovely in sunshine. Rainbows are formed by the sunshine on the glittering fountain.
Staffa is about eight miles from lona. A more beautiful or more wonderful island, it seems to me, cannot exist. I could form [no opinion] of it before I saw it.
I don't think there is any place I was so attached to as sweet lona. It was a gem of beauty. Just next day after coming home, Papa's letters came, and we were very glad.
I am still as found as ever of your stories, and read them over and over again.
If you have any time to spare, I should so like to get a letter from you. They are so nice.
This seaweed is also from Iona.
I think I have told you all the news, so Goodbye. I am your affectionate young friend
Anna Mary Livingstone.