J. D. Fleeman (ed.), A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland
27FORES. CALDER. FORT GEORGE.
28We went forwards the same day to Fores, the town to which 29Macbeth was travelling, when he met the weird sisters in his way. 30This to an Englishman is classic ground. Our imaginations were 31heated, and our thoughts recalled to their old amusements.3
32We had now a prelude to the Highlands. We began to leave 33fertility and culture behind us, and saw for a great length of road 34nothing but heath; yet at Fochabers,t4 a seat belonging to the duke 35of Gordon, there is an orchard, which in Scotland I had never seen 36before, with some timber trees, and a plantation of oaks.5
37At Fores we found good accommodation, but nothing worthy 38of particular remark, and next morning entered upon the road, pg 191on which Macbeth heard the fatal prediction; but we travelled on 2not interrupted by promises of kingdoms, and came to Nairn, a 3royal burgh, which, if once it flourished, is now in a state of 4miserable decay;6 but I know not whether its chief annual 5magistrate has not still the title of Lord Provost.7
6At Nairn we may fix the verge of the Highlands; for here 7I first saw peat fires, and first heard the Erse language.8 We had 8no motive to stay longer than to breakfast, and went forward to 9the house of Mr. Macaulay, the minister who published an Critical Apparatus10account of St. Kilda,9 and by his direction visited Calder Castle, 11from which Macbeth drew his second title. It has been formerly a 12place of strength. The drawbridge is still to be seen, but the Critical Apparatus13moat is now dry. The tower is very ancient: Itsu walls are of 14great thickness, arched on the top with stone, and surrounded 15with battlements. The rest of the house is later, though far from 16modern.10
17We were favoured by a gentleman, who lives in the castle,1 18with a letter to one of the officers at Fort George,2 which being 19the most regular fortification in the island, well deserves the 20notice of a traveller, who has never travelled before. We went 21thither next day, found a very kind reception, were led round 22the works by a gentleman, who explained the use of every part,3 Critical Apparatus23and entertained by Sir Eyre Coote,4 the governour,v with such 24elegance of conversation as left us no attention to the delicacies 25of his table.
26Of Fort George I shall not attempt to give any account.5 27I cannot delineate it scientifically, and a loose and popular 28description is of use only when the imagination is to be amused. 29There was every where an appearance of the utmost neatness 30and regularity. But my suffrage is of little value, because this 31and Fort Augustus are the only garrisons that I ever saw.
32We did not regret the time spent at the fort, though in conse-33quence of our delay we came somewhat late to Inverness, the 34town which may properly be called the capital of the Highlands. 35Hither the inhabitants of the inland parts come to be supplied 36with what they cannot make for themselves: Hither the young 37nymphs of the mountains and valleys are sent for education, 38and as far as my observation has reached, are not sent in vain.6