Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/185

This page needs to be proofread.


We are not surprised that Boswell found that " everybody at Inverness spoke of Lord Auchinleck with uncommon regard."

The English chapel, which Johnson describes as " meanly built, but with a very decent congregation," was pulled down many years ago. On its site, in the midst of the same old graveyard, another building has been raised in what may be perhaps called the church- warden style. Of Macbeth's castle " what is called the castle of Macbeth," writes Johnson with his usual caution nothing remains. If we may trust Boswell, " it perfectly corresponded with Shake- speare's description." It ha"s been replaced by "a modern building of chaste castellated design," to borrow the language of the guide-book. I was told, however, that our travellers had been misinformed, and that " the old original Macbeth's castle" stood on a height a little distance from the town. This " pleasant seat" has been treated, I found, even worse than its rival ; for a builder, thinking that the air " might nimbly and sweetly recommend itself" to the public as well as to a king, began the erection of a crescent. Owing to a difficulty about a right of way, the speculation hitherto has not been so successful as might have been feared.

At Inverness the Lowland life came to an end. To the west of that town no road had ever been made till some years after the rising of 1715. All beyond was the work of General Wade and the other military engineers. " Here," writes Johnson, " the appearance of life began to alter. I had seen a few women with plaids at Aberdeen, but at Inverness the Highland manners are common. There is, I think, a kirk in which only the Erse language is used." The plaid, which was not peculiar to the Highlands, had been rapidly going out of fashion. Ramsay of Ochtertyre says that in 1747, when he first knew Edinburgh, nine- tenths of the ladies still wore them. Five years later " one could hardly see a lady in that piece of dress. In the course of seven or eight years the very servant girls were ashamed of being seen in that ugly antiquated garb." ' The Gaelic language does not seem to have lost much ground in Inverness, for I was told that there are five churches in which it is used every Sunday at one of the services.

1 Scotland and Scotsmen in the Eighteenth Century, ii. 88.

�� �