| There is no regular body of stone in the neighbourhood
exactly similar in substance to Johnnie Moat, and it has engaged
the attention of men of science for a long time past to learn
not only how and when he came there, but whence he was imported.=
There are those who say the great stone must have been conveyed
thither during the glacial ages. Some have even gone the length
of localising the district whence he came. These speculators
might easily have gone a step further and said it was a very
sensible iceberg that conveyed them thither, for it had planted
the three, Johnnie Moat and his twin children, all so nicely
in a row.
But why should these stones have been brought here at all
by an iceberg, and especially from a foreign country? If an
Almighty hand could form and fashion them in Norway, Sweden,
or anywhere else, why should power fail that Hand to form
and fashion such stones just as easily in the neighbourhood
The theory that there is no rock in the immediate neighbourhood
of and almost similar in substance to Johnnie Moat, is perhaps
not just so very conclusive either after all. Johnnie is a
very dark blue whinstone.
There are the Hattle Rocks in the Forth, a little to the north
of Johnnie, of a very dark whinstone colour, and there is
also a Trap Dyke of very dark blue whinstone just a little
to the south of him. This latter may be seen fully exposed
at the south end of the Cockenzie plantation, it runs east
into the German Ocean, and west through Prestongrange Harbour
into the Forth. Thus then is Johnnie situated directly between
two great ranges of whinstone.
Johnnie Moat is no doubt a little different from an outside
point of view to either the Hattle Rock or Trap Dyke material;
but exposure to sunshine and hail, salt wind and salt waters,
one after another for centuries, might account partly for
this. He has a "burned dander-like appearance—on a near
view almost indeed suggestive of one of those occasional heavenly
messengers an " aerolite "; but it would not surprise
us in the least to learn that Johnnie and his two friends
are neither more nor less than a triplet of bastard boulders
wrenched from the sides of the Hattle Rocks out in the depths
of the Forth, and planted where they are found by the force
of the raging waves. Or they may have been lifted, as thousands
of other whinstone boulders have been, from the fields adjoining
the Trap Dyke to the south of them, and conveyed thither by
the fishermen of old
simply for tethering their boats to, for stones a deal larger
than these did not seem to give much trouble to the ancients.
Again, between the Firth of Forth and the Lammermoors he thousands
of whinstone boulders, not only of various colours but of
every size and shape conceivable. Even the Lammermoors themselves
are composed for a great part of whinstone. Surely an iceberg
did not convey the everlasting hills there! Moreover, if this
was, according to geologists, an arctic region millions of
years ago, the icebergs had long ago taken to flight, and
in their going it seems quite as reasonable to suppose that
they conveyed these boulders from the Lammermoors to where
we find them, as to suppose they conveyed them from Norway,
Sweden, or anywhere else to the Firth of Forth. If Johnnie
Moat did not come out of the depths of the sea, perhaps he
came down from the •Lammermoors.
Geologists may continue to suppose, and antiquarians to confirm
their suppositions, but it will be a hard thing indeed for
any speculator to disprove that Johnnie Moat does not still
occupy, in a measure, the very position on which he was originally
planted by the Hand that made him, and that he is a genuine
native of the ancient hamlet of Althamer.
Of course the reader will understand that the foregoing remarks
do not pretend to be a scientific explanation of the presence
of these boulders on the shore, but simply the unsophisticated
meditations of a non-scientific observer.
FAMOUS ROCKS ALONG THE SHORE.
From end to end along the shore of the village lie quite a
host of semi-detached and scattered rocks, nearly every one
of which has from time to time been christened, receiving
as a rule the name of the man who lived opposite, or any singular
individual who happened to take an interest in them. But some
received their names from very different causes.
At the east end near Preston Links lie the " Black Rocks.
" These almost adjoin the great range of rough grey rocks
which extend from Cockenzie harbour, and take their name from
their dull forbidding colour. Next come
THE HATTLE ROCKS.
The Hattle rocks are an exceedingly rugged range, of very
dark whinstone. They almost adjoin the Black Rocks, which
again almost adjoin the Cockenzie rocks, run straight along