Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

care of

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

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.

DEAR MADAM,

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.

At supper

rence.

I am, &c.

LETTER XVIII. To the same.

DEAR MADAM,

Bamff, August 25, 1773. It has so happened that though I am perpetually thinking on you, I could seldom find opportunity

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

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 cowe 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. 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

But

VOL. XII.

A A

not; for education, such as is here to be had, is sufficiently cheap. Their term, or, as they call it, their sessions, lasts seven months in the year, which the students of the highest rank and greatest expense may pass here for twenty pounds, in which are included board, lodging, books, and the continual instruction of three professors.

20th, We left St. Andrew's, well satisfied with our reception, and, crossing the Frith of Tay, came to Dundee, a dirty, despicable town.

We passed afterwards through Aberbrothick, famous once for an abbey, of which there are only a few fragments left, but those fragments testify that the fabrick was once of great extent, and of stupendous magnificence. Two of the towers are yet standing, though shattered; into one of them Boswell climbed, but found the stairs broken; the way

into the other we did not see, and had not time to search ; I believe it might be ascended, but the top, I think, is open.

We lay at Montrose, a neat place, with a spacious area for the market, and an elegant town-house.

21st, We travelled towards Aberdeen, another university, and in the way dined at Lord Monboddo's, the Scotch judge, who has lately written a strange book about the origin of language, in which he traces monkeys up to men, and says that in some countries the human species have tails like other beasts. He inquired for these longtailed men of Banks, and was not well pleased that they had not been found in all his peregrination. He talked nothing of this to me, and I hope we parted friends; for we agreed pretty well, only we disputed in adjusting the claims of merit between

« ZurückWeiter »