Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Social Life in Scotland
Chapter II. - Domestic and Social Usages

In the Loch of the Clans in the county of Nairn, out of which the water has been drained, appears an oval chamber, enclosed by a stone wall; this seems to have been lined with wood. The roof and floor were of undressed oak. The crannog had begun to merge into the castle.

The structure in the Loch of the Clans presents a wall twenty feet in extreme width, while the interior chamber is eighteen feet long, sixteen broad, and ten high. These measurements point to its existence at or before the Roman period. But the Celts reared forts of timber long afterwards. If we except the burghs and caers, latterly built of stone, the chief strongholds were up to the tenth century formed of logs. Forts and great houses of timber existed in Morayshire till the thirteenth century. Mansions and strongholds of stone began to prevail in the eleventh century. Prior to the war of independence, the state of architecture in Scotland and England was nearly identical.

In an interesting publication, the Marquess of Bute has described the manor-house of the thirteenth century as "a tower of massive strength, about three or four storeys high, with one room on each storey; the ground floor a vaulted cellar, the first floor a sort of general kitchen and living-room, with stone vaulting between or above them; then the single private chamber, appropriated to the lady of the house and her family; the whole crowned with a high-pitched roof, covered with shingle, through which the shaft or shafts of the chimneys pierced up into the air. The hall," adds the Marquess, "was the main feature of houses of this period; and indeed, besides the ordinary offices of stables, byres, store-houses, and such like, and a larder or pantry—doubtless near the kitchen, there seem to have been only two domestic apartments of any importance—the kitchen and the private chamber—for the use of the family." ("The Early Days of Sir William Wallace," by John, Marquess of Bute, Paisley, 1876, 4to, p. 31.)

The Border and other towers of the fourteenth century were, in the lower walls, twelve feet thick. There was a lower room or vault in which cattle were kept safe against marauding hordes. Access to the dwelling was obtained by a ladder which was thrown down from an entrance on the second floor; the place was otherwise impregnable. By a circular newelled staircase within the walls were reached the upper rooms. At all points the structure presented embrasures or narrow loop-holes for admitting light, and, in the event of attack, for discharging upon the assailants arrows or musketry.

Ground-floor apartments were vaulted; the upper rooms also were occasionally arched. The doors were backed by ponderous interlaced or cross-barred iron gates, secured by bolts, which passed into the wall. In Norman structures, timber was unused. Slates also were absent, the roof being constructed of stone. By means of a small opening in the substance of the wall, proceeding from the lower storey to the hall or family room, communication with the kitchen was maintained by rope and pulley.

The fortified towers of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries lack ornament, being formed solely with a view to strength. Like the latter burghs or stone dwellings, castles were constructed with subterranean or vaulted passages. By a vaulted passage in the Castle of Kildrummy, the horses of that fort could, during a siege, be conveyed for water to a neighbouring loch. Every fort had a draw-well. The well usually occupied the centre of the court; at an earlier period it was dug under the tower, from which water was by pulleys brought direct into the ball. Sculptured fountains were occasionally reared; one of these, in the court of Linlithgow Palace, was especially ornate.

Some castles of the fifteenth century were made to enclose an area of three and four acres. The larger structures stood near the banks of lakes or rivers, and were otherwise environed by ditch and rampart. CastelIated structures, such as Glammis Castle, may not be identified with any particular age. From dark, low, round-roofed vaults, thick walls, and narrow orifices in the lower storey, they in the upper apartments, pass into the castellated style of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In fortified structures of the fifteenth century, are included a great hall with an arched roof; also ranges of corridors and passages and vaults, strong, deep, and gloomy.

With the sixteenth century, Scottish native architecture began to blend the sterner features of the French and Flemish styles. Dwellings hitherto built of mud and timber, were reared of stone; these varying in height from three to twelve storeys. Houses of the latter height were placed at Edinburgh along; the lofty ridge proceeding from the rock-fenced fortalice to Holyrood Palace. Subsequently prevailed the French style with its princely towers, coronetted turrets, sharp Tables, dormer windows, and richly decorated mouldings.

In the English manor-house, plastering and whitewashing of interior stone-work were common in the thirteenth century; in Scotland these modes were not introduced till considerably later. When plaster was introduced the ceilings were ornamented with that white pargetted work which is found in Moray House, also in the mansions of Pinkie, Winton, and Glammis. These decorations usually represent scriptural or classic subjects. Untill gypsum or plaster of Paris came to be used, the walls of the Ball or principal chamber were covered with cloth, of which two folds concealed doors worked in iron, which protected the entrance. On the lower part of the walls wainscotting was adopted; in the fifteenth century it was nearly universal. The walls in the upper parts were by Flemish artists painted in fresco with heraldic devices, or adorned with Arras tapestry. When in the fourteenth century Arras hangings were first imported, they were used in royal residences solely. Deemed precious, they were borne from one palace to another. Royal arras were of wool and silk, interwoven with gold thread; they were embroidered with devices, which included leopards, falcons, and eagles. During the sixteenth century and subsequently, the principal apartments were surrounded with oak, and so long as this style prevailed, the painted decorations of the former period were covered with boards.

The painted Gallery of Pinkie House, 120 feet long, and lighted by a fine oriel window, has its timber-lined walls adorned with Latin and other inscriptions; also with paintings of classic scenes.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century, dining-halls and reception rooms were ornamented with a covering of leather, stamped and gilded. This material, a Spanish invention, was originally imported; it latterly was manufactured at Edinburgh.

Painted glass, though known in the twelfth century, was not used in domestic architecture. The window of the ancient manor-louse admitted light and air together. With the view of promoting ventilation, while excluding draughts, windows were ranged high on one side of the apartment. Externally presenting a narrow aperture, they splayed widely towards the interior. If the orifice was large enough to admit intruders, iron bolts or stanchions were built into the, wall. Occasionally strong shutters were attached to the outside, which, by a, simple contrivance, could be closed and made secure. Prior to the use, of glass, a coarse fabric resembling canvas was both in churches and private houses, stretched across the casements. Glass casements became common in the fourteenth century. Of small weight, they were carried from one dwelling to another; in the portable baggage of the sovereign they were uniformly included. When glass window frames were made stationary, the upper part only was blazed, the lower being supplied with timber folds.

Early domestic furniture was of simple construction. Benches and settles of solid timber were placed along the interior walls. During the fifteenth century these were, in the better houses, covered with arras. The dense or dais, a seat with a support for the back, was occasionally provided with a canopy. One sort of dense, by a process of folding, might be changed into a table. The dining-table was of plain timber, the boards being moveable ; these were in the fifteenth century covered with silk, but afterwards with damask.

In primitive times, the buist and ambry stood in the principal apartment—the former a plain oaken chest, the latter a cupboard. In the buist were stored superfluous hangings, and the other napery of the household; the ambry contained the family jewellery. The cupboard was pioneer of the modern sideboard; an erect open cabinet, on its shelves rested the house-property, both in gold and silver. From the top, under a canopy of carved oak, were suspended tapestry or arras.

There were other articles, such as the Boyne or bowie, for storing liquor; the bossie, a large wooden dish; the mawn, a bread basket; the bankour, or wool cushion for chairs of state; and the dorseur, or wall-covering.

Among the officers of the royal household was a keeper of the wardrobe. Assisted by yeomen and grooms, he bore the contents of the wardrobe and cupboard in the royal progresses.

The bedsteads which, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, were used by the king and barons, were magnificent and costly. To their large frames, richly carved by foreign artists, were affixed hangings of embroidered silk. According to a notable tourist, Scottish bedsteads in the sixteenth century "were like cupboards in the wall, with doors." Blankets in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were of fustian sheets of fine linen. Bed-pillows were covered with silk or fur or cloth of gold. The beds were of flock, but more commonly of the skins of animals, spread upon heath or rushes. The bed which Lord Darnley occupied at Kirk o' Field, at the time of his death, in 1567, was of violet velvet, with double hangings, braided with boll and silver.

Officers of the royal household and the chief attendants on the nobles had bedsteads carried into their apartments each evening, and from thence removed before breakfast.

Baths were introduced by the Romans, and were used in North Britain at an early period. They were common in the thirteenth century. Moveable baths, with canopies and hangings, were in the sleeping apartments of the opulent introduced two centuries later. Wash-pane stands, surmounted by tanks, were placed in bedrooms.

Prior to the fifteenth century fire-grates were unknown ; the smoke which issued from the fire on the hearth found egress by a wide opening in the wall which narrowed towards the roof. Fires were in superior dwellings formed of logs and broom. Broom was used chiefly in the kitchen ; it was planted near the principal homesteads, and every seven years was cut down for fuel. It was then built in stacks, each stack containing twelve cart-loads. Feats were used in farmers' houses, also by the poor.
Coal was first worked by the monks of New-battle, in Midlothian. To the monks Leger de Quinci, Earl of Winchester, granted the coalfield situated between the burn of Whytrig and the lands of Pontekyn and Inveresk. As de Quinci was created Earl of Winchester about 1210 and died in 1219, the date of the gift is ascertained. The coal originally showed -itself on the surface of the sea-cliff, and the seam was followed wherever the level allowed. The monks of Dunfermline soon afterwards worked coal in their lands of Pinkie and Inveresk. But "black stone," as coal was at first called, was for more than a century after its discovery burnt chiefly by the peasantry. Admitted into the manour-house as kitchen fuel, it was, when logs became rare, consequent on the plantations being cut down, brought into the hall. At length the demand so increased beyond the power of inexperienced miners to procure a steady supply that the cost became excessive, and the Privy Council fixed the price at seven shillings per horse-load. This occurred in 1621, but consequent on resistance by the coal-owners, the provision was modified. On the introduction of coal followed the invention of the fire-grate.

The fire-grate was at first placed in the centre of the hearth; fireplaces of stately proportions were subsequently constructed. These were profusely adorned with graceful mouldings, also emblazoned with the family arias and grotesque figures. At the fireplaces of plastered rooms were presented rich sculptures, bordered by pillars supporting human figures extending upward to the ceiling. The Earl of Stirling's manor-house at Stirling, in 1632, displayed in its oak-panelled hall a massive chimney-piece profusely gilded. The houses of the principal merchants of the seventeenth century were ornamented with neatly carved chimney-pieces. Not infrequently were the designs incorporated with the initials of the owner and his wife, along with family mottoes and Scriptural maxims. Lengthy inscriptions, in prose and verse, immediately over the fireplace, were not uncommon. An English tourist remarked the following quaint poetical inscription over a fireplace, with the date 1694:-

"As with the fire,
So with thy God do stand
Keep not far off,
Nor come thou too near hand."

In districts remote from the coalfields peat fuel was procured in the marshes. The farmers of. the Abbey of Cupar were bound to dig Feats, and to convey them to the monastery; they also stored the abbey granaries with decayed roots and fallen branches. For "the ovens of the monastery" the monks of Cupar cultivated a hark of broom in the vicinity.

Domestic state was much observed. In the fifteenth century the royal household had as chief officers the master, the steward, the treasurer, and the comptroller. Other prominent officials were the carver, the cupbearer, the eleemosynar, the armourer, the physician, and the apothecary. An establishment of corresponding dignity existed in the manor-house. Each baron and knight had squires of attendance, carvers, servers, cupbearers, henchmen and pages. Many of these were young persons of birth, as early service under one of higher rank was agreeable to the laws of chivalry. In his castle or keep the Highland chief of the fifteenth century accommodated his henchman or secretary, his bard, his spokesman, his sword-bearer, his carrier-over-fords, the leader of his horse, his baggage-bearer, and his principal piper. The henchman was an indispensable officer at a period when leaders of clans disdained to use an instrument so feeble as the pen, and were not ashamed to confess an entire ignorance of letters. Those duties which the henchman discharged with the pen, the bard fulfilled by his voice; he sang old ballads and composed new, each tending to induce the chief to emulate the piety and the generosity, but more especially the gallantry of his ancestors. The bard's office was hereditary; he was allowed a portion of land, in the best cultivated portion of the estate.

In Galloway, the dignity of territorial magnates was, up to the commencement of the eighteenth century, ceremoniously maintained. In his "MS. History of an Ayrshire Manse Household," Professor Josiah Walker remarks, that Sir Archibald Kennedy, Bart. of Culzean, "maintained the establishment of a great hereditary chief of the elder days, with his hall and chapel, and host of retainers."

In ancient Scotland, venison was among the upper classes held in much regard. The hart was shot with arrows or hunted down with a rough greyhound, known as the deerhound. When the pursuit of game had menaced the extermination of the deer, the Act of 1367 was passed, whereby the striking down of game—both beasts and birds—with culverings, crossbows, and hand-bows was prohibited.

During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the abbot and monks of Cupar reared their own cattle, and in addition to money and grain, received as rent from their tenants, calves, lambs, hogs, and kids; also geese, capons, and other domestic fowls. Through their fowlers, the monks of Cupar secured for their larder the wild-goose, the crane or swan, the partridge, the plover, the dottrel, the curlew, the wild-duck, the red-shank, the lapwing, and the teal. Rabbit warrens under charge of "warrenders", were preserved everywhere. In these hares and rabbits were secured as food for the inhabitants of towns or the better class of yeomen. The bittern, heron, solan goose, and other coarse birds, were allowed to the peasant and the wayfarer. Taylor, the water poet, who visited Scotland in 1618, in describing; the food of nobles and knights whom lie accompanied in hunting, mentions "venison, baked, sodden, roast, and stewed; mutton, boats, kid, hares, fresh salmon, pigeons, liens, capons, chickens, partridge, moor-cocks, heath-cocks, capercailzies, and termagants." The capercailzie was found in Perthshire in 1651, but soon thereafter disappeared, till restored in our own time in the Breadalbane plantations.

Fish abounded in estuaries, lochs, and rivers. In the thirteenth century were supplied to the royal table salmon, the royal sturgeon, the lamprey, and the porpoise, both fresh and cured. In 1424 an Act was passed prohibiting the slaying of salmon from the Feast of the Assumption (15th August) until the Feast of Saint Andrew (30th November). Herrings from the western, and eels from inland lochs were especially valued. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries shell-fish was much in use. At the banquet which followed the baptism of Prince Henry at Stirling Castle in 1504 were presented herrings, whitings, and flounders, along with oysters, buckies, limpets, partans (lobsters), crabs, spout-fish, and clams." Prior to the fifteenth century, colonies of fishers from Flanders effected settlements at St Andrews, Auchmithie, Findon, and other localities on the east sea-board; also at Cellardyke, Buckhaven, and Newhaven, on the Firth of Forth. Their descendants retain some peculiar habits, including a reluctance to unite with other races.

Prior to the sixteenth century, Scottish culinary utensils were rudely constructed. At table, the nobility and gentry used knives and spoons only. The dinner fork was not quite common at the Union of the Crowns. The ordinary dinner knife was known as the Jockteleg, so called from its original manufacturer, John of Liege. When in the seventeenth century knives and forks were deemed essential to comfort, ministers and physicians carried pocket knives and forks folded in leathern cases. After use in eating, these were wiped with the table napkin, and replaced in the pocket. Dessert knives and forks of silver were also made portable; gentlewomen carried them in their reticules.

At the dawn of history the drinking vessels were of shell. In the third century Ossian refers to potent liquor as "the strength of the shells," and as composing "the shell of joy." He refers to "shells studded with gems." From the ninth century till the twelfth, drinking vessels were composed of horn and timber. The methir, a. wooden vessel from six to twelve inches high, and containing from one to three pints, was used anciently both in Scotland. and Ireland. Including a handle at each side, it was cut out of the solid timber, the bottom being inserted in a groove. A silver-mounted methir is preserved in Dunvegan Castle. Pewter drinking vessels were used in the fourteenth century; also silver tankards. Thereafter were used goblets or bowls, known as skales. The tassie, or cup, was common in the seventeenth century. In the houses of bonnet lairds and tenant farmers glass vessels were even a century ago rarely to be found. A liquor-loving border laird, Armstrong of Sorbie, who flourished early in the eighteenth century, facetiously remarked that "it was a better world when there were more bottles and fewer glasses."

The furniture used in the sixteenth century and subsequently is represented in the public inventories. In the lease by Alexander Macbroke of the abbot of Cupar's seat at Campsie Craig, dated 6th July 1551, the lessee becomes bound, on twenty-four hours notice, to provide for the abbot and his brethren and household, four feather beds and four other beds, along with towels and table-linen, broom and other fuel. lie also pledges himself to furnish "pottis, pannis, platis, dischis, and utheris necessarys."

James Campbell of Lawers, a considerable landowner in the county of Perth, died in 1723. His principal apartments were adorned with arras, of which the most costly set are valued at 24 sterling; "blue and yellow hangings" in his own chamber are estimated at 10. The hangings are described as of "damask" and of "Musselburgh stuff." Five bedsteads with curtains are valued at 36 each. "Seven tables big and small," with "two kitchen tables," are unitedly valued at 7, these being of native timber. Chairs are estimated at one guinea each; some are described as "black-coloured," others as of "leather," others as "in kain." Chests of drawers were usually adorned with carvings. Two chests at Lowers are together valued at 60. The silver plate included "fifteen silver spoons, a large silver gravy spoon, a porringer (soul) basin), two salters, six forks, six knives, two servers (salvers), and three casters (cruet vessels). These together, deducting the knife-handles, weighed 9lbs. 10 ounces, which, valued at five shillings an ounce, brought a total amount of 421, 10s. Many of the culinary articles, also the bedroom ware, were of pewter. Mr Campbell's watch and gold seal, together with his wife's earrings, are valued at 240. Among the articles of napery are included thirty-five table napkins.

In Celtic times the chief and his family sat in the great hall at a central table; their dependants, armed as if on guard, forming a wider circle, and regaling themselves on long benches raised very slightly above the ground. At table all were waited upon by boys and girls. When eating was finished, the chief called for a glass of liquor, when all drank. At these feasts women were duly Honoured, and were allowed to leave early. During the entertainment bards repeated their compositions, using the harp to serious airs, the pipe to those which were mirthful.

In the fourteenth century the king and barons had two principal meals—dinner and supper. The former was served at eleven o'clock A.M., the latter at five P.M. Queen Mary dined at noon; her husband, Lord Darnley, when alone, dined at two. Queen Mary was supping in Holyrood Palace on the 9th March 1566 between five and six o'clock, when in her presence David Pizzio was assailed and slain. James VI. dined at one o'clock.

At the commencement of the eighteenth century, the chief citizens of Edinburgh dined at one P.M. Two o'clock was the fashionable dining hour a century ago. From 1806 to 1820 gentlemen of rank dined at five; at six up to 1840, and from that date till 1860, at half-past six and seven. Latterly the genteel dining hour has been fixed in winter at half-past seven, and in summer at eight o'clock. The present dinner hour in "good" society is half-past seven.

The gong which for a century has intimated that dinner has been served, and its precursor in the trumpet or horn. During the seventeenth century, when dinner was announced, the ladies proceeded from the drawing-room together, the gentlemen in single file following them. When all had reached the dining-room, each gentleman selected a lady as his associate and took a seat at her right hand. An attendant then handed to each guest a silver basin, another following with towels. The ceremony of dipping the fingers in water was repeated when dinner had closed. In the earlier times two persons ate together from the same plate. Anciently of wood, the plates were afterwards of pewter, latterly earthenware became universal. When less gentility was affected, each guest received as his platter a barley bannock, which at the close of the entertainment he thrust into an alms-basket which was carried round. Anciently one drinking vessel sufficed for the more costly liquors, and it was passed from hand to hand.

James I. (1424-1437) employed a French cook, but the cuisine at his court has not been ascertained. For some particulars as to the mode of dining in genteel society at the latter part of the sixteenth century, we are indebted to Moryson, the English traveller. Moryson, who visited Scotland in 1598, remarks that the Scots "eat much red colewort and cabbage, but little fresh meat, using to salt their mutton and geese, which made me more wonder that they used to eat beefe without salting."

He adds, "Myself was at a knight's house, who had many servants to attend him, that brought in his meat with their heads covered with blew caps, the table being more than half furnished with. great platters of porridge, each having a little piece of sodden meate. And when the table was served, the servands did sit downe with us, but the upper messe, instead of porridge, had a pullet with some prunes in the broth. And I observed no art of cookery or promotion of household stuffe, but rather rude neglect of both, though myself and my companion, sent from the Governour of Barwick about bordering affaires, were entertained after their best manner. . . . They vulgarly ate harth cakes of oates, but in cities have also wheaten bread, which for the most part was bought by courtiers gentlemen and the best sort of citizens. . . . They drink pure wines, not with sugar as the English, yet at feasts they put comfits in the wine, after the French manner, but they had not our vintners fraud to mix their wines."

On the 23d May 1500, the Danish gentlemen who to this country had attended Anne, Queen of James VI., were entertained by the magistrates of Edinburgh at a formal banquet. The feast was celebrated in a hall in the Cowgate belonging to the Master of the Mint, and of which the walls were hung with tapestry. But while the tables were decorated with elegant napery and "flowers and chandlers," and there was all display of great vessels, and the contents of the city "cupboards," the viands consisted of "bread and meat, with four binns [casks] of beer, four gang of ale, and four putcheons of wine."

In the seventeenth and early in the eighteenth century a genteel dinner was constituted in this fashion :—Barley-broth was served first; it consisted of the liquor of beef, boiled with colewort and thickened with barley. The beef was rough-grained, since cattle were fed only on the natural grasses. Colewort raised without manure was, when imperfectly boiled, somewhat unpalatable. Neither milled nor scaled, pot barley was bruised in a trough, rubbed with a coarse cloth, and partially winnowed. All sorts of fish were in use, save salmon arid grilse, which, deemed common, were reserved for exportation or preserving. Gabble-claw, consisting of codfish served with horse-radish and egg-sauce, was in high favour. Oysters and other shell-fish were welcomed. A goose and ducklings and baked pigeons were much relished. Greatly in request was friar-chicken, a. dish formerly common in religious houses; it consisted of chickens cut into small portions, and boiled with eggs, parsley, and cinnamon. Equally popular was cocky-leeky—a well-fed cock boiled with young leeks. Mutton boiled with cauliflowers, turnips, and carrots, was held as a special delicacy. Roasted fare was uncommon, since the only instrument used in broiling was a spit, turned by the younger handmaiden, and occasionally by a dog. The entertainment was followed by a haggis, marrow-bones, cheese, and fruit. In the kitchens of Highland chiefs, venison was prepared for the table in a fashion revolting to modern tastes. The use of fire was dispensed with, steaks or slices being compressed between two battens of wood, so as to force out the blood.

During dinner, liquor was used sparingly. So long indeed as the ladies remained in the dining-hall excess was eschewed. But there was a signal toast, on the proposing of which the, ladies withdrew. Eighty years ago, the signal toast at Glasgow was "the trade of Glasgow and the outward bound;" in Fife, when a Lady Balgonie was a celebrated toast, the travesty "Lady be-gone-ye" was adopted. Few guests remained sufficiently sober to rejoin the ladies in the drawing-room—those who restrained drinking, and returned to their female friends, were pronounced effeminate.

Moryson relates that on his visit to Scotland in 1598 he found that the country people and merchants were inclined to excess, and that persons of the better sort spent the greater part of the night in drinking "not only wine, but even Beere."

Referring to the convivial practices of the last century, Dr John Strang writes, "The retiring of a guest to the drawing-room was a rare occurrence indeed and hence the poor lady of the house was generally left to sip her tea in solitude, while her husband and friends were getting royal over their sherbet." A century ago, post-grand ml talk was rough and unseemly, while the songs and tales sung or spoken were utterly licentious. When the ladies had left a public-bowl was brought in. In form and capacity this vessel resembled the English wassail-bowl. It was in early times charged with mulled claret, but its contents latterly consisted of whisky mixed with hot water and sugar. Whisky was introduced in the bowl at the rate of half a pint for each guest. The liquor was mixed with a silver spoon affixed to a whalebone handle. The contents of the ladle corresponded with the size of the drinking vessel, which was considerably larger than those now in use. The use of punch bowls ceased about sixty years ago; thereafter each one was allowed to prepare his liquor in his own mode. Crystal goblets with silver ladles, or earthenware mugs with a small crystal pestle were substituted.

To each toast a bumper was demanded; while, in evidence that it had been drunk, every guest turned up his glass. "To drink fair" or "without hedging" was a special commendation. Toasts were numerous. On public and political occasions the Sovereign, the Army, and Cabinet Ministers, also local magnates were toasted with Highland Honours. In rendering these Honours, each guest, glass in hand, mounted his chair, and placing his right foot on the table named the toast,—then drinking off his glass cheered lustily. Sentimental toasts, to each of which a glass was drained, were such as these, "May ne'er vaur be aman us," "The Land o' Cakes," "Horn, corn, wool, and yarn," "May the honest heart never feel distress," "May the mouse ne'er leave, the meal-pock wi' the tear in its e'e," "May the pleasures of the evening bear the reflections of the morning." In some companies the ladies were privileged before retiring to share in a species of toast-giving, which occasioned merriment. At the call of the host one of the company named an unmarried lady; another guest named a suitor for her, and both were toasted together.

During the seventeenth, and the earlier portion of the eighteenth century, after-dinner drinking was protracted for eight and ten hours. When a bachelor gave an entertainment he was expected to continue the jollities till all his guests were helplessly intoxicated. In 1643 Henry Lord Tier, only son of Robert, first Earl of Roxburgh, died at Perth "after ane great drink." His premature death led to the famous lawsuit of 1808-1812, the result of which have the Dukedom of Roxburgh to Sir James Innes. In his "Journal" Lord Cockburn relates an anecdote communicated to him by the celebrated Henry Mackenzie. "Mackenzie," his Lordship proceeds, "was once at a festival at Kilravock Castle, towards the close of which the exhausted topers sank gradually back and down on their chairs till little of them was seen above the table except their noses, and at last they disappeared altogether and fell on the floor. Those who were too far gone to rise lay still from necessity; while those who, like the Man of Feeling, were glad of a pretence for escaping fell into a dose from policy. While Mackenzie was in this state he was alarmed by feeling a hand working about his throat, and called out. A voice answered "Dinna be feared, Sir, it's me." "And who are you?" "A'm the lad that louses the craavats." When, at a later period, Grant of Lurg was dining at Castle Grant, he was heard soliloquizing on his way from the dining-room, "Oich! Oich! this is the first time she ever dined at Castle Grant, and was able to gae up the stair by hersel' !"

At the country mansion, when guests had come from a distance, and were expected to tarry for the night, convivialities were protracted till early morn. On these occasions all were borne to their bedrooms by stout attendants retained for this service. The attendants were recompensed by vails, or gratuities, offered by retiring guests. That each visitor might have an opportunity of tendering a valedictory offering, the attendants waited in the hall in single file. Vail-tendering was a costly office, and those gentry whose rent-roll did not justify the bestowal of handsome largesses after a feast, declined invitations and remained at home. At length the evil increased to an extent which rendered the possibility of accepting hospitality the privilege of only a few. A farce called "High Life below Stairs" was, about the year 1750, produced on the boards at Edinburgh. The scourge of satire applied to their exactions aroused the footmen to desperation. Seventy of their number subscribed a missive addressed to the manager of the theatre, informing him that in order to suppress the satire they had resolved to make strong sacrifices. When the farce was again produced they, by a noisy demonstration, interrupted the performance. But their combination was repressed; and while already the landed gentry of a great northern county had prohibited their servants from accepting vails the gentlemen of Edinburgh issued similar commands. For a century vail-giving has ceased.

The last act of manorial hospitality was enacted on the lawn. Lawns wonderfully resembled each other. Decorations were in the Dutch fashion---plants of holly and box being shaped into grotesque figures of men and animals. In front of each mansion was on the lawn constructed a platform of masonry—the loupin'-on stane. From this stone gentlemen mounted their horses, and as they did so were supplied with the doch-an-dorius, or stirrup-cup. Drunk from a quaich, or wooden cup, it was otherwise known as a boualay, from the French bonne allee.

The bibulous propensities of burghal and rural magnates were a source of constant disquietude. Ministers and elders inveighed against their practices, as in a more formal manner did Presbyteries and Synods and other public bodies. In 1625, the Town Council of Aberdeen ordained that no person should, at any public or private meeting, presume to compel his neighbour at table with him to drink more wine or beer than what he pleased, under the penalty of forty pounds. This edict was needful, since for many years prior to its being passed compulsory drinking was rampant. To prevent "shirking," or reluctance to drink, a rule obtained in Perthshire that if the glass was not emptied the offending guest was compelled to drink to the same toast a second time from a full glass which was presented to him. The practice was called "Keltie's mends." Some hosts got the feet struck from their wineglasses. Mr William Maule, of Paninure, late in the eighteenth century, locked the door upon his guests, and then passed round bottles so constructed that they could not stand; as these could pass only from hand to hand drinking was continuous. Another Forfarshire laird who had followed his guest, a London merchant, to his bedroom with a bottle and glass, was met with the remark that his "hospitality bordered upon brutality."

Fashion imposed strong fetters. An anecdote is related of a dinner at Foss in Perthshire, liven on a Sunday afternoon, being protracted till the sound of the church bell on the morning of the following Sunday awoke the party to reflection. At Cambo, Fife-shire, a branch of the noble house of Erskine maintained a perpetual dinner party, from which guests might retire, subsequently to return. When Colonel Monypenny of Pitmilly was about to proceed to India to take command of his regiment, he called at Cambo to express an adieu. Mr Erskine was at dinner; but the Colonel, who was invited to join the party, speedily retired. On his return from India, four years afterwards, the Colonel again waited on Mr Erskine, who was still dining. Unconscious of his friend's long absence, he asked the Colonel to "take his chair, and pass round the bottle." These convivial practices, now difficult to realize, were common in rural mansions in the days of our grandfathers.

About a century ago a, custom prevailed at Edinburgh known as "saving the ladies." When after any fashionable assembly the male guests had conducted their fair partners to their homes, they returned to the supper-room. Then one of the number would drink to the health of the lady he professed specially to admire, and in so doing empty his glass. Another gentleman would name another lady, also drinking a bumper in her honour. The former would reply by swallowing a second glass to his lady, followed by the other, each combatant persisting till one of the two fell upon the floor. Other couples followed in like fashion. These drinking competitions were regarded with much interest by gentlewomen, who next morning enquired as to the prowess of their champions. By the famous Henry Erskine this degrading practice was stoutly resisted. He composed in ridicule of it a scourging satire, which thus concluded-

"So the gay youth, at midnight's frolick hour
Stung by the truant love's all-conquering power,
Vows from damnation her he loves to save,
Or on the floor to find an early grave;
Anon; the table's feet supine to lie,
And for Miss Molly's sake to drink or die."

At every social meeting imprecation was common. Lord Cockburn remarks, that swearing was, in his youth, deemed. "the right and mark of a gentleman."

"The naval chaplain," he adds, "justified his cursing the sailors, because it made them listen to him. In the army it was universal by officers towards soldiers; and far more frequent than is now credible by masters towards servants."  The heir who swore lustily at the feast celebrating his majority, was regarded as possessing a jocund nature and amiable manners. "A young Scots woman," writes Dean Ramsay, "while lamenting that her brother used oaths, added, apologetically, 'Nae dout it is a great aff- set to conversation." A century ago, Lady Wallace, sister of the celebrated Jane Duchess of Gordon, produced several dramas, which contained passages so freely expressed, that they were refused the Lord Chamberlain's license.

For their own convenience and that of their guests, Highland chiefs provided hostelries, or places of entertainment, in convenient centres. To the laird of Glenurchy, in the sixteenth century, Hew Hay and Cristiane Stennes undertook to keep a hostelry at Cargell, "with sufficient ale, and bread and other furnishing, at all times in readiness to serve the country."; By religious houses, hospices were in the adjacent towns leased on condition that strangers as well as their own members might be lodged and. entertained. By the Cistercian Abbey of Cupar were owned two hospices at Perth and one at Dundee. The Abbey also provided "spitals" or houses of refreshment in isolated localities. These were leased with the condition that food and provender were kept for man and horse. James V., in 1535, enjoined innkeepers to supply flesh, fish, bread, and ale at the usual rates; also to provide proper stabling. During the eighteenth century, bargain-making was negotiated chiefly in the taverns. There, too, lawyers met their clients, and physicians advised with their patients. At Patrick Steil's tavern in the High Street of Edinburgh, politicians assembled in 1706 to devise measures against the Union. In the public inns at Edinburgh, gentlewomen, a century ago, accompanied their male friends to oyster suppers.

From the Thane of Cawdor's narrative of his travelling expenses in 1591, we obtain some particulars as to the charges at inns during the sixteenth century. For a quart of ale the thane paid 2s.; for a quart of wine, 13s. 4d.; for a mutchkin of whisky, 5s. A wheaten loaf cost him 8d. His bedroom per night was charged 6s. 8d. The cook, porter, and chambermaid severally demanded 6s. 8d. for four days' attendance. For the same period of service the waiter was paid 15s.

Epicurism was repressed. In 1551, "in order to the eschewing of dearth," it was provided that the lieges should be restricted in diet, each according to his degree. To an archbishop and earl were allowed eight dishes of meat; to abbots, lords, priors, and deans, six; to barons and freeholders, four; to burgesses, three. The prohibition of flesh during the season of Lent, though ignored by Presbyterians, was by the Privy Council periodically renewed. On the 12th February 1561, the Council ordained that "none of his Graces lieges tak upon hand to cit ony flesche in ony tyme heireftir, quhill the said xxix. day of Marche next to cum, except sik persons as ar vesit with extreme sicknes."  To the prohibition a preamble sets forth "that in the spring of the yeir called Lentyme, all kyndis of flesche debilitattis and decayis and growis out of seasouu that thai ar nocht than meit for eating; and als, that be the tempestuous stormys of the last winter and utheris precedaud, the hale gudis are sa trakit, smorit, and deit, that the prices of the flesche ar rissin to sik extreme derth that the like has nocht bene serie -within this realme; and gif sik derth continue it will be to the Breit hurte of the commove weill thairof." In Mardi 1567, the Act was repeated, on the plea that "it is convenient for the commoun weill that thai [animals] be sparit during that tyme, to the end that thai may be mair plenteous and bettir chaip the rest of the yeir."  Inasmuch as "throw troubles past and the insolence and delicacie of sundry folkes the law has been contempuit and planelic violat thin diverse years bipast,"  the Privy Council repeated the enactment in 1574. It was continued from 1576 to 1578, but licenses were granted to particular families, dispensing with the restriction. In February 1585 all licences were revoked, and decree was given that none further should be granted without a testimonial subscribed "be ane phisitioin and twa honest witnesses of the aibe, seikiies or infirmitie of the persones sutar is."  Proclamation was, in February 1586, made at Edinburgh, prohibiting the cooking or eating of flesh in "tyme of Lentren, also upon Wednesdayis, Frydayis, and Satirdayis."

The prohibitory enactment was in force in 1635, for in that year a license, subscribed by the Lords of Exchequer, was granted to Thomas Forbes of Watertoun, and his spouse, servants, and guests, permitting them to eat flesh in Lent, also on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays weekly "for the space of one year."

Assemblies of the lieges for political purposes were disallowed. But social gatherings were much in vogue. The birth of an heir to an estate was by the tenantry and domestics, celebrated for a course of days. When a member of the laird's family was about to leave home, he received his foy (feu-de-joie), that is, his parents handed him a sum of money to be expended in entertaining his friends. The majority of an heir was a chief occasion of festivity. At a sue-cession banqueting was limitless.

One could not be properly invested in his ancestral inheritance without the verdict of a jury, the formalities attendant upon which were accompanied by an entertainment. The process of sasine, that is, of giving an heir corporal possession of his lands by the delivery to him or his representative of cird and state, otherwise, earth and stone, was also followed by feasting. About a year after he had got settled in his inheritance, the new landowner gave a great dinner. This was usually accompanied by a noisy demonstration. At Forfar, ninety years ago, succession banquets were closed by athletic exhibitions, the stronger guests attempting to throw the others across the table. Reckless persons would occasionally toss about the furniture and fracture it.

Among the Caledonians the love of music amounted to a passion. A piper is represented among the early sculptures of the abbey of Melrose. This abbey was founded by David I., in 1136, but the sculptures belong to the fourteenth century. To the pipers of David II. was made in 1362 a payment of forty sllillings. James I., in his poem of "Peebles to the Play," celebrates bagpipe music in these verses:-

The bag-pipe blew and they out-threw
Out of the townis untauld
Lord! sic ane schout was thame ainang
Quhen they were owre the wald.

With that Will Swain came sweitand out
Ane mickle miller man;
Gif I sall dance, have done, let se
Blaw up the bagpipe than."

In form, the bagpipe ranged from the small instrument of Northumbria with its mild notes through the warlike dron of the northern Highlands, to the higher and perfect forms of the Western Isles. Pipers from England performed at the Scottish Court in 1480, but native pipers were afterwards retained, both by the sovereign and the nobles. During the eighteenth century every considerable Scottish burgh kept a piper as one of its burghal staff. In 1800 a piper is named among the public functionaries at Perth.

There are three hundred pibrochs or pieces of pipe music. Schools for instructing novices in piping, styled "colleges" by Dr Johnson, existed at Skye and Mull, and professional performers enrolled themselves under the government of a chief, who issued rules for their guidance.

In "The Howlat," a poem composed in 1453, twenty-three musical instruments are named; some of these were moved by the breath, others by percussion, others by twanging, others by the bow.

Devoted to the musical arts, James III. invited skilful artists to his court. The lute-player was a prominent officer of his household; he wore a livery of green. To Dr William Rogers, an English musician, eminently proficient in his art, James gave many benefactions; he converted the Chapel Royal at Stirling into a musical college, and constituted him its president. He dubbed him knight, and granted him a seat in the Privy Council: procedure which disgusted the nobles. At their hands, in 1482, Rogers was with other royal favourites cruelly slain.

Cherishing musical tastes, James IV. endowed the musical college erected by his father. He brought vocalists from Italy, tabroners from France, and harpers and trumpeters from England. A lover of melody, James V. performed exquisitely on the lute, and entertained at his court musicians, both instrumental and vocal. Queen Mary employed a choir in which David Rizzio was bass singer. The queen also retained at court a company of youths who played upon the viol.

The organ or regals existed in the fourteenth century; it is the subject of a sculpture in the abbey of Melrose. The instrument was of two forms, the stationary and portable. The portable instrument, styled the portative, was borne in royal progresses. Stationary regals were placed in churches, and used in worship. Prior to the Reformation, organs of superior construction erected in the principal churches were played by skilful performers with liberal salaries.

The harp was in early use by the Celtic race. In May 1490, an Irish harper received at the king's command, a bounty of eighteen shillings. In 1496 and 1497, James Mylsone the harper, Pate the harper, and Fowlis the harper, and the "harper with a (one) hand were rewarded for playing at court. Two harps which formerly belonged to John Stewart of Dalguise, Master of the Supreme Court at the Cape of Good Hope, are now in the Museum of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries. The larger harp is known as Clurshuch Lumnunuch, that is, the Lamont Harp; it was brought from Argyllshire by a daughter of the family of Lamont, on her marriage in 1464 with Robertson of Lude. It is thirty-eight inches in length, and in width eighteen and a half inches. There are thirty-two strings and five holes. The box, which is hollowed from one piece of wood, is at the top thirty incites in length and four in breadth. Respecting the other harp, there is a tradition that when Queen Mary was on a hunting excursion in Perthshire in 1563 she presented it to Peatrix, daughter of Gardyn of L-'anchory, whose family is now represented by Gardyn of Troup. Miss Gardyn married FindIa More, from whom the families of Farquharson and Lude descend; the harp fell to the Lude family. The length of this harp is thirty-one inches, and from front to back eighteen inches. On the box and comb are geometrical decorations, accompanied with some fine foliagious scroll work. On the two sides of the bow are circular spaces with figures of animals and other ornaments. On the front of the comb are the remains of nails which fastened decorations, and which are said to have included Queen Mary's portrait set in jewels. The Scottish harp was at length superseded by the violin, and the sinecure choristers of the Chapel-Royal permanently dispensed with.

A taste for operatic music was created by the Duke of York then, as High Commissioner in 1681-2, he kept court at Holyrood. Though his musical demonstrations were condemned by the Church and denounced by the multitude, they were acceptable to persons of taste, and when the excitement attending the Revolution had allayed, a desire for the renewal of dramatic music grew and prevailed. On the 10th January 1694, one Beck, with several associate musicians, conducted a great concert at Edinburgh. This was followed by the feast of St Cecilia, a concert of vocal and instrumental music held on the 22nd November 1695. On this occasion the performances included pieces by famous Italian masters, such as Corelli and Bassani, which were executed by first and second violins, flutes, and hautbois—the open piece giving seven first violins, five second violins, six flutes, and two hautbois. Of thirty performers, eleven were professional persons, the others being gentlemen amateurs. Of the amateurs, several were expert players on the violin, flute, and harpsichord. Among the professional musicians were persons destined to become further associated with the national melody.

In creating a taste for music at Edinburgh, Henry Crumbcden, a German, was much noted. William Thomson, a young performer at St CeciIia's Feast, produced in 1725, the well known collection of Scottish Songs with music known as Oipiaeus Caledonzius. Another performer, Matthew M`Gibbon, had a son William, who produced in 1742 a collection of Scottish tunes, which attained celebrity. Among other ardent promoters of music at the beginning of the eighteenth century were Robert, Lord Colville of Ochiltree, one Steil, landlord of the Cross Keys Tavern, Gordon, a vocalist, and Adam Craig, whose collection of tunes for the harpsichord or spinet, published in 1730, eminently conduced to the progress of melody. In 1728 was formed at Edinburgh the Musical Society of St Mary's Chapel, consisting of seventy members.

At Edinburgh in 1762 two hundred gentlemen contributed to the erection of an assembly room, for the practice of music. This structure, designated St Cecilia Hall, was reared at the junction of the Cow-gate with Niddry's Wynd, a locality which was at the time a fashionable centre. In reference to St Cecilia, Hall, Lord Cockburn writes: "There have I myself seen most of our literary and fashionable gentlemen, predominating with their side curls, and frills and ruffles, and silver buckles; and our stately matrons stiffened in their hoops and gorgeous satin and our beauties with high-heeled shoes, powdered pomatuned turned hair, and lofty and composite head-dresses. All this was in the Cowgate, the last retreat now-a-days of destitution and disease."

By Herodian, and other ancient writers, the people of North Britain are described as half-naked. Their unclothed limbs they discoloured with woad; they also painted with mineral pigments. From the fifth century both Celts and Scandinavians made their garments of fleeces. The art of weaving was known in the eighth century. In the reign of David I. (1124-1153), woollen cloth was manufactured in every province.

During the fifteenth century, a desire for superior attire prevailed generally. This induced the enactment by Parliament in 1430 of a sumptuary law, specifying that no person under knightly rank, or having less than two hundred merks of yearly income, should wear clothes made of silk, or adorned with superior furs. And in 1457 the Parliament of James II. declared that "the realme is greatumlie puree throve sumptous claithing baith of men and women;" it was consequently enacted that "na man within burgh that lives be merchandise, bot gif he be a person constitute in dignitie as alderman, or baillie or uthir gude worthy men, that ar of the council of the to vile and their wives, weare claitlies of silk nor costly scarlettis in gownes or furrings with mertrickes." Daughters of traders were not to use crowns "with tailes unfit in length nor furred under, Lot on the Halie-daie." Labourers and husbandmen were enjoined to "weare on the wark daye bot gray and quhite, and on the Halic-daie bot liclit blew, greene, and red do and their wives rieht-swa and courchies of their awin making, and that it exceed not the price of xi pennyes the clue." It is added, "As to the clerkes (clergymen), that vane weare gownes of scarlet, nor furring of mertrikis, bot "if he be ane person constitute in dignitie in cathedral or colleclge kirk, or else, that he may spende two hundreth merkes, or great nobilesor doctoures."

During the fifteenth century and subsequently, male attire consisted chiefly of these articles, a gown, a doublet and hose. These, as accorded with the sumptuary laws, were fashioned in materials of varied quality. A special gown was used on horseback, but ordinary vestments were of two kinds—the long and short. The long gown was open in front, reached to the feet, was fashioned with or without sleeves, and was gathered round the waist by a girdle. In a long gown of broad cloth were comprehended about five ells— an ell measuring thirty-seven inches — or of narrow cloth, as in velvet, satin, or damask, from eight to fifteen ells. James V. wore a gown of cloth of gold, which on the hood and front was adorned with 49,500 "orient pearls." Gowns were lined with ermine, also with satin and velvet; and were edged with rich and costly trimmings. The short gown—also the gowns used in riding, were lesser garments, the former embracing from six to nine, and the litter from five and a half to nine ells of narrow cloth.

Like the gown, the doublet was composed of materials suited in quality to the wearer's rank. The sovereign wore a doublet of satin or velvet, also of leather. A close-fitting garment, the doublet might be used without sleeves; a doublet with sleeves was trimmed with small or narrow ribbons. Worn partially open, the doublet had under it a silk waistcoat richly embroidered, and resting upon a stomacher of satin or velvet. Riding, hawking, and hunting coats or doublets and jackets, reaching to the haunches were fashioned for the king and courtiers.

Hose were a species of pantaloons, which fitted closely to the limbs and were attached to the waistcoat by strings or laces tipped with metal, called points. One description of hose covered the feet, with soles attached; others reached to the ankles, others only to the knees, where they were joined by leggings and gaiters. Hose were of varied hue, the right and left sides presenting such contrasted colours as red and yellow, green and red, or white and black.

In walking out a tippet or short cloak was used. This anciently lay on the shoulders like the modern cape; it was latterly extended till it enclosed the person. A hood was attached.

A disposition on the part of gentlemen of rank to clothe expensively was iiot readily overcome. At his marriage in 1711, a gentleman of fortune pail. 340 Scots for two suits, including a eight-gown and a suit to his servant.

'fill the period of the Revolution, gentlemen in the lowlands carried walking-swords; highland chiefs wore dirks and pistols. In the unsettled condition of the country the custom may have been permissible, but it was frequently attended with broils.

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries gentlemen's head-coverings consisted of caps, hats, and bonnets. Caps made of cloth and furnished with flaps to cover the ear, were used in riding; hats were composed of beaver. The hat-piece, a coin of James VI., produced in 1591, represents the style of hat used at that period. Bonnets were of scarlet or black cloth, and fitted closely to the head. The feet were protected by sandals, called millings, made of untanned sealskin, word with the hair-side outwards, and bound to the feet with leather thongs.

During the eighteenth century every gentleman wore a wig, sprinkled with hair-powder. When at night he retired to rest he placed his wig upon a block at his bedroom door, that by the man-servant it might be powdered and dressed. In cities elderly gentlemen wore cocked hats, the younger used velvet caps. To their individual importance some persons invited attention by fringing their hats with gold or silver lace.

Tartan, or chequered woollen cloth, was worn by the Celtic tribes; it was variegated in conformity with the breacan or chequer of the several clans or tribes. The name is derived from the French tiretaine or tirtaine, signifying cheap cloth. Bishop Laing of Glasgow, treasurer of James III., had in 1471 all account for tartan to be used by the King, and for double tartan for the Queen's use. The fabric was used at the court of James V., and six tartan plaids were purchased for Queen Mary in 1562 at the cost of eighteen pounds.

Black clothes were worn only at funerals. The street coat was of blue or gray, or a sort of dingy brown; the waistcoat of a gaudy buff or striped. Shirt ruffles were universal, and were conspicuously displayed. A white cravat enclosed the neck. Drab breeches with white stockings, and shoes with large buckles or loots with tops, enveloped and adorned the limbs. A watch-pocket was placed in the waistband of the breeches, and to his watch chain or ribbon every gentleman appended his watch key and a large seal. The dignified citizen as he walked abroad strived to maintain an erect position, while in his right hand he grasped a long staff, which he moved forward as if groping his way. In moist weather were worn scarlet cloaks. At the close of the eighteenth century the staff was substituted by the gold-headed cane.

During the last century a gentleman's evening-dress was most imposing. Under a blue or brown coat was worn a vest of white satin. The breeches were of dark silk, joined under the knees by black silk stockings. Wig and whiskers were turned by the curling irons, and sprinkled with fragrant hairpowder.

When Magnus Olafsen, King of Norway, returned from ravaging the western coasts on the death of Malcolm III., he on his return, according to the Sagas, adopted the costume of the islanders, with short krilles and upper wraps, whereby he was called Barelegs.

To our correspondent, Colonel Ross of Cromarty, we are indebted for a correct description of the Highland dress. The Colonel proceeds:--"Their ancient dress was the breacan feile or kilted plaid. This consisted of from seven to twelve yards of tartan sewn up the middle so as to form a plaid of double width varying from four to six yards long, by two yards in width. Highland looms did not fabricate tartan wider than one yard. A portion of this length was laid on the ground with the belt under it; the lower and middle portion being then plaited so as to form a kilt, leaving a flap at each side. The Highlander now lay down upon it, crossed the right flap, and next placed the left flap over it, and buckled his belt. When he got up, the upper part of the plaid which formed a sort of double kilt was fastened with a brooch on his left shoulder, and part of the plaid on the right side was tucked under the belt. To the waist-belt was attached the sporran, usually made of leather with a brass or silver mouth-piece, so constructed that persons unacquainted with the secret could not open it. The ancient sporran did not hang loose, but the waist-belt was passed through two rings on the mouth-piece which made it fast to the dirk and one or two pistols were also worn on the waist-belt. By undoing the waist-belt the plaid was made to form a blanket, in which the Highlander could at night envelop himself. The plaid was frequently worn by chiefs. The feile beg, or little kilt, was invented by Thomas Rawlinson, an Englishman, who came to Glengarry about the year 1770. Rawlinson had the lower part of the breacun feile cut off, and the plaits sewn, thus forming the modern kilt."

In illusion to the Highland dress, Taylor, the water-poet, writing in 1618, thus expresses himself:—"They wear shoes with one sole; stockings which they call short hose, made of a warm stuff of divers colours, which they call tartan. As for breeches, many of them (nor their forefathers) never wore any, but a jerkin of the same stuff that their hose is of, their garters being bands, or wreaths of hay or straw, with a plaid about their shoulders, which is a mantle of divers colours of much finer and lighter stuff than the hose, with flat blue caps on their head [and], a handkerchief knit with two knots about their neck. Their weapons are long bows and forked arrows, swords and targets, harquebusses, muskets, durks, and Lochaber axes." The modern Highlander wore a plume, and stuck in his hose a knife and fork. Except as a military uniform, the Highland dress was proscribed in 1746. The Aberdeen Journal of 1750 informs us that Robert Pirie, servant to the minister of Cabrach, was brought into the city, and imprisoned for wearing the philibeg.

In earlier times females of the upper class wore white woollen robes, and jackets without sleeves. On public occasions they were clothed in a party-coloured saque or plaid of fine texture, and wore on their necks chains of gold.

During the fifteenth century, [To the preface of the first printed volume of "The Accounts of the Lord high Treasurer," drawn up by Mr Thomas Dickson, Curator of the Historical Department of the General Register House, we are indebted for many particulars respecting male and female attire during the fifteenth century.] female attire consisted of a kirtle, a stomacher, and gown and tippet. The kirtle, a close-fitting garment, enveloped the body from neck to heel. Over the kirtle and enclosing the breast, was the stomacher, composed of satin or velvet, and lined with fur. The gown was a loose garment, open in front, and exhibiting the stomacher and kirtle. The tippet was a species of collar, of fur-lined satin, which enclosed the neck, and rested upon the shoulders. The head-dress or turrutis, consisted of artificial hair, contrived so as to resemble two horns, from which descended the kerchief or veil.

At the commencement of the eighteenth century, Scottish gentlewomen wore distended skirts. A lady born in 1714, whose reminiscences cast some light on the manners of her period, writes:—"Hoops were constantly worn four-and-half yards wide, which required much silk to cover them; and gold and silver were much used for trimming, never less than three rows round the petticoat; so that though the silk was slight the price was increased by the trimming." Robert Ker, an intrepid cynic, who had his home at Lasswade, near Edinburgh, issued in 1719 a publication entitled "A short and true description of the great incumbrances and damages that city and country is like to sustain by women's girded tails, if it be not speedily prevented, with a dedication to those that wear them." In this publication the satirist sets forth that "bordered by metallic cooperage, men walked the streets under hazard of breaking their shin bones." In order to accommodate the fashion he facetiously calls for alteration in churches, coaches and staircases, and expresses his belief that John Knox would have condemned a practice which, on account of their wives and daughters, religious teachers hesitated to impugn. Respecting the wide-skirt style of dress, Allan Ramsay took a milder view. He writes:—

"If Nelly's hoop be twice as wide,
As her two pretty limbs can stride
What then? Will any man of sense
Take umbrage or the least offence?"

During the eighteenth century gentlewomen wore gowns with long waists, had high-heeled and sharp pointed shoes, and used hair-powder. Upon their foreheads they drew down their front locks, and applied to their faces small patches. When at Edinburgh a gentlewoman appeared on the street in undress, she wore a mask or enveloped her head and shoulders iii a plaid of black silk. Green paper fails Dearly two feet long, and attached to their waists by a ribbon, gentlewomen used in place of parasols, which were yet unknown. Elderly spinsters wore white aprons, and in walking out were attended by their handmaidens, clad in close-fitting short-sleeved gowns, and white mutches, but without shoes. The usual head-dress was of Flanders lace, adorned with ribbons. Every lady earned in her reticule a small snuff-mull, which in talking she exchanged with her friends. No unusual gift from a gentleman to the object of his affections, was a mull adorned with devices emblematical of constancy.

At the beginning of the present century, gowns in the long-waist fashion disappeared, extremely short waists being substituted. This mode continued till about the year 1830, when the former style was revived. Hoops, long abandoned, were again in requisition. Bonnets of large size were worn, and the hair dressed in curls in front, was on the top gathered in a roll, and there secured by a high comb.

Scottish gentlewomen assumed a deportment suited to the times. For about a century after the Reformation ladies of the upper circles avoided frivolity, and by domestic industry proved an example to their maidens. Subsequent to the Restoration female habits changed, and ladies were found who encouraged domestic gambling and loose talk, — even using oaths. They commenced the day by drinking a cup of Malvoisie; thereafter breakfasting on a pair of plovers or partridges, with a libation of sack. At five or six o'clock they supped, enjoying to their repast a cup of FIemish wine, and were entertained while eating by the sound of music from the lute or organ. A century ago the gentlewomen of Edinburgh field conversational sallies in the oyster cellars. On this subject Major Topham, in 1774, writes thus:— "When the door opened, I bad the pleasure of being ushered in, not to one lady, as I expected, but to a large and brilliant company of both sexes, most of whom I had the honour of being acquainted with. The large table, round which they were seated, was covered with dishes full of oysters and pots of porter. For a long time I could not suppose that this was the only entertainment we were to have, and I sat waiting in expectation of a repast that was never to make its appearance. This I soon found verified, as the table was cleared and glasses introduced. The ladies were now asked whether they would choose brandy or rum punch? I thought this question an odd one, but I was soon informed by the gentleman who sat next me that no wide was sold here; but that punch was quite `the thing.' The ladies, who always love what is best, fixed upon brandy punch, and a large bowl was immediately introduced. The conversation had hitherto been insipid, and at intervals; it now became general and lively. The women, who, to do them justice, are much more entertaining than their neighbours in England, discovered a great deal of vivacity and fondness for repartee. A thousand things were hazarded, and met with applause; to which the oddity of the scene gave propriety; and which could have been produced in no other price. The general ease with which they conducted themselves, the innocent freedom of their manners, and their unaffected good-nature, all conspired to make us forget that we were regaling in a cellar; and was a convincing proof that, lot local customs operate as they may, a truly polite woman is everywhere the same.... When the company were tired of conversation, they began to dance reels, their favourite dance, which they performed with great agility and perseverance."

Sir John Carr, who published his "Caledonian Sketches" in 1809, found that the ladies of Edinburgh walked at a late hour in Queen Street, "especially in moonlight." Frivolous and inconsiderate in their demeanour, Scottish gentlewomen unwittingly led their attendants into most mischievous habits. In the Hebrides at the close of last century every maidservant received from the hands of her mistress a morning drain, or glass of whisky. The usage prevailed elsewhere, with the very worst results. Writing in 1805, Mr Robert Forsyth, in his "Beauties of Scotland," remarks that "a woman of low rank is scarcely to be found, whatever her character in other respects may be, who does not at forty-five years of age become less or more addicted to the use of spirituous liquors."

From the reign of Charles II. to the close of the eighteenth century, the majority of Scottish gentlewomen exhibited a haughty demeanour and chilling reserve. The Duchess of Buccleuch, widow of the Duke of Monmouth, who died in 1732, claimed royal honours. Under a canopy, she was served by pages upon their knees. At her banquets she expected her guests to eat standing. When Elizabeth Cunning, the celebrated beauty, was wife of James, sixth Duke of Hamilton, she and the Duke walked to dinner together before their company; they then sat together at the head of the table, and both eating from the same plate, drank wine only with those who held not lower rank than that of an earl. When the Duchess became wife of John, fifth Duke of Argyle, she indulged the satisfaction of ignoring at her own table James Boswell, when along with Dr Samuel Johnson, he was in October 1773, entertained by her husband at Inverary. Boswell's apology for her has often been quoted. He said that in "punishment being inflicted by so dignified a beauty, he had the consolation which a plan would feel who is strangled by a silken cord."

Even in rural districts, where society was scanty, and visitors were few, matrons of fashion seldom smiled, and were never betrayal into a laugh. They instructed their daughters to repel the advances of every suitor whom they met in society, or if any were to be favoured, to receive their attentions coldly and with indifference. When admirers of their daughters sought to become agreeable they were discountenanced, and when acceptable suitors intimated that they had won their daughters' consent and asked their blessing, it was granted with an intimation that they were likely to repent their choice.

From the vanity and arrogance of high-bred dances in former tinges, it is pleasing to notify an interesting exception. Susanna Kennedy, daughter of Sir Archibald Kennedy of Culzean, born in 1690, became in 1709 third wife of Alexander, ninth Earl of Eglinton. Six feet in height, with a handsome figure, and a countenance and complexion of l)ew itching loveliness, she was recognised as the most charming woman of her time. By George II. she was described, even when her children were grown up, as the most beautiful lady in his dominions. Yet much as she was admired in society of the highest rank, she preferred the intercourse of men of letters. To Allan Ramsay's request that he might be allowed to dedicate to her his "Gentle Shepherd," she cordially acceded, while long afterwards she accorded to Dr Samuel Johnson and James Boswell during their tour a gracious and honourable reception. The travellers visited her at Auchans on the 1st November 1773. Boswell chronicles the event in these terms:— "Dr Johnson was delighted with his reception. . . . In the course of our conversation it came out that Lady Eglinton was married the year before Dr Johnson was born, upon which she graciously said to him that she might have been his mother, and that she now adopted him. When we were going away, she embraced him, saying, My dear son, farewell." In their political principles the lexicographer and the countess were at one. In his "Journey," Dr Johnson praises her vivacity, and remarks that "at the age of eighty-four she had little reason to accuse time of depredations on her beauty." Two years after their interview, she entrusted Boswell with this message, "Tell Mr Johnson that I love him exceedingly." Professor Josiah Walker, the friend and biographer of the poet Burns, was in childhood privileged with her ladyship's favour. His father was minister of Dundonald, the parish in which Auchans, her jointure-house, was situated. From the Professor's MS. we have the following:—"At Auchans, notwithstanding her repugnance to Protestant doctrine, more especially to Presbytery, she thankfully accepted weekly visits from the parish minister, also from members of his family. But," proceeds the Professor, "I soon superseded them all in her affection. In my eleventh year, after an imperfect recovery from an attack of measles, my health was thought so delicate that I was forbidden all outside exercise. When the Countess heard of this, she, with her usual overflow of kindness, said that she would take me out every day for a drive in her close carriage. Accordingly, at six every evening throughout the summer, she arrived at the manse, whose inmates were not a little elated, at a time when carriages were so few, to see the most splendid of all stop daily at their bate, and my little heart swelled with pride in feeling myself the cause of the high honour thus publicly conferred on them. Of the carriage itself I must say a word. It had been given by George III. to Earl Alexander, who was a favourite Lord of his Bed-chamber, and by the latter from his earnest desire to gratify his mother, had been transferred to her. . . . As the Countess drank tea at an earlier hour than that at which this refreshment was taken at the manse, she, lest I should miss it, kindly brought with her a large basin of tea, covered with a soft biscuit, and matte me consume, these provisions during our drive. Sometimes she brought me strawberries, or some other nice substitute, and as we become attached to pets by feeding them, I had the pleasure of seeing her become warmly attached to one. My prattle entertained her; and it was an incontestable proof of her benevolence that at the age of eighty-three she could exert herself, as she always did, to keep a child, and a child of such inferior rank, in constant .amusement and enjoyment." The Professor proceeds to describe how, that up to the acre of ninety-one, when she passed away peacefully, this remarkable specimen of female gentility continued to exhibit towards him the same affectionate solicitude which she had extended in his childhood. He adds, "If I have any elevation of spirit, if I have escaped any vulgarities of thought or feeling, if I have learnt to put its proper value on the precious combination of high rank and virtue, I am indebted chiefly to the many hours I passed at the residence of this admirable woman."

The lofty demeanour which characterized gentle women, who conformed to fashion, was in the pride of certain noblemen of high rank fully reciprocated. In the reign of Charles II. the Duke of Lauderdale caused at Ham House a raised recess to be constructed at the upper part of a gallery, where, seated in chairs of state, lie and his duchess received visitors. John James, ninth Earl of Abercorn, was extremely proud, In the manner of his period, he sat without touching his chair back; and it was said of him that he made the tour of Europe without touching the back of his carriage. In his privately printed volume of "Scotch Stories," Captain Alexander Sinclair has recorded several anecdotes in connection with "the proud" Duke of Hamilton. Tracing descent from the Scottish royal house, through a daughter of James II., his grace conceived himself entitled to rank as a prince of the blood. "Passionately fond of art," writes Sir Archibald Alison, "he constructed, at the expense of upwards of 30,000, a mausoleum in Hamilton Park, to which he removed the remains of a long line of ancestors from the adjacent churchyard. He possessed himself of an Egyptian alabaster sarcophagus, covered with hieroglyphics, which he acquired when travelling in Upper Egypt. This he designed for his own coffin, and as it had been made for a female, he, after making trial of it by extending himself in it in various attitudes, left directions that, if necessary, the breast bone should be sawn through, so that his body might be doubled up, without injuring the exquisite piece of sculpture."

Return to Book Index Page


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus