Open main menu

Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/184

This page needs to be proofread.


i 4 6 INVERNESS.

command, to an entertainment on the Duke of Cumberland's birthday. " He said he did not doubt but it would be more agreeable to the duke if they postponed it to the day following, the anniversary of Culloden. They stared, said they could not pro- mise on their own authority, but would go and consult their body. They returned, told him it was unprecedented and could not be complied with. Lord Bury replied he was sorry they had not given a negative at once, for he had mentioned it to his soldiers, who would not bear a disappointment, and was afraid it would pro- voke them to some outrage upon the town. This did ; they celebrated Culloden." l

The old town had witnessed a strange sight in the first days after the battle. The soldiers had held a fair for the sale of the plunder which they had made. " The traffic on the Rialto Bridge was nothing in comparison to the business done by our military merchants ; here being great sortments of all manner of plaids, broad-swords, dirks and pistols, and plaid-waistcoats, officers' laced waistcoats, hats, bonnets, blankets, and oatmeal bags." : The severity that was so long exercised by government at length sank into neglect. Only five years before the arrival of our travellers all the prisoners, just before the opening of the Assize, made their escape from the town jail ; " so the Lord Pitfour," a writer to the Signet wrote, " will have the trouble only of fugitation and reprimanding the magistrates." 3 How miserable the jail was is shown in a memorial from the Town Council, dated March 17, 1 786, stating that " it consists only of two small cells for criminals, and one miserable room for civil debtors. Their situation is truly deplorable, as there are at present and generally about thirty persons confined in these holes, none of which is above thirteen feet square."' While the poor prisoners were so cruelly treated, the lawyers had a merry time of it every time that so hospitable a judge as Boswell's father came the circuit :

" Lord Auchinleck made a most respectable figure at the head of his circuit table. It was his rule to spend every shilling of his allowance for the circuit a thing less to be expected that in everything else he was supposed to be abundantly economical. He had a plentiful table. He laughed much at the rule laid down by some of his brethren of asking gentlemen but once to dinner. 'It is,' said he,

' Letters of Horace Walpole, ii. 288. ' //-., p. 89.

s M. Hughes's Plain Narrative, p. 51. 5 Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth

J E. Dunbar's Social Life in Former Days, i. Century, i. 164. '33-

�� �