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known profundity of water. If I had any malice against a walking spirit, instead of laying him in the Red sea, I would condemn him to reside in the Buller of Buchan.
But terrour without danger is only one of the sports of fancy, a voluntary agitation of the mind that is permitted no longer than it pleases. We were soon at leisure to examine the place with minute inspection, and found many cavities which, as the watermen told us, went backward to a depth which they had never explored. Their extent we had not time to try; they are said to serve different purposes. Ladies come hither sometimes, in the summer, with collations, and smugglers make them storehouses for clandestine merchandise. It is hardly to be doubted but the pirates of ancient times often used them as magazines of arms, or repositories of plunder.
To the little vessels used by the northern rowers, the Buller may have served as a shelter from storms, and perhaps as a retreat from enemies; the entrance might have been stopped, or guarded with little difficulty, and though the vessels, that were stationed within, would have been battered with stones showered on them from above, yet the crews would have lain safe in the caverns.
Next morning we continued our journey, pleased with our reception at Slanes castle, of which we had now leisure to recount the grandeur and the elegance; for our way afforded us few topicks of conversation. The ground was neither uncultivated nor unfruitful; but it was still all arable. Of flocks or herds there was no appearance. I had now travelled two hundred miles in Scotland, and seen only one tree not younger than myself.
We dined this day at the house of Mr. Frazer of Streichton, who showed us in his grounds some stones yet standing of a druidical circle, and, what I began to think more worthy of notice, some forest-trees of full growth.
At night we came to Bamff, where I remember nothing
The ancient that particularly claimed my attention. towns of Scotland have generally an appearance unusual to Englishmen. The houses, whether great or small, are for the most part built of stones. Their ends are now and then next the streets, and the entrance into them is very often by a flight of steps, which reaches up to the second story; the floor which is level with the ground being entered only by stairs descending within the house.
The art of joining squares of glass with lead is little used in Scotland, and in some places is totally forgotten. The frames of their windows are all of wood. They are more frugal of their glass than the English, and will often, in houses not otherwise mean, compose a square of two pieces, not joining like cracked glass, but with one edge laid, perhaps, half an inch over the other. Their windows do not move upon hinges, but are pushed up and drawn down in grooves, yet they are seldom accommodated with weights and pulleys. He that would have his window open must hold it with his hand, unless, what may be sometimes found among good contrivers, there be a nail, which he may stick into a hole, to keep it from falling:
What cannot be done without some uncommon trouble or particular expedient, will not often be done at all. The incommodiousness of the Scotch windows keeps them very closely shut. The necessity of ventilating human habitations has not yet been found by our northern neighbours; and, even in houses well built and elegantly furnished, a stranger may be sometimes forgiven, if he allows Iniminelf to wish for fresher air.
Thone: diminutive observations seem to take away something from the dignity of writing, and, therefore, are never communicated but with hesitation, and a little fear of basement and contempt. But it must be remembered, thome lito consist thot of it series of illustrious actions, or elegant woments the greater part of our time passes in complime with necessition in the performance of
daily duties, in the removal of small inconveniencies, in the procurement of petty pleasures ; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream of life glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small obstacles and frequent interruption. The true state of every nation, is the state of common life. The manners of a people are not to be found in the schools of learning, or the palaces of greatness, where the national character is obscured or obliterated by travel or instruction, by philosophy or vanity; nor is publick happiness to be estimated by the assemblies of the gay, or the banquets of the rich. The great mass of nations is neither rich nor gay: they whose aggregate constitutes the people, are found in the streets and the villages, in the shops and farms; and from them, collectively considered, must the measure of general prosperity be taken. As they approach to delicacy, a nation is refined; as their conveniencies are multiplied, a nation, at least a commercial nation, must be denominated wealthy.
Finding nothing to detain us at Bamff, we set out in the morning, and, having breakfasted at Cullen, about noon came to Elgin, where, in the inn that we supposed the best, a dinner was set before us, which we could not eat. This was the first time, and, except one, the last, that I found any reason to complain of a Scottish table; and such disappointments, I suppose, must be expected in every country, where there is no great frequency of travellers.
The ruins of the cathedral of Elgin afforded us another proof of the waste of reformation. There is enough yet remaining to show, that it was once magnificent. Its whole plot is easily traced. On the north side of the choir, the chapter-house, which is roofed with an arch of stone, remains entire ; and, on the south side, another mass of building, which we could not enter, is preserved by the care of the family of Gordon ; but the body of the church is a mass of fragments. А
paper was here put into our hands, which deduced from sufficient authorities the history of this venerable
ruin. The church of Elgin had, in the intestine tumults of the barbarous ages, been laid waste by the irruption of a Highland chief, whom the bishop had offended; but, it was gradually restored to the state of which the traces may be now discerned, and was at last, not destroyed by the tumultuous violence of Knox, but more shamefully suffered to dilapidate by deliberate robbery and frigid indifference. There is still extant, in the books of the coun.cil, an order, of which I cannot remember the date, but which was doubtless issued after the reformation, directing that the lead, which covers the two cathedrals. of Elgin and Aberdeen, shall be taken away, and converted into money for the support of the army. A Scotch army was in those times very cheaply kept; yet the lead of two churches must have borne so small a proportion to any military expense, that it is hard not to believe the reason alleged to be merely popular, and the money intended for some private purse. The order, however, was obeyed; the two churches were stripped, and the lead was shipped to be sold in Holland. I hope every reader will rejoice that this cargo of sacrilege was lost at sea.
Let us not, however, make too much haste to despise our neighbours. Our own cathedrals are mouldering by unregarded dilapidation. It seems to be part of the despicable philosophy of the time to despise monuments of sacred magnificence, and we are in danger of doing that deliberately, which the Scots did not do, but in the unsettled state of an imperfect constitution.
Those who had once uncovered the cathedrals never wished to cover them again; and, being thus made useless, they were first neglected, and, perhaps, as the stone was wanted, afterwards demolished.
Elgin seems a place of little trade, and thinly inhabited. The episcopal cities of Scotland, I believe, generally fell with their churches, though some of them have since recovered by a nituntion convenient for commerce. Thus Glasgow, though it has no longer an archbishop, has risen beyond its original state by the opulence of its traders ;
and Aberdeen, though its ancient stock had decayed, flourishes by a new shoot in another place.
In the chief street of Elgin, the houses jut over the lowest story, like the old buildings of timber in London, but with greater prominence; so that there is sometimes a walk for a considerable length under a cloister, or portico, which is now indeed frequently broken, because the new houses have another form, but seems to have been uniformly continued in the old city.
We went forwards the same day to Fores, the town to which Macbeth was travelling, when he met the weird sisters in his way. This to an Englishman is classick ground. Our imaginations were heated, and our thoughts recalled to their old amusements.
We had now a prelude to the Highlands. We began to leave fertility and culture behind us, and saw for a great length of road nothing but heath; yet at Fochabars, a seat belonging to the duke of Gordon, there is an orchard, which in Scotland I had never seen before, with some timber-trees, and a plantation of oaks.
At Fores we found good accommodation, but nothing worthy of particular remark, and next morning entered upon
the road, on which Macbeth heard the fatal prediction; but we travelled on not interrupted by promises of kingdoms, and came to Nairn, a royal burgh, which, if once it flourished, is now in a state of miserable decay; but I know not whether its chief annual magistrate has not still the title of lord provost.
At Nairn we may fix the verge of the Highlands ; for here I first saw peat fires, and first heard the Erse language. We had no motive to stay longer than to breakfast, and went forward to the house of Mr. Macaulay, the minister who published an account of St. Kilda, and by his direction visited Calder castle, from which Macbeth drew his second title. It has been formerly a place of strength. The drawbridge is still to be seen, but the moat is now dry. The tower is very ancient. Its walls are of great thickness, arched on the top with stone, and surrounded with battle