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(Lond. Lit. Gaz.)
BY JOHN MACCULLOCH, ESQ.
UR friend Dr. Macculloch is a truth, as the novelists say, burst on my
never failing source of amusement sight. To the door-neither man nor to us.
By the by, we do not believe, beast ever rode or walked to within though the ominous Mac is prefixed to five yards of the door of Houna Inn. his name, that he is a Scotsman; for, He who would learn to value the if he had possessed either nationality or blackest house that ever Ross and clanship, he never could have drawn Sutherland saw, must come and sojourn such pictures of bad inns and clum- among the Catti ; let him come to sy Highland gardening as our last Houna Inn. The ditch that surroundGazette exhibited. Nevertheless, the ed it was broad, and liquid, and black; Scots may think of the old saying, how deep it was I know not, for it had “Fas est ab hoste docere;" and in this never been fathomed. My pony backhope we add some of the author's ac- ed from it instinctively, worse than he counts of Thurso, and the mode of would have done from a Sutherland stabling and grooming horses in that bog. Three huge lumps of stone formed part of our Island called Caithness. the access to the door : it was even dif
“ Thurso harbour is a very indiffer- ficult to step on them without falling in ; ent one. The town itself is sufficiently but he who had fallen in would never respectable, and the situation is not un- have come out again to reveal the sepleasing : but why should I trouble crets of the deep. If I was the Earl myself to describe Thurso, when you of Houna Inn, I would blow it up, for will find it all in the Book. . Where my own credit. you may also find, for aught I know to “ I fear we must give our Ostermanthe contrary, how, when the people, in nish ancestry the credit of this method the time of Alexander II. complained of fortification, for I have seen the of the oppressions of their bishop to the same in Shetland. If so, the muchEarl of Caithness, his Lordship replied abused Celts must have been a polished in a pet, 'go and seethe him, and sup people in comparison ; for, with the him too if you like ;' on which they one exception of old Stornaway, no put the unlucky prelate into a kettle, species or variety of Highland midden and made him into soup.
that I ever saw can be compared to 66 I was bound for Houna Inn. Houna Inn. Houna Inn was the hotel and ferry- 66 The affection of a farmer for his house for Orkney : there was a beauti- dunghill is pardonable ; but, in a state ful little circle in the map, marked of civilization, it is treated, like his Houna Inn, it was next door to John cattle, not as his bosom friend : squared o'Groat's house, and every one spoke and dressed, and trimmed, as is just ; of Houna Inn, and Houna Inn was to and then consigned to its proper stabe the end of my labours, and my horse tion, not admitted into the secretiora had eaten nothing since he had left consilia ; far less into the bosom of the Tongue, and myself little more, and I family. In genuine Caledonian land, expected a hotel like Quillac's. But the sappy midden' is an object of far the road was expended and gone. warmer affections ; exhaling its steam
Where was Houna Inn ?' • There.' of rich distilled perfumes’ to the mornI saw six or eight black cottages scat- ing and evening nose, and occupying tered about the intermingled waste of the place commonly reserved for the corn and sand. I arrived at the worst less profitable odours of the rose and of the whole. It was impossible it honeysuckle. A few proprietors have could be Houna Inn ; the hotel and lately attempted to get rid of this ornaserry-house to Orkney ; the hospitium ment, by compelling the small tenants of those who may be detained a week to remove it from their doors ; and for a fair wind; the beautiful little where this had been åttempted, I recircle in Mr. Arrowsmith's map. I member one town' where an old lady rode up to the door, and the dreadful boasted that she had cheated the laird,
as she had ta’en the midden into the of ventilation ; so that, on Mr. Colhouse. In the old village of Storna- man's system, he cannot catch cold. way, the inside of the house is the If you do not keep an eye on him, you natural and hereditary place of the will shortly find him swilling water out midden; but were I to tell you how it of a bucket, or in the nearest river ; is accumulated and managed, I should and the next morning he is foundered ; tell a tale little fitting for delicate ears and so are you. When he does want and noses.
Pauca verba, as Pistol water, as there is seldom a pail, he is says. In St. Kilda, the same manufac- dragged out by the mane to this river ; ture is also carried on in-doors, but with and if he breaks his knees among the some comparative regard to decency; rocks and stones, he is used to it; or as the floor is only strewed with the else his fraternity is; which is the same daily ashes of the fire, among which thing. It is reckoned politic here to the relics of fish and birds, and other suffer the mud to dry on his legs : and
varia materia,' are suffered to accumu- to pick or examine his feet would be late, till, the depth becoming incon- troublesome. If the thatch is water venient, the Augean heap is carried off tight, so much the better. A hayloft to the field, to make room for a new is a luxury : and as there is no stable stratum. If we except the pig, man lantern, the hay hangs down, among appears to be the only animal who is the loose boards upon the candle ; but, naturally fond of dirt, and in whom being damp, there is no danger. The cleanliness, whether of person or dwell- boy goes up to stir it about, and you ing, is matter of compulsion or effort
. are covered with dust and chaff. So But I should beg the pig's pardon for is the horse: and as he is not wiped the debasing comparison ; since he is down, and there is no horse-cloth, that solicitous about the cleanliness of his helps to keep him warm. Since the nest, at least.
Scottish reformers pulled down the “The stable at Houna, considering stalls in their churches, they have prothat it contained nothing at all, had no bably thought them unnecessary in positive demerits: a rare case, I must their stables; but a few saddles and admit. But if, after describing Mrs. pikes and poles and wheelbarrows and Maclarty's kitchen, and after break- horse-collars, with a stray pig, a hen fasting, dining, and sleeping at her and chickens, and a calf, serve, at the hotel, I were not to lead you into the same time, to wedge him up, and to stable of a Highland inn of this class, I prevent him from being dull. It is should be unjust to the fair sex; as it likely that you will object to the sociemust be supposed that this department, ty of half a dozen sharp-horned stirks however indirectly, is under the control and stots; but what then? If you and management of Mr. Maclarty, not think it prudent to tie him up,
under of the lady. If
you should succeed in these circumstances, or because the reaching it, it must be through a pool house is filled with Highland ponies of mud and water, and other indescrib- justling and squabbling and kicking in ables, and it will be fortunate if there every direction, there is no halter. You are some stepping-stones for yourself: may use your bridle, which he will more fortunate, if your horse does not break; or if you insist on a halter, a trip on them, and souse you with the rope will be found before to-morrow, perfumes of this moat. If he is a tall and made fast round his throat with a horse, not understanding architecture, slip-knot; so that it is not unlikely you he will knock his head against the will find him hanged the next morning. door-way; and if you have the misfor. If there is a manger, probably the corn tune to carry a portmanteau, aş may is put into it: but it is either full of happen to single gentlemen, he will holes, so that the oats run through, or stick in the passage, and pull off the so high that he cannot reach them. If straps, which there is no saddler to there is a rack, the hay is thrown on mend. When you get in, you find two the ground : which is a great saving ; or three holes in the wall, for the sake because he will spoil half of it, and
14 ATHENEUM VOL. 2. 2d series
that will serve for his bed. That, with planet Venus; and twice as much for
But if you begin with corn, as At this place, the Doctor goes on-
humous fame too, when here is a name cept oakum, which always puzzled more immortal—at least than mine will him. Nature has been very ingenious be, without any trouble; and only a in inventing some animal or other to name; an immortal name without an devour every thing, as if eating was owner ; a vox et præterea nihil, which the sole purpose of creation ; to eat will nevertheless be heard of as long as and to be eaten all the business of the that of Erostratus or of Empedocles. - universe : and if, as Mr. Humboldt
“ As Wollaston said long ago, it is says, (credat,) the Gourmets of the now only the five letters of Cæsar's Oroonoko live on clay, as we of the name of which we know, and which we Thames and the Tweed do on beef admire ; and those of John o' Groat's steaks and “ singit sheep heads,” I do are as substantial."
not despair of yet hearing of some creaPass we to another of the Doctor's ad- ture who may feed, like the ostrich, on ventares while navigating Loch Broom. a compote of horse shoes and tenpenny
“In the night (he tells his friend Sir nails, or perhaps on purees of grayW. Scott) I was roused by a great wacké and granite. This most amusweight, tumbling, with vast commotion ing and docile and intelligent of all the and outrage, into my birth. Concluding, four-legged tribes has now, however, very logically, that the ship had gone become rare in the Highlands, being to pieces, I put out my hand in some rather suffered than encouraged. The alarm, and laid hold of a pair of horns. Caprine population here, as in Wales, Half asleep, I thought I was already in has undergone the same revolution the hands of Davy Jones ; and both which it experienced in former days at Davy and I were soon upon the cabin Capri. The gentlemen of Leeds have floor. It proved to be a goat, which been the Tiberiuses of the bearded the men had brought on board that we race, finding that it was all cry and might be sure of milk for our breakfasts. little wool. In those happy days when Unluckily, when it came to be milked, the beaux and the dandies emulated it was discovered to be a he goat; such lions in the length of their manes, was the pastoral knowledge of our when the gallant Lovelace could paboatswain. The animal had found the thetically complain to his mistress that deck cold, and had scrambled down he had been obliged to wring the dews the companion ladder, whence he thus of the night from his wig, the goat reproposed himself for my bedfellow. Aceived that respect which the persistbedfellow in a birth ought, however, to ence of his buckle merited, and boundbe somewhat more choice ; as there ed from rock to rock, nourishing his are no means of lying “extrema spon- length of hair and careless of future da,” if you chance to disagree. Milk, shaving. But now, alas! their friends of course, we obtained none from our are all concentrated behind the bar horned friend ; but he paid his pas- and on the episcopal bench; and the sage, and his diet too by his harlequin wisdom of a few hundred Welsh tricks. His diet, it is true, was rather beards is sufficient to clothe with saheterodox; as it consisted, except on pience all the skulls which flourish in holidays, of kippered salmon, brown the several departments of Westminster. paper, old hoops, carpenter's chips, and Such are the catenations of political pig-tail tobacco. The paper was plun- economy. Often, in contemplating my dered from my specimens ; but the de- friend Pogonatus, did I figure to myself predations on the fish became so seri- the quirks and crotchets, the doubtings, ous, that we were obliged to hoist the decisions, the special pleadings and them into the shrouds out of his reach. replies and rejoinders and rebutters, His system of diet was somewhat ex- that lay perdue under his shaggy coat, traordinary, it must be owned; but as while he was unconsciously chewing the universal scavenger, at least of the his quid; only waiting for the fingers vegetable creation, the goat seems to of the barber and a few yards of silk, outdo even the hog. Indeed I never to blaze forth in forensic fire or suffocould discover any thing which our cate us in the murky obscurities of bearded companion would not eat, ex- causistical smoke; to empty our purses
without filling our heads, to get posses- their lives would endure for a thousand
interesting and important an in- tinued, the blister will be seen to enstrument for experimental purposes, large, until it extends over the whole it may not be unacceptable to receive surface, and the bottle will usually an account of a means of constructing then have acquired a diameter of fourself-acting blow-pipes of India-rubber, teen to seventeen inches: in this state, capable of affording a strong and uni- the blow-pipe bottle being completed, form stream of air, during twenty-five it is unscrewed from the condenser, to sixty minutes, according to the size and the jet-pipe is screwed on in its of the jet. Select at a stationer's bot- place; and now the blow-pipe is ready tles of India-Rubber, varying in for use ; and immediately, on turning weight from half to three-quar- the 'stop-cock, the elastic contraction ters of a pound, preferring those of a of the bottle will force out the air in dark hue; a strip of which, when pull- a strong and steady jet, as has been ed out, so as to become very thin, is mentioned above, which will continalmost transparent; and avoid those ue until the bottle is reduced to about bottles of a browner colour, a strip of double its original size ; when the conwhich cannot be pulled out so thin as denser may be again applied, and the is mentioned above without breaking. bottle be again distended as before, The bottles selected are to be boiled unless that several bottles have been in water until quite softened, which prepared and charged at first, as is usually occurs after a quarter of an mentioned above. When no longer hour's boiling. A short brass tube, wanted, the bottles should be emptied having a stop-cock on its middle, and of their air, and so my be kept for a screw-tap'adapted to screw into a. any length of time ready for charging ; condensing syringe at one end ; and only observing, that if at any time a having, near to the other end, a milled bottle has lost its pliability, and beprojecting rib outside, provided for come hard by keeping, it must be įmeach bottle ; and, when these are mersed for a short time in boiling wacooled after the boiling, the ribbed ter before applying the syringe. The end of a tube is inserted into the neck great portability, and the length and of each India-rubber bottle, and is steadiness of action, of this blow-pipe, firmly secured there, by lapping strong are its great recommendation, it may waxed thread above and below the rib. be used with any of the gases, even
The tube of one of the bottles is explosive mixtures of oxygen and hynow screwed to the syringe, and air is drogen, the accidental explosion of forced in ; after a few strokes of the which would merely burst and destroy syringe, a blister-like projection will the bottle, without occasioning further be observed to form on that part of mischief.
PAVING OF STREETS--MACADAMS'S ROADS, &c. Granite stone, which is used for like order, are the great objections to paving cart-ways of streets, is the the present pavement. Could it be hardest and most durable material kept as even as when first laid, no betwhich can be generally used ; but the ter road could then be made in narunevenness of the pavement, and the row streets, whence there is much expense of keeping it in something traffick.