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as I have seen in no other place; it rather awes than pleases, as it strikes with a kind of gigantick dignity, and aspires to no other praise than that of rocky solidity and indeterminate duration. I had none of my friends resident, and therefore saw but little. The library is mean and scanty.
At Durham, beside all expectation, I met an old friend : Miss Fordyce is married there to a physician. We met, I think, with honest kindness on both sides. I thought her much decayed, and having since heard that the banker had involved her husband in his extensive ruin, I cannot forbear to think that I saw in her withered features more impression of sorrow than of time.
Qua terra patet, fera regnat Erinnys.
He that wanders about the world sees new forms of human misery, and if he chances to meet an old friend, meets a face darkened with troubles,
On Tuesday night we came hither; yesterday I took some care of myself, and to-day I am quite polite. I have been taking a view of all that could be shown me, and find that all very near to nothing. You have often heard me complain of finding myself disappointed by books of travels; I am afraid travel itself will end likewise in disappointment. One town, one country, is very like another : civilized nations have the same customs, and barbarous nations have the same nature: there are indeed minute discriminations both of places and of manners, which perhaps are not wanting of curiosity, but which a traveller seldom stays long enough to investigate and compare. The dull utterly neglect them, the acute see a little, and supply the rest with fancy and conjecture.
I shall set out again tomorrow, but I shall not, I am afraid, see Alnwick, for Dr. Percy is not there. I hope to lodge tomorrow night at Berwick, and the next at Edinburgh, where I shall direct Mr. Drummond, bookseller at Ossian's head, to take care of my letters.
I hope the little dears are all well, and that my dear master and mistress may go somewhither, but wherever you go do not forget, Madam, your most humble servant. I am pretty well.
August 15. Thus far I had written at Newcastle. I forgot to send it. I am now at Edinburgh ; and have been this day running about. I run pretty well.
LETTER XVII. To Mrs. Thrale.
Edinburgh, August 17, 1773. On the 13th, I left Newcastle, and in the afternoon came to Alnwick, where we were treated with great civility by the Duke: I went through the apartments, walked on the wall, and climbed the towers. That night we lay at Belford, and on the next night came to Edinburgh. On Sunday (15th) I went to the English chapel. After dinner Dr. Robertson came in, and promised to show me the place. On Monday I saw their publick buildings: the cathedral, which I told Robertson I wished to
see because it had once been a church, the courts of justice, the parliament-house, the advocates' library, the repository of records, the college and its library, and the palace, particularly the old tower where the king of Scotland seized David Rizzio in the queen's presence.
Most of their buildings are very mean; and the whole town bears some resemblance to the old part of Birmingham.
Boswell has very handsome and spacious rooms; level with the ground on one side of the house, and on the other four stories high.
At dinner on Monday were the Duchess of Douglas, an old lady, who talks broad Scotch with a paralytick voice, and is scarce understood by her own countrymen: the Lord Chief Baron, Sir Adolphus Oughton, and many more. there was such a conflux of company that I could scarcely support the tumult. I have never been well in the whole journey, and am very easily disordered.
This morning I saw at breakfast Dr. Blacklock, the blind poet, who does not remember to have seen light, and is read to, by a poor scholar, in Latin, Greek, and French. He was originally a poor scholar himself. I looked on him with reve
To-morrow our journey begins; I know not when I shall write again. I am but poorly. I am,
LETTER XVIII. To the same.
Bamff, August 25, 1773. It has so happened that though I am perpetually thinking on you, I could seldom find opportunity
to write ; I have in fourteen days sent only one letter; you must consider the fatigues of travel, and the difficulties encountered in a strange country.
August 18th, I passed, with Boswell, the Frith of Forth, and began our journey ; in the passage we observed an island, which I persuaded my companions to survey. We found it a rock somewhat troublesome to climb, about a mile long, and half a mile broad ; in the middle were the ruins of an old fort, which had on one of the stones-Maria Re. 1564. It had been only a blockhouse one story high. I measured two apartments, of which the walls were entire, and found them twentyseven feet long, and twenty-three broad. The rock had some grass and many thistles, both cows and sheep were grazing. There was a spring of water. The name is Inchkeith. Look on your maps. This visit took about an hour. We pleased ourselves with being in a country all our own, and then went back to the boat, and landed at Kinghorn, a mean town, and travelling through Kirkaldie, a very long town meanly built, and Cowpar, which I could not see because it was night, we came late to St. Andrew's, the most ancient of the Scotch universities, and once the see of the Primate of Scotland. The inn was full, but lodgings were provided for us at the house of the
professor of rhetorick, a man of elegant manners, who showed us, in the morning, the poor remains of a stately cathedral, demolished in Knox's reformation, and now only to be imaged by tracing its foundation, and contemplating the little ruins that are left. Here was once a religious house. Two of the vaults or cellars of the subprior are even yet entire. In one of them lives an old woman, who
claims an hereditary residence in it, boasting that her husband was the sixth tenant of this gloomy mansion, in a lineal descent, and claims by her marriage with this lord of the cavern an alliance with the Bruces. Mr. Boswell staid a while to interrogate her, because he understood her language; she told him, that she and her cat lived together; that she had two sons somewhere, who might perhaps be dead ; that when there were quality in the town notice was taken of her, and that now she was neglected, but did not trouble them. Her habitation contained all that she had ;
; her turf for fire was laid in one place, and her balls of coal dust in another, but her bed seemed to be clean. Boswell asked her, if she never heard
any noises; but she could tell him of nothing supernatural, though she often wandered in the night among the graves and ruins, only she had sometimes notice by dreams of the death of her rela tions. We then viewed the remains of a castle on the margin of the sea, in which the archbishops resided, and in which Cardinal Beatoun was killed.
The professors who happened to be resident in the vacation made a publick dinner, and treated us very kindly and respectfully. They showed us their colleges, in one of which there is a library that for luminousness and elegance may vie at least with the new edifice at Streatham. But learning seems not to prosper among them; one of their colleges has been lately alienated, and one of their churches lately deserted. An experiment was made of planting a shrubbery in the church, but it did not thrive.
Why the place should thus fall to decay, I know